****Update: Thanks to an Insider follower (@ColinTBrowne) sending this along. The Public Option is moving ahead. The restaurant has a hearing  before the ABRA Board on May 5 for their liquor license. In their application, they list their hours of operation as Sunday through Saturday, 8am-2am, as well as having a sidewalk cafe. In addition, their menu looks like it will include Growlers, soups, flat breads, and salad. There will be “small ensemble music including acoustic jazz and bluegrass”. 

Also noted from this WashingtonCity Paper article, the restaurant will not accept tips, as they will be paying their staff living wages. This place keeps getting better and better!! 

Anyone else a little excited?


After the excitement that seven Rhode Island Ave NE businesses were getting Great Streets program grants calmed down (this is a lie…we are still REALLY excited), folks started re-reading the lists of businesses. Then our eyes stopped at one in particular, that was an unknown: ICHPROP. This business, described as a restaurant at 1601 RIA NE, was listed as using the money for streetscape and rear building upgrades. Of course, the Insider needed to get to the bottom of this.

ICHPROP is the name behind a new restaurant to be developed at 1601 RIA NE called The Public Option. The owner, Bill Perry, is a life-long DC resident and lives in the neighborhood next to his restaurant. Generally speaking, they are planning to have a casual sit-down place featuring “healthy food made from as many locally-grown ingredients as possible.” The initial idea is to have a tasting menu, with locally sourced small plates. There will be a prominent vegetarian component and they are aiming for moderate prices with lunches in the $10-15 range and dinners to be a little more. There is no concrete decision as to the type of cuisine to be served at this time, as Bill is waiting to bring on their General Manager and Chef in the near future to help map the menu out.

The restaurant is going to offer beer and wine, with a particular focus on craft beer as a compliment to the food offerings and a modest wine list. Bill is a big fan of Menomale’s beer/wine selections, for example. The restaurant is not opting for any entertainment at this time but will explore it down the road, as acoustic music is appealing to him (think: jazz trio). The plan is to open the restaurant in phases, starting in April 2014, if everything goes in their favor with permitting, etc. , with the first phase opening the first floor and sidewalk space. The second phase will open the upstairs areas. The hours of operation will be to start out with weekend lunch hours (noon to 5pm) with the goal of being open full time as soon as possible (five days a week from 11am to 9pm).

Bill Perry, owner of 1601 RIA NE and ICHPROP, was born and raised in DC, as was his parents and grandparents, and is married with a son (who is now in college). They have lived in other areas of DC as well including Trinidad and Shaw. Bill is grateful to neighborhood groups like Friends of RIA for the efforts they have put into RIA and the neighborhood engagement is one of the reasons they want to move forward with The Public Option.

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