More is More

The Pink Room is a love letter to some of Chef Brittany Anderson's creative pals.

“Is this … a speakeasy?” my friend asks as we stand in line outside of chef Brittanny Anderson’s new Union Hill concept, Pink Room.

There’s no signage, unless you count the tiny “Pink Room” label attached to the edge of the building’s doorway. It’s 5:06 p.m. and already the 18-seat dining room is nearly full—beverage director Steve Yang pops out of the restaurant’s front door with the waiting list and assesses the line of patrons.

“Well no, it’s a studio apartment that has been transformed into a cocktail bar,” I explain. “But it’s also a house party?”

Once we’re inside my friend nods in assent — the playlist is a millennial fever dream. I happen to visit on the eve of my 33rd birthday, but I’m instantly transported to being 19 at a crowded college pregame.

Inside the glorious Pink Room.

While those pre-bar-hopping gatherings never had a two-time James Beard Award semi-finalist in attendance (that I know of), and we were downing Aristocrat shots lined up on a sticky bar instead of sipping pink bubbles in a bespoke booth, the feeling remains. A vivacity that cannot be tamed.

“I knew we had an opportunity to do something cool,” says Anderson of the tiny space, somehow how both sleek and cozy, dimly lit and bright as day.

Anderson is not one to shy away from an opportunity — this spring marks the one-year anniversary of the chef buying out her restaurant partners and officially taking full ownership of Brenner Pass, Metzger and Black Lodge.

The Pink Room allows veteran Chef Brittany Anderson to hang out with diners.

“It was a steep learning curve,” says Anderson. “I really had to focus on the business side of things for the past six months — I call it riding the dragon of the restaurant industry.”

Once the dragon ride slowed, Anderson could see that her chefs at Metzger and Brenner were “coming into their own” and running things smoothly in the kitchen.  “I decided it was time to do something for me.”

Pink Room is a love letter to, or, perhaps, a not-so-private diary entry about, the virtues of some of Anderson’s closest creative pals.

Studio Tarea is responsible for the overall aesthetic — every Barbie meets “Simple Life” meets Victorian underground party detail is perfected. Artist Monsieur Zohore’s mural of iconic women — from Miss Piggy to Julia Child to Fran Drescher — adorns the ceiling and Gloucester, Virginia-based Matheson Oyster’s newest petite salty/sweet oyster, Birthday Girls, grace both sides of Pink Room’s menu.

“It was really important to me to have so many creative people who I consider great friends show their talents in this space,” says Anderson. “It’s not only awesome for the space but it feels like when you invite over a bunch of talented people for dinner.”

Anderson says she had been leasing the studio apartment space attached to Metzger for more than a year when it clicked for both she and Yang that this open kitchen concept could serve as a home for dishes that, “don’t really fit at Brenner or Metzger.”

Jonathon Shriver assists guests at the soft opening.

No rules

“There are no rules—we can make whatever we want,” says Anderson.

No rules, but certainly a few constraints. “I’m working in a different kind of box,” says the chef. “I’m not in a commercial kitchen, there’s no hood, I don’t have fryers, everything has to be really thought out,” says Anderson. “‘What can we serve that is delicious and awesome and easy to put together during service?’”

The food menu is divided into “Always Here” and “Weekend Snacks.” On the fixed list, Momma’s Cheeseball and Triscuits act as the perfect hearty companion to the Birthday Girls, served on the half-shell with strawberry and dill.

On the rotating list, a warm crab crescent roll served alongside ramp butter with crispy chicken skin works well with a dish of crisp white asparagus, topped with egg mousse, rhubarb and caviar.

The cocktail list packs a punch, as one would expect from United States Bartenders Guild (USBG) World Class national finalist (2022, ‘23, ‘24) Yang.

Steve Yang is the beverage director and also a USBG World Class national finalist.

The “Concrete” is made with Ketel One, concrete (literally boiled down concrete!), apricot, manzanilla and soda. With “Oyster,” Yang takes Tangueray 10, Rose vermouth, Manzanilla sherry, recycled Matheson oyster shells, herbs and onions and says “Hi, here’s a pink martini.”

One could certainly order a glass of orange wine, a clever cocktail and a handful of snacks and be sated, though neighbors Pizza Bones and Spotty Dog beckon for a post-Pink Room visit. The cocktail bar just opened two weekends ago but already it feels firmly rooted in place—a natural, and necessary, part of the Union Hill ecosystem.

The Pink Room is located at 803 N 23rd St. (next to Metzger) but does not take reservations.

Whether Pink Room is your first or final destination, Anderson hopes you enjoy her intimate dinner party, no hostess gifts necessary.

“The goal is that I’m mostly here,” says Anderson. “The point is for them [diners] to hang out with me.”

Pink Room is located at 803 N 23rd St. (next to Metzger) and is open Thursday-Saturday, 5 p.m. to midnight. No reservations — if the sign on the door says “Room,” you may enter; if it says “No Room,” write your name, number and party size on the list and you’ll get a text when a table is ready. Keep tabs on Instagram for the latest menu updates.


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