A storied restaurant in Dupont Circle will get a new lease on life soon, thanks to Neighborhood Restaurant Group (NRG) and one of the area's most talked-about chefs, Anthony Chittum. Chittum is the former executive chef at Vermillion, in Old Town Alexandria.
The Dupont Circle restaurant, formerly the Iron Gate Inn, welcomed diners for more than 80 years to its romantic N Street digs, which date to 1875, and include charming dining spaces in a former stable and outdoor seating. It closed in 2010, when the former restaurant operator couldn't come to an agreement on a new lease price for the space.
Chittum and NRG plan to open the restaurant this summer, as Iron Gate, focusing on the flavors of southern Italy and Greece.
So what does a restaurant in Dupont Circle have to do with the Mount Vernon area? Foodies will get a chance to preview Iron Gate's menu at a special dinner planned for Sunday, May 19 from 4-8 p.m. on the grounds at Woodlawn, the historic property located at 9000 Richmond Highway, owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. They'll also be helping a non-profit, Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture, which calls Woodlawn home.
Founded by Michael Babin, who is a co-owner of NRG, Arcadia is dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable local food system and culture in the Washington, D.C., area. Babin chairs Arcadia's board of directors.
In partnership with Arcadia, Chittum will host a four-course dinner May 19 showcasing vegetables, fruits and herbs grown by Arcadia Farm on the grounds of Woodlawn, as well as from some of Chittum’s favorite Mid-Atlantic purveyors and artisans.
The dinner is priced at $120 per person (all inclusive) with 100 percent of the proceeds of the dinner benefitting Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture.
Tickets can be purchased at http://arcadiafarmdinner-es2.eventbrite.com/.
Tour the grounds
The May 19 Farm Dinner will begin at 4 p.m. with canapés, champagne and a walking tour of Arcadia Farm and Woodlawn plantation led by Arcadia Farm Director Stephen Corrigan. (Corrigan became director in December.) The tour will highlight the history behind the grounds that were once part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate (which will host its own farm-to-table dinner May 10), as well as show what Arcadia has accomplished at the site since it’s inception in 2010.
At about 5:30 p.m., guests will take their seat at the long farm table situated in the field adjacent to Arcadia Farm. Chittum will serve dishes prepared in an al fresco farm kitchen. On the menu:
- Savory Tart of Morel Mushroom with English peas
- Goat’s milk ricotta and crispy ham
- Braised Pennsylvania Rabbit with dill cavatelli
- Slow Charcoal Roasted Ossobow Pork with snap peas, asparagus, and shaved Everona
Each course will be paired with a selection of Virginia wines. Guests will leave with dessert from Pastry Chef Tiffany MacIsaac.
Arcadia launches membership program
The dinner also serves as the launch of an Arcadia membership program, with dues starting at $125 a year. "Arcadians" will receive preferred seating and discounts to future farm dinners, Arcadia events and merchandise. Members will also receive invitations to cooking classes. Membership dues will help support Arcadia's food access and education programs such as the upcoming launch of Mobile Market’s second season and the Arcadia Farm Camp.