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Del Frisco's $10 million CityCenterDC steakhouse is designed to be the opposite of 'stuffy'

Friday - 8/29/2014, 2:28pm  ET

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse may be aiming to be the latest go-to fine dining restaurant in the city — but that doesn’t mean they have to look like it.

For the brand’s 11th Double Eagle, set to open next month, the tables will be laid bare for the first time, eschewing the white tablecloths that have otherwise been a staple.

“Every single other Double Eagle has white tablecloths,” said Ann Thibert, the restaurant’s general manager. “But here we were going for a more modern, sexy, masculine feel.”

That’s not to say they’re skimping on luxury. The buildout of the 18,000-square-foot restaurant at the corner of Ninth and Eye streets NW — the first retail tenant to sign on for CityCenterDC, back in 2012 — has now topped $10 million.

The restaurant seats more than 400 people, has three bars — two of them clad in marble as a nod to D.C.’s monuments — and two private dining spaces, including one with a private entrance directly from the underground parking garage.

The wine list will start out with about 1,200 vintages, a total of 20,000 bottles, and grow from there. The menu boasts seven different cuts of prime steak, including a 24-ounce porterhouse. And no restaurant menu worth its salt goes without a seafood tower these days; Del Frisco’s version will run you approximately $150 for four guests.

The decision to lose the tablecloths is also about perception.

“We didn’t want to be seen as this stuffy, uptight steakhouse,” Thibert said. In addition, people’s tastes are changing.

“Most people don’t like to sit down to a three-hour dinner anymore,” she added. “We know the D.C. clientele has a full agenda."

That high-powered clientele also led to another design choice: an interior design that replace's the brand's red motif with green accents.

“Green’s the color of power, of money, and D.C.’s the power city, as far as we’re concerned,” Thibert said.

(Never mind that it’s probably better not to pick a side of the aisle with a red or blue theme at a restaurant catering to the city’s political elite.)

The restaurant plans to open in September, just as many of those politicos return from their five-week summer recess.

© 2014 American City Business Journals, Inc.