Eatonville’s days are numbered on the 14th Street corridor as its owner prepares to transform the Southern restaurant into a “new and exciting venue” early next year, a representative of the eatery announced yesterday.
According to a Facebook post titled “A New Chapter for Eatonville Restaurant,” the eatery at 2121 14th St. NW is set to close for a “makeover” in late January. Owner Andy Shallal then is slated to usher in a “fresh new menu, an extensive beverage program and our signature Food and Folklore series with guest chefs, authors and folklorists” in February, the post says.
Further details on the changes to the restaurant are expected to emerge in the coming weeks, the post adds.
Despite a tropical storm aiming straight for the southern part of the East Coast this weekend, I braved my way down I-95 and took a road trip to Charleston, S.C.
Yes, ma’am — I had plans for sun, paired with Southern cuisine and a side of Seersucker.
Boy, was I disappointed.
What I always remembered as a traditional, southern little city did not live up to my “leave your pinkie out while you sip your tea” and “remember to tie your bow” expectations.
In fact, it was quite the opposite. Charleston has transformed into the capital of cool.
Sure, the Seersucker, manners and bows are still around — and will always be preserved — but on top of all that is a top-notch local food movement, a booming boutique business, a cocktail scene like no other, skateboarders, and, oh yeah, beaches.
The whole trip home I was wanting to turn around and just head right back to Charleston. But since I can’t get back there for a few more months, I’m going to do my best to find a bit of Charleston in DC.
That’s right, I am on a mission to get southern in Borderstan.
Bourbon: One thing they take very seriously in Charleston is bourbon. And thankfully, so does Bourbon on 18th Street. Not only does this place have lots of — well, bourbon — it also serves bowls of tots, fish and chips and grilled BBQ salmon. 14th Street’s Back Whiskey also has you covered in terms of beverage selections and locally sourced small plates.
Locally-Sourced Southern Food: Shrimp and grits, crab cakes, fried green tomatoes, hush puppies — I could keep going. But I’ll stop. Thankfully, there are several places in the area that serve up some great southern food. Next time you have a hankering, try the cornmeal fried oysters and Spoonbread at The Pig.
Chic Boutiques and Local Businesses: Finding chic designs isn’t too difficult in Charleston — and it’s pretty easy to find the same in Borderstan. Classy outfits? Check out Ginger Root Design. Something a little more edgy? Redeem. Home decor? Good Wood.
Greenery and Gardens: One of my favorite parts of Charleston is the courtyard gardens, visible from the streets in downtown Charleston. While the gardens in DC. are not as popular as the ones in Charleston, you can catch some great greenery up and down the side residential streets in Dupont Circle or at Meridian Hill Park.
Surfers: Sorry. Charleston still wins on this one.
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.’
From Michelle Lancaster
Finally: Northeast Corner of 14th & U Getting Restaurant-Lounge-Club
Years after the U Street corridor began filling up with new businesses, the northeast corner of 14th and U St. NW has sat vacant, an unattractive spot in one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the city. That will finally change. Sommer Mathis at TBD reports: “A sizable restaurant, lounge and nightclub combo from the same team behind Local 16. Melissa McCart reported word of a planned late January restaurant opening on Thursday, and Local 16 spokeswoman Stacey Price has since confirmed the date for us. The separate, bottom-level nightclub would follow in March.”
New Chef at Eatonville
DC Jobs Summit Dec. 19
Greater Greater Washington reports on Mayor-Elect Gray’s plans for jobs in the District. The first step will be a jobs summit on Dec. 19 to work through thorny issues of how and if job training can be effective in lowering unemployment rates.
MPD Chief Lanier Wants to Stay in Job
WTOP Radio reports that MPD Chief Cathy Lanier wants to stay on the job — and has told Mayor-elect Vince Gray so. She was appointed by Mayor Adrian Fenty.
DC: A City Divided
The American Observer has published A City Divided, which looks at a changing Washington, DC, and the tensions arising from those changes. One of the eight flashpoints is U Street: “U Street area sees collision between new and old. An influx of new residents has caused tensions in the historically black neighborhood.” The focus of this section is a gay bar, Nellie’s Sports Bar at 9th and U NW.
ZooLights Opens Tonight at National Zoo
DC Jewish Film Festival
The Washington Jewish Community Center at 16th and Q NW kicked off their annual Jewish film festival Thursday night. It runs through Dec. 12, and tickets can be purchased in advance. Some films are already sold out; get more info on their website.
Guide to DC Area Holiday Concerts
We Love DC has a guide to holiday concerts in the DC metro area. On the list is the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, who will present “Men in Tights: A Pink Nutcracker at the Lisner Auditorium,” on Dec. 17.
Check out the slide show with photos from last night’s TrueFlavors Cook-Off.
From Alejandra Owens of One Bite At A Time
Monday night at Eatonville restaurant on 14th Street, three Top Chefs, two local chefs, a DC celeb and a journo’s wife (Ed Henry couldn’t make it) cooked their hearts out in support of TrueChild’s True Flavors Cook-Off. TrueChild is a group dedicated to ensuring children across the nation can achieve their full potential and not be held back by narrow stereotypes for boys and girls; it is headquartered in the neighborhood on Connecticut Avenue NW.
Josie Smith Malave (Top Chef Season 2) emceed the event last night in which two teams — headed by Top Chef alumn Ed Cotton and Angelo Sosa — duked it out in the Eatonville kitchen. Each team had 35 minutes to make a cocktail, appetizer, main course and dessert from a basket of ingredients they saw just moments before the TrueFlavors contest began. The ingredients included alligator, green tomatoes and other great produce.
In the end, Team Sosa was the unanimous winner of the competition, charming a judging panel comprised of children and adults. The team included Billy Klein of Cafe Saint-Ex at 14th and T NW as well as Jonathan Capehart of MSNBC/Washington Post (a kitchen-savvy young man!).
Check out our gallery for shots of all the fun!