Young and Hungry

Record Your Own Music and Eat a Sandwich at Songbyrd Record Cafe, Now Open in Adams Morgan


At Adams Morgan's new Songbyrd Record Cafe, you can not only shop for records and grab a sandwich, but also go into a recording booth with a guitar and create your own vinyl track on a 1947 Voice-O-Graph for a mere $15.

"In the '40s and '50s, we didn't have answering machines. So primarily this was used to leave messages for your loved ones," co-owner Alisha Edmonson says of the Voice-O-Graph. The machine, restored by a Bethesda collector, records up to three minutes and ten seconds. "You can talk into it, sing into it, do whatever you want, and it records directly onto a 45 [rpm record] on the spot. It plays it back for you and then spits it out for you to take home that very minute."

Edmonson, who previously worked at Right Proper, H Street Country Club, and L'Enfant Cafe, and co-owner/avid music lover Joe Lapan say they opened Songbyrd as destination for discovering, consuming, and creating music. The cafe has a collection of 350 vinyl records, with an emphasis on soul, funk, R&B, hip-hop, and indie. Guests can explore the records at listening stations before they make purchases.

Coincidentally, the cafe's location has a storied musical past. The space used to be home to Showboat Lounge, where D.C. musician Charlie Byrd, who was known for blending jazz and bossa nova in the early 1960s, and jazz saxophonist Stanley Getz reportedly "dreamt up with the idea for their career-making album," Jazz Samba, according to a press release. Songbyrd is named for Byrd.

"We were interested in the location and then we loved it when we found out about the history," Edmonson says. Read more Record Your Own Music and Eat a Sandwich at Songbyrd Record Cafe, Now Open in Adams Morgan

TaKorean Coming to Metro Center This Summer

Cauliflower Tako with Spiced Kale Slaw (1)

TaKorean has already expanded from its food truck to brick-and-mortar locations in Navy Yard and in Union Market. This summer, it will add a locale in Eat at National Place, a food hall at 13th and F streets NW. The new spot will be an "extended pop-up" that's around for at least a couple years.

The Korean-inspired taco joint (where you can also get rice and slaw bowls) has also introduced some new menu items this spring. Among them is a rotating seasonal vegetable, which is currently pan-roasted cauliflower with a soy-orange glaze. Brown rice is also now available in addition to white rice. Other recent menu additions include a tangy vegan avocado crema and an organic soft egg cooked sous-vide. Meanwhile, TaKorean’s  salsa roja—made with fire-roasted tomatoes, tomatillos, ginger, cilantro, lime juice, sesame oil, and gochujang—is now a free topping.

The new menu items will be available at all the locations except the food truck, which will be operating on a limited schedule this year at a handful of festivals and events. "We love our truck and have a blast working it, but we've made the decision to focus our efforts and resources on our retail growth, which will be the future of TaKorean," says owner Mike Lenard.

One percent of TaKorean's gross sales will continue to be donated to local environmental and youth-based nonprofit organizations.

Take a look at the menu below. Read more TaKorean Coming to Metro Center This Summer

Last Night’s Leftovers: Fried Chicken Edition


12 fried chicken nights in D.C. [Zagat]

District Taco is opening a second Arlington shop. [WBJ]

D.C.'s 25 essential burgers [Eater]

Should your dog be vegan? [VICE]

How to pour Champagne the right way [Washingtonian]

Where to get happy hour drinks before and after the Capitals game [Post]

Mia’s Coffeehouse coming to Hill East in May. [Hill Now]

Photo via Shutterstock

What You’ll Eat and Drink at Bethesda’s Villain & Saint


Make no mistake: Restaurateur Robert Wiedmaier's new Bethesda establishment, Villain & Saint, is first and foremost a music venue, not a bar and restaurant. The Haight-Ashbury-inspired rock and roll music hall will focus on blues and jazz, indie rock, the '60s, and heavy metal. But the chef behind fine dining restaurant Marcel's, Brasserie Beck, and more casual Mussel Bar certainly isn't looking to leave the crowd sober and hungry.

“Most music venues that you go to, it’s hard to get a drink, the food’s mediocre," says Wiedmaier. "And we didn’t want to do that here." (Wiedmaier has partnered with chef Brian McBride, Frank Shull, and Joe Lively.)

The Americana menu is split into meaty “villain” dishes like smoked pork ribs and a black angus grilled cheeseburger and “saint” vegetarian options, including grilled asparagus and wok-fried Japanese eggplant. Chef Tom Meyer, formerly of Pesce restaurant in Dupont Circle, will also serve up bar food like pimento cheese with bacon jam and grilled or cast-iron calamari with pimentón and chorizo. Prices range from $6 to $21. Read more What You’ll Eat and Drink at Bethesda’s Villain & Saint

Dolcezza Now Open in CityCenterDC With Free Mini Cones on Sunday


Dolcezza opened its seventh gelato and coffee shop at CityCenterDC yesterday. Customers can stop by for a free mini cone on Sunday, April 19, from 2 to 5 p.m.

New to this location is nitro coffee, which infuses nitrogen into the liquid at the point of sale with the same technology used for draft beer. Unlike carbonated beverages that have big, often sharp bubbles, adding nitrogen gives the drink a smooth, creamy feel. The nitro offering will be available for $5.50 a cup. There's also a full coffee bar using Stumptown's single-origin beans.

The shop also includes Dolcezza's usual gelato flavors made with seasonal local ingredients. Gourmet sundaes—or coppettas—with housemade whipped creams and other toppings are also available for $7 to $8.

Owners Robb Duncan and Violeta Edelman are quickly expanding their wholesale operations as well. Dolcezza recently launched its product in 44 Whole Foods locations throughout the Mid-Atlantic, including in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, and D.C.

Dolcezza, 904 Palmer Alley NW;

Photo by Jessica Sidman

Last Night’s Leftovers: Thai Food Edition


D.C.'s eight best Thai restaurants [Thrillist]

Will Umami Burger ever come to D.C.? [Eater]

Order the 10,000th khachapuri at Compass Rose, and you’ll get a prize. [Post]

Bar Civita opening in Woodley Park in a week or two. [PoPville]

Chef Nora Pouillon dishes about her new book, My Organic Life. [Express]

New food and drinks specials this week [Washingtonian]

Photo of Mango Tree by Jessica Sidman

The ‘Wiching Hour: Pitmasters Back Alley Barbecue’s Carolina Chopped Pork Shoulder Sandwich

wichinghour_pitmastersThe Sandwich: Carolina Chopped Pork Shoulder Sandwich

Where: Pitmasters Back Alley Barbecue, 4818 Yuma St. NW

Cost: $11.99 with fries

Bread: House-baked potato roll

Stuffings: Chopped pork shoulder, Carolina barbecue sauce, and a choice of apple slaw or “mother-in-law” slaw (a spicy Trinidadian specialty made with pepper and carrot)

Thickness: 3.5 inches

Pros: While most chopped pork possesses the same, slightly stringy texture, the meat from this new Wagshal’s-affiliated carryout spot has slightly crunchy and juicy, fleshier bits. The spicy tang of the mother-in-law slaw cuts through the salty meat and delivers just enough heat to warm your mouth without wiping out every other flavor. Read more The ‘Wiching Hour: Pitmasters Back Alley Barbecue’s Carolina Chopped Pork Shoulder Sandwich

Colony Club Coming to Park View With Coffee, Beer, and Ping Pong


Park View doesn't have much in terms of daytime spots to grab a coffee and a bite to eat. D.C.-area natives Ben Heller and Max Zuckerman are hoping to change that with the opening of their coffee shop, bar, and ping pong hangout, Colony Club, opening at 3118 Georgia Ave. NW sometime next week.

Heller has a coffee background, working for Joe Coffee shops in New York and Philadelphia. Zuckerman comes from real estate and calls himself a coffee enthusiast. Needless to say, there will be a big focus on coffee. Colony Club will use beans from Annapolis-based Ceremony Coffee Roasters and offer three different brewing methods (AeroPress, Kalita, Chemex) plus a full espresso bar. Muffins, biscuits, and scones from BakeHouse off 14th Street NW and sweets from local baked goods artisan Pollystyle will also be available during the day.

In the evenings, Colony Club will turn into more of a bar. There will be four beers on draft, four cans, four bottles, and a cellar list of "more exotic" offerings. The wine list is even more limited with three reds, three whites, a rose, and two sparkling options. There's not a cocktail list, but the bar will have spirits that patrons can order on their own or mix with Q sodas.

Colony Club doesn't have a kitchen, but it will serve some snacks, including nuts, olives, pickles, cheeses, cured meats, and an array of tinned seafood. Read more Colony Club Coming to Park View With Coffee, Beer, and Ping Pong

Last Night’s Leftovers: CSA Edition


A guide to Community Supported Agriculture [DCist]

Takoda restaurant and rooftop beer garden coming to Shaw. [Washingtonian]

The original Beau Thai will become BKK Cookshop next month. [Eater]

Back-to-back food truck festivals are happening April 24 and 25. [Post]

New details on the Royal, a bar from Vinoteca’s owner [Express]

Taste of the Nation recap [BYT]

Food truck owner to open Sweetbites Cafe and Bakery in McLean, Va. [NoVa Mag]

Photo via Shutterstock

With the Launch of “Pop-Up Megaplex” Prequel, EquityEats Rethinks Its Business


The dark red stone building at 918 F St. NW has remained fairly quiet since LivingSocial stopped using it as a hub for cheesemaking, bellydancing, vodka tasting, and terrarium-building classes. But last week, the shuttered event space became home to a pop-up once again. Bluebird Bakery, from two of the city’s top pastry chefs, has taken over the first floor atrium with a spread of croissants, fruit tarts, macarons, and other baked goods displayed on wooden boards and turquoise cake stands. A coffee bar serves La Colombe, while an upstairs seating area provides a home for anyone who needs a Wi-Fi connection.  

In the coming weeks, more restaurant pop-ups will open in the five-story venue, which is named Prequel. When it’s up to full speed by early summer, the place will be able to host as many as five rotating restaurants and bars at a time. Kiosks—like those in a movie theater or airport—will eventually allow guests to check in for their meals and pay in advance.

The “pop-up megaplex” comes from EquityEats, an equity crowdfunding platform where investors can potentially earn profits, not just Kickstarter-like perks. The venue was created so that restaurants that use the EquityEats’ crowdfunding platform could have a place to showcase their food and drinks to the public and potential investors. But the building also goes beyond that, offering a soon-to-open house bar called Brick & Mortar (a permanent fixture for a pre- or post-dinner drinks) and serving as a sanctuary for any chefs in need of a pop-up space regardless of their affiliation with EquityEats.

The opening of Prequel is just part of EquityEats’ reinvention since its October launch. After struggling to meet the fundraising goals for its four opening projects, the company has significantly changed its model. For starters, EquityEats will no longer raise money exclusively from accredited investors (individuals with annual incomes of at least $200,000 or net worths of at least $1 million). Instead, EquityEats plans to only support restaurants taking advantage of new regulations that the D.C. government approved late last year, which allow businesses to crowdfund money from District residents of all income levels. Through these new rules, Prequel has already raised more than $200,000 from 325 investors who gave between $100 and $10,000. Read more With the Launch of “Pop-Up Megaplex” Prequel, EquityEats Rethinks Its Business