Tag Archives: david conn kitty’s saloon

Chef David Conn Bringing Country Western Cuisine to Kitty’s Saloon

4 Sep

Chef David Conn’s path to becoming head chef at Kitty’s Saloon (1208 H Street, NE) has not been the most traditional.  Initially a music professor at Cornell University, Conn decided that he was tired of academia and was ready to pursue his passion for the restaurant industry.  After several years of culinary training in Savannah, he spent the next 14 years in the Nashville restaurant scene where he developed his own spin on country and western cuisines.  Next he spent time in the New York City area where he opened additional restaurants before being attracted to the D.C. area.

Chef David Conn of Kitty's Saloon

Chef David Conn of Kitty’s Saloon

In the coming weeks, Kitty’s Saloon will replace the long closed Souk on H Street.  The interior and exterior of the restaurant have been completely redesigned.  Much of the wood on the inside of the restaurant came from an 1870s barn and has been restored for use in the space.  Currently, the restaurant only occupies the ground floor, but the owners of Kitty’s are working with the landlord to buy the upstairs and expand the restaurant (and possibly create an outdoor deck in the coming months).  Prior to opening, we caught up with Chef David Conn to discuss his plans and vision for Kitty’s.

After one trip to H Street, Conn was sold on the area.  He says that one trip to the Pug and a taste of Toki Underground’s ramen were enough to convince him that the neighborhood was the place to be.  He hopes that Kitty’s Saloon will become a neighborhood hangout that will add a unique element to H Street but that will become fully engrained in the neighborhood.  For Conn, having a strong connection to the neighborhood and a good relationship with the neighbors is essential for success.

Initially, Kitty’s Saloon was advertised as “contemporary redneck cuisine,” but Conn sees it as a blend of country and western cuisines.  The menu will feature around ten small plates at any one time as well as several larger entree plates.  Look for it to rotate significantly by season.  Conn considers his spice rack and the different blending of spices to be essential to his style.  He joked to us that his spice rack is so large that it takes up half of his storage space.  Slow braising and other styles of cooking that develop a deep spice and flavor profile are key to the dishes he makes.   Continue reading