Take a record store, combine it with a sandwich shop, and you'll get Songbyrd, a new Adams Morgan hangout that hits the right notes. Last week, the retro-cool cafe began dishing out lattes and simple but tasty sandwiches named after musicians and songs.
One of the menu items gets points for its name alone. In our city's drunken pizza epicenter, where the Jumbo Slice reigns supreme, chef Matthew Richardson has invented the Mumbo Slice, a mash-up that is so ingeniously D.C. we can't believe no one thought of it before: It's a slice of focaccia bread that subs mumbo sauce, D.C.'s famous sticky-spicy-sweet condiment, for tomato sauce.
More like an open-faced sandwich than a slice of pizza, the Mumbo Slice is topped like a Hawaiian pizza with pulled pork, pineapple, provolone and shaved onions. Our only wish: That, of the many locally available mumbo sauce incarnations, Richardson had chosen a slightly spicier version.
While you're waiting for your sandwiches, you'll have a few minutes to browse the stacks of records for sale, or listen to Spotify playlists from iPads embedded in faux-vintage TV cases. Or, you could pay $15 to record your own vinyl record in the Voice-O-Graph, a mini recording studio booth in the front window. Even if you can't carry a tune, you'll want to check out the '40s-era booth's beautiful restoration.
Some of the sandwiches need tuning. We found the Bizet, a pulled-pork-and-melted-gruyere rarebit sandwich, to be dry, but the accompanying jus was decadently rich (and desperately needed for dipping). But the Kraftwerk, a chicken schnitzel baked in raspberry sauce and served on sourdough with brie and Gournay cheeses and red sauerkraut, was a record we'd play over and over again. Other offerings include a veggie muffuletta, bratwurst and a roast beef dip. All are under $10.
Songbyrd does not serve alcohol. Eventually, owners Alisha Edmonson and Joe Lapan will open an adjacent music venue. And here's some cool D.C. trivia: The restaurant is named after jazz musician Charlie Byrd, who reportedly came up with the idea for his jazz/bossa nova album "Jazz Samba" in the Showboat Lounge, one of the former venues at this address.
Songbyrd Record Cafe, 2477 18th St. NW. Metro: Woodley Park/Adams Morgan.