When we first visited Abigail's Facebook page, we were confused. The restaurant's named after the owners' "first love," Abigail. We initially envisioned a watering hole for heartbroken teens. But after hanging up from chef-owner James Ludwig (late of B-Side Lounge), we're told it's going to be an ingredient-driven, "blue-collar bistro," a term Ludwig says he often used at B-Side. More straight ahead.
First things first: Abigail is a seven-year-old girl, Ludwig and co-owner Sarah Murnane's daughter. And as for the "blue-collar bistro" concept, Ludwig hopes for an approachable, friendly place that attracts a steady stream of regulars.
In that vein, Ludwig logged time most recently at the Independent, now home to Mark Cina. He's also cooked at the East Coast Grill and the much-missed B-Side Lounge. Chef de Cuisine Jason Lord is currently at Casablanca; he also cooked at East Coast Grill.
But don't expect East Coast-style heat from hot-weather countries. Ludwig envisions his new spot as a casual place for Kendall residents to visit for familiar foods, "staples that people can identify with," he says, "and have with a nice bottle of wine."
Abigail's is one of several new restaurants coming to the neighborhood (Area IV pizza, Firebrand Saints sandwiches, and Meadhall gastropub are among the handful of anticipated spots); Ludwig hopes that his restaurant is the kind of place people can visit many times per month without breaking the bank.
"It's exciting," he told Grub Street. "This area is 50 percent residents. The more the better."
Expect a late April or early May opening.