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What’s delicious, familiar and 14th Street all over?

The perks of Matchbox we’ve all grown to know and love as trademarks of one of D.C.’s best franchises are coming to the heart of U Street nightlife.

At the end of this month or beginning of the next, Matchbox will open its doors at the corner of 14th and T Streets NW, providing a neighborhood staple perfect for brunches, dinners, happy hours and outdoor gatherings.

One of the most exciting features of the new spot is of course the 8,000-square-foot space itself–a merging of old and new in one of our city’s best locations. The building’s records can be traced as far back as 1907; over the course of the last century, it served as a bowling alley, a car dealership, the former home of Arena Stage and, most famously, the world-renowned jazz venue Club Bali (frequented by Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington and Duke Ellington). Throughout the decoration process, the masterminds behind Matchbox have kept homage in mind while designing the decor. Photos and documents will dot the walls to remind everyone of U Street’s heritage.

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The team is doing an incredible job paying tribute to not only the space’s history but the building itself. Original beams and freshly exposed brickwork tie in nicely with the cozy industrial feel so associated with the restaurant’s name. Friends and fans of Matchbox will be happy to know that all the traditional staples will still be apparent right as you walk through the entrance; the same salvaged barn wood, lighting and six-seater booths are all there, with the additional bonus of  multiple communal tables and an outdoor patio (seating roughly 60) with a fire pit for those crisp fall and winter nights ahead.

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One of the most enjoyable aspects of the newest addition to the family if the feeling of walking on air; because there are three completely open levels of seating options, it almost feels as though you’re eating high above from a catwalk (albeit an incredibly stylish one). On the second level, walk, watch and dine right over the bar, the kitchen and the pizza oven. From the third level, take in everything; you’ve got the best seat in the house. The space also features the “floating” boxes you might have experienced at the Rockville location–safe, tiered seating perched atop beams and structure designed for a unique dining experience.

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The menu, crafted from the best of all Matchbox locations, will feature signature dishes as well as fresh, seasonal items directed by Executive Chef Jeff Richardson (formerly a sous chef at their other spots). The newest addition to the family will begin serving only dinner from Monday-Friday and full menu–brunch included–on weekends. During the first few months on this schedule, the restaurant can get a feel for the neighborhood, determining which dishes and schedules will work best for the community moving forward.

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“We’re going to listen to the neighborhood and see what the neighborhood wants,” said partner Drew Kim. “That’s one thing we’ve always been good at. We want to be easy to do business with and I think this neighborhood is going to be good for us.” We think so too.

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