Young and Hungry

Baby Wale Now Open Near Convention Center

babywale3Corduroy, the beloved D.C. restaurant, got a fabric-themed sibling yesterday, and it happened rather quietly.

Baby Wale, which opened last night, sits adjacent to chef/owner Tom Power’s original baby, and in case you’re not up on your sartorial lingo, “wale” identifies the number of ridges per inch in any given corduroy. Power wants his new restaurant to be a loosened-up neighborhood place, the relaxed jacket to the suit-and-tie feel of his fine-dining spot next door.

“I wanted to keep it kind of fun and playful,” he says. “Bar food with kind of an upscale twist to it—pupusas, pizzas, and hot dogs. Not really so serious.”

To that end, the distressed walls at Baby Wale are lined with neon vintage posters from D.C. go-go acts like Chuck Brown, Trouble Funk, and Rare Essence. The dinner plates are enameled metal, and some tables sport colorful ceramic salt shakers shaped like old-timey villagers. And prices on the ever-changing menu will hover between $10 and $23, says Power.

He says he wants the restaurant to be wine-focused, and pulled together a list of 70 to 80 bottles himself, mostly European and many in the $40 to $50 range. “I think you get better values in European wines,” he says. The restaurant will offer a specialty cocktail list, however, and has six draft lines that will deliver Carlsberg, Narragansett, and Sixpoint Brewery beers, among others.

And while Power wants Baby Wale to be a lively, fun place, there are two things he’s pretty serious about: No, he won’t smile for that photo; and don’t ask the name of the New Jersey company where he sources his hot dogs. (It’s a secret.)

Baby Wale, 1124 9th St NW

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Photos by Rina Rapuano

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  • Grosvenor Van Ness

    If only City Paper would once again hire someone who knows about food they might move beyond restaurant publicist lingo. "Beloved", by who, Corduroy had like 5 minutes of notice before moving deservedly into the overpriced mediocrity column. aThis place is already halfway to bordone. aizPzza, really, just what we need more of. I bet they are using "freash ingredient"s too.

  • Jim Ed

    "To that end, the distressed walls at Baby Wale are lined with neon vintage posters from D.C. go-go acts like Chuck Brown, Trouble Funk, and Rare Essence"

    This white owner has the AUDACITY to put up posters of go-go legends in his restaurant serving $8 pupupas? Someone sound the outrage alarm, this is a double dose of SWAGGER JACKING!

  • James the beard

    @Jim Ed Relax dude! The colorful ceramic salt shakers shaped like old-timey villagers (how cool is that) nicely offset the posters. I am sure no expense or effort was spared on executing the concept.. It will make me savor my $10.00 dog even more. I have to give this dude credit for keeping the menu within some range reasonable for the minimum wage kitchen staff unlike most of these pretentious joints, like the one next door, who expect Pedro and Giuseppe to channel Thomas Kinkead. Yep, we sure have a whole lot of "new" joints.

  • Robert Plant

    @JimED You are so right on this! WHITE people should not be allowed to like GO-GO music ever! And they should not be allowed to sell any food except hamburgers and turkey! This guy is even SWAGGER JACKING stuff from Japan and New Jersey. WTF! I am glad you set off the outrage alarm! Lets set the place on fire tomorrow!

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  • Novatronic

    Oh boy, go go music posters, like I really wanna see that while I'm eating.

  • Mario

    If he really likes go-go, he should have some bands play there once in awhile. After all, it really is best enjoyed live. Chance of happening? 0.0%. I guess go-go does fit his desire to keep it "fun" but it's just a little odd. It would be like Ben's putting up posters of George Strait or George Jones.
    Now $38 for roast chicken for two? That's not even remotely fun.

  • kayvone

    Last time I checked music has no color. I'm black and I like Creed.GooGoo dolls etc..classical, salsa ..He did something different ...and yes I love Go-Go too..He did something different..I didn't know we had "Music Police"...Why don't you check out the restaurant and talk to him before you judge..just an opinion..You just might learn something. Ignorance is bliss.....

  • CHERITA COOKIE WHITING

    Excuse me but as the oldest daughter of Chuck Brown I am honored that Tom has even put a poster of my dad in his restaurant...and as an FYI...MY DAD PLAYED FOR TOM'S WEDDING RECEPTION!!!!! So there you may think Tom doesn't know GO-GO music but he sure knew he wanted his guest to have a damn good time at his wedding reception. oh and another FYI...Tom has attended plenty of my dad's go-go shows and when my dad passed he hosted the entire family and band at his restaurant for some of the BEST food I had had!!!! Thank you Tom Powers for loving my dad and being his friend!!

  • Tim

    How does one pronounce "Wale?" like the MD rapper or the marine mammal?

  • saf

    Marine mammal.

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