After months of construction and delays, TONIC Restaurant will open the first or second week in May, the restaurant’s co-owner said.
The full-service eatery was originally scheduled to open in January but delays in both renovating the restaurant’s location and securing a liquor license pushed opening day back about five months. The restaurant is still without a liquor license and Jeremy Pollok, the co-owner, said there is no timeline for approval.
“We’ve pretty much got everything wrapped up,” said Steve Wagner, superintendent of the construction site. Finishing touches to the renovations should be finished by the end of the week, he said.
On a tour of the restaurant this week with University administrators, Pollok said the 21st Street restaurant will feature patio seating for up to 28 patrons.
“It should really add to this corner,” Pollok said. TONIC is housed in the former Quigley’s Pharmacy building.
Also along 21st Street will be a “to-go” entrance where beverages, pre-made sandwiches, coffee, pastries and “anything that (students) want to get on the way to class,” can be purchased, Pollok said. TONIC plans to accept GWorld.
The menu at TONIC’s Foggy Bottom location will closely resemble the menu at TONIC’s Mt. Pleasant Street location. It will feature comfort food such as burgers, chili and chicken potpie. Pollok said he expects the menu will be updated seasonally. Everything will be homemade and the soybean oil from the fryer will be recycled to be used in cars, Pollok said.
The first floor eating area is meant to be a casual dining area, with three flat panel TV’s and a counter space Pollok said he hopes will someday serve as a bar.
“It’s a great place to watch the Colonials play (and) obviously at some point we hope to have a liquor license (that will allow you to) grab a beer,” he said.
The first floor’s hardwood flooring, exposed brick walls and tin ceiling tiles will be complimented by metal artwork depicting GW and Foggy Bottom-related themes, Pollok said.
The second floor will be a more formal dining area and has a bridge-like walkway connecting the main room to the restrooms.
“We really wanted to tie the floors together to make it feel like one big space,” Pollok said.
Carpet, couches and a small wooden stage are planned for the third floor area. When not rented out for private functions, the top floor will serve as an informal lounge area for students and other patrons.
TONIC plans to serve breakfast from 7 to 10:30 a.m. during the week and offer a Saturday and Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch will be served until 5 p.m., and dinner will be served until 11 p.m., Pollok said.
The District’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board denied TONIC’s liquor license application in early April. TONIC’s attorney, 1978 alumnus Andrew Kline, said the license issue was complicated because the property is within 200 feet of a high school, which subjects it to an ordinance that precludes a liquor license from being issued to nearby venues. Kline said the main problem stems from the property’s residential zoning.
TONIC plans to be open until 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends, serving a limited menu. TONIC will be the only on-campus eatery with late-night hours other than 7-11, Starbucks and Pita Pit.