Central Michel Richard reopens after renovations with a new chef and new fall menu

Pennsylvania Avenue’s iconic Central Michel Richard has reopened after a six-week renovation hiatus. Originally opened in 2008 by the late acclaimed James Beard Foundation honored Chef Michel Richard, the restaurant has always maintained his vision for an accessible bistro “at a price that makes you invite more friends.”

Central’s space has been refreshed with new carpeting and wall coverings, all with deep vibrant deep plum and rose accents. The restaurant is also brighter with new light fixtures of copper-hued orbs that float above the main dining room. 

It’s semi-private space, with a stylized portrait of Chef Richard, has been refinished with bronze and glass panel enclosures, new carpeting and lighting. Central’s popular bar has been reconfigured with the addition of high-top tables for casual dining at its Pennsylvania Avenue windows.

Central’s Chef/Partner David Deshaies, who maintains Chef Richard’s culinary philosophy, has crafted a reopening menu that combines beloved classic dishes with the addition of recipes that celebrate the fall season. Among the new entrees are grilled Branzino “Niçoise,” mushroom Bolognese and a hearty scallop chowder. There is also a expanded raw bar menu with a petite lobster salad and an oyster and crab gratinee. Central’s famous prime burger with Michel Richard’s signature French fries remain top of the menu.

Tasked with bring Deshaies’ menu to life in the kitchen at Central is Chef Chris Edwards, formerly with Salamander Resort and the Jamie Leeds Restaurant Group. Classically trained, Edwards attended Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, SC. His resume includes some of the finest restaurants and chefs in the world: McCrady’s restaurant in Charleston, SC under Chef Michael Kramer, El Bulli in Cala Montjoi, Spain with Chef Ferran Adria, El Raco de Can Fabes in Sant Celoni, Spain with Chef Santi Santamaria, the former Maestro in Tysons Corner, VA with Chef Fabio Trabocchi, and as Executive Chef of the restaurant at Patowmack Farm.

Central is open for lunch from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, Tuesday thru Sunday, and for dinner from 5 pm to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday thru Sunday with happy hour between 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm, Tuesday thru Friday. Reservations can be made online or by calling (202) 626-0015. Proof of a COVID-19 vaccination is required for indoor dining.

Troy Petenbrink

Troy, also known as The Gay Traveler, is a well known travel and food writer. His has been a regular contributor to a variety of outlets including National Geographic, Travel Channel, DCRefined, CBS Local, and Metro Weekly. He also appears on local Washington news outlets as a travel expert.

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