The Kangaroo Boxing Club, the brick-and-mortar debut from the guys behind the PORC barbecue truck, is set to open on Tuesday, June 19, about three months after Josh Saltzman and his partners signed a lease for the Columbia Heights space.
The quick transformation of the former Acuario space at 3410 11th St. NW is almost miraculous given the owners had to completely renovate the property — and do 95 percent of the work themselves. This no doubt explains why Saltzman said he and his four partners — Trent Allen, Peyton Sherwood, Chris Powers and Zach Spencer — have practically lived at KBC since the lease was signed.
However they pulled off the feat, lack of sleep or hard work or both, the partners already have their permits in hand, including a full liquor license. They’re just waiting to finish server training and wrap up some loose ends before opening their neighborhood barbecue joint.
“We wanted to make it a cozy, simple place,” says Saltzman, 26. “We all love the idea of the community bar, and we wanted to build that. We wanted to build a place we wanted to hang out at.”
Saltzman was reluctant to talk about the menus in depth, but he said the food options will be limited, at least at first, with eight or nine entrees and four appetizers; there will be some seasonal plates, he adds, as well as all the dishes previously sold on the PORC truck Desserts will come courtesy of Saltzman’s younger sister, Laura Saltzman, 22, a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin.
Sherwood, an art director and a partner at Solly’s U Street Tavern, will handle the drinks menu, which will feature cocktails, wine and beer (including two on tap). Sherwood will also man the small bar at KBC.
The space itself will accommodate about 60 diners, if you include the small patio, Saltzman says. The owners had the usual squabbles over design details: lightbulbs, decor, kitchen design. But in the end “we came up with a nice and very cohesive design that I think we’re all very proud of,” Saltzman says. Among the design elements: reclaimed pews from a church in Ashton, Md.
The opening of Kangaroo Boxing Club — read this for the backgrounder on the unusual name — can’t come soon enough for Saltzman. He’s been so focused on the new place that he hasn’t spent any time on the PORC truck, which will continue rolling after the restaurant opens.
“I didn’t think I’d miss it. . . but I miss being on it,.” he says about the truck. “I miss interacting with people, so I’m looking forward to the restaurant opening up.”