HOSPITALITYDESIGN: The Grill Restaurant Opens in Washington, DC’s District Wharf


Matt Dougherty •
April 6, 2020


Located in the District Wharf area of Washington, DC, contemporary, upscale American eatery The Grill recently opened with riverfront views and a design concept devised by KNEAD Hospitality + Design, //3877, and chef Roberto Santibañez.

The venue houses 108 seats inside, with an additional 82 seats on a wrap-around outdoor patio, which faces southwest out over the water. The polished, midcentury modern design features sophisticated Miami influences—a nod to the KNEAD partners’ years living in Miami—like plush banquettes, poured terrazzo flooring, and rose gold accents. Soft colors, such as the pale pink ceiling, combined with bleached oak, handmade tiles, and copper details create a sense of lightness and balance with darker walnut paneling.

As patrons approach the monolithic concrete host stand, a low ceiling and illuminated columns provide intimacy and focus for the check-in experience. That ceiling then ascends, providing the guest direction toward the bar and dining area. The three-sided bar anchors the space as a focal element, featuring a glass, rose gold, and wood back bar and a custom rose gold chandelier from Juniper lighting. The backbar is also seen as a focal feature from the exterior of the restaurant.

Working with lighting designer Flux Studio, //3877 emphasized the drama of the space with a stepped ceiling and cove lighting, the latter of which is accented with a rose gold paint, creating a shimmery, incandescent effect that is reminiscent of Miami’s waters and sunset.

In the open display kitchen, a modern wood-fired grill and soft rose-colored handmade tiles are the backdrop to the highly visible expo line. An illuminated interior trellis—crafted from textured wood and flanked by a decorative wine wall—connects the two seating zones of the restaurant.

For the back wall, the design team commissioned Kalisher to create a custom, oversized mural that features a tropical, muted palette, with palm trees and birds—another nod to the lush atmosphere of Miami’s South Beach.

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