Inspired by italy in downtown dc
At Urbana, a commitment to craftsmanship guides everything we do, from our handmade artisan pastas and wood-fired pizzas, to the welcoming hospitality we extend to our guests. Our décor takes inspiration from 1920s New York, with a large bar area, chef's counter, and multiple dining areas. No matter the occasion, Executive Chef Ethan McKee believes in simple preparations that showcase the light, fresh flavors of Italy alongside seasonal ingredients from local farms.
Executive Chef Ethan McKeeTrained in classic French and Italian culinary techniques and acclaimed for his healthful menus, Chef Ethan imbues Urbana's light, fresh dishes with indulgent flavor inspired by the Italian coast and beyond. At a young age, the Texas native moved to Northern Virginia, and thanks to his mother's various roles in the restaurant business, the kitchen became a second home to him.
He ultimately carried on the culinary tradition by enrolling at Gaithersburg's L'Academie de Cuisine. With more than 15 years of experience, McKee has helmed multiple kitchens, including several recognized among the "100 Very Best Restaurants" by Washingtonian magazine. Early in his career, McKee worked alongside James Beard-nominated Chef Todd Gray at Equinox Restaurant, where he worked his way up from line cook to Chef de Cuisine. More recently, he led the kitchens at Rock Creek at Mazza — where he developed a talent for creating flavorful, healthful fare — and at Foggy Bottom's Circle Bistro.
Lead Bartender Lauren Matthews
A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Lauren Mathews began her hospitality career working for Big Y Group, a collection of restaurant and bar concepts based in Pittsburgh. There, she sharpened her knowledge of wine, champagne, and cocktails while learning to deliver fine-dining service in high-volume restaurants.
In 2014, Mathews joined the bar team at Meat & Potatoes where she learned the rich history of classic cocktails and developed a deeper understanding of bartending culture. For two years, she honed her skills behind the bar, creating balanced cocktails and infusing spirits and syrups in house. In 2016, she accepted a bartending position at The Commoner at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh. Drawing inspiration from her travels and culinary experiences, she expanded her cocktail aesthetic to include clarified juices and unexpected ingredients like yogurt.
Advancing her career with Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Mathews moved to Washington, D.C. in 2018 to be the lead bartender at Urbana, bringing her passion for connecting with guests and drive for creating artful cocktails. Her bar talents showcase the Italian restaurant’s rooftop garden with whimsical garnishes created from the day’s harvest and include reimagined classics like a Bee’s Knees made with house limoncello.