This week, Vox wanted to offer the Class of 2014 a few recommendations of places to visit in the Georgetown neighborhood. Today, we cover daylife—check back later this week for what to do on nights and weekends. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments!
When you’re really sick of Leo’s …
Clyde’s: The original location of the Clyde’s Restaurant Group, Clyde’s offers upscale, traditional American food in a casual setting. Clyde’s claims that its appetizer menu inspired “Afternoon Delight,” but we’re pretty sure songwriter Bill Danoff (FLL ’68) had something else in mind—no matter how much we love the restaurant’s crab cakes and chili.
Sweetgreen: Opened in 2007 as the brainchild of three recent Georgetown alumni, Sweetgreen specializes in creative—and in our opinion, delicious—salads, as well as Sweetflow frozen yogurt. Sweetflow, which tastes like frozen nectar handed down from God himself, is even sold on the streets of D.C. via the Sweetflow Mobile.
Qdoba: Every Monday night, hungry students flood into Qdoba on M Street. Why? Because it’s half-price burrito day! The large meals, free sodas, and 50 percent discounts at this chain fast-food restaurant are an inexpensive alternative to Leo’s.
Tackle Box: ”To-go” and “seafood” don’t often work well together, but Tackle Box pulls it off. As the casual, cheaper version of parent restaurant Hook, Tackle Box offers fresh fish prepared to order and available for dine-in or take-out. (Our favorite meal? The fish tacos.)
Martin’s Tavern: If you’re looking to dine at a restaurant that has served every sitting president from Harry Truman to George W. Bush—Barack Obama hasn’t been there, yet—then Martin’s is the place to go.
1789: The most upscale of the Clyde’s Restaurant Group restaurants, a meal at 1789 is a popular option—if your parents are in town. The pricey restaurant is a favorite of a number of famous Washingtonians and politicos, including Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman, but is also more than a little bit out of most students’ price ranges. But if you want to go, try making a reservation while they offer their prix fix summer special.
Since Georgetown Wing Co. soft-opened in June, we’ve suffered from crisis of conscience. Do we stay faithful to Wingo’s, or do we start eating at Wing Co.? Unfortunately, we can’t decide for ourselves.
So, we recruited some help. Some super-secret guest help.
Prepare yourselves—by this time next week, we’ll have put an end to the Great Wing War of 2010.
Georgetown’s favorite pizza place is trying to come back—again.
Philly Pizza & Grill, which D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles once compared to a brothel, recently filed a demolition permit with the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) for its Potomac Street location. However, don’t start dreaming of late-night, ranch-drenched pizza just yet.
According to the recently-approved permit, the building is zoned as a “prepared food shop.” Philly Pizza originally closed because it violated zoning laws about prepared food shops; even if owner Mehmet Kocak reopens the eatery, it can’t be the late-night pizza peddler it once was.
The permit allows for “limited interior demolition” that focuses on equipment that would be needed to make food on the premises. The building’s “kitchen hood, ductwork and exhaust system” are all being removed.
Shortly after Philly Pizza was closed via court order in March, owner Matt Kocak filed papers with the DCRA for a new certificate of occupancy. While the DCRA has yet to approve the application, the renovations suggest that Kocak is angling to reopen his restaurant.
However, those who fought to close the restaurant, such as ANC Commissioner Bill Starrels, are disappointed with the new developments.
“I don’t think [Kocak] has earned any credibility,” Starrels said. “I hope that Peter Nickles will do everything in the law and his power to protect my constituents from having to suffer under these people again and from this place reopening.”
Even if Philly Pizza does reopen, neighbors shouldn’t expect large crowds of customers—the permit lists the proposed maximum occupancy at 18 persons.
Georgetown Wing Co. had its soft opening this Sunday on the second level of 3291 M Street above Crêpe Amour, and it looks like all are welcome. Commence the great wing wars of Georgetown!
But not really. Glancing at Wing Co.’s menu, they offer pretty different fare from Wingo’s—like ‘mango caliente’ or chili lime sauce on your wings. (Sorry, I only know ‘mild,’ ‘abusive,’ and ‘nuclear.’ Can we get a conversion chart?) To celebrate their opening week, they’re having several beer specials, with $1.50 Miller Lite & Yuengling bottles and $3 Sam Adams Seasonal and Sierra Nevada bottles. This Friday, they’re even kicking off a brunch menu when the World Cup starts. Mimosas and crêpes! At a wing joint!
Still, Vox prays that this leads to an epic face-off between Wing Co. and Wingo’s, with escalating deals and specials for students à la Qdoba and Chipotle. We’re just salivating at the thought of half price Wing Wednesdays and we have lots of clever lines at the ready, like “All’s fair in love and wings.”
Earlier today, FoBoBloreported that News Café on M St. will close this Saturday, only to be reopen as Thunder Burger & Bar.
Big changes are coming to the soon-to-be-former Italian restaurant—News Café General Manager Ryan Clarke told Vox that the ownership is just about the only thing that isn’t going to change at the restaurant.
When it reopens “on Thursday night or Friday night next week,” Thunder Burger & Bar will depart from News Café’s cozy, date-friendly atmosphere with a completely new interior, customized bar, and kitchen.
“We like innovating. We’ve been an Italian restaurant for 12 years. There are six different Italian restaurants in [the immediate area]; we decided that it’s gotten a bit stale,” Clarke said. “We decided to do something different.”
Thunder Burger & Bar plans to specialize in 10-ounce, grass-fed beef burgers, but will also offer venison, bison, Kobe beef, salmon, and portobello mushroom burgers. Clarke added that the restaurant hopes to make tuna burgers and veggie burgers soon after opening.
(And fret not, of-age denizens of Georgetown. The restaurant’s bar will be stocked with 23 beers on tap, with a focus on American craft beers.)
“We’re going to have a fully rounded-out menu, but 95% of the focus will be on the burger,” he said.
Clarke claims that Thunder Burger & Bar is unlike DC’s established burger joints—Good Stuff, Five Guys, and BGR, to name a few—because it’s aim is not to become a fast-food restaurant.
“We want to bring quality burgers back to a sit-down restaurant with a sit-down experience,” he said.
Morso, Georgetown’s newest Mediterranean restaurant, is finally set to open tomorrow at 5 p.m. Located at 3277 M St., Morso will specialize in small Turkish plates, such as flatbreads, wraps, and mezes.
Last April, the Voicereviewed Morso, highlighting the restaurant’s quirky head chef, Ed Witt, and his devotion to local, sustainable food sources.
“We’re focused on quality and affordable food,” Witt said to the Voice. “It won’t be the cheapest, but it’ll certainly be the highest quality around.”
Morso’s sister restaurant, Morso Express, has been up and running since late March. Vox visited Morso Express when it opened, only to be underwhelmed by its offerings.
But, we have a confession to make: we’ve popped into Morso Express from time-to-time and the food’s gotten better. These days, the toppings nicely complement each dish, while the meat rarely tends to be overcooked. (Which is a far cry from when we first visited.)
Interested in eating at Morso? Make your reservations online at Open Table.
Does Herman Melville have anything to do with kabob and hummus? Vox doesn’t recognize the relationship but that hasn’t stopped Moby Dick House of Kabob.
Moby Dicks Georgetown location—1070 31st Street NW—will be expanding in the coming week. The restaurant will add approximately thirty seats by expanding in to the space next door that formerly was occupied by a dry cleaning store.
The rumor about Moby Dick expansion was first floated by We Love DC earlier this month and confirmed yesterday by the Georgetown Dish. An employee told the Dish that Moby Dick is just waiting for the delivery of tables and chairs, and should be open sometime next week.
The Georgetown location is one of the fifteen locations in the metro area, and there are plans to build three new locations in Maryland, DC, and Virginia.
With this expansion there should be plenty of room to get a full dine-in experience at this budget kabob eatery. Just make sure you don’t tell the person taking your order to call you Ishmael.
Ristorante Piccolo, a cozy Italian restaurant in Georgetown that a fire shut down in 2008, has finally announced that it will reopen in the last week of April, Georgetown Metropolitan reports. This is welcome news, since the restaurant’s grand re-opening had been pushed back several times.
“Before the fire, the upscale Italian restaurant, which was established in 1986, featured a second-floor balcony overlooking the C & O Canal, hardwood floors, three fireplaces, and a strolling violinist to lend a romantic atmosphere to the dining experience,” the Voice’s Alisha Crovetto wrote.
But initially the owners of Piccolo had ahard time getting some of their plans for renovation approved by various local government groups.
At a January Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting, ANC Commissioners gave the owner and her mother a hard time about a streetside outdoor dining area. A few months ago, the Old Georgetown Board also rejected designs for the streetside balcony the restaurant had before the fire.
Serving up hand-cut fries, mouth-watering burgers, and handspun milkshakes, which sound amazing even though we don’t even know what that means, Good Stuff Eatery, which Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn opened in 2008, indubitably lives up to its name.
Other potential second locations include Baltimore, Arlington, and Virginia, so Good Stuff isn’t guaranteed to open up in Georgetown. But hey, we’ve got the home court advantage, right?
In the meantime, Mendelsohn’s preparing to open We, The Pizza, right next door to the existing Good Stuff location. We, The Pizza will serve New-York style slices and whole pies. Toppings will range from tradition, Bloomberg news reports, like pepperoni, “to the more creative: with creamed spinach; potato and pancetta; or mushrooms with truffle shavings and Bechamel sauce.”
Despite its 2 a.m. closing time, if you’re looking for another late-night hotspot for drunken food binges and shouted conversations, the recently-opened Morso Express isn’t it. Nestled in a sliver of real estate along on M St. near Rhino Bar and Dean and Deluca, this place is classy.
Gawk at the mod-style lamps! And the awkwardly shaped bar stool-chair hybrids! But the decor—and the trendy vibe Morso seems to be after with its Facebook page and Twitter feed—is ultimately at odds with the restaurant’s authentic Turkish offerings.
Anybody unfamiliar with Turkish cuisine may feel a bit overwhelmed by Morso’s menu, replete with kabobs, mezes, and pide. Luckily, the employees seem eager to help. (And if you’re stubborn enough to order on your own, like I am, the recommended meat, topping, and sauce combinations printed onto a sheet of paper at the register are helpful guides.)
I tried two of the wraps yesterday when I visited: the lamb and pistachio kabob wrap, filled with ground lamb and topped with tangy sumac onions, grilled tomatoes, and tahini yogurt, and the grilled chicken wrap, topped with grilled onions, hummus, and a mayonnaise sauce.