The National Museum of Women in the Arts is partnering with culinary incubator Union Kitchen, which will take over the museum's Mezzanine Cafe operations in a rotation of pop-ups run by its members. Beginning with a Nov. 17 soft-opening from food truck Dirty South Deli, the first part of the series, called "Union Kitchen Presents DS Deli" will continue through April. After that, Union Kitchen co-founders Jonas Singer and Cullen Gilchrist will select another one of their more than 50 member businesses to rotate through the space every few months.
"For our members, it's great," said Singer. "It's a risk-free chance to develop [their] program."
They selected Dirty South Deli as the first business for the space because co-owner Jacob Hunter has experience opening new restaurants, having worked as an executive chef for Matchbox and Ted's Bulletin during their period of rapid expansion last year.
"We're trying to take some of what we do on the truck and switch it up at the museum, make it a little more casual than what was there," said Hunter.
The menu will include favorite sandwiches from their truck -- like the Nic Cage (grilled Andouille sausage, homemade pimento cheese, and house-cured pickles) and the Veggie 3000 (harissa-roasted cauliflower, pickled radish, lemon aioli, butter lettuce and cilantro) -- as well as some new additions, like soups and salads. They'll also offer an array of other Union Kitchen-made products, like Runningbyrd tea and sweets from Capital Candy Jar, as well as cookies from Blind Dog Cafe. Instead of formal service, guests will order at the counter and their food will be brought to their tables.
For the NMWA, it's a chance to do "something fun, modern, a little bit more casual," said museum spokesperson Amy Mannarino. And for Hunter, it's a way to supplement his food truck's income in the leaner months to come. "Winter's tough on trucks," he said.
Union Kitchen Presents DS Deli will soft-launch on Nov. 17, and will be open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guests do not need to pay for museum admission to visit the mezzanine cafe. Depending on demand, they may add weekend brunch -- especially after the Dec. 5 opening of the NMWA's big winter exhibit, "Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea."
The National Museum for Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave. NW (Metro: Metro Center).