CHEVY CHASE (CBSDC) – Superstar chef and former runner-up on Bravo’s “Top Chef” Bryan Voltaggio is set for the soft opening of his first DC-based restaurant “Range” this weekend.
Voltaggio has excelled at dragging DC-area residents to Frederick to take in the sights, sounds and flavors of his three other restaurants, including the award-winning “Volt”, but he’s finally ready to bring the cuisine directly to the nation’s capital with the 14,000-square-footage Range offers.
Located in the lavish Chevy Chase Pavillion in Chevy Chase, Range delivers just the holiday shopping reprieve mall shoppers need with a 30-seat bar that also serves as a lounge area, a 55-seat counter top for guests to engage in some light-hearted small talk with the chef while they grab a quick bite, or 300 dining tables with plush seating to give those feet proper rest.
Voltaggio wants to bring the kitchen into the dining room wherever you go, but each portion of the restaurant offers its own unique experience and interaction.
“I think it’s a theatrical experience as you’re seeing things happening,” Voltaggio said. “And there are different locations throughout the restaurant so you can have a different experience every time you come in.”
The kitchen itself is sectioned off into 7 to 9 mini kitchens; one solely devoted to cooking meat on the wood-fired grilled rotisseries; another prominently displays a raw bar with mid-Atlantic shellfish produced from up and down the east coast.
If Range doesn’t sound distinct enough, it’s equipped with its own gift shop so guests can bring home the experience and try to recreate what they saw in their own kitchens.
“I worked with William Sonoma,” he said. “They helped me curate the tools that we’re using and that we sell in here.
“There’s always that question: ‘Chef, which oyster knife do you use? What cutting board do you like?’ People are looking for suggestion to fill their home kitchens so we made it easier here.”
And ladies, there’s a chocolatier on-hand to craft fresh, homemade chocolate in Range’s very own candy shop, but no need to get up from your seat.
“There will also be a cart going through the restaurant. It was a blend of working in a steakhouse environment where I enjoy sharing plates. Range is about sharing food.”
As for how he chose the location, well, Bryan admits he thought about himself first.
“I was a little selfish about that,” he said. “I know I can come down 270 and be here in a short period of time.”
But he adds that although he initially targeted Chevy Chase for his own selfish means, the location is amenable to public transportation, with Metro even stopping inside the same building at Friendship Heights.
When jokingly asked if between owning and operating four restaurants he’ll have time for sleep, the 36-year-old Voltaggio laughed.
“No, not at all. Not at all.”
Range will be releasing reservations on a daily basis – opening up for more in January. It will be open for dinner only at first, then expand to lunch hours in January.