Stephen Starr Talks His New D.C. French Restaurant Le Diplomate

Later this month, Stephen Starr will open Le Diplomate, a 260-seat, 7,500-square-foot French restaurant in Washington D.C.’s Logan Circle neighborhood, exactly a mile north of the White House. Starr has been itching to make the move to D.C. ever since he first opened the Continental here in Philadelphia so many years ago. “I’m fascinated by politics,” Starr told the Washington Post.

According to the restaurant’s website, menu items will include onion soup gratinee, steak frites, poulet roti, shaved veal tongue with mache, and bavette de boeuf à l’echalote. The chef is 37-year-old Adam Schop (Scottsdale, Arizona’s Zinc Bistro and New York’s Nuela), who beat out three French chefs for the gig.

Today, the Washington Business Journal ran a Q&A with Starr about Le Diplomate. Unfortunately, the full version is behind a paywall. Ugh.

Here, an excerpt.

What made now the right time for D.C.?
I’ve been looking since I opened up the first Continental. But I never seemed to find the right space. I never really wanted to be in an office building. I either wanted my own building or something with more character. I was looking near the Verizon Center, and it didn’t feel like it had soul. When I saw this building, I said, “That’s the building.”

What was it about the space?
The outside component. The feel of it … the sunlight is amazing. Everywhere you go you’re happy in this space.

What kind of feel will Le Diplomate have?
I wanted to do something that really appeals not just to the city, but to the neighborhood. We have a French bistro concept in Philadelphia, Parc. This is not a copy, but it’s inspired by it. Parc is not only popular throughout the city, people go for meetings, they go after weddings, they go after fasting on Yom Kippur, they go there during a snowstorm because it’s the only place open. We want to be that place that’s always there for the neighborhood.