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The Red Hen Opens in Bloomingdale

The Red Hen Opens in Bloomingdale


Longtime friends Sebastian Zutant (former wine director at Proof), Chef Michael Friedman (Zaytinya, Proof), and Mike O'Malley (6-year Lettuce Entertain You veteran) have teamed up to open Italian-inspired restaurant The Red Hen in the newly popular Bloomingdale neighborhood. The light-filled, open space is full of cozy touches like exposed brick walls, an open kitchen, high ceilings,stacks of firewood, and potted herbs adorning the walls. The Red Hen opened Tuesday at 1822 1st St. NW, and the group hopes to have the patio open by late summer.


Sebastian, who has lived around the corner for 6 years, tells us that the space has been sitting empty for 30 years. "My wife and I would always eye the place when we were out walking our dog and say, 'One day, one day...' Well, that day's finally here." His wife played an integral role in designing the space, and Sebastian will head up the beverage program.


One of the restaurant's most unique features is the adjustable, wood-fired hearth-- the only one of its kind in DC. Chef Mike tells us that the vertically adjustable grill-grate and open design of the hearth allow him to play with a much wider range of temperatures than a traditional wood-fired oven; it can get as hot as 1,100 F and as cool as 120 F. "It creates more of a campfire flavor than a BBQ smoke," he tells us. Mike is taking full advantage of the hearth's versatility to play with dishes like a smoky, slow-roasted ricotta and gelato made with roasted vanilla beans. The menu will center around the grill, featuring smoked and grilled meats and vegetables; it will also offer a rotating selection of housemade extruded and freshly cut pastas.