Hollis Silverman always swore she’d never open her own restaurant. The former Chief Operating Officer of José Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup often found herself in a consulting role, tackling projects like the launch of Andrés’s Little Spain food hall in New York, which she helped with last year. But now, Silverman—along with business partner and Eastbanc developer Anthony Lanier—is ready to debut two ambitious dining spots in the 700 Penn building near Eastern Market (a third project is also on the way). New American restaurant The Duck & The Peach is set to debut first in mid-November, followed by Italian spot La Collina. The Wells, an upscale gin bar, will follow.
Part of what changed Silverman’s mind about opening her own place was finding restaurant spaces a few blocks from her Capitol Hill home, where she’s lived for over a decade and raised her children.
“An opportunity to help build your community is the fun part,” Silverman says. “And I really wanted to build a restaurant where people would want to come and work.”
Silverman has assembled a seasoned team, many of whom she’s worked with before. Fellow TFG alum and Archipelago owner Owen Thomson is behind the cocktails. Lauded California chef Douglas Keane, whom Silverman cooked with at Jardiniere in San Francisco, is consulting on the projects, while chef Jim Diecchio (Zaytinya, Iron Gate) will helm the kitchen. Ex-Rose’s Luxury general manager Rachael Haas Stow is up front.
The restaurants, in the works since 2018, look different than the team originally envisioned given the pandemic. Both boast patios that will operate through the colder months with ample heaters, and takeout will be available day and night. Here’s what you may find at each venue this fall:
The Duck & The Peach
The New American restaurant takes cues from the California-French kitchens that Silverman and Keane came up in—“with a touch of New England,” per Silverman. During the day, a counter-order cafe will serve homemade doughnuts, cinnamon buns, jamon serrano sandwiche, and salads for takeout or to eat on a large patio.
Pre-Covid, the team envisioned a lively dinner party vibe at night in the 60-seat space, with a dressier prix-fixe menu. Now they’re reimagining what that can look like come November with fewer, distanced tables. A simpler set menu will be joined by family-style takeout options, including dishes like crispy red snapper with green curry or shrimp a la plancha with nduja butter. Both dine-in and takeout will be centered around nightly specials from a rotisserie grill, like a rotisserie duck with scallion salsa verde or Sunday roast chicken dinner. Silverman says her signature roast chicken is a little Ina, a little Zuni—“simple seasoning, crispy and moist, you can have a good conversation and it’s just helping things along.” Thomson’s cocktail menu, to stay and to go, will have seasonal sips like a tequila-and-Calabrian-chili concoction, and given the TFG connection, several gin-and-tonics.
The family-friendly osteria (it means “the hill” in Italian) will also operate day-to-night. A walk-up window will serve sandwiches and salads, which diners can take away or enjoy on the restaurant’s own patio. Come evening, a moderately-priced menu will include antipasti, fresh pastas, entrees such as a shareable steak Florentine, and carafes of wine and beer. Seasonal bites will include dishes like warm shell beans with tomato and sheeps’ milk ricotta, while kids may gravitate towards Nutella sundaes. Silverman, inspired by LA’s Pizzeria Mozza, is planning an antipasti and mozzarella bar (though displays will look different due to Covid safety provisions).
Given the current Covid-era regulations on bar service, the group is delaying the gin joint’s debut. But the vision remains the same for now: “We want it to feel like you’re stepping out of DC,” says Silverman . The classy drinking den, outfitted in shades of green and copper, will have seated service and a quiet, conversational tone.
“The challenging thing about all of it is no one knows what will happen,” says Silverman. “Let’s just figure out what we can do for the neighborhood, and what we can do to make people feel safe and connected.”
The Duck & The Peach; 300 Seventh St., SE. La Collina 731 C St., SE.