In D.C. Dream Day, we ask our favorite people in the area to tell us how they would spend a perfect day in the District. See previous dream days from Mayor Muriel Bowser, the BYT’s Svetlana Legetic, Story District’s Amy Saidman and more.
If you had any doubt that a guy who runs a coffee empire would be high-energy, Chris Vigilante will put it to rest. “I go nuts if I stay still for too long,” says Vigilante, 30, the name and brain behind Vigilante Coffee, the local brand offered up at about a dozen D.C.-area shops and markets (and soon, at a Vigilante cafe opening this spring in College Park, Md.). After fueling up at Vigilante’s roastery and cafe in Hyattsville, Md., near his home, Vigilante is off to D.C. for a simply perfect day. “If I can keep it all on bike and hit all my favorite spots, that’s definitely a dream day,” he says.
I’m a coffee guy, so I wake up very early all the time. I have a dedicated yoga room in my house, so I’m doing yoga from probably about 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. I’ve been doing yoga since I was about 16 years old.
I would hop on my bicycle and head toward Vigilante Coffee, even if I wasn’t working, to have a pastry and a coffee. I’d probably make it a pour-over: a Red Gesha from Colombia. It’s a really beautiful floral and sweet coffee. And I would enjoy a kouign amann from Souk. I live in the neighborhood, so it’s nice to have a cup of coffee with people as opposed to just serving it up.
Now we’re gonna hop on the bicycle and take the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail about 16 miles — it’ll take about 35 to 45 minutes. It’s a really beautiful trail. And then I’d probably be at The Wharf in time to swing by The Anthem. I’d check out what show is coming, maybe grab tickets. And we have a coffee cart there, so I’d make sure it’s good for the upcoming show.
Then I would head to Bub and Pop’s in Dupont, where I’d proceed to eat a Philly cheesesteak sandwich. Back in the day, I used to work with Jon [Taub], the head chef there, at [now-closed] Pound the Hill. He’s from Philly, I was born in Philadelphia, and I’ve always sought out really good Philly cheesesteaks. He’s got the best one, in my opinion, in or out of Philly. So that’s why I’d go: One, I get to say hi to my buddy, and two, I get to have the best Philly cheesesteak I’ve ever had. And I would probably get marinara sauce on the side, because I like to add that to my Philly cheesesteak. I think we’d refer to that as a pizza steak.
If I’m being honest, I would probably go by the dispensary and pick up a joint and then enjoy that. I would go to Capital City Care, which is my dispensary, and I would specifically get the sativa strain Pineapple Express, which is my favorite strain that’s grown locally by a gro-op in Northeast D.C. That one just really does it for me. I really like Malcolm X Park, so I’d probably go over there and just relax for a minute.
I would go to Right Proper Brewing Company, the original one, and I would get a Vigilante Coffee beer, because they made one using our coffee called the Coffee Haxan. I saw recently that they made this one; they posted it online. Sometimes I’m the last to know. Now, while Right Proper has good food, I’d head over to my boy Rob Rubba’s spot, Hazel, and I’d have the kimchi ragu, which will change your life.
Later in the evening, I’d probably go to 9:30 Club, because I really love catching live music. 9:30 Club is the perfect-sized venue, in my opinion. Then I’d probably call an UberXL and put my bike in the trunk, so I don’t have to bicycle all the way home to Hyattsville. Until then, I’d still be on it all the way until the very end.