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Posted at 4:30 PM ET, 10/21/2009

Estadio adds a Spanish accent to Logan Circle

By Tom Sietsema

The owner of the wine-themed Proof in Penn Quarter has signed a lease for a second restaurant in Logan Circle. Estadio is its name, and Spanish will be its game.

"Everyone else is doing Italian," says Mark Kuller. "I thought we should do something different." Estadio (that's "stadium" in Spanish) is taking the place vacated by the Garden District store at 1520 14th Street NW (at Church Street); the 100-or-so-seat restaurant is expected to be serving northern Spanish food by late spring or early summer, according to Kuller.

The restaurateur has asked his chef at Proof, Haidar Karoum, to head the open kitchen, although a yet-to-be-named member of the team at Proof will be the day-to-day chef at Estadio. Meanwhile, Proof's expert wine and drinks mavens, Sebastian Zutant and Adam Bernbach, will be overseeing all things liquid. Estadio's wine list will be 80 percent Spanish.

Around the time the deal was inked last Thursday, Kuller asked for the blessing of Jose Andres, a friend but also the muse behind the successful Jaleo tapas restaurants in Penn Quarter, Bethesda and Crystal City. "Looking at the DC landscape," says Kuller, "there's really nothing else that's not old school." Andres not only promised to connect Kuller with chefs and restaurants in Spain for a tour Kuller is planning in January, but also to show up for Estadio's launch party.

Kuller is using Casa Mono, the popular Spanish restaurant created by New York celeb chef Mario Batali, as an inspiration. The Washington space already has the advantage of a high ceiling and big front windows, says the restaurateur.

News of Estadio made us wonder: Does Kuller have other edible projects in mind? "I'd love to do a [restaurant like] Momofuku here, and I'd love to do a breakfast place here. But it's one at a time."

-- Tom Sietsema

By Tom Sietsema  | October 21, 2009; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  | Tags:  Tom Sietsema  
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