When it comes to specialty coffee, Washington's name has been rarely, if ever, whispered in the same breath as Seattle's or New York's or San Francisco's — except perhaps as a point of contrast to America's best cities for a cup of joe. But the District's reputation has taken a dramatic turn in recent years, with the openings of Qualia, Peregrine Espresso, Filter, La Colombe, Dolcezza Coffee Lab, the Coffee Bar, the new program at Mockingbird Hill and Peet's small armada of shops.
Add one more to the list: The Wydown (1924 14th St. NW, www.thewydown.com), the permanent location from the St. Louis siblings who for months ran the finest coffee pop-up in the District. (Okay, that's a small market, but still, you get the point.) Pending final inspections, the Wydown is expected to open late next week on the 14th Street NW corridor, on the ground floor of the Louis at 14th. Co-owner Chad McCracken declines to give a specific date.
“Every time we’ve guessed a date, it’s been wrong," McCracken says. "So we don’t do that anymore.”
But Chad and younger brother, Alex McCracken, do plan to host a private event this weekend for friends and family, which the brothers will use to fine-tune their operation. Chad McCracken says the 1,100-square-foot space, located next to the new Trader Joe's on 14th Street, will expand upon the concepts from the Wydown's semi-permanent pop-up on U Street last year. The brothers, for example, plan to offer even more bakery items.
"It's a much better expression of what we want a coffee bar to look like,” Chad McCracken says.
But that's as far as McCracken was willing to go at this point. For every other question I posed, he offered essentially the same friendly-but-firm response:
"You'll have to wait and see."
1924 14th St. NW, www.thewydown.com.