Marjorie Meek-Bradley holds the title of executive chef at Ripple in Cleveland Park andalso at Roofers Union in Adams Morgan. (Also, "Top Chef" finalist.) Now, for the first time, she can add co-owner to her résumé. With partners Geoff Dawson and Peter Bayne of Tin Shop, she's opening the sandwich shop Smoked and Stacked on Friday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, after waiting out changes to D.C. regulations that had categorized the fast-casual spot as a fast-food restaurant.
Meek-Bradley's preoccupation with deli meats began almost a decade ago, when a friend made corned beef. "I'd never made anything like that," she said. She, too, started tinkering with corned beef and later moved onto pastrami when she wanted to serve a hash at Ripple.
Meek-Bradley first started thinking about opening a sandwich shop while she was on "Top Chef," when the contestants had to create a fast-casual concept. She ended up going with pasta, because she thought sandwiches might seem too simple. Plus, she didn't have time to make pastrami.
"My thing is to have simple, good options," she said of her new endeavor. "I'm not making Wagyu pastrami."
At Smoked and Stacked, the pastrami starts with brisket that's brined for a week then smoked and steamed overnight. The pastrami will be the centerpiece of two sandwiches. The Messy ($14) is Meek-Bradley's take on a Reuben, served on rye with sauerkraut, Comté cheese and Thousand Island dressing. The Stacked ($13), which the chef envisions as her signature item, places the meat in between house-made milk bread (a cross between pain au lait and brioche), along with coleslaw and Dijon mustard.
The other two sandwiches feature smoked chicken: The Chicky Chick ($10) includes lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo, and the Field ($12) includes organic greens, tomato, sprouted tabbouleh and a lemon vinaigrette.
In keeping with the fast-casual format, diners have the option of building their own sandwich or salad, choosing a protein (pastrami, chicken or portobello mushrooms that have been spiced and smoked like the brisket), "vessel" (milk bread, rye or organic greens), toppings (coleslaw, sauerkraut, lettuce/tomato/onion and Comté) and sauces (mustard, mayo or Thousand Island).
An even heartier option: Platters with a half-chicken or half-pound of brisket, served with two sides, such as coleslaw, chips and tabbouleh.
Smoked and Stacked also will serve four breakfast sandwiches ($5 to $9): The New Yorker (pastrami, fried egg, Comté, hot pepper jelly), Wake Up (bacon or sausage, egg, cheese), Cali Girl (cured salmon, fried egg, avocado, alfalfa sprouts) and Something's Missing (gluten-free bread from Rise Bakery in Adams Morgan, scrambled eggs, sauteed greens).
Beverages are fairly streamlined. The short beer list includes selections from Atlas Brew Works, 3 Stars Brewing Co., Jailbreak Brewing Co. and DC Brau. Expect three wines, plus your caffeine fix from Vigilante Coffee.
Smoked and Stacked, 1239 Ninth St. NW. Opens Friday for lunch daily at 11 a.m.; daily breakfast (served until 11 a.m.) begins Monday.