Thursday, May 28, 2009

Matchbox From Tom Seitsema

Firing Up A Fresh Idea On the Hill

From the Washington Post Web Site
This just in: American comfort food and Art Deco accents are coming to Capitol Hill, courtesy of the owners of the two popular Matchbox eateries in Washington.

"We've been waiting for the opportunity to flex our muscles with other concepts," says Ty Neal, one of the four principals behind Ted's Bulletin. Neal expects the restaurant to start serving lasagna and meatloaf by early next year, in a setting reminiscent of a 1920s Lower East Side storefront, at 505 8th St. SE.

That's just a few storefronts away from the recently opened Matchbox Capitol Hill, but the owners say their next project, which replaces an old hardware store, "is really going to be different," says Neal. (The original Matchbox, known for its pizzas and mini-burgers, is in Chinatown.)

Ted's Bulletin will be smaller than either Matchbox, no more than 80 seats.

The future restaurant will also be more personal. The name is partly a tribute to the father of Neal and his brother and business partner, Mark. Ty Neal describes their dad as "the cook of the neighborhood" where the boys grew up in Huntington, W.Va., "a wanna-be restaurateur who never really had his own place." The rest of the venue's name was inspired by a pre-World War II ticket window recovered from the Philadelphia Convention Center and discovered by the restaurateurs in a Baltimore warehouse. The word "bulletin" appears above each gate of the 10-foot-high brushed steel-and-glass design detail, which will be used to list the menu choices at Ted's.

There will be classic cocktails to wash back the cooking, adds Neal, and what might be the next trend in liquids: a dedicated "shake tender" to whip up malts and the obvious.

-- Tom Sietsema

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