Despite being a month behind on construction, University officials and an owner of TONIC Restaurant said that the new venue, which will be built in the vacant Quigley’s building at 21st and G streets, will still open as scheduled by January 2007 or earlier.
GW officials announced late November that after an extensive vendor search, Quigley’s would host TONIC, an American-style bistro whose d?cor and menu will reflect Foggy Bottom’s character as well as the history of the building, which used to be a pharmacy. Construction was originally slated to begin last month, but has been delayed because GW is still waiting to receive all of the proper building permits from the city.
Charles Barber, GW’s senior counsel, said that because of the large amount of development that is going on in the city, a slow permit process has prevented the start of construction. He said the building permits have been submitted and that the University is awaiting approval.
“Anytime you do construction, you have to get a permit from the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs,” Barber said. “They have a review in process that’s taking a little longer than we anticipated. There were some questions raised along the way, so we think once (the department) has all the information, the permit for building should be coming soon.”
GW Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz said last week that the construction schedule for TONIC was created to anticipate slight delays and that the late start should not affect the restaurant’s January 2007 opening date.
“We still believe we can bring the project in on target,” Katz said, adding that the University is “working on a daily basis to get the permits” and “some of it is out of your control.”
Jeremy Pollok, GW alumnus and co-founder of TONIC, also said he was not worried about the delayed construction affecting the opening date, which he anticipates to be sometime between September and November 2006.
“Their timetable was six months to do the build-out, so we are hoping three to four months after that will be September or November,” he said. “That estimation was with us getting the property and taking it over in June or July. As they move back, we move back. But hopefully, I would like to be open in September or November.”
Pollok added that he recently reviewed aspects of the design and architecture of the building and has sent them to the restaurant’s developers.
“We just sent our plans to the people who are doing the building for GW and they should be starting their construction soon,” he said. “Basically we just had to get on the same page (over details such as) where the stairs are going to be, so they have all that information now, and I think they are starting construction relatively soon.”
Once construction begins, the outer fa?ade of the building will remain intact and unaffected during construction to keep the antique look of Quigley’s, GW Media Relations Director Tracy Schario said.
TONIC plans to offer comfort foods such as sloppy joe’s, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, vegetarian dishes, lox and bagels, gourmet pizza, omelets and pancakes. It will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. While Pollok said the restaurant will not be open 24 hours, the hours of operation could be from as early as 6 a.m. to as late as 4 a.m. Pollok also said that he will be applying for a liquor license and hopes to serve wine, beer and limited hard alcohol.
“We’re moving along very well,” he said. “It’s been a pleasure working with the University so far.”
-Brandon Butler contributed to this report.