Matchbox, a D.C. gem, fired up a vintage masonry oven in 2003 and has literally kept the flame burning ever since. Although they are known for their New York inspired thin-crust pizza, the bistro offers a variety of divine dishes from mini burgers to creole pork tenderloin. I had a networking lunch there and feel like I can still taste the matchbox chicken sandwich, which included buffalo mozzarella, romatoes, balsamic mayo, fresh basil and a side of their house-cut fries. I had them hold the prosciutto as I don’t eat pork. Let’s just say I had to apologize to my friend when I realized that I had scarfed down my meal without offering him any. While the cuisine is certainly excellent, the design of the space is another draw of the hotspot. Matchbox is located at 713 H St NW in Chinatown. The visionaries behind the restaurant Drew Kim, Perry Smith, Mark Neal, and Ty Neal worked with GTM Architects to convert a vacant brick building previously home to a Chinese grocery store. And in 2007, the architecture firm helped the owners expand into two adjacent buildings. The concept of the old pizza oven carries into the use of exposed brick and stone on the interior. The openess of the mezzanine and loft levels makes the transition to the outside patio seamless. The skylights, exposed ceilings, and custom made red metal stairs and railings also contribute to the lofty feel. The finishes in the space are simple: the colors are neutral and the fabrics draw from the tones in the brick. Oak is the wood of choice; used in the construction of the bar and the tables inlaid with actual matchboxes. Ultimately, Matchbox makes for a great experience, a cohesive design statement and a nourishing treat for the tummy. By all means, keep that fire burning!
For more information consult the Matchbox website.