When we first moved here, San Antonio’s and Colonel Brooks’ Tavern were holding it down as the major sit-down restaurants in the area. So it is still pretty surprising to us, in a way, to see Brookland businesses (and those in our wider area) getting publicity from the established city-wide press. We love it. These small businesses put a lot on the line, and took a chance on our area, so we thank them and congratulate them on being “Best Of” in their category. Area winners in
Right Proper takes the brewing process one step further than most: Its production brewery, which opened in Brookland in December, houses three 45-hectoliter oak wine casks (called foudres in French) inoculated with a house culture of wild yeasts and bacteria. A tribute to the days when beers were produced in only wooden vessels using natural airborne yeast, foudres allow beers to continuously develop in character and depth.
The Public Option – DC’s Best Brew Pub (Staff Pick). Since we did a story on their soft opening back in October, this small home-grown business has steadily improved with fun pop-up events and outdoor seating. As the City Paper said:
It is the most neighborly pint you can order in Washington. Now that is a brewpub.
Neighbors seem fiercely proud of the bright Mediterranean joint whose name means “nest” in Italian and Spanish…Were it located on buzzy 14th Street NW, it might be mobbed with scenesters. But given that it’s more than a mile from a Metro station, it’s a relaxed place to escape for the evening. Or as the description on the menu simply calls it, “a place to sit down.”
Jazz and Cultural Society (JACS) – Best New Jazz Venue (Staff Pick). When we first caught up with JACS owner DeAndrey Howard two summers ago, as he was making plans to open JACS, we knew it would evolve into a great neighborhood-focused destination. As noted by the City Paper:
It all adds up to a rare breed: jazz as a grassroots movement. JACS’ place among the rowhouses of Brookland is no accident. It signifies Howard and Jamison’s desire to strip away the music’s often-elitist trappings and give it back to an everyday audience.
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.
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!
All about Washington DC's Greater Brookland neighborhood