Mr. Henry’s Restaurant will be spiffed up in 2015.
Construction on the Capitol Hill institution (601 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) is expected to include new tables and chairs, and upgrades to the downstairs bathrooms, general manager Mark Steele said. Work also may be done on the restaurant’s bay windows.
The work will likely start in January, as the restaurant’s owners and managers figure out what project to tackle first, Steele said. As the first floor is restored, the newly renovated upstairs area will be open with a limited menu, he said.
The goal of the work is to stay true to the bar and restaurant’s atmosphere while giving it some much needed maintenance.
“The essence is still there,” he said. “But it’s fresh, new and pretty.”
Keeping the restaurant that first opened in the 1960s open is crucial said Steele — whose wife is the niece of restaurant owner Larry Quillian.
“The marketplace here has changed a lot, but Mr. Henry’s has a longstanding tradition,” said Steele, who worked for years in restaurants in Delaware. “A lot of people really love the place, and we want to rejuvenate the business.”
That reinvigoration began in August, when Steele came on board following the retirement of longtime managing parter Alvin Ross. Steele started working on long-deferred maintenance projects around the restaurant. The work in the past few months focused on the second floor, including restoring the wood paneling, redoing the ceiling and installing a new draft beer system.
Mr. Henry’s management also installed a new stage and electrical system to allow for performances. The restaurant will host music nights every Friday starting Jan. 9, with a focus on jazz.