The Spot Deli: A Casual Deli and Bakery Opens on H Street

29 Oct

Approximately two months ago, The Spot Deli opened at 701 H Street after significant renovations were conducted to what had been Heaven & H Deli.  While The Spot Deli has mostly flown under the radar for the past couple of weeks, its owners have grand plans for the neighborhood.  The owners of the Deli are planning a second location (The Spot on H) several blocks east on H Street.  That location has been undergoing a complete reconstruction for well over a year now.  Once open, The Spot on H will have several bars and will serve “American cuisine with international flair.”  As they wait for construction to wrap up there, the owners of the two restaurants–including Chef Troy Williams, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a veteran of several restaurants around D.C.–hope to begin ingraining themselves in the neighborhood with The Spot Deli.  We had an opportunity last week to sit down with Basia Davis, Manager of The Spot Deli, to talk about the opening and the plans for the future.

Basia is a native of D.C. who graduated top of her class and then went to culinary school at Johnson & Wales (she laughs that there is a friendly alma mater rivalry between her and owner Troy Williams, who graduated from Culinary Institute of America).  She first met Williams through the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (CCAP) that Williams is very involved with in D.C.  The program provides public school students across the country with opportunities for education, training, and employment in the culinary world.  She stayed in touch with Williams after culinary school and became Manager of The Spot Deli a few weeks ago.

The location for The Spot Deli was acquired from the folks behind Heaven & H, which had been open on and off for several months.  After taking over the building, renovations were conducted both inside of the building and outside prior to the opening, including a new coat of paint for the exterior.  The setup of the Deli encourages takeout business, but they plan on adding some additional tables soon.  The Deli serves breakfast all day as well as lunch that includes a variety of Mexican dishes and more traditional deli items (sandwiches, salads).  As they gain more experience with the neighborhood, they are adding new items and have specials almost everyday (recent ones include beef stew and Creole shrimp).  Frequently, The Spot Deli has a rush of breakfast business around 8:30 am followed by a rush of lunch business right before the noon hour.

The Deli also features a rotating menu of bakery items that are made from scratch every morning.  For Basia, these items are her specialty.  She graduated from Johnson & Wales Culinary School with a focus in pastry.  Initially, she tried making elaborate cakes at The Spot Deli but has recently modified the menu to feature smaller items like muffins, biscuits, and single serving cakes (the apple nut muffin that we tried was quite tasty!).  She makes the items in small batches, so they usually go pretty quickly in the morning.

Customer service is a top priority for The Spot Deli.  Basia told us that she has gotten to know many of her customers and knows their orders before they even walk up to the counter.  For her and the owners of the two Spot restaurants, The Spot Deli is an opportunity to build a reputation in the H Street neighborhood before the more formal restaurant opens up early next year.  Through their work at the Deli, they are constantly testing out what sells well in the neighborhood and what is less popular.  They are currently working on a catering menu for the Deli that should be released in the coming weeks.

You can stop by and check out The Spot Deli for either breakfast or lunch Monday through Saturday.  Stay tuned for updates on The Spot on H in the coming weeks (targeted opening in January or February of 2015).

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