UPDATED: 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 6.
Nate Waugaman, the veteran Black Restaurant Group chef, cooked his final meal for Addie’s in Rockville on Saturday. He’s left Jeff and Barbara Black’s employ to lead the kitchen at the forthcoming Mealey’s Table, the latest incarnation of the historic restaurant in New Market, Md., the town perhaps best known as the “antiques capital of Maryland.”
Owners Patrick Forest and Raina Hull, a pair of former managers at 8407 Kitchen Bar in Silver Spring, hope to open Mealey’s Table in early April with Waugaman implementing an almost farm-to-table menu based on ingredients produced largely in the area.
“I’m excited about it,” Waugaman says. “We all had kind of the same idea as far as a philosophy on food.”
Plus, the chef will be able to develop a menu from scratch, rather than executing, editing and fine-tuning an existing one, like at Addie’s. “Addie’s is a 15-year-old restaurant,” says the 36-year-old Waugaman. ”I changed a decent amount of [the menu], but the format of it is kind of set. You can’t completely change it with a restaurant that’s been around that long.”
Waugaman hasn’t finalized his menus at Mealey’s yet, but he plans to produce his own charcuterie in house as well as turn out pastries and sandwiches for locals who want to pick up breakfast or lunch at Mealey’s retail market during the restaurant’s off hours. (Mealey’s Table is expected to serve dinner seven days a week, with brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.) The chef hopes to rewrite his menus three or four times a week based on the ingredients available from surrounding farms.
“The idea is to use as much local product as possible,” he says.
Mealey’s Table will have about 80 seats in the main dining room with more in the lounge, which will serve beer, wine and craft cocktails. The name of the establishment is a riff on the one that has graced the historic eatery that has been operating for almost a century in New Market; Mealey’s Restaurant closed down in 2009 as the economy continued to stall.
Waugaman has already hired his sous-chef at Mealey’s Table: Ian Benites, who worked beside Waugaman at Addie’s for a couple of years.
It’s still not clear, however, who will assume head-chef duties at Addie’s, where Waugaman has held the job since February 2009. Jon Linck, director of operations with Black Restaurant Group, says that no one has been hired yet to replace Waugaman; in the meantime, Linck says, chef Mallory Buford, who has led kitchens at both Addie’s and Black’s Bar & Kitchen in Bethesda, will take over the Rockville restaurant.