The Dupont Circle-area stretch of P between 21st and 22nd streets has transformed in the past year. From the opening of Hotel Palomar to the sugary addition of the Fractured Prune, constant changes are afoot.
The newest addition to the stretch could open as soon as tomorrow. Marrakesh Palace, in the former Mr. P's location, is gearing up to serve traditional Moroccan fare, including couscous, brochettes, tagines of lamb, chicken, fish and veal and plenty of mezze-style appetizers.
There will also be two prix-fixe menus priced at $25.95 and $29.95. The new space bares little resemblance to its predecessor. With sand-colored walls, rich fabrics on the banquettes and shiny, engraved wall sconces, the space looks like it could rapidly become a date destination. No hole-in-the-wall, the restaurant will have a capacity of approximately 200 people. The spacious and luminous back room will hold the majority of patrons. The neighborhood has a moratorium on liquor licenses, but because Marrakesh Palace retained the license from Mr. P's, it will open with a full bar.
Up the street, Pizzeria Paradiso is not having as much luck working around the liquor moratorium. Owner Ruth Gresser is in talks to expand into the space beneath the restaurant, formerly occupied by a natural foods store. According to Gresser, "We were hoping to put in a bar and waiting area and more tables in the style of Georgetown with the Birreria."
The expansion would double the capacity of the current location, but it is unlikely to continue without the backing of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC). With the support of many neighborhood residents, Gresser is optimistic that the ABC and Advisory Neighborhood Commission will work to change the moratorium. Gresser has been working on logistics for the expansion since February, but the amendment would not happen until at least next summer, meaning a fall opening at the earliest.
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