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Tonic at Quigley's, American Bar (With Tater Tots) at 20th and G Street, GWU - Tonic at Mount Pleasant Has Closed


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Anyone else tried out the Tonic that recently opened at the former Quigley's Pharmacy on 21st Street? No liquor license yet (the hostess said they might hear today -- right), but four of my colleagues and I had a good lunch. I had a really good burger and there are several versions on the menu. Hand-made patty with good quality bun. I had the guacamole burger which was pretty messy but delicious with housemade guac and cheese. There is a bar (and the beer taps are in place though still dry) that seats about 15 and downstairs as well as upstairs table seating. There is also a third floor lounge with what looks like a conference room where a private party could be accommodated. Nice space and efficient service. If you go for lunch and don't want to sit at the bar best to make a reservation.

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I went here between work and class to catch the 1st 6 innings of a Sox playoff game, and had the steak and cheese. Back then they mentioned that the liquor license issue was close to being resolved, so I wouldn't put too much stock in what they say. At any rate, I recall getting a steak and cheese, but thinking that the bun overwhelmed the meat and that it was a bit dry...but that's a knee-jerk reaction to one dish, one night, so I guess I wouldn't put too much stock in what I say. The tater tots were delicious, of course.

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hello everyone. I am the AGM of Tonic at Quigleys Pharmacy. We have been open since May 2007, but received our liquor license this afternoon. Here is the press release:

Tonic at Quigley’s Pharmacy Granted Liquor License

Foggy Bottom Restaurant Now “Curing What Ails” Their Guests Their Way

Washington, D.C, Foggy Bottom, January 10, 2008 — District Restaurant Enterprises, Inc, (DRE, Inc.) the Washington, D.C. home-grown partnership that owns and operates Tonic at Quigley’s Pharmacy, today announced that the Washington, D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC) has finally granted their request for a liquor license.

The ABC license allows the Foggy Bottom purveyors of comfort food and updated classic home-style dishes to add beer and wine to its menu. Something that many, if not all, of its patrons have been waiting for since the restaurant opened in May 2007. In addition to beer and wine, the bar will also offer Bloody Marys during Saturday and Sunday brunch hours.

“After going through such a prolonged process and traveling such a rough road to get here, the entire DRE management team is thrilled that we are finally overcoming this hurdle and we can move forward and do what we do best... operate an amazing neighborhood restaurant that feels like home. This license was the missing piece, and getting it in place is the final step which will allow us to offer our guests the full Tonic experience,” said Jeremy Pollok, DRE Managing Partner.

The ABC decision comes six months after Tonic opened its doors and signifies the end of a long fight that was the result of an isolated protest from a small group in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood. Pollok states that the majority of the neighborhood, civic, and George Washington University (GW) campus groups they worked with throughout this process have supported Tonic at Quigley’s Pharmacy since its inception.

“I was a student here at GW so, of course, I naturally have a soft spot for this area of D.C. and I always wanted to do something like we did at the Tonic in Mt. Pleasant, here in Foggy Bottom. We are first and always a neighborhood restaurant and bar that provides American comfort food with a twist. And we are a place where you walk in once or twice and feel like an instant regular. I couldn’t be more pleased to be serving this neighborhood, I want to thank those who have helped us along the way, and I am confidant that we will not disappoint those who have supported us throughout this process,” said Pollok.

“We are so happy to see the historic Quigley’s Pharmacy building be put to such good use,” said Dana Groce, GW student and Foggy Bottom resident. “The entire Tonic team has been a pleasure to work with, and we congratulate them on this recent victory. It is our hope that they will be here for many years to come, serving GW students as well as the residents of Foggy Bottom their amazing food.”

Background and History

According to a November 2003 article about the Quigley’s Pharmacy building that ran in the student newspaper the GW Hatchet, “The building's long and unique history began in 1891, when GW alumnus Richard Lucien Quigley opened Quigley's Pharmacy. In the early 1900s, it transformed into a soda shop and served as a student gathering area into the early 1970s. In 1974, the University bought Quigley's and converted it into an office building. This February, the geography department left Quigley's for more spacious and newer offices in the 1957 E Street building.”

The Quigley’s building has been empty since that move-out in February of 2003, and amidst cries from the GW student body for a late-night dining option, Pollok and the DRE, Inc. team submitted a proposal in 2005 to develop the location into what is now Tonic at Quigley’s Pharmacy.

About Tonic at Quigley's Pharmacy

Location: 2036 G St, NW, Washington, D.C.

Hours: Lunch: Monday -- Friday 11am- 4 pm

Dinner: Sunday-- Monday 5pm-11pm

Brunch: Saturdays and Sundays, 10am-3pm

Late Night Menu: Sunday-- Thursday 11pm.-12am, Friday and Saturday 11pm-1am

Happy Hour: Monday -- Friday 5pm-7pm (1/2 price drafts and 50¢ wings)

Executive Chef: Shannen Smith

General Manager: Nicole Ryan

About District Restaurant Enterprises, Inc

DRE, Inc, a well known and well-liked group, also owns and operates:

• Tonic Mt. Pleasant -- 3155 Mt Pleasant St, NW

• Radius Pizza -- 3155 Mt Pleasant St, NW

• Palace of Wonders

"DC's Mecca for Freaks and the People Who Love 'Em" - 1210 H St, NE

DRE, Inc. Partners:

• Jeremy Pollok

• Eric "Bernie" Bernstrom

• Erik Bergman

• Ilias Nathanail

• Greg Nicklas

• Lenka Culbertson

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hello everyone. I am the AGM of Tonic at Quigleys Pharmacy. We have been open since May 2007, but received our liquor license this afternoon.

Congratulations! What a protracted battle that has been, and in an area so in need of a decent neighborhood bar. See you in a couple hours for a long overdue lunchtime beer and a burger.

Alex

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Stopped in for a pre-movie early dinner on Friday night. It's a sweet space -- we ate on the second floor, which is basically a long narrow room, but it's broken up with high booths and it feels more like a series of small rooms. Nice big windows, too -- I bet it's a really pretty room on a sunny day.

I had meatloaf with mac + cheese and greens and "tomato gravy". Meatloaf was very good; moist and tasty. The gravy was really a tomato sauce (is that what tomato gravy is? I've never had it before, but it wasn't what I expected) & the sides were pretty decent. Spouse Phor had a salad with tuna and a honey-ginger dressing, which was very sickly sweet. It was on the specials menu, & I don't think it's part of their regular rotation.

For dessert I ordered "Oreo pie"; actually, not pie at all, but ice-cream on a cookie base. And french press coffee, which was a very nice touch.

All in all, not bad, great value for money, and a nice addition to the neighborhood.

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Tonic serves brunch on the weekend. I had a pretty good Bloody Mary and a BLET (Bacon, Lettuce, Egg and Tomato) served with home fries. The Sandwich was awesome, with sour dough bread, loads of a high quality bacon and fresh lettuce and tomato. The home fries were above average. Deal at $6.95 for the sandwich! Place had a nice hip feel to it and was jumping. Great service at the bar.

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12 taps. If one of them wasn't Bell's Two-hearted, I mightve just left rather than getting a beer and waiting for my friends. The other 11: miserable. But the rolling rock cans are $1.75 on Saturdays, which is interesting to poor college kids. I guess.

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I've been invited to a business lunch tomorrow at Tonic in Foggy Bottom. Has anyone been recently? Any recommendations on what to order? Thanks.

It's plain American food. The more complicated it sounds, the less likely it is to be successful. Salads were ok. Thin crust pizzas are ok. Club, BLT, and Cubano sandwiches are ok.

Specifically, however, avoid the burgers. Dense and tasteless.

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It's plain American food. The more complicated it sounds, the less likely it is to be successful. Salads were ok. Thin crust pizzas are ok. Club, BLT, and Cubano sandwiches are ok.

Specifically, however, avoid the burgers. Dense and tasteless.

Thanks, Daniel. I'll definitely steer clear of the burgers I somehow think Blue Duck or Founding Farmers would have been a better choice for this lunch, but will try to keep an open mind.

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BDT and FF are in a completely different price point, so that could have been in a consideration.

Actually, based on my experience at Tonic today, FF is more reasonably priced (at least for lunch). Our mediocre salads at Tonic were $15. I've had sandwiches and soups at FF for less. My impression was that Tonic was chosen solely on the basis of its location. I didn't care for it as it was very noisy, the food wasn't anything special for the price, and service wasn't good (we saw our server twice --once to take our order and then to deliver the food. Had to find someone else to straighten out order mix-ups and bring the check).

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Stopped by the Mt. Pleasant location yesterday for brunch with a good friend. Good service at the bar and a very comfortable place to relax on a lazy Saturday morning/afternoon. We didn't venture far into the menu (BLT for me, chicken wings for him) but the food was solid. I particularly enjoyed my BLT -- hard to go wrong with applewood smoked bacon and remarkably ripe tomatoes....a nice complement to the summery day. However, my quest continues for a really good, spicy (not just hot), thick bloody mary to clear the cobwebs.

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Visited the MtP branch last night for dinner. One of the slicker places in Mount Pleasant, but that's a low bar and not necessarily a compliment. There are a few levels, with the top being much more pub like- lots of TVs, high tables, and a bar. My companion had eaten at the Foggy Bottom location and confirmed that it was much larger and more sterile. More items on the menu that ran towards the less interesting. In other words, squarely aimed at GW students.

I can echo the reviews of many here: order burgers and tots. And add that I'd shoot for the happy hour 1/2 price burgers/beers deal. If so- you're getting a pretty good meal for the price. If not, 11-12 dollars for these burgers is too expensive (See Burger, Rays The Hell-). We also tried the fried Lumpia appetizer. Tasty and a nice attempt at street food with a good dipping sauce, though a bit of a sodium nightmare as you could smell the fish sauce before it even got to the table.

I've also eaten here for brunch. Service was decent and as long as you stick with greasy American favorites, you should be in good shape.

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Just to make it clear, it's only the Mount Pleasant Tonic which has closed; Tonic at Quigley's (GWU) remains open at 20th and G Street NW.

In terms of this website, Tonic has sentimental value because it's apparently where a covert meeting took place (I was not involved) after the eGullet Exodus.

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Over 3 years since the last post....

I had lunch at Tonic today. First thing that impressed me was the venue, which is very nice and an obvious draw for GWU law students at happy hour. I ordered the fish tacos for lunch, while my companion ordered a hamburger with the tater tots. The "tots" are something of a house specialty, or more of a house schtick, but I enjoyed the clever #showmeyourtots on the menu. My fish taco was OK -- breaded and fried cod with some crunchy cabbage and a slice of radish on top. 

I like the look and feel of the place, and the clientele at lunch was not all GWU students. Quite a few locals and regulars were intermingled throughout. I wouldn't rush here for a meal or a drink, but if I'm in the GWU neighborhood, where options are limited, I wouldn't mind returning. Maybe I'll show them my tots.

 

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For some inexplicable reason, French President Emmanuel Macron had tater tots with Congressman John Lewis at Tonic this week. 

I have eaten those tater tots, and they are not appreciably different -- or better -- than the tater tots I had in 4th grade at the school cafeteria.

My only hope is that he washed them down with Ernest and Julio swill....

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