Interview with Managing Partner of Smith Commons

Washington D.C. is slowly becoming a hot spot for bars that serve craft beer and gastropubs that tack on delicious eats. On the H Street Corridor, you will find a slew of these types of places – some old and some new. All independently-owned. The newest kid on the block is Smith Commons Dining Room and Public House. If you happen to be in the area, check out the restaurant as they should be up and running by December. Visit the site for more information. For now, read the Q&A session we had with Managing Partner, Miles Gray to learn more about him and the restaurant.

CC: What beers will you be selling in your restaurant and why these?
Miles: We have an extensive list of craft beer selections, but we plan to focus on American crafts with a handful of great international brews. Our goal was to create an approachable ‘discovery’ menu of well paired food and beer. We have some tried and true favorites like the Bell’s Two Hearted and newer yet very robust brews like the Stillwater Cellar Door. See the complete beer list online.

CC: How many years have you been drinking microbrews?
Miles: About seven years or so. I enjoyed my first at The Saloon on U St., and I haven’t looked back since.

CC: If you could have a six-pack of any beer in your fridge all the time, what would it be?
Miles: Any of the selections from Stone Brewery. Those guys consistently hit it out of the park on so many of their offerings.

CC: What is your best beer moment/memory?
Miles: Most recently, my girlfriend cursed at me for drinking the last Loose Cannon. To keep the peace I’ve instituted a name-on-the-bottle system.

CC: Do you love craft beer? Why?
Miles: I really do. The culture of craft beer is made up of people from all backgrounds. As technically savvy as the scene can be, (the people) are very relaxed yet passionate about great beer. When you meet a fellow beer lover, there is always a bond that can be quickly forged over, you guessed it, a great beer.

CC: How long have you been wanting to own your own restaurant?
Miles: Smith Commons is a group partnership. Our team has been in search of a great location for about two years. I think secretly everyone wants to be in the business of selling great food and hooch.

CC: What is your favorite food/dish?
Miles: Chef Frederik De Pue, Executive Chef for Smith Commons, makes a veal porterhouse that is an all time favorite. When pairing it with Ommegang’s Abbey Ale it has been known to make people want to “slap their mama”. I try to make sure my mom is never in arm’s reach when Chef’s veal porterhouse is around.
• Smith Commons About Page

CC: What is your passion?
Miles: As corny as it sounds, my passion is having a good time, and setting the scene for others to do the same.

CC: What hobbies do you have outside of managing a restaurant?
Miles: I’m the king of all nerds so I hope that watching the Science Channel can be considered a hobby. If not, searching for good music will have to suffice.

CC: Who is your inspiration?
Miles: Beer directors or sommeliers like Greg Engert and Bill Catron are pretty cool to me. I think taking the time to develop a knowledge base and becoming known as a beer sommelier is quite an accomplishment.

CC: How do you support the local community?
Miles: We source locally when possible and we are in the process of setting up relationships with local food banks. We are also committed to buying as much candy as we can from any child with the candy fundraising kit.

CC: What are your expectations from your restaurant?
Miles: I expect people to make themselves at home and good time. Cheers.

I’d like to thank Miles for his time in answering our questions. We wish you guys the best of luck in your bold endeavor and applaud you in “Living the Craft Beer Lifestyle”.


Miguel Torres: I'm a craft beer fanatic, a homebrewer and President of California Castaway. I love the relaxed, fun-loving craft beer lifestyle and will rave about it to anyone who's willing to listen.

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