Food

Take a Look Inside Hank’s Pasta Bar

The Italian spinoff of Hank's Oyster Bar opens Wednesday in Alexandria.
Hank's Pasta Bar opens in Old Town. Photography by Andrew Propp

Hank’s Oyster Bar owner Jamie Leeds is expanding beyond her three popular seafood-centric ventures, having just opened the Twisted Horn cocktail bar in Petworth. Next up: Hank’s Pasta Bar, a rustic Italian restaurant debuting in Old Town, Alexandria on Wednesday.

Guests can settle in at the bar, or opt for one of the seats in the dining room.

Though you won’t find fresh-shucked bivalves on the menu, the new 100-seat eatery is meant to posses the same neighborhood feel of the other Hank’s locations. Longtime Oyster Bar chef de cuisine Nicolas Flores was tapped to head the kitchen, and designed a menu with a focus on seasonal Italian comfort fare. Over 15 varieties of homemade  pastas and risottos take center stage, such as papardelle with braised lamb ragu, wild mushroom lasagna, and linguine with white clam sauce. Should you care to dabble, opt for a tasting of three-to-five different pastas ($29 to $35 per person) for a carb-tastic meal.

Designer Maggie O’Neill outfitted the space with neighborhood dining in mind.

In addition to noodles, diners can pick between simply-prepared meats and seafood such as whole roasted fish or a grilled ribeye, accompanied by homey sides (think duck confit potatoes or spicy broccolini). A 20-seat lounge-bar is the place to try cocktails mixed with Italian liqueurs, and snack on crostini and antipasti boards.

A bar/lounge area is the place to try Italian-inspired cocktails and antipasti boards.

Designer Maggie O’Neill, who’s also behind the look of Hank’s Oyster Bar in Dupont, outfitted the space with rustic elements like large reclaimed barn doors, and cozy spots to lounge (try reclining in the leather tufted sofa). An outdoor patio is also in the works for spring.

Once the kitchen is up and running, they’ll introduce weekend brunch. Also on tap in the coming weeks: a neighborhood-friendly happy hour.

Hank’s Pasta Bar. 600 Montgomery Ave., Alexandria; 571-312-4117. Open Monday through Thursday, 4 to 11; Friday 4 to 1 am; Saturday 11:30 to 1 am; Sunday 11:30 am to 11. 

Guests can settle in for a pasta tasting of three-to-five varieties.

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Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.