by Andrew Ramonas — November 25, 2015 at 3:50 pm 0

Florida Avenue GrillDiners at the Florida Avenue Grill soon might have the option to order something harder than soda with their fried chicken, pork chops and other soul food.

For the first time in its 71-year history, the restaurant at 1100 Florida Ave. NW has applied for a liquor license, according to a notice published by the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration this week.

Imar Hutchins, who has owned the eatery since 2005, said many of his customers have asked for booze. And without liquor, the grill’s dinner business has become almost “nonexistent,” he said.

“If we want to survive, we have to do it,” he said.

Hutchins said he didn’t know yet what alcoholic drinks he would serve. But the adult beverages wouldn’t become the focus of the restaurant, which has had a dedication to soul food since it opened in 1944.

“We’re not trying to turn it into a bar or anything like that,” he said.

by Tim Regan — November 24, 2015 at 2:00 pm 0

A Mediterranean market in Dupont now carries something its customers have long thirsted for: beer and wine from Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.

Customers can now purchase bottles of Keo beer from Cyprus, Turkish brew Efes and Greek Naoussa Xinomavro from Mediterranean Way Gourmet Market, located at 1717 Connecticut Ave. NW.

Husband and wife owners Niko and Oana Adamopoulos assembled the beer and wine list with help from Niko’s experience as a wine consultant in Greece, the according to a press release.

Mediterranean Way first opened its doors in 2013. In addition to beer and wine sourced from its namesake, the market also sells olive oil, balsamic vinegar and refrigerated deli products.

by Tim Regan — November 24, 2015 at 10:30 am 0

Z-Burger, photo via Facebook.com/Z-BurgerColumbia Heights residents can trade two one-dollar bills for a hamburger made to their liking at Z-Burger (3301 14th St. NW) all day today.

Veggie and turkey burgers will be sold for $4, and all toppings are free except cheese and bacon, according to a Facebook page for the event.

The promotion is part of a weekly city-wide deal aimed at luring prospective customers with discounted burgers. Next week, discounted burgers will be sold at the company’s Tenleytown location.

by Andrew Ramonas — November 20, 2015 at 1:30 pm 0

A new speakeasy-style bar and lounge on the U Street corridor is set to reveal at least some of its secrets to the public later today.

Cloak & Dagger officially is slated to open tonight in the former Patty Boom Boom space at 1359 U St. NW, according to a representative of the bar.

A Cloak & Dagger owner wasn’t immediately available to comment on the bar and its secrets, including the fireplace pictured above.

The bar is only open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, beginning at 10 p.m.

Photo of secret fireplace entrance via Twitter/CloakDaggerDC

by Andrew Ramonas — November 20, 2015 at 10:30 am 0

Japanese curry rice bowl with fried pork (Photo via Twitter/Donburidc)

(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) For $5.50, you can get a rice bowl with Japanese curry and fried chicken, pork or shrimp in Adams Morgan today.

Donburi at 2438 18th St. NW is celebrating its second anniversary from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. by cutting the prices of some of its rice bowls in half.

In addition to the Japanese curry rice bowls that normally cost $11, a salmon sashimi rice bowl called Sakedon will go for $6.50, instead of its usual price of $13.

Customers must eat the food in the store to get the discounts.

“We won’t accept any phone call order or other delivery services on the day to be able to serve as many customers as possible in store,” a post on Donburi’s Facebook page says. “We will prep as much as we can but you might want to come early.”

Photo via Twitter/Donburidc

by Tim Regan — November 19, 2015 at 4:55 pm 0

(Updated at 8:28 p.m.) A tavern and restaurant that spans five levels and includes a rooftop bar is slated to open on U Street next month.

Hawthorne, the new tavern from Mission, Mason Inn and Chinese Disco owners Reed Landry and Fritz Brogan will open at 1336 U Street some time in December, the tavern’s marketing director said today.

“There will be three beautiful event spaces, including a rooftop with a retractable glass roof and a 360 degree view of the city,” said Elizabeth Spangler, director of private events and marketing at Mission.

Once open, the eatery will serve “modern and classic tavern food with an emphasis on mussels” from chef Stephan Boillon, formerly of Dino and Mothership/El Floridano.

Rooftop photo courtesy of Hawthorne

by Andrew Ramonas — November 19, 2015 at 3:00 pm 0

Tom Saap a.k.a. sour pork rib stew (Photo via Instagram/Alfie's DC)

A Southeast Asian restaurant is scheduled to launch in the former Mothership space in Park View next month.

Ex-Duke’s Grocery chef and “Food Network Star” contestant Alex McCoy told Bordestan today he plans to turn 3301 Georgia Ave. NW into a pop-up eatery that will start serving Thai bar food by mid-December. The pop-up will act as a “test kitchen” for Alfie’s, which he said he expects to open at 845 Upshur St. NW in the spring of 2016.

The pop-up will have McCoy’s takes on Khao Soi (curry noodle soup), Gai Yang (grilled chicken), Som Tam (papaya salad), Tom Saap (sour pork rib stew) and a hamburger that is popular among Australians in Thailand. (McCoy’s burger will feature pickled beets, grilled pineapple and egg.)

The restaurant also will serve Thai beer and cocktails.

“The vibe will be very casual and unpretentious,” McCoy said in an email. “We want people to relax, roll up their sleeves and have some fun. No tasting menus, or expensive multi course sharing plates here, just good music, honest [and] authentically prepared food and a laid back scene.”

Photo via Instagram/Alfie’s DC

by Tim Regan — November 19, 2015 at 10:00 am 0

A deli and buffet frequented by the downtown office lunch crowd will close its doors for good tomorrow.

TJ’s Deli, located at the corner of 14th and L streets NW, will shut down after 15 years in business, an employee at the store said.

Though the employee did not say why the deli was closing, the shop in recent years has gained competition from a Jimmy John’s and a Dunkin Donuts that may have helped contribute to its demise.

It was not immediately clear what might replace the deli.

by Andrew Ramonas — November 18, 2015 at 3:50 pm 0

Adams Morgan might get a taste of the year 2020 before the end of this year.

A space-themed nightclub called 2020 Bar & Lounge is slated to open at 2434 18th St. NW in December or January, owner Sarah Kim told Borderstan today. The bar is taking over the space previously occupied by Meskerem, an Ethiopian restaurant that closed in April after 30 years in business.

But what’s special about the year 2020?

“In 2020, there’s going to be something that changes the entire world,” Kim said, referencing news from NASA she said she’s read.

When the bar opens, it will have room for dancing, drinking and eating across three floors. It also will boast “VIP party rooms,” Kim said.

Although the nightclub will have a space theme, Kim said she doesn’t plan to go overboard with the celestial motif.

“If it’s totally space themed, it can be corny,” she said.

by Andrew Ramonas — November 17, 2015 at 3:55 pm 0

Thanksgiving dinner (Photo via Flickr/icoNYCa)

Although Thanksgiving is only nine days away, it isn’t too late in D.C. to snag a reservation for a turkey dinner or order the bird, pumpkin pie and other fixings for a feast at home.

We’ve gathered the information for several restaurants and stores in our coverage area that are vying for your Thanksgiving business.

Here is what you need to know to prepare for a D.C. Thanksgiving:

For a Thanksgiving Out

10 Thomas at the Washington Plaza Hotel
10 Thomas Circle NW

“Enjoy a bountiful buffet featuring traditional dishes such as herb roasted turkey, honey glazed ham and pumpkin and pecan pies. $45 per person, $22.50 for children 5 – 12,” according to OpenTable.

14K Restaurant & Lounge
1001 14th St. NW

“Thanksgiving Brunch buffet $45 with endless champagne option for $15 extra and a build your own bloody mary bar for $9 each,” according to OpenTable.

Avenue Café & Lounge – Holiday Inn Central
1501 Rhode Island Ave. NW

“Join us for a Spectacular Thanksgiving Buffet from 4 – 9PM. Adults $27.95, kids under 12 $12.95,” according to OpenTable.


by Andrew Ramonas — November 16, 2015 at 3:00 pm 0

DC Cocktail Week (Photo via Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington)

Want to drink a “Catcher in the Rye” with a side of smoked ham or sip a “Love Buzz” while eating a steak sandwich this week?

More than a dozen restaurants in the Borderstan coverage area are offering food and drink pairing specials until Sunday as part of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s “DC Cocktail Week.” Most of the combos are between $12 and $18.

From RAMW’s website, here are some of the participating restaurants:

B Too
1324 14th St., NW | Washington, DC 20005
(202) 627-2800

Enjoy our fall cocktail Vanilla Pear Gimlet made with Grey Goose Pear Vodka, vanilla simple syrup, vanilla string bean, and pear puree. Paired with traditional Belgian Boudin Blanc sausage served with seasonal apples, finished with popped sorghum for only $13. The special is available during the dinner service, Fri and Sat only at the bar.

Bar Dupont
1500 New Hampshire Ave., NW | Washington, DC 20036
(800) 423-6953

Bar Dupont buzzes after dark as guests and locals rub shoulders with Washington’s hip crowd. Sip and savor in this modern playground over handcrafted cocktails from our dedicated bartenders or tempt your taste buds on tantalizing dishes to compliment your cocktail. Crafted with playful intensity, the ‘Love Buzz’ cocktail is the perfect drink: blending Cynar, Rum and Honey Blossom Liquor to bring the perfect balance of sweet and savory. Paired with our bite of Steak Sandwich recipe of skirt steak with crispy onions, truffle aioli and aged cheddar on a toasted ciabatta roll. $14.00 for the pairing per person

Beacon Bar & Grill
1615 Rhode Island Ave., NW | Washington, DC 20036
(202) 872-1126

The inspiration behind our pairing are two traditional southern staples, shrimp and grits and the Sazerac. Shrimp and grits is a rich, comforting, smoky fall dish. The Sazerac is light yet boozy. Instead of rye whiskey, our bartender uses DeLeon Resposado. DeLeon is finished in French Oak barrels, bringing the interpretation of the traditional French NOLA Sazerac full circle. The Mexican Sazerac, combined with shrimp and grits, creates a filling, savory, boozy experience! $15 for the pairing per person


by Tim Regan — November 13, 2015 at 2:00 pm 0

They’re tiny, they’re nutritious, they’re tasty, they’re microgreens.

And Maryna Higgins, the urban farmer and Dupont resident behind D.C.-based growing company Underground Greens, seeks to put more of the small salad shoots on your plate.

Higgins grows and harvests the sprouts inside a small space near Union Market, then delivers them by bike to local stores and restaurants such as Jrink, B Too, Press Juice Bar and Glen’s Garden Market.

“Most people probably see them in salads,” Higgins said. “Chefs use them as a garnish. … It’s like a new superfood.”

To grow the sprouts, Higgins spreads seeds on hemp mats placed under sunlamps. The mats are hooked up to a hydroponic watering system, which circulates fresh water to keep the plants hydrated. The sprouts mature on four-tiered shelves, and are ready for harvest after about eight to fourteen days.

The entire process, Higgins said, is designed to be as eco-friendly and energy-saving as possible.

Higgins hopes to fill her space near Union Market with trays by the end of the year. Once she fills her 900 square foot space, she said she’ll look for something a little larger. But her aim isn’t necessarily to distribute as many greens as far and wide as she can.

“When I go to Whole Foods and pick up a bunch of mint that comes from Peru, it just hurts,” Higgins said “My goal is not to expand into shipping, but [to be] local, cut down on carbon emissions and cut down on the time food travels. … being local is one of the advantages that I have.”

Still, the microgreen grower said it would be nice to expand a little.

“Microgreens is a volume business,” Higgins said. “It’s almost a catch-22. You need a bigger space for the volume, but you need a volume to invest in the bigger space.”

Higgins said she’d also like to start growing other leafy vegetables such as lettuce and herbs.

“It’s going to be hard, but I do enjoy it,” she said about the future of her company.  “It’s fun. It puts me in a lot of situations where I’m very uncomfortable. You learn a lot about this community.”

Microgreen photos courtesy of Maryna Higgins

by Andrew Ramonas — November 10, 2015 at 4:45 pm 0

Chicago expats in D.C. soon may have reason to rejoice: Italian beef and a new take on the Illinois city’s deep dish pizza are set to arrive in Shaw in the coming weeks.

Ivy & Coney at 1537 7th St. NW is slated to serve the beloved beef sandwich and a “deep dish dog” later this month, thanks to a kitchen that came with the bar’s recent rooftop expansion, co-owner Josh Saltzman said last night.

The bar’s workers still are fine-tuning their deep dish dog, which will include Italian sausage, mozzarella and marinara sauce cooked in a potato bun. They also are working on their version of the Italian beef, which will include roast beef and hot peppers on bread that is wet with juice from the meat.

“Everybody loves hotdogs,” Saltzman said. “But the near and dear thing is Italian beef.”

Officially opened to customers on Sunday, the year-round rooftop deck has a bar, pool table, TVs and seating for 35 people under a retractable roof, in addition to the kitchen.

Although the new space has a more polished look than Ivy & Coney’s original bar area inside, the old space won’t change, Saltzman said.

“The beauty of it is if you still want the quiet, dingy bar, it’s always available,” he said.

by Tim Regan — November 10, 2015 at 3:50 pm 0

1301 U Street NW

U Street may soon have a new place to grab a slice of pizza.

Boston-based Upper Crust Pizzeria is slated to open a new pizza shop at 1301 U Street NW later this year or early next year, company CFO Ben Deb told Borderstan today.

Though Upper Crust shuttered 10 locations, including one at 1747 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, filing for bankruptcy protection in 2012 amid allegations of worker exploitation, the company seems to be back in growth mode. An Upper Crust location opened in Arlington late last month, and another is currently planned to open in Beverly Hills, Calif., in the next few months.

This will be the company’s first location in the District since its bankruptcy filing, said Deb.

Upper Crust sells 25 specialty pizzas, some with D.C.-centric names, like “The GW,” “Pennsylvania Ave,” “The Nationals” and “The Dupont” at its Arlington location. The company’s pizza chefs also sling customizable pies bedecked with up to 40 toppings and nine kinds of cheese alongside baked lasagna, salad, beer and wine.

“We’re excited to be back,” said Deb. “We’ll definitely get involved with the local community.”

by Tim Regan — November 10, 2015 at 11:30 am 0

You’ve probably heard by now, but in case you haven’t: Nobu will open a restaurant in the District next year.

The Los Angeles-based fine dining chain moved one step closer to opening its anticipated new D.C. location at 2501 M Street NW by applying for a liquor license earlier this week:

First class, high quality, full-service “Nobu” restaurant, including a full-service bar, take-out service, and private events. An innovative new style of Japanese cuisine. Live entertainment during private events. No nude performances. Number of seats inside premises is 345. Total Occupancy Load is 370. Summer Garden with 40 seats.

The company seeks to serve alcohol until 12:30 a.m. inside and 11 p.m. in its summer garden, according to the application.

The new Nobu will span 11,600 square feet and include two private patios overlooking Rock Creek Park, sushi and cocktail bars, a main dining room and two additional private dining rooms, according to a Washington Business Journal article from September.

The location is currently slated to open in the fall of 2016.

Photo courtesy of Nobu


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