Bart Vandaele of Belga Cafe is getting ready to open B Too. The weekend showed lots of activity at Vandaele’s new restaurant at 1324 14th Street location, just steps from The Pig and its new chef Michale Bonk.
After a year of a renovations, the opening was expected to be in April but the new opening date is May 7, according to Washington Business Journal. A peek through the front window shows that the furniture and decorations are mostly in place; the inside of the place looks gorgeous.
It seems like the 14th Street corridor is blooming this spring with new restaurants. After Le Diplomate’s April 12 soft opening and subsequently great reviews, many are waiting for the openings of Cafe Di Bari, M Cafe bar (both at at 14th and R NW) and Ghibellina.
B Too’s menu will offer waffles, Belgian dishes and a wide selection of beers. There is more information on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
Chef Frederik de Pue’s announced this week that Table will start serving brunch beginning April 20.
The restaurant, originally an auto repair space, has been restored to a contemporary dining establishment with modern decor with a storefront patio and rooftop deck for seasonal outdoor seating. At 903 N Street NW, Table opened this year during inauguration weekend.
Table will offer a Saturday and Sunday brunch with a prix fixe menu of $34 that includes three courses and will be served from 11 am to 2 pm.
The menu will include honey baked danishes and Nutella brioche, Warm Duck Salad with pomegranate dressing, Baked Eggs en Cocotte with mushrooms and chard brunch with libations available a la carte including Mimosas ($12) and Laurent Perrier Champagne with Hibiscus flowers ($22), in addition to the wine and beer selections. Menus are seasonal.
“We chose DC because it is such an eclectic environment,” said Ria Rueda, director of marketing for Barteca Restaurant Group. “Restaurants in Washington are serving all different types of foods.”
The restaurant planned for 1622 14th Street NW, which has no set opening date or even approximation, will focus on the traditional cuisine of Spain.
“The focus will very much be on charcuterie, tapas, etc.,” said Rueda. “It will have an excellent wine program and excellent food.”
While Rueda did not have any specific details to share on the menu and wine list for the DC location, she did say that the format of the menu will be similar to Barcelona’s other locations. However, Rueda assured us that Barcelona is “not cookie cutter,” so not everything will be the same.
Other locations for Barcelona serve lunch, brunch and dinner, with a strong focus on dinner. Menu options include a variety of Spanish meats and cheeses, tapas (ranging from Kale Salad to Yellowtail Crudo, Sweetbreads a la Plancha and Spiced Beef Empanadas), paella and mixed-grill items for the table.
Plans for the 14th Street location are still in development, so information on design and space layout is not available. However, Borderstan has seen some action at the site, with a small crane and some cleaning up of the site.
“We’d rather be methodical and take our time to explore every detail,” said Rueda, who also told Borderstan that Barcelona does not have plans reach out to the press when they have a better idea of an opening date. “We’d much rather roll out slowly than stick to a hard date,” she said.
So until the mysterious opening day, we’ll be pacing outside.
From Kathryn Ciano. Follow her on Twitter @katciano. Email her at kathryn[AT]borderstan.com.
Le Diplomate, a French restaurant coming to 14th and Q Streets NW, will be open soon and is taking reservations, starting April 12.
Opening day comes after two years of development work and many demolition dollars that were used to repurpose the old laundromat at 14th and Q Streets.
Stephen Starr’s Le Diplomate will seat 260 diners and serve lunch, brunch and dinner. The menu will be a hybrid of traditional bistro dishes and contemporary selections, paired with cocktails and wines.
Le Diplomate will also have a patio, just in time for spring.
Inside, red leather booths and authentic French furniture — some of it actually imported from Paris — decorate the space. The efficient, light-wood interior all bring to mind a railroad dining car (or one smoldering cigarette shy of the perfect Parisian café).
To make reservations, call 202-332-3333 between 10 am and 6 pm.
The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington‘s annual RAMMY awards will take place on June 23. And on Tuesday night, the nominees for this year’s dining scene categories were announced at the Hamilton.
Old and new Borderstan restaurants, bars, chefs and managers received a handful of nominations — Blue Duck Tavern, Bar Pilar, Birch & Barley/Churchkey and Estadio were among some of the most popular in a variety of categories.
Borderstan’s RAMMY Nominees
- Blue Duck Tavern (1201 24th Street NW): Borderstan’s Kim Vu visited Blue Duck Tavern and raved about the wood oven roasted bone marrow, seared foie gras and glazed sweetbreads. This border-line “West End” restaurant is clearly favored by a lot of District diners. It was nominated for Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year, Rising Culinary Star of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year and Manager of the Year.
- Birch and Barley/Churchkey (1337 14th Street NW): Another favorite among the categories is Birch and Barley/Churchkey. This Logan Circle restaurant and beer haven picked-up nominations for Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year and Beverage/Mixology Program of the Year. In addition, its parent group, Neighborhood Restaurant Group, picked up a nomination for Restaurateur of the Year.
- Bar Pilar (1833 14th Street NW): Perhaps it’s Bar Pilar’s dim and intimate setting. Or maybe it’s the craft beers, small plates and delicious cocktails. Whatever it is, Bar Pilar is a District staple. It’s nominated for Casual Restaurant of the Year and Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene of the Year.
- Estadio (1520 14th Street NW): Estadio’s owner is brining a new restaurant to the neighborhood, but Estadio is still raking in the praise from DC’s diners. This 14th Street tapas favorite was nominated for Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year, Chef of the Year and Manager of the Year.
- Cork Wine Bar (1720 14th Street NW): Nominated for Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year.
- C. F. Folks (1225 19th Street NW): Nominated for Casual Restaurant of the Year.
- Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U Street NW): Nominated for Neighborhood Gathering Place of the Year.
- Boqueria (1837 M Street NW): Nominated for New Restaurant of the Year.
- DGS Delicatessen (1317 Connecticut Avenue NW): Nominated for New Restaurant of the Year.
- Vidalia (1990 M Street NW): Nominated for Pastry Chef of the Year.
- Jack Rose Dining Saloon (2007 18th St NW): Nominated for Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene of the Year.
- Black Restaurant Group: Nominated for Manager of the Year.
- Matchbox Food Group: Nominated for Restaurateur of the Year.
For a full list of the RAMMY nominees, visit the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s website.
It’s still a little chilly out, but Washingtonians are looking for any excuse to soak up hints of spring-like weather… and Standard is giving them an excuse to get outside.
Borderstan’s beer garden and BBQ patio, Standard, reopened this month, after closing for the winter season.
The 14th Street NW restaurant’s early spring hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5 pm to 1 am; Friday from 5 pm to 2 am; Saturday from noon to 2 am and Sunday from noon to 1 am.
However, Standard also closes for bad weather or when it “runs out of BBQ.”
On the menu this year are a variety of sandwiches (pulled pork, barbecue brisket and bratwurst, among others), fries and traditional BBQ sides (think hushpuppies, beans and pickles) and a healthy draft beer list.
Save us a seat at the picnic table.
With The Aston and Northern Exchange both completed a few weeks ago — and already sold — the corner of 14th and R streets has a completely different look and flavor. Not only the buildings are ready, but signs have also appeared for what seems to be the arrival of at least two of the Italians restaurants opening soon in the corridor.
One of the corners (1634 14th Street NW) will house M Cafe Bar. The new 14th Street restaurant is expected to open this April, and will feature menu items such as homemade pastas and pizzas, as well as meat and fish dishes. The 90-seat space will have a bar/lounge area and an outdoor terrace.
On the other side of the street at Northern Exchange, Bar di Bari, from Aaron Gordon of Drafting Table and Zeke’s D.C. Donutz, also has its signs up and is expected to open this spring. It will offer an espresso bar serving coffee, cocktails, gelato and food including charcuterie, lasagna and cannoli. The cafe will have both indoor and outdoor seating for diners.
John Fulchino and Ann Cashion are spicing up the neighborhood by bringing their North Capitol Street taqueria to 14th and T.
The 2,600 sq-ft fast-casual restaurant, Taqueria Nacional, will serve-up a variety of tacos (think beef tacos, fish tacos, chicken tacos, chorizo tacos and lamb tacos) made with organic ingredients. Fulchino also plans on adding a variety of quesadillas and salads to the 14th Street menu, as well as margaritas, beer and agua frescas.
The ambiance of the new restaurant is important to Fulchino. His goal is to create a space inspired by traditional Mexican and Cuban colors and designs.
“I want to make the environment people are eating in feel like an old home in Mexico,” said Fulchino.
The 14th and T location will have approximately 45 seats inside and 15 to 20 seats on the outdoor patio, making the second location much more accommodating to lingering taco fanatics than the 500 square-foot take-out taqueria at 400 North Capitol Street.
According to Fulchino, the plan for Taqueria Nacional has been in the works for years. Fulchino attempted to get a space in the neighborhood in 2003, but the deal fell through. In 2006, he found a small take-out space (the current location of Taqueria Nacional) next to his restaurant, Johnny’s Half Shell. Even though it was not the optimal amount of space for his ultimate plans, Fulchino took the space and started up his take-out business.
A couple of years ago, Fulchino started negotiations on the Post Office building. He began construction on Taqueria Nacional last year and hopes to open the taqueria by the end of January 2013.
Drafting Table will have a soft opening this Thursday and Friday, October 4-5, with a grand opening on October 10. The new restaurant by Aaron Gordon, owner of Rabbit, Red Velvet Cupcakery, and Tangysweet frozen yogurt, is at 1529 14th Street, where ACKC used to be.
Eater DC has the details: “This is Gordon’s first full-service sit-down restaurant…” The owner’s aim is to create a place where patrons can go and enjoy a drink or a meal as well as discuss projects in a relaxed atmosphere. The dinning area is a reminiscent of a studio with 62-seat area and a 22-seat bar.
The opening menu (check out Drafting Table’s menu on their website) will include a Charcuterie plate, Pear and prosciutto salad, Kaya toast, Falafel, burgers, egg sandwich, braised brisket, fish and chips, fried chicken and pickles, mussels, duck confit and Mediterranean meatloaf. A selection of 16 beers will be on tap and 20 different types of bottled and canned beer will be available, as well as a wine list by the bottle and glass.
The 14th Street corridor is also waiting on the opening of a long list of Italian restaurants as well.
From Tom Hay. Questions for Tom? Send him an email at Tom[AT]borderstan.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Tomonswann.
The long anticipated development at 14th and S Streets NW is nearing completion and the developer expects it to be ready for occupancy this fall. The residential-commercial project, named The District, includes a historic building that was the former home of the Whitman Walker Clinic. The project is the largest residential building to become available on the stretch of 14th Street between U Street and Thomas Circle.
A sign over the construction entrance in the alley between Swann and S Streets indicates the project is 65 days away from the first tenant move-in. James Nozar of JBG Companies, the developer of the project along with Grosvenor, confirmed that the sign is accurate. Nozar told Borderstan, “Floors would be ready at a rate of one floor per week, so the total building will be complete on Dec 3rd.” They expect to start taking rental reservations in early October when pricing will be released.
At the time of the 2010 groundbreaking the project was conceived as a high-end condominium project. About a year later the developers of the project changed course and announced that the building would be marketed as a boutique apartment building. The seven story building will have 125 apartments with ground floor retail.
Two restaurants have already announced plans for the prime location. Ted’s Bulletin is going to occupy the space at the corner of 14th and Swann Streets and an Asian concept restaurant by Mark Kuller — who conceived Estadio down the street at 14th and Church Streets — will take the space at the corner of 14th and S Streets. The same owners of Ted’s Bulletin will be opening another location of famed pizza/ pasta/wine bar Matchbox at the northwest corner of 14th and T Streets NW.
From Sarah Lipman. You can email her at sarah[AT]@borderstan.com.
A good and greasy piece of fried chicken has been known to melt my heart. So admittedly, Eatonville is my kind of place.
Inspired by Zora Neale Hurston and named for her Florida hometown, Eatonville delivers dependably delicious southern cooking. Bold, bright murals cover the walls, and chintzy touches such as scattered rocking chairs set the southern ambiance.
With a mix of Motown greats like Marvin Gaye playing in the background, we started our meal off right with a couple of cocktails. On the sweeter side, cocktails at Eatonville have funky names like “Daisy Lemonade” and “Grown and Sexy,” the latter of which I almost ordered just for the fun of it.
An order of the honey-cornbread muffins served with sweet whipped butter is a must; an order of four muffins costs only $2. While unfailingly southern, the menu does feature a shocking number of healthy options, such as cauliflower and goat cheese spinach salad, vegan gumbo, and pan-fried tofu with mushrooms. That being said, if you’re here, I say go for it — if it has “fried” in the name or description, it’s almost certainly tasty.
The fried green tomato starter is served with avocado and has a surprisingly spicy kick of oil. Southern fried chicken arrives on a plate chock-full of collard greens, mac and cheese and a buttermilk biscuit. Other stand-out entrées include:
- Catfish and grits, which featured fish, which was at the same time flaky and crispy, and cheesy jalapeño gruyere grits.
- Pan-fried pork chop with sweet potato hash and broccolini.
- Pecan-crusted trout with hoppin’ john (essentially dirty rice).
That southern influence extends to their hospitable service. At the end of a meal I had there, a busboy accidentally removed and tossed a dish my friend wanted to take home. The waiter promptly fixed her a new (slightly smaller) portion of her entrée.
Next up on my list to try at Eatonville — the BGLT sandwich (bacon, fried green tomato, lettuce).
Eatonville: The Details
- Where Am I Going: 2121 14th Street NW (at V Street)
- When Am I Going: Eatonville is open Monday-Thursday, 11:30 am to 11 pm; Friday, 11:30 am to midnight; Saturday, 10 am to midnight; Sunday, 10 am to 11 pm. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday, 10 am to 3 pm.
- Paycheck Pain: Starters are all under 10 bucks, entrees $21 and under, and sandwiches in the $9-$13 range. Cocktails will set you back about 10 bucks.
- Say What?: You can clearly hear both your dining party and the great tunes with ease.
- What You’ll Be Eating: Down-home, feel-good, southern cookin.’
And if that news wasn’t enough to knock your socks off, then brace yourself my fellow hoagie lovers, because the new 19th and M Street NW location is also rumored to be serving breakfast.
The Dupont location, set to open July 2, will be Taylor Gourmet’s fourth spot in the District and sixth in the metro area.
From Namita Koppa. Email her at namita[AT]borderstan.com.
Featured image of the bar at The Pig by Luis Gomez Photos. See more photos of the interior of The Pig on Flickr.
EatWell DC’s newest restaurant, The Pig, recently announced their new brunch offering. Beginning Saturday, June 30, you can park a seat and fill up on classic brunch fare with a twist as curly as a pig’s tail at the 14th Street restaurant. (Also, see EatWell’s Newest Venture: The Pig Opens Thursday.)
Featured dishes include a smoked ham Benedict with a buttermilk biscuit, duck egg, and poblano hollandaise; gnocchi & eggs bacon lardon; and huevos tomatillos, complete with eggs, smoked chorizo, lentils, and house cheese on a corn tortilla.
Vegetarians and vegans, don’t fear! The Pig will be offering a garden omelet complete with salad and grilled bread; chickpea hash with eggs and greens; sweet potato pancakes with crème fraiche; and roasted beets salad with chef’s cheese and pomegranate reduction. Vegan options include an heirloom radish salad and fruit salad.
Since opening its doors in mid-May, The Pig has offered up delicious meals featuring every part of our porcine companions. Sourcing fruits and vegetables from EatWell DC’s Natural Farm in La Plata, MD, The Pig’s culinary team receives whole pigs, which they break down in-house.
Ranging from a salad featuring crispy pig ears to an ice cream sundae containing pig’s blood, the menu by Chef Garret Fleming is diverse, creative, and tasty. Also featured are a number of craft beers and cocktails made from small-batch spirits. The Pig is at 1320 14th Street NW, just south of Rhode Island Avenue.
If you find yourself wanting to enjoy some authentic, affordable Latin American flavors, the Judy Restaurant El Salvadorian & Mexican Food at 2012 14th Street NW remains a good option. The restaurant has been open since 1993 — prior to that the owners ran first a billiards room and then a grocery store.
The ample space has an original taste to it with TV screens showing telenovelas or futbol that you can watch from the bar or from some of the tables in the main room. They have a second room that serves as a music stage or can be rented for private parties. On the second floor they have pool tables.
Judy Restaurant is a colorful, bright place. The crowd is very mixed — “old” and “new” customers. During the week Latin American workers as well as young, new neighbors gather for a happy hour –that is usually bilingual with a bartender that keeps conversations going in Spanish and English.
Judy is not a fancy place, but it does have delicious food. You can say it is Salvadorian-Mexican, but there is such a thin line in that description. I am not from El Salvador or from Mexico, but the food does remind me of the good flavors from home. The menu at Judy Restaurant consists of your traditional tamales, quesadillas, pupusas and other traditional dishes that evoke real flavors.
Matty had a fried yuca and pork plate that was unbelievable (the chunks of pork are marinated before frying). The yuca was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside with a beautifully golden color.
The shrimp and mushroom quesadillas were perfectly done and already plenty. However, I kept on dipping yuca and Matty’s chunks of fried pork into a creamy sauce that was flavorful, but not too hot for me. It was a substantial meal to say the least. We were not able to get dessert.
The experience was also enhanced by the great service from Judy, the daughter of the owners. She was a delightful host who told us that her parents have had the restaurant for a long time and that they own the building. Judy’s dad is actually in charge of the kitchen. Judy Restaurant is a one of those hidden gems in the neighborhood.
Judy Restaurant: The Details
- Where Am I Going? 2212 14th Street NW.
- When Am I Going? Sunday to Thursday 10 pm to 1:30 am; Friday and Saturday 10 am to 2:30 am.
- Delivery? No, but they do have carry-out service.
- Paycheck Pain? $12 to $20
- Say What? It can be loud for dinner during the weekend but much quieter during weekdays.
- What You’ll Be Eating: Great Latin American comfort food.
From Tom Hay. Questions for Tom? Send him an email at Tom[AT]borderstan.com and follow him on Twitter @Tomonswann.
Mila Clothing store owner Zahir Rahimi recently sent out a plea for support for a zoning variance for his store to Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1B, and also appeared before the U Street Neighborhood Association at their monthly meeting last week.
Rahimi explained that he plans to close his 3,500-square-foot store at 2015 14th Street NW due to changing demographics in the neighborhood. His plans to lease the property are complicated by the decades-old Uptown Arts-Mixed Use Overlay District centered around the 14th and U Streets NW intersection.
Rahimi says the only tenants interested in his space are restaurant owners, so he hopes to obtain relief from the Board of Zoning to lease his space to a restaurant.
In a nutshell, the arts overlay limits the amount of eating or drinking establishments to 50% of the ground floor retail on a block within the Uptown Arts District. The goal of the overlay is to “encourage retail, entertainment and residential uses that require pedestrian activity; an increased presence and integration of the arts and related cultural and arts-related support uses.”
When first conceived, the overlay had a limit of 25%. When that cap was reached the limit was raised to 50% in an effort to spur development along 14th Street.The problem now for landlords like Rahimi is that the 2000 block of 14th Street where Mila is located has hit the 50% limit. The strip is home to Busboys & Poets, Marvin, Gibson, Blackbyrd and Lost Society, to name a few.
The zoning decision is sure to be closely watched by both residents and developers. The area comprising the Uptown Arts District is undergoing rapid change with major development on nearly every block. Most of the larger projects in the pipeline are mixed-use — ground-floor retail space and residential units on upper floors — which make the retail spaces prime locations for restaurants and bars. It is now common in the neighborhood for developers and restaurants to commit to leases long before projects are complete, rather than face being shut out if no zoning variances are approved.