Sospeso, a Mediterranean restaurant that will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner at 1344 H Street, NE will open in late January, District Cuisine has learned. According to the owners, the interior renovation is all done, and they are waiting on final inspection from the District government. If everything goes according to plan, they should be open before the end of January. District Cuisine previewed Sospeso, including a sample menu, several months ago (check out our post here).
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
Many longtime H Street residents were sad when The Atlas Room closed for good several weeks ago to change into a new concept. However, the owners have converted the space into a new and exciting concept that they hope will quickly become a neighborhood favorite. Meet The Haymaker Bar (1015 H Street, NE), a more casual bar and neighborhood hangout that still will have chef driven cuisine. District Cuisine chatted with The Haymaker team last week to learn more about the new spot.
District Cuisine: We were very sad to see the Atlas Room close several weeks ago (we used to have our birthday dinner there every year). Think we’ll see any of the old Atlas Room favorites on the menu of The Haymaker?
The Haymaker: While we have (Atlas Room) favorites too, we reimagined chickpea fritters as pubfare as the only crossover, not just because of their popularity, but because they’re vegan and gluten free which is a must on menus. We know people want old favorites, and we hope to make new favorites very soon! While The Haymaker isn’t fine dining, the flavor is still chef driven by owner/chef Matt Cordes.
DC: Where does the name Haymaker come from?
Haymaker: The Haymaker is derived from a couple of meanings and uses of the word. The first being a knockout punch as used in boxing, but really derived from a worker wielding a scythe and cutting down a large patch of hay in one “swing.” We offer a selection of 5 house made punches (a fistful if you will). Also pertaining to beverage, the Haymaker was the orignial Gatorade taken to the fields to keep workers hydrated, it consisted of water, herbs, apple cider vinegar, and sorghum or molasses. The goal for The Haymaker is to be a comfortable neighorhood bar with elements of wood, stone, and metal throughout to provide a laid back and warm environment to enjoy great food and drinks. It has elements of sports and news on the TV’s and an upbeat modern music selection, as well as a fully stocked bar and seasonal beers on tap and in bottles.
DC: What made you want to change the concept from being a fine dining restaurant into more of a neighborhood bar?
Haymaker: Honestly you answered your own question. The Atlas Room became the birthday/special occasion restaurant. It wasn’t a place the neighbors could enjoy a meal or two a week. The hope is Haymaker is at a flavor and price point for the neighborhood to visit often and regularly without breaking the bank. Our draft beer, rail and wine happy hour prices are kept low with this in mind ($5). We’re even launching a 1015 (our address) deal soon. Craving a late night snack? At 10:15 until midnight you can get a draft beer and our tots for $10.15. Continue reading
We learned earlier this year that New York based Cajun pizza concept Two Boots would be opening a restaurant at 1025 H Street. Two Boots has a handful of locations including in New York, Tennessee, and Los Angeles. The restaurant’s name refers to the two boots of Italy and Louisiana, as the concept incorporates the cuisines of both regions. While construction has yet to begin on H Street, the owners are hopeful that they can open by late fall. Last week we caught up with the owners to discuss their new location on H Street:
District Cuisine: Why did you decide on H Street for your DC expansion?
Two Boots: We love the gritty feel of the neighborhood–it reminds us of the East Village (where we started) back in the day. One of our favorite spots is the used vinyl shop/shoe store diagonally across the street–we have the same taste in early ’70s soul and r&b.
DC: Will you be open for both lunch and dinner?
TB: Definitely dinner and late night; we’d love to be open for lunch too, Friday-Sunday for sure. We’re looking at being open from 11:30 am until 2:30 am on the weekends.
DC: Will you offer deliver?
TB: Absolutely–a very big part of our business.
DC: Will you serve alcohol?
TB: We’ll have wine and a great selection of beers.
DC: Are you planning any special menu items for the H Street location?
TB: Yes, every Two Boots location has a unique “Home Pie” which uses local ingredients and/or celebrates local luminaries. We’re still working on the H Street pie and would love to get some suggestions!
DC: Anything else that you think we should know?
TB: There will also be an outdoor cafe, occasional live music, and a big pull down screen for when the Mets are whupping the Nats! And just to reiterate, Two Boots (named for the geographical shapes of Louisiana and Italy) features pizza by the slice–with an amazing array of Cajun, organic, vegan, and gluten-free options!
Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen tweeted out news this morning that Chick-fil-a will officially be replacing the recently closed Checkers at the corner of 14th and Maryland Avenues, NE. This location is very close to H Street at the eastern end of the corridor. More information on an open date when we get it…