Lulu’s Winegarden to replace Vinoteca on U Street

Casual and serene wine garden arrives on U Street

A new communal and bottle-driven wine bar will bloom where Vinoteca stands no longer. The team behind Latin-inspired Royal in LeDroit Park in Washington, D.C. plan to open Lulu’s Winegarden on U Street during the month of February. More than 40 bottles for under $50 will be available by the time the wine garden opens. Two “lush” garden patios will be part of the setting for this restaurant, wine garden and dinner-party’ish destination, announced owners Paul and Brittany Carlson.

Cable Smith, Lulu’s chef, and also a partner, has some intriguing southwest fare in mind. Lulu’s, which is named after the Carlson’s baby girl, replaces Vinoteca and Paul Carlson is recreating the space with warm, earthy color tones, and connecting the outdoor garden with an indoor patio to evoke an open and airy destination. Expect to see “natural woods, decorative breeze blocks, gravel border twinkling string lights, glowing candles and live greenery throughout,” said the announcement.

The space is family friendly and reminiscent of a beer garden with large communal tables to accommodate up to 36 people. These communal tables will feature ice buckets to keep the wines that require it cold. For a more casual environment, Lulu’s features two large flat screen TVs inside and a large TV on the back patio for all types of televised events, including sports and debates.

Smith is preparing a shareable menu that’s leisurely and fit for a wine party. Sure to be winners, French Onion Dip Toast, Crispy Chicken Combo with fermented chile flavor and Vegan Mushroom N’Duja Toast with an avocado-dressed lime caesar will make their way on this eclectic menu. Spring for the White Questo, crab and burnt grapefruit-topped Tostada, or Smoked Pork Belly pastrami-style on Texas toast for an additional culinary excursion. Also, the Hatch Chile Harissa with grilled carrots is sure to “fire up” the evening.


The target wine margins may go out the door at Lulu’s. Carlson aims to make the wine list affordable, while also offering a by-the-glass wine list that’s on point. Don’t be surprised at the Baja wines hailing from Mexico, a favorite of the Carlsons and place they cherish after traveling there.

A RAMW RAMMYS Cocktail Program of the Year Award finalist, Royal’s Alonzo Freeman has crafted cocktails and spikeable Agua Frescas. These will put the spotlight on flavors from seasonally-rotating fruits, herbs and botanicals. Lulu’s will also prepare these drinks alcohol-free for mocktail afficionados.

The two patios at Lulu’s offer exciting features, including Lulu’s communal tables and heaters—all facing the vibrant U Street scene. The back courtyard, which includes an outdoor grill and bocce court, will open in the spring this year after renovations..

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