The Hamilton Hotel is ready to unveil the final pieces of its multi-million dollar renovation downtown at the corner of 14th and K Streets NW. An Italian restaurant specializing in Neapolitan pizza and a glamorous, postage stamp-sized bar serving cocktails and caviar are both scheduled to open tomorrow.
Following a full lobby transformation and guest room refresh, the historic 318-room hotel is replacing its outdated 14K restaurant with an all-day osteria called Via Sophia. A dark, library-themed bar called Society is hidden off the lobby.
The anticipated two-part venture is helmed by an all-star hospitality cast that includes Via Sophia executive chef Colin Clark, who’s amassed an impressive East Coast resume by working under several James Beard Award Winners (Marc Vetri, Jeff Michaud, and Fabio Trabocchi). He was also part of Le Diplomate’s opening team in 2013. Most most recently, Clark was chef de cuisine at Trabocchi’s Georgetown Harbor darling, Fiola Mare.
Via Sophia (1001 14th Stree NW) will open with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There’s also an weekday happy hour for apertivos and a late-night pizza menu. Weekend brunch will join the mix later this summer.
In Clark’s new post, he hopes to breathe new life into the same block as The Washington Post’s headquarters overlooking tree-lined Franklin Square.
“We are going for upscale — this is 14th and K and we are trying to make it a dining destination,” Clark tells Eater.
Since wood-fired Neapolitan pizza is Via Sophia’s star attraction, the staff went the extra mile to elevate their pie-making skills. Clark and sous chef Cameron Willis trained under master pizzaiola Roberto Caporuscio, owner of New York City’s Keste Pizza & Vino and Don Antonio (named “#1 Pizza in New York” by New York Magazine).
Five seasonal pizzas at Via Sophia include a classic Margherita — with San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and fresh basil — and Fra Diavlo (salame picante, fresno chiles, red onion, buffalo mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes).
Even the staff floating around will be dressed to the nines. Ashley Blazer Biden, Joe Biden’s daughter, designed the hotel’s new stylish black-and-white uniforms in collaboration with Livelihood.
Atlanta-based Art Consulting Firm, Amy Parry Projects, helped curate a custom art collection that weaves old and new elements across Via Sophia. Think nostalgic antique metal pizza peels juxtaposed with modern photography and abstract art pieces.
Clark’s most recent cooking stint at seafood-focused Fiola Mare is evident across its underwater section of dishes. A grilled Norwegian salmon features a traditional Spanish romesco sauce, alongside charred broccolini, pine nuts, and black garlic dressing. A minimalist presentation of black bass, accented with baby squash, asparagus tips, morels, and a golden beet border, lets the fish shine.
Southern Italian-inspired dishes include bruschetta built on a house-baked semolina loaf; tagliata di manzo (sliced steak) with charred spring onion, confit cherry tomatoes, balsamic reduction, arugula, and barolo jus; and monkfish ossobuco, with sauce livornese, clams, olives, capers, fennel, and potatoes.
“This is very in line with my background — the whole idea is a balance between rustic and modern,” Clark says. “We knock the rustic element out of the park — it was a decision early on to make bread, pizza, and pasta in house.”
Chicken al mattone (crispy artichokes, guanciale, peppers, maitake mushrooms, chicken jus) is “as old school rustic as it gets” he adds.
Carb-driven entrees include ravioli finochietta, with asparagus tips, fava beans, morels, and fresh parmigiana. Pappardelle comes with rabbit ragu, ramps, pecorino and Castelvetrano olives.
Antipasto orders include caponata-toasted eggplant with San Marzano tomatoes, golden raisins and pine nuts. Meat and cheese boards feature prosciutto di parma aged 24 months.
Wines and spirits hailing from Italy largely make up the drinks section, with some 120 wine bottles available. Local makers from D.C. and Virginia also contribute to the craft beer and spirits selection.
Society, inspired by Prohibition-era secret societies and private clubs from the art deco period, features just 14 seats. Fancy bar snacks include caviar with panna cotta, nuts, and Sicilian olives. Zack Faruki, an alum of Michelin-starred Fiola, is leading a mixology program.
Wines by the glass start at $20, and big spenders can also peruse from a rare collection of reds with a few bottles dancing near the $700 mark.
Society is an ode to renowned French-born architect Jules-Henrí de Sibour, who originally designed the hotel in 1922. The Prohibition-era architect was a member of Yale’s Skull and Bones Society. Framed hand drawings and photos taken from his time at Yale line the walls.
Hours are Tuesday and Wednesday, 5 p.m. to midnight; and Thursday through Saturday until 1 a.m.
When we discover new artists or get blown away by new work from some of our old favorites, we do our best to share the work and hopefully pass on the inspired feeling. It is a very exciting time to work in hospitality design and we have enough ideas for any kind of project.
Here's to the beauty of endless possibilities!
Please let us know how we can contribute custom art to what you're working on this summer.
What a busy year 2018 was! Just some of the highlights are listed below. We are going to rest on our laurels a bit, so please be advised that AP Projects will be closed for the holidays from December 21 through January 2, 2019.
- Addition of a new fabulous Production Manager
- Successful partnership with Specified Agents - Hospitality Solutions
- Transition to a new office space within Little Tree Art Studios (complete with water cooler!)
- Countless custom mirrors
- Custom art package referencing Atlanta history and it's influential figures
- New collaboration on a major hotel brand's forthcoming roll-out
- Fun seeing our Hotel Clermont guestroom art in numerous guests' social
- Hands on production for hundreds of colorful original pieces now in Aruba
- Hosted an amazing Designer Studio Visit with Atlanta Artist Sonya Yong James
- First Sports Arena installation
- Gallery purchases of work by some of our favorite artists
- Coordination of Programming Events for the Atlanta Chapter of NEWH (Including a visit with Elizabeth Ingram at Golden Eagle Diner's Club and Designer led tour of the Omni Hotel at The Battery Atlanta)
- First BDNY experience
Here’s to an equally exciting 2019!
Amy Parry Projects
More and more we are honoring requests to show art options with greater depth and texture. For this last Inspiration Board of the year, we would like to share a “few of our favorite (dimensional) things.”
There is so much to love about three-dimensional art; how it can punctuate a space and accentuate the overall design. Please click through these options in wood, glass, metal, fiber, porcelain and even just thickly applied paint.
Amy Parry Projects is enjoying a relaxing week in celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday. Wishing the same for all of our many friends and contacts!
APP Out of Town
In the spirit of gratitude, we are thankful for our work within the highly creative
Boutique Hospitality Industry.
We had a very inspiring trip to this year's Boutique Design New York (BDNY trade fair) where we could see and hear firsthand from leaders in our industry. The work of a lot of creative minds goes into each and every hotel and it was greatly affirming to see how much collaboration is truly happening.
The public spaces of our global hotels are being designed with greater connectivity in mind. There are amazing innovations in lighting, A/V and modular furniture. Accessories and mirrors are truly standing out. And punctuating all of the spaces, artwork is still cited as the icing on the cake - offering guests a sense of time and place which is an essential element of memorable travel. We saw inventive design elements that allow endless possibilities for integrating art. We are moving so far beyond the framed print these days!
BDNY proves this industry to be flourishing, with an abundance of exciting resources. Not surprisingly, the most fruitful part of our trip was the face time we had with some of the great Designers who bring all of these resources together. We are grateful to be one part of creating successful hotel experiences that guests will remember and we cannot wait to see what collaborations 2019 will bring about.
A couple of weeks ago we had an amazing studio visit with mixed media sculptor Eileen Braun and were fascinated by her transition in materials - from ceramics to rattan - in the creation of her extraordinary, otherworldly vessels.
We are sharing here, her description of the work and a glimpse at what she has been working on.
"In 2016, I put my clay work on hold and sought a new media less demanding of material constraints. After a lot of experimentation, I found it in encaustic wax and rattan weed. As I make the work, the forms grow increasingly more complex. Their sizes range from 3 - 7 feet high and the deep shadows (not easily shown in images), provide a completely different personal experience. The work is deceivingly light, weighing in at a mere 2- 6 pounds.
My art mirrors natural forms with a biomorphic edge. Often the exact life cycle stage one is viewing is too complex to pin down. Is it focused on seed, mature growth, or the desiccation of this system? I leave that up to the viewer.
Movement, texture and complexity of form are integral to the work as well. My hope is that the viewer will be drawn in by the shape. While approaching, they will be intrigued by the ever-changing views because one can see both through and around the form simultaneously. The texture, shadow and line created by the materials add to the multidimensional cornucopia of delights.
Process: The sculptures are constructed from rattan reed, encaustic wax, cotton string, and glue. In some instances I have added dress-makers pattern tissue - influenced by my research of Japanese Akari lamps. The rattan reed is left natural or occasionally pre-stained; soaked, manipulated and secured at all junctions with cotton string. Additional elements to the sculpture are constructed or texturized with encaustic wax. The exoskeletons in many instances have been en-robed in wax, giving them the appearance of metalwork."
Enjoy the work and imagine the possibilities - tabletop installations, wall-hangings, ceiling installations...