September 29, 2014

Alba Osteria owner Hakan Ilhan to open French restaurant in Mount Vernon Triangle

Mount Vernon Triangle will soon add a French restaurant to its dining choices, thanks to a restaurateur already doing business in the neighborhood.

Hakan Ilhan, who owns Alba Osteria at 425 Eye Street, NW, has signed a lease for a 6,361-square-foot space at 450 K Street, NW.

The 220-seat restaurant will include two private dining rooms that can be combined to seat 120. Miller Walker Retail Real Estate represented Ilhan; Streetsense represented the landlord.

Mount Vernon Triangle will soon add a French restaurant to its dining choices, thanks to a restaurateur already doing business in the neighborhood.

Hakan Ilhan, who owns Alba Osteria at 425 Eye St. NW, has signed a lease for a 6,361-square-foot space at 450 K Street NW, the m.flats apartment building from Kettler. The restaurant will be called L’Hommage Bistro Francais and combine a full-service bistro with a bakery, cafe and grab-and-go sandwich option at lunch.

The 220-seat restaurant will include two private dining rooms that can be combined to seat 120. Miller Walker Retail Real Estate represented Ilhan; Streetsense represented the landlord.

The concept will have a menu similar to Bistro Atelier, the French restaurant that Ilhan opened recently in Dulles International Airport, but with higher-end finishes, including a good deal of millwork. Ilhan expects to spend about $2 million to build out the space.

Think Bistro du Coin or Le Diplomate for the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood, Ilhan told me in a phone interview.

“The market definitely needs a French restaurant that is comfortable, casual, that offers good quality food at a reasonable price,” Ilhan said.

The fortunes of restaurants in the neighborhood have been somewhat mixed; Japanese izakaya restaurant Kushi announced Sunday that it would close its doors for good, Buddha Bar closed in 2012. Tel’Veh wine bar recently closed to try a new concept, Rudy’s Cafe, but that switch is currently on hold.

But Ilhan has been pleased with Mount Vernon Triangle since Alba Osteria opened a little less than a year ago, especially at brunch. Alba Osteria has been doing 400-plus covers for brunch on Saturday and Sunday, he said.

“We have a lot of millennials that live down there, and they’re very open minded to new concepts,” Ilhan said. “I think that area is going to be the next 14th street two or three years down the road.”

The prolific restaurateur — Ilhan also owns Al Dente near American University and the Pizza Autentica chain — is so sold on the Mount Vernon Triangle that he’s looking to open a third restaurant in the area, this one a Turkish concept, though nothing’s been finalized on that one yet. Stay tuned.