The Limits of City
Open City has opened its doors and the place is already hopping. This Woodley Park newbie is the third establishment from the owner of Tryst and the Diner and it follows the same formula as its sister establishments, combining upscale diner food with coffeehouse amenities and a full bar. Owner Constantine Stavropoulis envisioned Open City as a neighborhood "third place," where one can habitually retreat after home and the office for a sense of balance and comfort.
The menu features breakfast items, a cream-cheese-heavy spinach and roasted garlic dip, pizzas, mussels (with a choice of three preparations), a few salads, chicken and upscale meatloaf. Burgers are piled high with crispy lettuce and onions; there are plenty of other sandwich options, too. Unfortunately, though, my chicken cheesesteak tasted dull and flavorless. As for the bar, I didn't see the drink menu until after I had ordered my wine, but the jalapeno margarita, along with other clever cocktails, might lure me back.
I hadn't anticipated such an overwhelming crowd last night and, clearly, the staff hadn't either. Menus, silverware and servers -- even Stavropoulis was bringing out dishes from the kitchen -- were in short supply, but those details hopefully will be remedied in due time.
There are plenty of things to love about Open City. Management plans to offer WiFi within the next few weeks; breakfast is available anytime; the hours are long (6 a.m. until last call); and the coffee is good. But at least for the time being, Open City won't be my "third place." That type of special hang-out should be comfortable, with ample cozy seating and a friendly atmosphere. But last night, Open City -- with its frazzled servers and the deafening din of multiple conversations -- felt more like Woodley Park's second zoo.
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