Jun 20, 2023 - Food and Drink

Decadent Southern restaurant Kitchen + Kocktails opens in D.C.

Shrimp and grits with fried lobster. Photo courtesy of Kitchen + Kocktails

Upscale Southern restaurant Kitchen + Kocktails by Kevin Kelley just opened downtown.

Why it matters: This is the first D.C. restaurant for Kelley, a Dallas lawyer-turned-restaurateur who operates two sister locations, in Texas and Chicago.

  • The 200-seat restaurant and bar — with an adjoining lounge coming this summer — takes over a vacant space by Franklin Square, once Toro Toro.

The look: Photo-ready. "Our food is designed to be social media-worthy," says Kelley. Cue shrimp n' grits topped with a fried lobster tail or mimosa towers.

  • Ditto for the design, which includes floral displays, "Instagrammable walls" and a faux-rose stairway.

On the menu: Decadent riffs on Southern dishes such as Caribbean jerk lamb chops and fried chicken with a flavor choice of waffles (mmm, peach cobbler).

  • Trini-style braised oxtails, a family recipe, are available only at DJ weekend brunch.

In your glass: Cocktails highlighting spirit labels from Black owners, like a peach D'ussé frozen. Also: more Insta-ready drinks.

Look sharp: While there's a dress code on the website — a hot topic in the dining world — Kelley says there's "not really" any attire rules for D.C. "We don't pay much attention to that. We used to not allow hats. But I just want a place with good energy."


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