Young and Hungry

Cosby-Free Ben’s Chili Bowl Opens Wednesday on H Street NE


Ben's Chili Bowl will begin serving half-smokes at its largest location yet on Wednesday. A full-service dining area on the second floor and a rooftop bar are coming in the next two to three months.

Like the Rossyln location that opened last year, the newest Ben's has framed photos of bold face names who've visited the original outpost over the years as well as a timeline on the wall of the restaurant's history. Notably missing is Bill Cosby, whose image is prominently featured on a similar timeline at the Rosslyn location. The TV star, who has been the subject of multiple rape allegations, admitted to obtaining drugs to give to sexual targets, according to court documents, the Associated Press reported yesterday.

Co-owner Nizam Ali declined to comment on anything related to Cosby, including whether the longtime Ben's patron will continue to eat free. The restaurant has long had a policy that Cosby, whose face is painted on the side of the U Street location, is the only person who eats for free. When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, the Obama family was also added to that exclusive list. Cosby was also present at a ribbon-cutting for the Rosslyn opening. Ali declined to comment on whether Cosby was invited to tomorrow's ribbon-cutting ceremony, which will feature the Chuck Brown Band and Mayor Muriel Bowser.

The menu on the street level floor is pretty much the same as it is at Ben's other locations. The restaurant will open as early as 6 a.m. with offerings like hot cakes and egg sandwiches. Half-smokes, burgers, and bowls are all still there, along with soft-serve for dessert. The main difference between the iconic U Street NW location and the H Street NE spot is that its shiny and new with sparkly red chairs and a flatscreen TV. (And there's no jukebox.) Read more Cosby-Free Ben’s Chili Bowl Opens Wednesday on H Street NE

Founding Farmers Team Opening $7 Million Distillery Pub in Mt. Vernon Triangle

The-Farm-Gin_JenCubas-682x1024The restaurant group behind Founding Farmers and Farmers Fishers Bakers has worked with local distillers to produce its own signature gin and rye whiskey in recent years. Now, the group will begin producing booze itself with a new distillery pub called Farmers & Distillers, coming to 600 Massachusetts Ave. NW in the fall of 2016.

The $7 million project will inhabit a 12,000-square-foot space with a 300-seat restaurant and 30-seat bar. Farmers Restaurant Group, which is owned by Dan Simons, Michael Vucurevich, and the North Dakota Farmers Union, will team with Rick Wasmund of Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, Va. on the distillery component. (Wasmund collaborated with Beverage Director Jon Arroyo on Farmers Restaurant Group's existing spirits.) Read more Founding Farmers Team Opening $7 Million Distillery Pub in Mt. Vernon Triangle

Last Night’s Leftovers: Outdoor Drinking Edition


D.C.'s best outdoor drinking spots [Zagat]

Sloppy Mama's food truck works to bounce back after fire. [Eater]

Olivia's Diner now open on 19th Street NW. [Borderstan]

12 things to see, eat, drink and do in July 2015 [Post]

Vapiano in Ballston closes after eight years. [ARLnow]

South Block Juice Co. opens new cafe in East Falls Church. [NoVa Mag]

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Silver Spring Restaurant Creates Shark Attack Cocktail

Shark Week at AG Kitchen

Eight people have been attacked by sharks along the North Carolina coast within the past month. None of the victims were killed, but a few lost limbs and sustained other serious injuries. Sounds like inspiration for a cocktail?

AG Kitchen, a "nuevo Latino" restaurant from New York chef Alex Garcia that recently opened in Silver Spring, is offering a "Bloody Shark Attack" cocktail this week. The drink contains Captain Morgan light rum and blue curaçao and comes with a toy shark that's filled with grenadine so you can release "blood" into the blue liquid.

Read more Silver Spring Restaurant Creates Shark Attack Cocktail

Claudia’s Steakhouse Sells a $125 Martini—And People Are Actually Buying It

IMG_3051Who orders a $125 martini?

As of last Friday afternoon, at least seven individuals and groups have been willing to throw down that much for one of the signature drinks at two-week-old Claudia's Steakhouse. One guy has ordered two of them. And a couple celebrating an anniversary sipped the martini out of straws (gasp!) for a photo op.

The drink contains two ounces of Nolet's Reserve Dry Gin—$700 a bottle—semi-dry Noilly Prat Ambre Vermouth, and saffron bitters. The gin is the world's most expensive because its mix of botanicals includes saffron, one of the world's priciest spices. Only 500 bottles are produced globally each year.

"We did have a few guests that ordered it that had never had gin in their lives," says Beverage Director David Bowen. "They just had to see what a $125 drink tastes like." Read more Claudia’s Steakhouse Sells a $125 Martini—And People Are Actually Buying It

Where to Get Your Tiki On This Summer


D.C. tiki bar Hogo may have closed last year, but plenty of other spots are keeping umbrella drinks alive. In fact, tiki is taking over menus in all sorts of unexpected spots this summer. So if you can’t afford that tropical vacation, here are some places where you can at least get a decent mai tai.

855 E St. NW

José Andrés’ cocktail bar is hosting its second annual Tiki Week now through July 11. The tiki-inspired cocktails include drinks like the Polynesian Vacation with citrus vodka, aloe liqueur, pineapple, lime, ginger, and yellow chartreuse as well as a treasure chest with three types of mai tais.

Del Campo
900 7th St. NW

On July 10 from 7 to 10 p.m., the South American steakhouse will host its annual Del Campo at Dusk Tiki Party on the building’s rooftop. Chef Victor Albisu and restaurateur Jeff Black (Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, BlackSalt) will serve suckling pig, oysters, and other tiki-inspired bites. Tickets, which include food, are available online for $37. Tiki cocktails, beer, and wine will be available from a cash bar. Tropical attire welcome. Read more Where to Get Your Tiki On This Summer

Last Night’s Leftovers: Stadium Food Edition

1310594014_m_Cheap-1Who's got better food? Nationals Park vs. Camden Yards [Post]

Italian grandmas try Olive Garden for the first time. [BuzzFeed]

Petition urges José Andrés to reconsider plans for D.C. Trump hotel. [Washingtonian]

Sorry, protestors. Subway opens in Mount Pleasant. [PoPville]

Number Nine owner will open a tavern below Black Whiskey. [Borderstan]

Where to experience an Ethiopian coffee ceremony in D.C. [DCist]

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Buredo, Now Open in Franklin Square, Super Sizes Your Sushi


By noon today, the line at Franklin Square's new burrito-sized sushi joint, Buredo, was down the block. Who would have thought? Apparently not even the owners.

"We've been blown away. We've been grappling to keep up with the demand," says co-owner Travis Elton, who comes from a business consulting background. "We had to double and triple our orders from our vendors."

The fast-casual restaurant opened this week and serves jumbo sushi rolls with nori, seasoned white rice, and different combinations of ingredients and flavors from around the world.

"We are fusion," says Elton, who's half-Peruvian, half-Norwegian, of the fusion flavors. His business partner Mike Haddad, a record producer and former DJ whose family has operated local delis, is Lebanese.

Haddad and Elton spent a year experimenting and fine-tuning the menu with help from chef consultants, including Tom Madrecki of Chez Le Commis. They went through 30 types of nori before settling on the one they use now.  Read more Buredo, Now Open in Franklin Square, Super Sizes Your Sushi

The ’Wiching Hour: A Baked Joint’s Veggie Sandwich


The Sandwich: Veggie #1

Where: A Baked Joint (tentative name), 440 K St. NW

Price: $10

Bread: House-baked focaccia

Stuffings: Smoked eggplant puree, roasted sweet potato, goat cheese, crispy kale, roasted onion, and red pepper. Add a poached egg for an additional $1.50.

Thickness: 4 inches

Pros: In one bite, this sandwich hits every major flavor profile: sweet from the potato and eggplant; bitter from the roasted, smoky kale; creamy and tangy from the thick spread of goat cheese; and salty from the bread that holds it all together. While it’s packed with flavor, the sandwich isn’t too heavy, thanks to the simple ingredients and the airy focaccia. In this case, the bread is the star of the show. Read more The ’Wiching Hour: A Baked Joint’s Veggie Sandwich

Brew In Town: 3 Stars Brewing Company Ghost White IPA

3 Stars Ghost White IPA cans

3 Stars Brewing Company Ghost White IPA

Where in Town: 3 Stars Brewing Company, 6400 Chillum Place NW

Price: $11.75/four-pack

Tallboy Oh Boy

Craft beers are more and more often appearing in large-format cans, a vessel formerly relegated to watery beers with names ending in “ice” and “lite.” Not yet sold on the allure of aluminum? Unlike glass bottles or growlers, cans let in no light, making it impossible for ultraviolet rays to skunk the beer inside. And unlike bottle caps and corks, the airtight seal of a can completely eliminates the threat of oxidation. Sure, mining bauxite for aluminum cans isn’t exactly green, but crushed cans take up little space, making them easier to transport, and are more efficiently recycled. As for tallboys, they’re just more of a good thing (four ounces more, to be precise, and the ideal size for sharing). Read more Brew In Town: 3 Stars Brewing Company Ghost White IPA