Local chef Ed Hollingsworth is in final negotiations to lease the space on Mills Avenue that has been home to the original Funky Monkey for the past eight years. As I told you yesterday, FMI Restaurant Group owners Eddie Nickell and Nicolas Olivieri are closing that location on Sunday but will continue to serve as landlords for the building in the Mills 50 district.
Hollingsworth has cooked in a number of respected local kitchens, including Bistro on Park Avenue, CityFish, and, most recently, RusTeak in College Park. The new restaurant will be called Mills Bistro Wine Bar.
Hollingsworth says the negotiations are in the final stage. "We're just waiting for the contracts and lease agreement to make sure it meets our requirements," he says. Once the deal is signed, he and his investor hope for a quick turnaround to reopen the restaurant, perhaps as quickly as 45 days.
Hollingsworth says it will be a "farm to fork" type of restaurant and the menu will feature fresh, local ingredients. Some items he has planned include:
- Airline chicken breast with black-eyed pea risotto
- Tofu "scallops" with jasmine rice (pictured at top)
- Lobster dip
- Mussels in tomato and saffron broth
- Beef tartare
- Shrimp and Grits with smoked gouda and bacon and tomato gravy
- Chocolate bomb dessert
Although he says part of the allure is that the restaurant is in turnkey condition, Hollingsworth says that there are plans to make the kitchen more open and to add a beer garden in back of the restaurant.