Two interesting liquor license applications were filed today: In Brookland, the owners of the Pug, Solly's and the now-closed Sova Espresso and Wine have teamed up to launch Brookland's Finest, a family-friendly tavern that plans to double as a coffee shop in the mornings. And in Bloomingdale, the purveyors of 13th Street Meats are set to open Meat & Foods, a retail shop that will sell packages of their sausages and half-smokes, but also offer a diner-style counter slinging coffee, sandwiches and beers.
Brookland's Finest – one of the best new names we've heard in a while – comes from Tony Tomelden, John "Solly" Solomon and Frank Hankins. "We're going for more of a restaurant than a bar, which may be a surprising departure for us," Tomelden says. "This is my neighborhood – I live a block away. And I've got three kids now, so it's going to be family friendly."
The restaurant, located on the corner of 12th and Jackson Street NE, plans an American comfort food menu that includes pork chops, crab cake sliders and a selection of panini sandwiches, including a kids menu. But Tomelden says that his intentions go beyond just offering smaller servings. He wants to base the service off a place "like Cafe Deluxe, where if a family comes in, the staff gets the food out to the kids first. We'll have sippy cups and we'll train the staff to help [families]. It's little things like that."
"There are tons of families over here," Tomelden says, and they're not being catered to. Catholic University is nearby, which has some neighbors worried about late-night crowds and noise. "I've got no problem with college kids, but that's not the crowd we're going after," he explains. "There won't be any $3 cans of beer, like at the Pug."
At community meetings, some neighbors asked questions about the new restaurant's hours. Brookland's Finest wants to be able to open at 7 a.m. Tomelden says that's because "Frank's doing a Sova-style coffee shop in the morning. We want to sell people a cup of coffee on their way to the Metro, and when they come home at night, they can get the kids and come over ... Look, I live a block away. I don't want people drinking at 7 a.m. a block from my kids."
Of course, it won't only be about children. There will be a full bar in addition to the dining room, but Tomelden says the owners want to keep the focus on neighbors, even after the kids have gone to sleep. They decided not to apply for what D.C. calls an "entertainment endorsement," meaning no DJs, no live music, no karaoke – not even a jukebox. They did request a patio with 40 seats, which is intended for families as well as bar patrons.
With the liquor license application being posted today, and hearings being held in July or August, Tomelden says an opening isn't in the immediate future. "Fall wouldn't be out of the question," he says. "We'll have TVs so people can come in and get brunch and watch the game after church."
Meats & Foods
The owners of 13th Street Meats have become well known for their frequent appearances selling sausages at farmers markets, at DC Brau's Saturday growler hours and manning the grill on the back patio at Dodge City. (You might also recognize co-owners Scott McIntosh and Chad "America" Allison from their gigs behind the bar at the Big Hunt and the Black Cat, respectively, though McIntosh left his bar to focus on the sausage biz.)
While their sausages show up on menus from Toki Underground to Breadsoda, it's finally time for 13th Street Meats to have a storefront of its own. McIntosh recently signed a deal for a space at 247 Florida Ave. NW, right at the intersection with Rhode Island Avenue. It will primarily be a retail space, selling house-made half smokes, spicy Italian sausages, chorizo and lemon-basil chicken links, but McIntosh says there will also be a 12-seat counter where customers can settle in for a sausage sandwich, a bowl of chili and a beer.
Opening is a way off -- McIntosh says he's still waiting on construction permits -- but this is one shop worth keeping an eye on.