Blooming in Glover Park
(Courtesy of Breadsoda)
When it comes to dining and nightlife, Glover Park is often overshadowed by Georgetown, its bustling neighbor to the south. However, things are going to get more interesting in the next few months, as three dining and drinking destinations arrive along a short stretch of Wisconsin Avenue, joining the brand-new Breadsoda.
Breadsoda, which had its soft opening in late May, is the brainchild of several nightlife veterans, including Bill Thomas, the owner of Bourbon and the Blue Room, Steve Teague (who worked at Local 16, Bourbon and Cafe Saint-Ex) and Dominick Garzaniti (Eighteenth Street Lounge).
The cool below-street-level lounge has a vintage California vibe to it, from the warm oranges and browns on the walls to a giant back-lit still of Steve McQueen in "Bullitt." High bar tables fill the center of the room -- which is much larger than you'd expect -- while cozy leather booths are tucked into nooks. Entertainment comes from three pool tables -- one of which can be quickly converted for ping pong -- darts and the oh-so-popular Nintendo Wii.
Fourteen beers are on draft, and Teague says about half will rotate to keep things interesting -- right now, Troeg's Nugget Nectar and Gaffel Kolsch are the picks for summer. A full range of deli sandwiches are offered all day and night, assembled on the spot, and priced between $4.95 and $6.95. While I'm usually a raging carnivore, the mozzarella-basil-tomato, served on a fresh baguette with vinaigrette and made with cheese from Leesburg's Blue Ridge Dairy, is delicious. A BLT, with applewood-smoked bacon on grilled sourdough, and the overloaded reuben are also good bets, and the Moroccan chicken salad -- ordered by my neighbor at the bar -- looked so good that I'll have it on a future visit.
Also, you can't miss the homemade pickles, which go for 25 cents each or $6.95 for a jar -- the ones made with habaneros and chili peppers are to die for, crispy with a great tang and subtle heat, and possibly the best bar snack going at the moment. Combine this with friendly service and a number of outdoor tables -- both on the sidewalk and a small area at the bottom of the staircase that leads to Breadsoda's front doors -- and you've got a place that's going to be very popular this summer.
Now, let's talk about three places that haven't quite made the transition from the drawing board to the real world. Got Plans? readers know how I feel about posting projected opening dates -- something always goes wrong and plans can change, so they're rarely accurate -- but these are all worth knowing about.
Sometime in June, the Surfside restaurant will replace the shuttered Apollo Market at 2444 Wisconsin. A casual seafood grill from Bo Blair and chef David Scribner -- the team responsible for Jetties in Foxhall as well as Georgetown's Smith Point -- Surfside won't have waiters or waitresses, though it will offer a rooftop deck.
"It has a vintage surfing theme," says Blair, describing the menu as "very rustic ... with shrimp, fish tacos, grilled fish and salads." The most expensive entrees will be $19, and the bar will serve Coronas and Dos Equis as well as frozen and regular margaritas.
Gin & Tonic
The divey Grog and Tankard has been offering live music from amateur and regional bands for more than 40 years -- including Hootie and the Blowfish -- and management claims that it's "the longest running bar with live music in the D.C. Metropolitan area." That streak will be coming to an end this summer, much to the dismay of college rockers at Georgetown and American universities. Maurico Fraga-Rosenfeld, the lounge mastermind behind Chi-Cha, Gazuza, Gua-Rapo and Glover Park's Ceviche, among others, has joined forces with Fritz Brogan, who ran the outdoor bar The Deck at the Savoy Suites Hotel before reviving the Gryphon Room, a guest list-only party at the Guards in Georgetown. Brogan promises the bar will be getting a style makeover as well as a new name. "It will be called 'Gin & Tonic- Glover Park's tavern,' he wrote in an e-mail. "It will be a classic American tavern, aimed at Glover Park's young professional demographic." Unlike the Gryphon Room, there won't be a list to determine who gets in.
(Fraga-Rosenfeld has a penchant for naming his establishments after drinks, like Chi-Cha, Agua Ardiente and Gua-Rapo. This is the first one to be christened after a drink that didn't originate in Latin America, which can be taken about a hint about the decor and entertainment.)
There's no closing date for the Grog and Tankard yet, but watch this space for more details.
Currently on the strip on Wisconsin, there's Busara, a boldly colored Thai restaurant with a huge back garden that's been a neighborhood favorite since 1992. It's going to be replaced by a new restaurant from the guys behind the Sonoma and Mendocino Grille restaurants/wine bars and the soon-to-come Redwood in Bethesda. They're "not able to comment" about their plans as they try to get Redwood open, according to their PR rep, so I wouldn't expect to see any developments anytime soon, but it's certainly on the drawing board.
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