Oya: Penn Quarter Perfect

As the proprietor of KRM Executive Livery, a local sedan service and sister company to epiphany productions, inc., I am occasionally asked for restaurant recommendations by my clients.  The DC metro area is fortunate to have a wide variety of outstanding eating establishments.  Even so, if my clients’ business takes them anywhere near the Penn Quarter in DC, I alwaysrecommend Oya Restaurant and Lounge on 777 9th Street.  It’s a personal favorite and never fails to impress my customers.

The restaurant is perfect for business meals as well as a night on the town or romantic dinner.  Oya can also accommodate larger parties of up to 300 for a standing reception or smaller, seated events in its semi-private dining room.

The reason for its popularity is both its atmosphere and food.  Its sophisticated ambience—inspired by its clean lines, liberal use of the color white, and interesting textures—give Oya real allure.

This upscale venue’s food—both taste and in presentation—echoes this comfortable sophistication.  The menu boasts an eclectic mixture of European and Asian flavors, available with a price-fix option, a full menu, and a sushi menu.  Also Oya has small plate options for those who like to sample.

Given my Caribbean roots, I personally enjoy the many fine fish entrees, including the Fish n’ Chips made from whole striped bass and calamari and served with three outstanding sauces that make the meal.  The sushi is excellent as well.  As a chocolate lover, I highly recommend the Bittersweet Molten Chocolate Cake for dessert—a real taste sensation.

Oya also attracts a good happy hour and later evening crowd to its lounge—where a variety of drinks and fine wines are served including sake.  Celebrity sightings are especially common at Oya, especially athletes due to its proximity to the Verizon Center.  Actor Terrence Howard, Russian tennis player Anna Kournikova, and Shaq have all been spotted there recently.  It’s also a favorite of the political set.

Next time you’re in the area, make time to try Oya.  You’ll leave happy.

Marcus Madison

KRM Executive Livery


Powerfully Good Venues on the Hill

Power to the people.  Capitol Hill is one of the top power spots in the world.  We’ve learned over the years at epiphany productions that it’s also home to a number of powerfully good restaurants and meeting places.  Whether your goal is to host an event, people watch, enjoy fine dining, or just hang out, a few venues stand out.

Art & Soul Restaurant

There’s no better way to win over the hearts and souls of DC power elites than through good food at interesting locales.  Art & Soul achieves both.  Located at 415 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Art & Soul is perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering tasty down home, Southern cooking.  Even better than grandma’s, the fried chicken is a must try. With its colorful décor—including vibrant portraits lining the walls, the place inspires lively conversations. The owner is none other than Art Smith, Oprah Winfrey’s former personal chef!  As a meeting place, it is convenient to Capitol Hill and houses a bright private room that can be divided in two.  The front portion of the room opens onto the “urban patio” with fire pit.  The room’s only downside is the muffled noises coming from other parts of the restaurant.

Johnny’s Half Shell

Johnny’s is the epitome of cool, with the aromas of great food and the sounds of jazz and blues filling the air.  A stone’s throw from the Capitol, Johnny’s also has a cool location, sharing the same complex as the Hall of States at 400 North Capitol Street, NW. Perfect for entertaining groups, Johnny’s has four private rooms to choose from – all various sizes and a covered patio.  The staff is very accommodating, making it easy to book private events.  But a word to the wise: book early because rooms go fast at this popular spot.  Oh, and I did I mention the food?  It’s great for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Prepared by award winning chef Ann Cashion, Johnny’s is known for their seafood.  And don’t forget to try the grillades and grits—they’re awesome.  [Disclaimer:  epiphany productions president Julie Wadler is a part owner of Johnny’s, but this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning this excellent venue.]

Jordan’s 8

Located at 523 8th Street, SE, this reasonably priced restaurant is ideal for an event that coincides with DC style entertainment (think State of the Union) or a big game night since they have three flat screen TVs.  The space is very comfortable, making it ideal for holding private lunches and dinners.  Jordan’s has a private area upstairs that can seat up to 35 people.  With an outside balcony, it’s a room that helps get guests mingling.  The restaurant also features a nice lounge area with sofas where guests can relax before the big event.  Jordan’s specializes in grilled foods and sushi.  I highly recommend the sushi!

Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar

Looking for a great place for private lunches and dinners? Sonoma is situated on the south east part of power alley at 233 Pennsylvania Avenue.  The dining experience is tops, with outstanding food and great customer service.   Sonoma offers a selection of locally raised and grown foods that enhance their modern Italian-inspired cuisine.  My personal favorites are the pastas—any of them.  They also focus on helping customers pair the meals with great wine.  With a New York loft inspired theme, Sonoma has a sophisticated feel, including in the spacious private dining room that has surrounding lounge sofas.  The room’s sky lights complete its stylish look, making the space feel open and airy (but not empty like most event halls).

Michelle Knudsen
epiphany productions, inc.


The Green Scene

So, it’s the New Year, and if you’re like me then you’ve probably set resolutions like “live a healthier life” and “be a better person.. To help stick with the “being a better person” resolution I suggest you check out a restaurant that mixes a passion for great food with a passion for protecting the environment.  With a nod to its powerful location, Founding Farmers on Pennsylvania Avenue is named to fit both its address and mission.

Opened in late 2008, DC’s first LEED (Gold) certified restaurant is making the green scene a place to be seen. The atmosphere is fun and upbeat. It’s always bustling. Even on a Monday night, you feel like you are at “The” happening place.  It’s also a great place to take out-of-towners, though it can be a bit loud, so don’t take the grandparents.  But a word to the wise: always make a reservation. There is always a wait, even for politicos like Sec. Sebelius and Cong. Putnam, who I’ve seen waiting for tables.

What makes the Founding Farmer special is that it offers “farm-inspired American true food and drink” served up in eco-friendly, casual setting. Owned by a collective of family farmers, Founding Farmers takes sustainability to heart, asserting that “everyone benefits by knowing more about the sources of the food they eat.”  According to the restaurant, almost everything they serve is made from scratch.  Also, they claim to buy local when possible and the meat is from certified sources and the seafood from vendors that adhere to FishWatch standards.  They have received some scrutiny for their food buying practices, but I was impressed all the same with the eco-inspired innovations in both the restaurant design and dishes.

Speaking of dishes, the food is great. Things I (and my better half) go there for are: Southern Fried Chicken Salad, The Derby Chop Salad, Skirt Steak (the corn on the cob is similar to “helote loco” that they sell in South America and sometimes state fairs), macaroni with meat ragu, and the red velvet cake – seriously about 3lbs worth of cake in one slice. Coke lovers beware…they only sell sodas/drinks that fit the green profile, so normal Coke/Pepsi products are not sold – awful I know. But what they lack in soda, they make up for in hand squeezed libations of the intoxicating nature.

Thanks to the great eats at Founding Farmers, I have a greater appreciation today for earth-friendly food.   It’s also a growing theme (pun intended) in my life as epiphany productions prepares to move into Del Ray’s first LEED certified building that boasts the region’s first organic roof farm.  So as the New Year begins, I see green…and it makes my hungry.

Aynsley Interiano
political director
epiphany productions, inc


Our Personal Favorites

For our first review, we thought we would ask the staff of epiphany productions and our sister companies 3Dog Consulting and KRM Executive Livery to help us out.

In the crazy busy world of fundraising and event planning, where we spent late nights and early morning going to events and the remainder of the day on the phone raising money, what is the one guilty food pleasure that always brightens your day?

Jeramie Anderson:  Pizza from Pie Tanza in Cherry Creek or a milkshake and Bureaucrat Sandwich from Lost Dog Café in Arlington

Katy Cannon: Cookie Monster ice cream at Thomas Sweet in Georgetown

Amanda Cernik: Rib platter with Mac&Cheese and Cucumber Salad fromDinosaur BBQ in New York.

Scott Douglas :   Hoagie Sweet from Car Miras Deli on Chichester in Boothwyn PA

Corey Fitze:   Puilled Pork Sandwich from FireFly in Del Ray.

Luke Guthrie:  Pan Fried Dumplings from Oriental Star

Aynsley Interiano,:  Double cheeseburgers (“dobles”) from McDonald’s with a patty’s-worth of those yummy little dehydrated onions.

Michele Knudsen:  Quesadillas and queso from Los Tios in Del Ray.

Dee Dee Lancaster:   Birthday cake days because we have all celebration and none of the guilt…

Peggy Lively: Rigatoni Sausage from A La Lucia and of course, the group therapy with Dairy Godmother’s.

Marcus Madison: Bacon Cheeseburger from Five Guys

Aaron Poe:  Del Merei Chili Dogs from Del Merei Grill.

Tory Thoet, : TCB Chicken Pita at Perfect Pita

Julie Wadler; Fontina and Proscuitto Pizza at A La Lucia in Old Town Alexandria