News came late last year that a new Mediterranean restaurant concept called Sospeso would be opening at 1344 H Street, NE in what had previously been a real estate office. While information has been sparse since then, recently District Cuisine caught up with Sospeso’s owner Michael Rosato to learn more details. You can visit Sospeso’s website here and you can check out a sneak peak of their menu down below!
Sospeso’s name originated from Caffe Sospeso which translates to “suspended coffee” and “is a Neapolitan practice of someone anonymously paying for a coffee ahead for someone else in need.” According to Sospeso’s website, the restaurant will be “inspired by the recipes of our grandparents and great-grandparents, as well as the sun-drenched countries and seas of Southern Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, and North Africa.” They will be focusing on high quality and locally sourced ingredients.
The owners hope to open before Thanksgiving and construction is well underway. Sospeso’s hours, once open, will be Sunday-Thursday from 7 am until 2 am and Friday-Saturday until 3 am. They will serve coffee and pastries in the morning, sandwiches and salads in the afternoon, and full dinner in the evening. Appetizers will range from $6-13 and entrees from $16-30. Dinner service will also include house made focaccia and a beverage program that focuses on Mediterranean wines and house infused vermouth and cocktails.
Sospeso will be a mom and pop operation run by Michael and his wife Hatice. Michael has extensive restaurant experience from various roles at Tryst, Zaytinya, Palena, Granville Moore’s, Toki Underground, Ghibellina, and Sotto. Most recently Michael has been running the wine program at Ghibellina and Sotto on 14th Street as well as booking music for Sotto. Hatice runs a women’s clothing import business and designed the interior of the restaurant. She will also be in charge of the restaurant’s forthcoming website, branding, and social media. As a native of Turkey, Hatice will have a big influence on the menu.
Michael says that he has always enjoyed H Street since moving to DC back in 2003. He liked the community feel so much that he moved to Trinidad in 2011, very close to where Sospeso will open up.
Sample Sospeso menu:
Bottarga Nuts-peanuts, Sicilian spices, bottarga
Cabbage Salad-savoy cabbage, roasted squash, fennel, onion
Butter Lettuce Salad-lettuce, shaved beet and carrot, lemon-cardamom dressing
Imam Bayildi-roasted eggplant, onion, tomato, garlic
Mercimekli Kofte-lentil and bulghur ‘fingerlings,’ lettuce, lemon
Hummus-chickpea puree, pita
Add roasted lamb
Salty Fritters-anchovy stuffed fried dough, gremolata
Piyaz-giant beans, baked in tomato, garlic, and lemon
Grilled Octopus-giant beans
Gnocchi-wild mushrooms, garlic, rosemary, Grana Padano
Tagliatelli Carbonara-pancetta, onion, egg, Grana Padano
Porchetta Sandwich-roast pork, vegetable relish, cracklins, pickled veggies
Vegetable Bouillabaisse-charred vegetables, aioli crostini
Moussaka-ground beef, potato, eggplant, bechamel
Roasted Fish-clam broth
Hanger Steak-rosemary roasted potatoes, balsamic reduction
Bruschetta Dolce-rosemary rhortbread, tomato jam, mint
Zabaione-marsala custard, biscotti
Almond Cake-mascarpone cream