Traditional recipes

Chef Jamie Leeds’ Newest Oyster

Chef Jamie Leeds’ Newest Oyster

Did you ever think you could eat flavorful, locally raised oysters while also helping cultivate new oysters? Well, you can, thanks to a special collaboration between Washington, D.C. Chef Jamie Leeds of Hank’s Oyster Bar, and Bruce Wood and Kenny Hobar of Dragon Creek Seafood & Produce, in Montross, Va.

For Chef Leeds, who has long embraced local and seasonal ingredients in her cooking, this project isn’t just about sourcing a superior product whose origin she knows well. “It will be unique because I will be involved in the whole life cycle of the oyster. Providing shells to help build the reef, selling the oysters and then turning those shells back into the water.”

Hank’s newest oyster is being raised in the Nomini Creek area of Virginia, on the Western Shore. Here, the water’s low salinity levels will yield product sweeter than other East Coast oysters. With a firm texture, and a lot of liquor, Hank’s oysters are perfect for baking, frying, or eating on the half shell.

Prior to the 1980s, the oyster was the greatest asset to Chesapeake Bay fisheries. Since then, over-fishing, disease, and pollution have shrunk the population to about 1% of what it once was. Today, preservation and growth of the existing oyster population, through projects like Hank’s oysters, is crucial to the continued health of the Bay. Oysters are filter feeders, cleaning about 2 gallons of water an hour as well as forming reefs, reducing erosion and providing an excellent habitat for supporting additional life in the Bay.

When will we be able to see Hank’s Oysters on the menu? Likely in 2011. But, if you want to shop for oysters now, Chef Leeds suggests purchasing unshucked oysters, looking for a “tight closed shell” to ensure freshness. When shucking at home, she also offers two important tips: “keep the point of the knife in the down direction. Use hand protection.”


The Power and Passion Behind Chef Jamie Leeds

Whether in a chef’s coat or a smart blazer, Leeds looks approachable. Her big brown eyes and wry smile come to life when she is talking about the things she is passionate about: good food, good people, and good places.

With four locations and a catering arm, happy customers have been enjoying her signature ingredient-driven menus and seasonally inspired cocktails since 2005. Chef Jamie describes her style as “American, fresh and honest.”

Hank’s is a neighborhood joint, serving up coastal favorites and New England beach fare classics like clam chowder and griddled crab cakes. The atmosphere is breezy and relaxing, open and fresh.

She cultivates those values at home and work. Her restaurants are known as great places to work. In addition to good benefits, there’s an English-as-a-Second-Language program in place. #TeamHanks is well-known among charities and fundraisers for contributing cash, gift cards, and event support.

For Jamie Leeds and the Hank’s brand, family is everything. That’s who she is.

The Chef Emerges

So it was the summer in the early 80s when she serendipitously walked into her first commercial kitchen. She had no idea that job would take her to Union Square Cafe with Danny Meyer in New York and then to Washington, D.C. to lead the widely-heralded 15 ria in the Washington Terrace Hotel.

Eventually, she opened her very first restaurant, named after her father, in 2005. Hank’s Oyster Bar was open for business serving “urban beach food” with a family vibe. Today, the Jamie Leeds Restaurant Group is one of the most well-loved and well-respected local brands in the business.

Commitment and Community

Setting up her first shop (Hank’s Oyster Bar) in Dupont Circle was no happy accident. The historically gay neighborhood was important to Leeds as a gay woman. “I was able to work so hard and commit to this [business] because I’ve had so much support from the gay community. They lifted me up. It’s a great honor to be a part of that.”

She gives back through mentorship, serving on the board for the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and many in-kind donations to various causes.

Power to the People

There’s a lot to admire about the way Leeds has built her business. “I used the profits from each restaurant to build the next one.” She also cultivates brand loyalty and nurtures employee happiness.

One of her favorite ways to do that is with a pre-shift Family Meal for the staff, a tradition at all of her restaurants. “We all sit down and eat together,” she says. Her favorite thing to serve? Chicken Cacciatore. “It’s something my mother used to make.”

Her mother Mitzi is also the inspiration for her newest project Hank & Mitzi’s, opening Summer 2020.

Welcome to Hank & Mitzi’s

Guests can expect Prosecco on tap, zero-proof cocktails, and deck-oven pizzas from an exclusive recipe by executive chef, pizza-maker extraordinaire Will Artley. Hank & Mitzi’s opens this summer at 660 Montgomery Street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.


The Power and Passion Behind Chef Jamie Leeds

Whether in a chef’s coat or a smart blazer, Leeds looks approachable. Her big brown eyes and wry smile come to life when she is talking about the things she is passionate about: good food, good people, and good places.

With four locations and a catering arm, happy customers have been enjoying her signature ingredient-driven menus and seasonally inspired cocktails since 2005. Chef Jamie describes her style as “American, fresh and honest.”

Hank’s is a neighborhood joint, serving up coastal favorites and New England beach fare classics like clam chowder and griddled crab cakes. The atmosphere is breezy and relaxing, open and fresh.

She cultivates those values at home and work. Her restaurants are known as great places to work. In addition to good benefits, there’s an English-as-a-Second-Language program in place. #TeamHanks is well-known among charities and fundraisers for contributing cash, gift cards, and event support.

For Jamie Leeds and the Hank’s brand, family is everything. That’s who she is.

The Chef Emerges

So it was the summer in the early 80s when she serendipitously walked into her first commercial kitchen. She had no idea that job would take her to Union Square Cafe with Danny Meyer in New York and then to Washington, D.C. to lead the widely-heralded 15 ria in the Washington Terrace Hotel.

Eventually, she opened her very first restaurant, named after her father, in 2005. Hank’s Oyster Bar was open for business serving “urban beach food” with a family vibe. Today, the Jamie Leeds Restaurant Group is one of the most well-loved and well-respected local brands in the business.

Commitment and Community

Setting up her first shop (Hank’s Oyster Bar) in Dupont Circle was no happy accident. The historically gay neighborhood was important to Leeds as a gay woman. “I was able to work so hard and commit to this [business] because I’ve had so much support from the gay community. They lifted me up. It’s a great honor to be a part of that.”

She gives back through mentorship, serving on the board for the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and many in-kind donations to various causes.

Power to the People

There’s a lot to admire about the way Leeds has built her business. “I used the profits from each restaurant to build the next one.” She also cultivates brand loyalty and nurtures employee happiness.

One of her favorite ways to do that is with a pre-shift Family Meal for the staff, a tradition at all of her restaurants. “We all sit down and eat together,” she says. Her favorite thing to serve? Chicken Cacciatore. “It’s something my mother used to make.”

Her mother Mitzi is also the inspiration for her newest project Hank & Mitzi’s, opening Summer 2020.

Welcome to Hank & Mitzi’s

Guests can expect Prosecco on tap, zero-proof cocktails, and deck-oven pizzas from an exclusive recipe by executive chef, pizza-maker extraordinaire Will Artley. Hank & Mitzi’s opens this summer at 660 Montgomery Street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.


The Power and Passion Behind Chef Jamie Leeds

Whether in a chef’s coat or a smart blazer, Leeds looks approachable. Her big brown eyes and wry smile come to life when she is talking about the things she is passionate about: good food, good people, and good places.

With four locations and a catering arm, happy customers have been enjoying her signature ingredient-driven menus and seasonally inspired cocktails since 2005. Chef Jamie describes her style as “American, fresh and honest.”

Hank’s is a neighborhood joint, serving up coastal favorites and New England beach fare classics like clam chowder and griddled crab cakes. The atmosphere is breezy and relaxing, open and fresh.

She cultivates those values at home and work. Her restaurants are known as great places to work. In addition to good benefits, there’s an English-as-a-Second-Language program in place. #TeamHanks is well-known among charities and fundraisers for contributing cash, gift cards, and event support.

For Jamie Leeds and the Hank’s brand, family is everything. That’s who she is.

The Chef Emerges

So it was the summer in the early 80s when she serendipitously walked into her first commercial kitchen. She had no idea that job would take her to Union Square Cafe with Danny Meyer in New York and then to Washington, D.C. to lead the widely-heralded 15 ria in the Washington Terrace Hotel.

Eventually, she opened her very first restaurant, named after her father, in 2005. Hank’s Oyster Bar was open for business serving “urban beach food” with a family vibe. Today, the Jamie Leeds Restaurant Group is one of the most well-loved and well-respected local brands in the business.

Commitment and Community

Setting up her first shop (Hank’s Oyster Bar) in Dupont Circle was no happy accident. The historically gay neighborhood was important to Leeds as a gay woman. “I was able to work so hard and commit to this [business] because I’ve had so much support from the gay community. They lifted me up. It’s a great honor to be a part of that.”

She gives back through mentorship, serving on the board for the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and many in-kind donations to various causes.

Power to the People

There’s a lot to admire about the way Leeds has built her business. “I used the profits from each restaurant to build the next one.” She also cultivates brand loyalty and nurtures employee happiness.

One of her favorite ways to do that is with a pre-shift Family Meal for the staff, a tradition at all of her restaurants. “We all sit down and eat together,” she says. Her favorite thing to serve? Chicken Cacciatore. “It’s something my mother used to make.”

Her mother Mitzi is also the inspiration for her newest project Hank & Mitzi’s, opening Summer 2020.

Welcome to Hank & Mitzi’s

Guests can expect Prosecco on tap, zero-proof cocktails, and deck-oven pizzas from an exclusive recipe by executive chef, pizza-maker extraordinaire Will Artley. Hank & Mitzi’s opens this summer at 660 Montgomery Street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.


The Power and Passion Behind Chef Jamie Leeds

Whether in a chef’s coat or a smart blazer, Leeds looks approachable. Her big brown eyes and wry smile come to life when she is talking about the things she is passionate about: good food, good people, and good places.

With four locations and a catering arm, happy customers have been enjoying her signature ingredient-driven menus and seasonally inspired cocktails since 2005. Chef Jamie describes her style as “American, fresh and honest.”

Hank’s is a neighborhood joint, serving up coastal favorites and New England beach fare classics like clam chowder and griddled crab cakes. The atmosphere is breezy and relaxing, open and fresh.

She cultivates those values at home and work. Her restaurants are known as great places to work. In addition to good benefits, there’s an English-as-a-Second-Language program in place. #TeamHanks is well-known among charities and fundraisers for contributing cash, gift cards, and event support.

For Jamie Leeds and the Hank’s brand, family is everything. That’s who she is.

The Chef Emerges

So it was the summer in the early 80s when she serendipitously walked into her first commercial kitchen. She had no idea that job would take her to Union Square Cafe with Danny Meyer in New York and then to Washington, D.C. to lead the widely-heralded 15 ria in the Washington Terrace Hotel.

Eventually, she opened her very first restaurant, named after her father, in 2005. Hank’s Oyster Bar was open for business serving “urban beach food” with a family vibe. Today, the Jamie Leeds Restaurant Group is one of the most well-loved and well-respected local brands in the business.

Commitment and Community

Setting up her first shop (Hank’s Oyster Bar) in Dupont Circle was no happy accident. The historically gay neighborhood was important to Leeds as a gay woman. “I was able to work so hard and commit to this [business] because I’ve had so much support from the gay community. They lifted me up. It’s a great honor to be a part of that.”

She gives back through mentorship, serving on the board for the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and many in-kind donations to various causes.

Power to the People

There’s a lot to admire about the way Leeds has built her business. “I used the profits from each restaurant to build the next one.” She also cultivates brand loyalty and nurtures employee happiness.

One of her favorite ways to do that is with a pre-shift Family Meal for the staff, a tradition at all of her restaurants. “We all sit down and eat together,” she says. Her favorite thing to serve? Chicken Cacciatore. “It’s something my mother used to make.”

Her mother Mitzi is also the inspiration for her newest project Hank & Mitzi’s, opening Summer 2020.

Welcome to Hank & Mitzi’s

Guests can expect Prosecco on tap, zero-proof cocktails, and deck-oven pizzas from an exclusive recipe by executive chef, pizza-maker extraordinaire Will Artley. Hank & Mitzi’s opens this summer at 660 Montgomery Street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.


The Power and Passion Behind Chef Jamie Leeds

Whether in a chef’s coat or a smart blazer, Leeds looks approachable. Her big brown eyes and wry smile come to life when she is talking about the things she is passionate about: good food, good people, and good places.

With four locations and a catering arm, happy customers have been enjoying her signature ingredient-driven menus and seasonally inspired cocktails since 2005. Chef Jamie describes her style as “American, fresh and honest.”

Hank’s is a neighborhood joint, serving up coastal favorites and New England beach fare classics like clam chowder and griddled crab cakes. The atmosphere is breezy and relaxing, open and fresh.

She cultivates those values at home and work. Her restaurants are known as great places to work. In addition to good benefits, there’s an English-as-a-Second-Language program in place. #TeamHanks is well-known among charities and fundraisers for contributing cash, gift cards, and event support.

For Jamie Leeds and the Hank’s brand, family is everything. That’s who she is.

The Chef Emerges

So it was the summer in the early 80s when she serendipitously walked into her first commercial kitchen. She had no idea that job would take her to Union Square Cafe with Danny Meyer in New York and then to Washington, D.C. to lead the widely-heralded 15 ria in the Washington Terrace Hotel.

Eventually, she opened her very first restaurant, named after her father, in 2005. Hank’s Oyster Bar was open for business serving “urban beach food” with a family vibe. Today, the Jamie Leeds Restaurant Group is one of the most well-loved and well-respected local brands in the business.

Commitment and Community

Setting up her first shop (Hank’s Oyster Bar) in Dupont Circle was no happy accident. The historically gay neighborhood was important to Leeds as a gay woman. “I was able to work so hard and commit to this [business] because I’ve had so much support from the gay community. They lifted me up. It’s a great honor to be a part of that.”

She gives back through mentorship, serving on the board for the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and many in-kind donations to various causes.

Power to the People

There’s a lot to admire about the way Leeds has built her business. “I used the profits from each restaurant to build the next one.” She also cultivates brand loyalty and nurtures employee happiness.

One of her favorite ways to do that is with a pre-shift Family Meal for the staff, a tradition at all of her restaurants. “We all sit down and eat together,” she says. Her favorite thing to serve? Chicken Cacciatore. “It’s something my mother used to make.”

Her mother Mitzi is also the inspiration for her newest project Hank & Mitzi’s, opening Summer 2020.

Welcome to Hank & Mitzi’s

Guests can expect Prosecco on tap, zero-proof cocktails, and deck-oven pizzas from an exclusive recipe by executive chef, pizza-maker extraordinaire Will Artley. Hank & Mitzi’s opens this summer at 660 Montgomery Street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.


The Power and Passion Behind Chef Jamie Leeds

Whether in a chef’s coat or a smart blazer, Leeds looks approachable. Her big brown eyes and wry smile come to life when she is talking about the things she is passionate about: good food, good people, and good places.

With four locations and a catering arm, happy customers have been enjoying her signature ingredient-driven menus and seasonally inspired cocktails since 2005. Chef Jamie describes her style as “American, fresh and honest.”

Hank’s is a neighborhood joint, serving up coastal favorites and New England beach fare classics like clam chowder and griddled crab cakes. The atmosphere is breezy and relaxing, open and fresh.

She cultivates those values at home and work. Her restaurants are known as great places to work. In addition to good benefits, there’s an English-as-a-Second-Language program in place. #TeamHanks is well-known among charities and fundraisers for contributing cash, gift cards, and event support.

For Jamie Leeds and the Hank’s brand, family is everything. That’s who she is.

The Chef Emerges

So it was the summer in the early 80s when she serendipitously walked into her first commercial kitchen. She had no idea that job would take her to Union Square Cafe with Danny Meyer in New York and then to Washington, D.C. to lead the widely-heralded 15 ria in the Washington Terrace Hotel.

Eventually, she opened her very first restaurant, named after her father, in 2005. Hank’s Oyster Bar was open for business serving “urban beach food” with a family vibe. Today, the Jamie Leeds Restaurant Group is one of the most well-loved and well-respected local brands in the business.

Commitment and Community

Setting up her first shop (Hank’s Oyster Bar) in Dupont Circle was no happy accident. The historically gay neighborhood was important to Leeds as a gay woman. “I was able to work so hard and commit to this [business] because I’ve had so much support from the gay community. They lifted me up. It’s a great honor to be a part of that.”

She gives back through mentorship, serving on the board for the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and many in-kind donations to various causes.

Power to the People

There’s a lot to admire about the way Leeds has built her business. “I used the profits from each restaurant to build the next one.” She also cultivates brand loyalty and nurtures employee happiness.

One of her favorite ways to do that is with a pre-shift Family Meal for the staff, a tradition at all of her restaurants. “We all sit down and eat together,” she says. Her favorite thing to serve? Chicken Cacciatore. “It’s something my mother used to make.”

Her mother Mitzi is also the inspiration for her newest project Hank & Mitzi’s, opening Summer 2020.

Welcome to Hank & Mitzi’s

Guests can expect Prosecco on tap, zero-proof cocktails, and deck-oven pizzas from an exclusive recipe by executive chef, pizza-maker extraordinaire Will Artley. Hank & Mitzi’s opens this summer at 660 Montgomery Street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.


The Power and Passion Behind Chef Jamie Leeds

Whether in a chef’s coat or a smart blazer, Leeds looks approachable. Her big brown eyes and wry smile come to life when she is talking about the things she is passionate about: good food, good people, and good places.

With four locations and a catering arm, happy customers have been enjoying her signature ingredient-driven menus and seasonally inspired cocktails since 2005. Chef Jamie describes her style as “American, fresh and honest.”

Hank’s is a neighborhood joint, serving up coastal favorites and New England beach fare classics like clam chowder and griddled crab cakes. The atmosphere is breezy and relaxing, open and fresh.

She cultivates those values at home and work. Her restaurants are known as great places to work. In addition to good benefits, there’s an English-as-a-Second-Language program in place. #TeamHanks is well-known among charities and fundraisers for contributing cash, gift cards, and event support.

For Jamie Leeds and the Hank’s brand, family is everything. That’s who she is.

The Chef Emerges

So it was the summer in the early 80s when she serendipitously walked into her first commercial kitchen. She had no idea that job would take her to Union Square Cafe with Danny Meyer in New York and then to Washington, D.C. to lead the widely-heralded 15 ria in the Washington Terrace Hotel.

Eventually, she opened her very first restaurant, named after her father, in 2005. Hank’s Oyster Bar was open for business serving “urban beach food” with a family vibe. Today, the Jamie Leeds Restaurant Group is one of the most well-loved and well-respected local brands in the business.

Commitment and Community

Setting up her first shop (Hank’s Oyster Bar) in Dupont Circle was no happy accident. The historically gay neighborhood was important to Leeds as a gay woman. “I was able to work so hard and commit to this [business] because I’ve had so much support from the gay community. They lifted me up. It’s a great honor to be a part of that.”

She gives back through mentorship, serving on the board for the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and many in-kind donations to various causes.

Power to the People

There’s a lot to admire about the way Leeds has built her business. “I used the profits from each restaurant to build the next one.” She also cultivates brand loyalty and nurtures employee happiness.

One of her favorite ways to do that is with a pre-shift Family Meal for the staff, a tradition at all of her restaurants. “We all sit down and eat together,” she says. Her favorite thing to serve? Chicken Cacciatore. “It’s something my mother used to make.”

Her mother Mitzi is also the inspiration for her newest project Hank & Mitzi’s, opening Summer 2020.

Welcome to Hank & Mitzi’s

Guests can expect Prosecco on tap, zero-proof cocktails, and deck-oven pizzas from an exclusive recipe by executive chef, pizza-maker extraordinaire Will Artley. Hank & Mitzi’s opens this summer at 660 Montgomery Street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.


The Power and Passion Behind Chef Jamie Leeds

Whether in a chef’s coat or a smart blazer, Leeds looks approachable. Her big brown eyes and wry smile come to life when she is talking about the things she is passionate about: good food, good people, and good places.

With four locations and a catering arm, happy customers have been enjoying her signature ingredient-driven menus and seasonally inspired cocktails since 2005. Chef Jamie describes her style as “American, fresh and honest.”

Hank’s is a neighborhood joint, serving up coastal favorites and New England beach fare classics like clam chowder and griddled crab cakes. The atmosphere is breezy and relaxing, open and fresh.

She cultivates those values at home and work. Her restaurants are known as great places to work. In addition to good benefits, there’s an English-as-a-Second-Language program in place. #TeamHanks is well-known among charities and fundraisers for contributing cash, gift cards, and event support.

For Jamie Leeds and the Hank’s brand, family is everything. That’s who she is.

The Chef Emerges

So it was the summer in the early 80s when she serendipitously walked into her first commercial kitchen. She had no idea that job would take her to Union Square Cafe with Danny Meyer in New York and then to Washington, D.C. to lead the widely-heralded 15 ria in the Washington Terrace Hotel.

Eventually, she opened her very first restaurant, named after her father, in 2005. Hank’s Oyster Bar was open for business serving “urban beach food” with a family vibe. Today, the Jamie Leeds Restaurant Group is one of the most well-loved and well-respected local brands in the business.

Commitment and Community

Setting up her first shop (Hank’s Oyster Bar) in Dupont Circle was no happy accident. The historically gay neighborhood was important to Leeds as a gay woman. “I was able to work so hard and commit to this [business] because I’ve had so much support from the gay community. They lifted me up. It’s a great honor to be a part of that.”

She gives back through mentorship, serving on the board for the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and many in-kind donations to various causes.

Power to the People

There’s a lot to admire about the way Leeds has built her business. “I used the profits from each restaurant to build the next one.” She also cultivates brand loyalty and nurtures employee happiness.

One of her favorite ways to do that is with a pre-shift Family Meal for the staff, a tradition at all of her restaurants. “We all sit down and eat together,” she says. Her favorite thing to serve? Chicken Cacciatore. “It’s something my mother used to make.”

Her mother Mitzi is also the inspiration for her newest project Hank & Mitzi’s, opening Summer 2020.

Welcome to Hank & Mitzi’s

Guests can expect Prosecco on tap, zero-proof cocktails, and deck-oven pizzas from an exclusive recipe by executive chef, pizza-maker extraordinaire Will Artley. Hank & Mitzi’s opens this summer at 660 Montgomery Street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.


The Power and Passion Behind Chef Jamie Leeds

Whether in a chef’s coat or a smart blazer, Leeds looks approachable. Her big brown eyes and wry smile come to life when she is talking about the things she is passionate about: good food, good people, and good places.

With four locations and a catering arm, happy customers have been enjoying her signature ingredient-driven menus and seasonally inspired cocktails since 2005. Chef Jamie describes her style as “American, fresh and honest.”

Hank’s is a neighborhood joint, serving up coastal favorites and New England beach fare classics like clam chowder and griddled crab cakes. The atmosphere is breezy and relaxing, open and fresh.

She cultivates those values at home and work. Her restaurants are known as great places to work. In addition to good benefits, there’s an English-as-a-Second-Language program in place. #TeamHanks is well-known among charities and fundraisers for contributing cash, gift cards, and event support.

For Jamie Leeds and the Hank’s brand, family is everything. That’s who she is.

The Chef Emerges

So it was the summer in the early 80s when she serendipitously walked into her first commercial kitchen. She had no idea that job would take her to Union Square Cafe with Danny Meyer in New York and then to Washington, D.C. to lead the widely-heralded 15 ria in the Washington Terrace Hotel.

Eventually, she opened her very first restaurant, named after her father, in 2005. Hank’s Oyster Bar was open for business serving “urban beach food” with a family vibe. Today, the Jamie Leeds Restaurant Group is one of the most well-loved and well-respected local brands in the business.

Commitment and Community

Setting up her first shop (Hank’s Oyster Bar) in Dupont Circle was no happy accident. The historically gay neighborhood was important to Leeds as a gay woman. “I was able to work so hard and commit to this [business] because I’ve had so much support from the gay community. They lifted me up. It’s a great honor to be a part of that.”

She gives back through mentorship, serving on the board for the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and many in-kind donations to various causes.

Power to the People

There’s a lot to admire about the way Leeds has built her business. “I used the profits from each restaurant to build the next one.” She also cultivates brand loyalty and nurtures employee happiness.

One of her favorite ways to do that is with a pre-shift Family Meal for the staff, a tradition at all of her restaurants. “We all sit down and eat together,” she says. Her favorite thing to serve? Chicken Cacciatore. “It’s something my mother used to make.”

Her mother Mitzi is also the inspiration for her newest project Hank & Mitzi’s, opening Summer 2020.

Welcome to Hank & Mitzi’s

Guests can expect Prosecco on tap, zero-proof cocktails, and deck-oven pizzas from an exclusive recipe by executive chef, pizza-maker extraordinaire Will Artley. Hank & Mitzi’s opens this summer at 660 Montgomery Street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.


The Power and Passion Behind Chef Jamie Leeds

Whether in a chef’s coat or a smart blazer, Leeds looks approachable. Her big brown eyes and wry smile come to life when she is talking about the things she is passionate about: good food, good people, and good places.

With four locations and a catering arm, happy customers have been enjoying her signature ingredient-driven menus and seasonally inspired cocktails since 2005. Chef Jamie describes her style as “American, fresh and honest.”

Hank’s is a neighborhood joint, serving up coastal favorites and New England beach fare classics like clam chowder and griddled crab cakes. The atmosphere is breezy and relaxing, open and fresh.

She cultivates those values at home and work. Her restaurants are known as great places to work. In addition to good benefits, there’s an English-as-a-Second-Language program in place. #TeamHanks is well-known among charities and fundraisers for contributing cash, gift cards, and event support.

For Jamie Leeds and the Hank’s brand, family is everything. That’s who she is.

The Chef Emerges

So it was the summer in the early 80s when she serendipitously walked into her first commercial kitchen. She had no idea that job would take her to Union Square Cafe with Danny Meyer in New York and then to Washington, D.C. to lead the widely-heralded 15 ria in the Washington Terrace Hotel.

Eventually, she opened her very first restaurant, named after her father, in 2005. Hank’s Oyster Bar was open for business serving “urban beach food” with a family vibe. Today, the Jamie Leeds Restaurant Group is one of the most well-loved and well-respected local brands in the business.

Commitment and Community

Setting up her first shop (Hank’s Oyster Bar) in Dupont Circle was no happy accident. The historically gay neighborhood was important to Leeds as a gay woman. “I was able to work so hard and commit to this [business] because I’ve had so much support from the gay community. They lifted me up. It’s a great honor to be a part of that.”

She gives back through mentorship, serving on the board for the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and many in-kind donations to various causes.

Power to the People

There’s a lot to admire about the way Leeds has built her business. “I used the profits from each restaurant to build the next one.” She also cultivates brand loyalty and nurtures employee happiness.

One of her favorite ways to do that is with a pre-shift Family Meal for the staff, a tradition at all of her restaurants. “We all sit down and eat together,” she says. Her favorite thing to serve? Chicken Cacciatore. “It’s something my mother used to make.”

Her mother Mitzi is also the inspiration for her newest project Hank & Mitzi’s, opening Summer 2020.

Welcome to Hank & Mitzi’s

Guests can expect Prosecco on tap, zero-proof cocktails, and deck-oven pizzas from an exclusive recipe by executive chef, pizza-maker extraordinaire Will Artley. Hank & Mitzi’s opens this summer at 660 Montgomery Street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.


Watch the video: The Best Oyster in the World. Food Busker. Montreal, Canada (December 2021).