The latest eatery to join the ranks of Mount Vernon Triangle will be Prather’s on the Alley, a low-key restaurant and bar the owners felt their neighborhood was missing.
Prather’s is the brainchild of MVT residents Dean Mosones and Mark Minicucci, both of whom have lived in the area for several years and say the market needs a place with “approachable American cuisine.”
They wanted to change that — but they aren’t exactly restaurant industry vets. So Mosones, who has a marketing and business development background, and Minicucci, who co-founded D*mngood, a small D.C advertising firm, partnered with those that do: New York restaurant vet Michael Wetherbee and chef Akhtar Nawab, who most recently led the kitchen at the now-shuttered Table restaurant in Shaw.
Together they came up with the concept for Prather’s, which is named for the alley that runs behind the building where it will be located at 455 Eye St. NW. D.C.’s small streets and alleys have inspired many interesting restaurants in recent years, including The Dabney and La Colombe in Blagden Alley, Chaia on Grace Street in Georgetown and Sundevich, which has locations across from Chaia and on another alley in Shaw.
At Prather’s, the 2,000-square-foot space will seat about 60 inside and perhaps 30 outside, if all goes well with the cafe seating permit. At that size, it’s a lot smaller than many of Mount Vernon Triangle’s other restaurants — and the owners hope that will lend itself to a sense of intimacy that gives neighborhood joints their charms.
With large garage-bay openings in front from when the building was an auto repair shop, not to mention large industrial windows, Mosones and Minicucci hope to create an indoor-outdoor feel along the lines of 14th Street’s Pearl Dive Oyster Palace or Ghibellina.
Prather’s owners want to create a lofty feel to the space that also calls attention to the building’s more recent history as home to Gold Leaf Studios, an art and framing studio. They’re working with Natalie Park Design Studios and Christina Crenshaw of 1727 Design Studios on the buildout
In all, Mosones and Minicucci are expecting startup costs of between $750,000 and $1 million. The project is financed in part by the four partners and in part by outside investors.
When it opens, it will be the only retail space in the building, which Equity Residential is converting from warehouse space into 174 apartments. The Prather’s team hopes to begin construction in May and open in September. In the meantime, the group just opened their first restaurant together: Alta Calidad, a Mexican spot in Brooklyn, New York.