Sean and Inez Fitzgerald
and Phil Arana
soft-opened their new social house, The Collective
(7702 Barnes Road, #100). They've already established their craft cuisine and cocktail chops running The Wobbly Olive
, but now they've opened a more casual spot out on Barnes and Marksheffel.
Sean and Inez have had the lease on the location for some time, but the concept took a little longer. Inspiration struck while they were at a pub in Las Vegas. They realized that the Marksheffel corridor could use a community gathering spot, somewhere people could walk and hang out with friends.
That community objective defined both the atmosphere — very laid back, almost akin to a coffee shop — and the menu. Sean says food will land between $6 and $10 a plate. Though he and the team are making adjustments, on soft-open, prices top out at $11 for food and drink alike.
Speaking of, Sean and Arana have displayed substantial mixology chops at the Olive, but here, they're simplifying. Sean says most of their cocktails — all named for songs — will have only four or five ingredients, all fairly simple and familiar. They're anchoring the menu around variations on Moscow mules, such as the Polite Englishman, effectively a blackberry bramble turned mule. For beer fans, they have 12 taps, of which four or five will host macro-brews. Notably, they've set up taps for locals like JAKs Brewing Company and Nano 108 which will host one-off beers of the brewers' choice.
I accepted their offer to drop by for a bite and beverage, in advance of their Tuesday, March 14 opening. And while it's unfair to judge a restaurant on night one, what we've seen so far is promising. Here are some photos from my visit.