A nice little cozy French bistro sounded perfect in concept. But in the middle of a pandemic, it’s not exactly ideal. “Now you’re like, nice little cozy spot? That means nobody can come,” says restaurateur Ian Hilton.
C’est la vie. Cafe Colline will move ahead with its opening in Arlington on Thursday, June 25. It will offer carryout only to start, and then expand to limited indoor and outdoor dining a couple weeks later.
The restaurant will be the more casual sibling to Georgetown’s Chez Billy Sud and Mosaic District’s Parc de Ville. The all-day menu from chef/partner Brendan L’Etoile will feature starters like chilled sweet corn soup and confit pork terrines and entrees such as ratatouille, boudin blanc, or a cafe burger. Hilton particularly recommends the chicken confit with fingerling potatoes, French beans, frisee, and sauce gribiche—”I just can’t stop eating it.” Bottles of wine will also be available to-go.
At half capacity, Hilton figures he’ll be able to use 18 to 20 seats inside the restaurant, which is located in the former space of Kiwi cafe Cassatt’s. A small patio out back that will fit about six tables.
Meanwhile, Hilton says almost all of his bars and restaurants—including Echo Park, American Ice Company, the Gibson, and El Rey—will open indoor and outdoor seating this week. Crimson diner in Chinatown and its accompanying hotel rooftop bar reopen July 1, and U Street’s Brixton will open July 6 with a pop-up with Maketto chef/owner Erik Bruner-Yang (stay tuned for details). Basement bar Player’s Club on 14th Street will remain closed for now.
Cafe Colline. 4536 Lee Hwy, Arlington.