Washington, D.C., January 20, 2011 – Renowned owners of Equinox Restaurant, Todd and Ellen Gray, plan to open Todd Gray’s Watershed in NoMa’s Hilton Garden Inn in April 2011.
Award-winning Chef Todd Gray’s culinary skills will be showcased throughout Watershed’s inventive assortment of time-honored American fare with a focus on seafood specialties prepared in traditional regional Eastern seaboard fashion. Chef Gray has crafted a roster of traditional favorites like Maryland crab cake sandwiches, steamed mussels, pan-fried oysters and daily grilled fish specials, and infused them with the signature style that has earned him accolades and a loyal following across the Mid-Atlantic.
“NoMa is an exciting, new, fresh DC neighborhood; this is the opportunity we’ve been waiting for,” said Ellen Gray. “We’d like to have one restaurant by the White House and one by the Capitol, like bookends.” The duo was attracted to NoMa for its transit access and location four blocks from the Capitol. The Grays have considered a restaurant featuring Eastern seaboard fare for about five years.
“Watershed Restaurant is a true game-changer for the NoMa neighborhood,” said NoMa Business Improvement District President Liz Price. “We are thrilled that Todd and Ellen Gray have discovered Washington’s fastest-growing neighborhood – NoMa offers the most connections in terms of business opportunities, retail growth, transit options and community spirit.” Eight new retailers opened in NoMa in 2010, and 2011 brings two unique, locally owned chef-driven restaurants to the neighborhood. Shortly after Watershed opens, Chef Gillian Clark will bring her Colorado Kitchen-inspired Kitchen on K Street to the Loree Grand.
Watershed offers three distinctive settings including a restaurant, lively raw bar and lounge and an airy patio complete with sweeping street-front views down First Street, NE, from Constitution Square. Watershed will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner – and the breakfast component is an exciting change of pace for the Grays, Ellen said.
“DC has a real need for power breakfast spots,” said Gray. “Breakfast meetings are a huge thing, and there are so few places that do a good breakfast.” Watershed will offer 80 seats in the restaurant, 30 on the patio, and 25 in the lounge and bar; the full-service restaurant also provides room service and catering for the 204-key Hilton Garden Inn and 3,000 SF of function space. The full-service operation will employ nearly 45 people. Breakfast will start at 6 a.m. and end with room service closing around 11 p.m.
Watershed’s décor complements the restaurant concept, with a watery palette of cool greens and blues, two water features. Yet the name carries much deeper meaning for the Grays. “A watershed is many interconnected waterways forming a community of water,” Ellen Gray explained. “We feel that way a lot about our food – as a small business in the community, and in the community in general. All the parts are greater as a whole than they are as parts, and that’s what a watershed is.”
The Grays place great emphasis on backing the small business community in DC. Watershed will help support a collective of fishermen up and down the East Coast; the raw bar supports the Oyster Shell Alliance Program, which recycles oyster shells in the Chesapeake Bay for reforesting.
“We try to seek out the best partners to teach us how to be sustainable,” Gray said. “We know the pressure that food can put on the environment, so we’re trying to do this as responsibly as possible.”
NoMa is a vibrant, growing neighborhood north of Union Station and the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. In the last five years, private developers have invested more than $3 billion in the 35-block area covered by the NoMa BID, and have plans to develop more than 20 million square feet of office, residential, hotel, and retail space. In 2010, more than 6,000 people moved into NoMa to live or work; and eight new retailers opened for business. NoMa has 15 modes of transportation, including two Red Line Metro stops, and the best biking facilities in DC, with the only East Coast Bikestation, the 8-mile Met Branch Trail, and six Capital Bikeshare stations. For more information about NoMa, visit nomabid.wpengine.com and sign up for our bimonthly newsletter.
One of DC’s most celebrated chefs, Todd Gray is known for his commitment to quality local ingredients and integrity on the plate. He and his team have created a comprehensive dining program that is both creative and enticing while extremely approachable. Providing exclusive menus and a setting ideal for dining, conferences, social engagements, special occasions and in-room service, Watershed offers a lively atmosphere designed to attract local residents, destination diners and visitors alike. In addition to catering services, Watershed event coordinators can assist private and corporate clients in the design and production of special events with precision management and flawless execution. For more information, contact Ellen Gray at [email protected].