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Members on the Menu - Jamie Leeds

April 16, 2014

Jamie Leeds is the Chef/Owner of the award winning Hank’s Oyster Bar, with locations in Dupont Circle, Capitol Hill and Old Town, VA.  Jamie is very active in the community and the culinary field, and has recently completed her role as the Immediate Past President of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs (WCR).

What is the hardest part about owning and opening a restaurant?

The mechanical malfunctions of the physical space.  For example, the hot water breaking, or the oven breaking and the air conditioning.

…and the most rewarding part?

Being able to provide work for people and the family atmosphere it creates.

Where do you look for inspiration when putting your menu together?


How are your restaurants influenced by the neighborhood it is located in?

We provide a casual, value oriented neighborhood restaurant. 

How did you get started in the business?

I started as a prep cook at the Union Square Café in NYC.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

On the beach.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

The staff is the most important part of your business.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?


What song always makes you happy?

Anything that’s by the Black Eyed Peas.

What’s your favorite DC spot?

Isakay Seki.

What is your favorite ingredient?


You’re hosting a dream dinner party.  What three people would be at your table?

Julia Child, Meryl Streep and Hank Leeds.

It’s the last meal of your life  - what’s on your plate?

Lemon roasted chicken with carrots, onions and potatoes.

What are your pet peeves?

When people misrepresent themselves.

What is your favorite way to give back to the community?

Fundraisers, charities and our oyster fest!

What’s your favorite go-to junk food?

Chocolate coated salted caramels.