Brookland restaurant Little Ricky’s opened about a year and half ago, and has been tweaking and improving both the food and service concept ever since. After a mixed review from the Washington Post, they debuted a new menu last June that combined both Cuban and southern American elements. We recently learned that on May 1st, Little Ricky’s will do a “re-launch” featuring a new, southern cuisine based concept. We got a sneak peek of the menu and sampled some dishes, and while we are slightly disappointed to see a departure from the Cuban menu, everything we have sampled was delicious. Here is what co-owner Chase Moore had to say:
Very soon you are going to see some changes at Little Ricky’s, not the least of which will be the menu. As with a great many things we tire of repetition and long to shake things up. Food is no different, so with that, Little Ricky’s will be shaking things up in the coming month reorienting our focus from Cuban cuisine to a pointedly Southern, albeit diverse, offering.
Now, everyone in the restaurant industry has said we are nuts, and while we are certain they are correct – we’ve never been much for convention nor for playing it safe. Some will love the change, some will hate the change…to that point we are certain that those who hate it will tell us just how much on Yelp. That’s cool. Chef Miguel, who is coming on as a partner in the venture, is working on a fun menu that frankly we are super excited about. A section of the menu will be dedicated to constant items and many more “take out” friendly options, like a host of Po Boys, while the entrees portion will be more flexible and draw inspirational from the Carolinas to Texas, and points in between….with even the occasional nod to the Caribbean and South America. The new menu will be rolled out on May 1st.
Brooklanders who dine at Little Ricky’s regularly will be familiar with some of the southern dishes that have been on the menu for a while – like the catfish bites, shrimp and grits, and fried green tomatoes. Some new standouts include crabmeat “sardou” and a “low country boil” consisting of shrimp, potatoes, corn on the cob, sausage, and more, boiled with spices and served with french bread and butter. Chase added that as they get more situated with their new menu, they will up step up their offerings by adding specials that include wild game and other surprises. In addition to the new menu, Chase was quick to point out that he recruited new kitchen staff that is more experienced and will turn out a more consistent product going forward. We wish this local business the best of luk with their new vision! Little Ricky’s is located at 3522 12th St. NE. Their website is here.
After much anticipation, the&Pizza location at the Monroe Street Market development opens today. Lucky for us, Alia Khayrullina, &Pizza’s Community Manager, hooked us up with a sneak peek of the restaurant Saturday (see pics above). If you didn’t catch our earlier review of the &Pizza H Street location, you can read it here. As expected the pizza was high quality and delicious. It is so great to have a new fast/casual option for dining in the neighborhood. I love how &Pizza uses creative high quality ingredients, yet remains affordable – I anticipate that this place will be very successful. The restaurant is located on the retail/street level of the Portland Flats building (664 Monroe Street NE) and has the hip vibe of the other locations, anchored in modern, crisp-looking black and white decor. Here are more details from Monroe Street Market General Manager David Raley:
– 1st Monroe Street Market store to offer patio seating.
– Signature black and white design elements are familiar to all the &pizza locations, but the new style of imagery brings out the diversity and amity the neighborhood prides itself in.
– The new large scale images evoke emotion and help to activate the large walls and high ceiling the space had to offer.
– Bathrooms with mirrored tile and characters from emerging local artist Kelly Towles.
– A large ampersand is found on the exterior of the store, made out of cut steel, exposing the foundational brick seen throughout the newly developed building.
“There’s a sense of neighborhood pride and we wanted to create something that would add to that,” said Michael Lastoria. “The history and character of the neighborhood drew us here and continues to inspire us daily.”
The hours will be 10:00 am – 11:00 pm Sunday – Thursday and 10:00 am – 12:00 am Friday – Saturday. The location at Monroe Street Market will be the 5th location for this small chain; the other stores are on H Street, U Street, Bethesda, and Germantown.
Yes! Organic Market announced on their Facebook page, that starting immediately customers can place delivery orders online. They partner with Instacart, an online platform that is used by many other well established businesses for their delivery services. Here is their statement:
Yes! Organic Market is pleased to announce that we have selected Instacart as our delivery service partner. Effective today, customers can order from a virtual Yes! store and have it delivered to their door in as little as an hour!
Instacart will help us further realize our ongoing commitment to bringing healthy food to neighborhoods across the Washington, DC area. Delivery service is available in all of DC and some surrounding parts of Maryland and Virginia.
Visit www.instacart.com to try it out!
Just in case you didn’t have the chance to visit our own Brookland location of Yes! Organic, here is the store information:
On Sunday March 23rd, an exciting culinary tour, Cochon555, will be stopping in Washington DC at nearby Union Market . According to the Cochon website, Cochon555 is:
A one-of-a-kind traveling culinary competition and tasting event – five chefs, five pigs, five winemakers – to promote sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs. After putting 50 events in the history books, this fine-tuned flavor train departs for another ten-city tour uniting local farmers, renowned chefs, prominent winemakers, established restaurateurs, brewers, distillers and the pork loving public in a stand-up tasting reception format.
Sounds delicious! Tickets to the event are $50 and you can buy them here. Union Market is located at 1309 5th Street NE.
We just learned some great news! The “Historic Brookland Farmer’s Market” is launching at the Monroe Street Market development this May. The operator of the market will be Lydia’s Fields Farm, who will bring a minimum of 10-20 regional farmers and food producers to our door step! The nutrition-focused market will set up shop along the Arts Walk at Monroe Street Market every Saturday from May 10, 2014-November 22, 2014, from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm.
We heard from David Raley, General Manager of the development, that there is much more than a run-of-the-mill farmers market planned:
The goal is to also have performances small to larger scale in order to add to the draw of the market. Obviously, with over 40 artists in place at The Arts Walk, we feel that the mix of food, performance, retailers, restaurants and art will make Monroe Street Market a destination for all Washingtonians. Additionally, we will host holiday markets and maybe even have cut trees before Xmas or a pumpkin patch in Halloween. Monroe Street Market and Bozzuto Management Company couldn’t be more excited about this. We would also like to thank Lavinia Wohlfarth the acting Chairman at DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for introducing this community to Lydia’s Fields Farms and sharing her vision with us.
A pumpkin patch? Holiday Market? Be still my beating heart! With this announcment and new restaurants and shops on the way, the Monroe Street Market development keeps getting better all the time. The Arts Walk is located at 716 Monroe Street NE, Washington DC 20017.
One of the restaurants under construction right now at the Monroe Street Market development is &pizza. We first met the friendly &pizza crew at Monroe Street Market’s Holiday Bazaar event. At the time I didn’t know much about the chain, except that they were going to open a location in the Portland Flats building this spring. I have to be honest, at first I was very skeptical. I thought Brookland has quite a few pizza places already. What would make this one different? Then I heard that instead of table service, customers order their pizza using an assembly line format similar to Chipotle or Subway, and I was disappointed. I envisioned a pizza place that was just a step above fast food levels. But, we figured it is our duty to get the scoop for our readers. So, Astrid and I decided to check things out for ourselves and get a taste of what is to come. So we headed down to the &pizza H Street location, which is called H&pizza. We also brought a couple of hungry friends along for our “taste test”. Quite simply – we were all blown away. The food, atmosphere, service and overall experience were outstanding.
Walking in, we noted the hip/casual vibe and the historic photos of the H Street neighborhood on the walls. The pizzas come with a choice of traditional, whole wheat or multigrain dough (they plan on rolling out a gluten free dough in the future). We got regular crust on all our pizzas, and it was really great. (As a side note, we were especially thrilled by this, because Astrid and I rarely agree on crusts – she likes thin, and I like regular.) The pizzas come in one size, kind of like a gourmet rectangular flatbread that is a generous portion size for one person. Once you pick your crust, you select a “signature” pizza whose toppings and sauces/spreads are already defined, or customize your own pizza from a huge selection of toppings. We were happy to find that &pizza is very affordable, with pizzas coming in at less than $9.00 each. They offer a limited, but good, selection of wine and craft beers. We ordered four pizzas. They were ready so fast! Here’s what we had:
The Moonstruck – comes with roasted local mushrooms, crumbled goat cheese, fig marsala, red peppers and chili oil. It was very “mushroomy” and the truffle oil gave the earthy tone a nice balance. Very delicious and a little sweet. Us carnivores couldn’t believe that a pizza with no meat tastes so good!
Backyard Garden – comes with garlic and ricotta spreads, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, roasted peppers, arugula, and tomatoes. It was very yummy and the veggies were very fresh tasting.
Kiss & Fire – comes with a four cheese blend, ricotta, meatballs, mushrooms and a strawberry balsamic drizzle. This pizza gets its heat from a spicy tomato sauce but it actually started off sweet, and not overbearingly hot. After a few bites though, the heat starts to creep up on you. It was really delicious, and the layers of flavor complement each other really well. I would eat this pizza again in a second. Our only critique is that unless you really love spicy food, it may be hard to eat it all if that’s your only pizza. But paired with the Backyard Garden, for example, it was fantastic.
We decided to try our hand at selecting our own ingredients for the last pizza. There were so many toppings to choose from, and we thought it was awesome that the pizza comes at a flat price regardless of the number of toppings you choose. We selected chicken, pesto, bacon, red peppers, kalamata olives, feta cheese, and vegan cheese. Although it was very good, it was our least favorite of the four and the chicken was a little dry. From now on, we’ll let &pizza pick the toppings for us.
For dessert we grabbed some of the Pizzelle Waffle Cookies to go. They were really good, not too sweet, with a nice anise flavor.
We chatted with Tony, the manager at the H Street location. They do a swift business; he told us that between Gallaudet students, residents, and the after bar and club crowd they pump out thousands of pizzas a week. Wow. He added that the co-owner, Steve Salis, is very hands on and a great motivator. The location at Monroe Street Market will be the 5th location for this small chain; the other stores are on H Street, U Street, Bethesda, and Germantown. Alia Khayrullina, &pizza’s Community Manager recently told us that Monroe Street Market’s location will open in early March. We can’t wait!
At the Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association (BNCA) meeting last night we got two great updates on restaurants coming to the area!
Steel Plate: In July many Brooklanders were quite excited to learn that the owners of Bloomingdale’s Rustik Tavern signed a lease in for a new location in Brookland, at 3523 12th Street NE, to be called Steel Plate. The name is a nod to the railroad tracks that have been a historic and prominent part of life in Brookland. We got an update from Diton Pashaj, the owner, as part of an official request of support from the organization. The restaurant will be two floors with 142 indoor seats and will include a summer garden with 69 seats. He also distributed a sample menu (listed below) that is not set in stone, and he noted that the restaurant’s menu will change every 3 or 4 months. Last week the restaurant saw a big milestone when it posted it’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) licence placards, which effectively sets the time table for hearings and potential protests. Any protests have to filed by March 3, but Diton noted that he has not heard about anyone planning to protest. We asked if he will be presenting at February’s ANC 5B meeting, and he said he is waiting to hear back from the ANC about getting on agenda. The restaurant’s alcohol program will be wine and beer centric with 12-14 wines by the glass, and another 12-14 beers available, and they will look to carry local DC beers. The restaurant team is seeking the following hours: Monday – Thursday from 8:00 am – 2:00 am and Friday – Sunday from 8:00 am – 3:00 am. Diton noted that he “would love support” from the neighborhood as the ABRA process get underway. As for the BNCA, they took a vote, and will write a letter to ABRA in support of the restaurant. If everything goes perfectly, the target date to open is mid April or so. For more information, follow the restaurant on Twitter @Steel_Plate_DC.
Brookland Pint: In September we learned that the owner of Meridian Pint and Smoke and Barrell, John Andrade, will be bringing a new restaurant to the south-west corner of Monroe Street Market’s Artwalk (at 8th and Monroe NE). Yesterday we learned that the restaurant will be called Brookland Pint. John also informed us that he is expecting the restaurant’s construction permits any day now, and will begin build-out in a matter of weeks. He also expects to post his ABRA application notice in a few weeks, and like Steel Plate, Brookland Pint will seek maximum hours. Still, they don’t foresee staying open that late regularly, as they will have a strong restaurant and American craft beer focus, and usually close their other locations around 11 or 12 o’clock at night. The restaurant will have 120 seats inside and 48 on the outdoor patio, which will be a great anchor for the 27 art galleries that make up the Arts Walk. If all goes well, they are hoping to open the restaurant this July.
Steel Plate example menu:
Country ham, heirloom tomato, black pepper mayonnaise
Fried egg, extra sharp cheddar, grilled asparagus
Roast beef, thousand island slaw
Fried chicken, peach and cranberry, bibb lettuce
Sides and Salads
Marinated tomatoes and basil
Corn dodgers, pinto beans
Toasted green bananas
Grilled Napa cabbage
Wilted lettuce with bacon and eggs
Greens with house dressing
Crispy herbed potato wedges
Fried green tomatoes, pear chow chow
Potato cheese scones
Creamed shrimp, rye toast
Chicken with dumplings
Cobb salad, apple Roquefort dressing
Virginia ham, red eye gravy, biscuit, warm apple sauce
Yesterday I had the pleasure of hanging out with Brookland’s Finest managing partners Tony Tomelden and Frank Hankins, and got a peek into how things are progressing. The place has come a long way since the shell it was in April! Frank describes the look they are going for as “industrial/rustic”. That explains a lot of the masculine design features centered around reclaimed wood, metal, exposed beams and brick. Another very cool addition is the concrete bar top and countertops. Tony explained that they plan on finishing them with a sealant, which will give then a bit of a shine, and that they are happy with how they have turned out.
One of the great features of this corner location is the amount of natural light that floods the space. A lot of progress has been made since the last time we checked in, including the build-out of the kitchen area. Unfortunately, that is where the restaurant is facing its biggest delays. Tony explained that having kitchen equipment built from scratch, delivered and installed may still take up to another 4 to 8 weeks. Frank added that there are “a lot of inspections” that still need to take place as well. Of course, they cannot control how quickly the city can conduct fire, health and regulatory inspections, so we will just have to patient as they cross these hurdles. Frank assured me that nothing has changed about their plans to serve up “classic American food” with a few twists and a strong coffee program. We will let you know of any big milestones as the opening day draws near. We can’t wait – the place looks great!
The last time we wrote about the possibility of restaurant chain Busboys and Poets coming to our neighborhood it was February 2013. At that time all we really knew is that owner Andy Shallal was negotiating a lease on a space at Monroe Street Market. Today we learned from a Washington Post article that the deal has been finalized. The article states:
The Brookland Busboys will be a 7,400-square-foot restaurant overlooking a public square named for former Catholic University president David M. O’Connell, at the corner of Monroe Street and Michigan Avenue. It’s expected to open in the fall of 2014.
We appreciate that the Monroe Street Market team has been targeting proven, DC-based restaurants to anchor their development. Can’t wait to check the place out!
We have a lot to be thankful for. In the years that we have lived in Brookland we have made friends with amazing neighbors. We never stop being amazed by the great people we meet, and are thankful for groups like the Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association, Garden Club, Greater Brookland LGBTs, and Ward 5 Happy Hour, that provide networks that enrich our community.
There have been a lot of ups and downs over this past year in particular, and I am grateful that my wife (and co-blogger) Astrid has been steadfast in her support of everything I do.
What are some of the things you are thankful for today?
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