April will be remembered as the best month ever for fried chicken and doughnut lovers. Today, GBD opened in Dupont Circle, and on Monday, Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken will welcome fans of fried treats near Metro Center at 8 a.m.
After months of pop-ups, the storefront shop at 1308 G Street, NW -- D.C.'s third gourmet doughnut shop to open in three months -- will offer 11 doughnuts and two types of fried chicken, in addition to a fried-chicken-and-doughnut sandwich, and sides. Those who have sampled Astro's wares before will recognize some familiar flavors -- like the Twinkie-inspired Twink-nut, and the maple bacon -- but there will also be some new seasonal treats, like a cherry blossom doughnut, made of black cherry compote with Earl Gray tea glaze. There's coffee, too, from Brooklyn Roasting Company. Doughnut prices range from $2.25 and $2.85.
The fried chicken comes in three sizes and two varieties: two, four or eight pieces ($5.25 to $18.50), and, for opening, buttermilk or sriracha flavor. Sides for the chicken will include a roasted potato salad with bacon ("It's not so mayonaisey," said co-owner Elliot Spaisman) and an Asian cole slaw, with more to be introduced throughout the season. There's also a sandwich -- the Fried Chicken BLT, $7, uses a savory doughnut flavored with chives and cheddar for bread.
"You wouldn't even know you're eating a doughnut," Spaisman said. "There's no sweetness on that one."
[Note to hockey fans: Former Caps captain Jeff Halpern is also co-owner.]
So what was the holdup for the tiny storefront's opening? It's due to the dumbwaiter that transports doughnuts from the basement-floor kitchen to the shop. Delays in installation set Astro back almost nine weeks. Guests will be able to see the doughnuts shuttled up through the dumbwaiter in the subway-tiled walls, behind the reclaimed wood counter. (Some vintage "O" letters from old signs add to the doughnut decor.) Astro is so small that there isn't any indoor seating, but there will be outdoor tables and chairs -- and the opening day forecast, as of Friday, is looking good. Next week, Astro will be open from 8 a.m. until they run out of food, but after the soft-opening, regular hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.