Brickside Bringing Prohibition Feel to Cordell Avenue


Brickside Food & Drink, the Prohibition era style bar and restaurant coming to Cordell Avenue, is gradually coming along. Brian Vasile, from the Grand Central bar and restaurant in Adams Morgan, is joining up with well regarded fine Italian dining chef Andrea Pace and his partner, Reem Arbid, of Villa Mozart in Fairfax to bring the 4,000-square-foot space at 4866 Cordell Ave. alive. The menu, heavy on modern American appetizers and other fare, will be a departure of sorts for Arbid and Pace. But both were looking to branch out when they connected with Vasile and Grand Central's Andy Seligman, who were looking to capitalize on the coming growth and development of the Woodmont Triangle area. "For 30 years, I've been in fine dining, so I wanted to try a little bit more casual," Pace said. "It's going to be different. It's a new challenge." Vasile is in charge of the restaurant's new look, which will be a significant departure from the last few tenants. Workers have replaced the front facade with three sets of retractable windows that will open and will allow for a separate room or patio feeling. Much of the decor will harken back to the Prohibition-era, with distillery pipes making up the shelves behind the bar and a reproduction of a Baltimore street corner's famous "Vote Against Prohibition" mural on the dining room brick wall. There will also be a 180-inch high definition screen showing games, giving Brickside what Vasile hopes is a "comfortable, unpretentious feel," in a growing area of town. "The bottom line is it's thousands of more people coming into the area. If you're a business person, then that's gotta be great news, that all these people are coming," Vasile said. "And they're probably young, urban professionals who like to dine out at good places. Hopefully we can be one of those places." The space used to hold the ill-fated Bubby's Deli, and some have even told Vasile it's cursed because of the high turnover over the years. "I don't think places are cursed, it just hasn't had the right people in it and hopefully we are those people," said Vasile, who has started to introduce himself to some of the area's other bar owners. "Bethesda is incredible. I consider myself lucky to be part of the community. In Adams Morgans, we have 68 neighbors and it's awesome. Whatever brings more people to an area is good." "It's a new market for us," Arbid said. "We know that Bethesda is up-and-coming. It has a young crowd that's attractive to us." Brickside is hiring now and set to open sometime this winter. For more information on its progress, visit the Facebook page.

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