Tonic to expand patio, serve more patrons outdoors

In an effort to accommodate more customers, Tonic Restaurant is planning to expand its outdoor patio.

Since the restaurant received the support of the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission March 17, Tonic is moving forward with plans to expand the patio onto the greenery surrounding its building on 21st Street. Jeremy Pollok, the restaurant’s general manager and owner, said he hopes to have the renovation completed by May.

“On the patio, with another 24 [chairs], we should have 68 seats,” Pollok said, adding that the idea to expand the patio came from customer demand.

“On a Friday afternoon in 75 degree weather we’ll have open tables inside and people waiting an hour to sit outside,” he said.

Before Tonic can begin construction the restaurant must receive approval from the District’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, have a hearing with the Public Space Office and have drawings of the plans approved by the city.

Pollok said he hopes the patio will be completed by Commencement in May, or by mid to late June at the latest. Construction of the brick patio will only take two to three days.

“Hopefully it won’t take too long,” Pollok said. “With the support of the neighborhood and the ANC, it’s a lot easier.”

Despite the short-term construction, Tonic made a point of opening lines of communication with surrounding residents, including those living in Strong Hall.

“[Tonic] wanted to know if Strong residents ever had a problem with [the patio]. They wanted to get our opinion and find out if there were any problems with construction,” said freshman and Strong Residential Advisory Council President Julie Rheinstrom.

Pollok said Tonic received mostly positive responses to the plans.

“Everyone I talked to said it was fine, since a lot of us eat at Tonic, and during the summer we enjoy eating outside. Everyone was pretty positive with it, since we use the outdoor seating all the time,” Rheinstrom said.

Brianna Wright, a freshman and resident of Strong Hall, said the patio construction would not be much of an issue in the short term, as opposed to the construction behind her residence hall on GW’s new green space.

“I didn’t really hear about the construction going on outside my window – no polls like this, and that’s long-term construction – so I appreciate [Tonic’s] concern,” Wright said.

Despite the change in Tonic’s outdoor scenery, the restaurant will continue to prohibit smoking on the patio.

Drinking is permitted on the patio, which will be open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. during the week and 11 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, with last call a half an hour before closing.

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