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The Early Word on Cause, DC's First PhilanthroPub

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Photo: R. Lopez
Missy Frederick is the Cities Director for Eater.

It's been almost two weeks since Cause, the city's first "philanthropub", opened to the public in Shaw. Though the restaurant's charity-driven angle has been big news, founders Nick Vilelle and Raj Ratwani know their venture won't succeed if food and drink aren't their prime focus. Are folks willing to eat there out of more than the goodness of their hearts? Here's what early reports had to say.

The Hush Puppies with Potential News: Brightest Young Things swings by the opening of Cause and thinks the appetizer list, with choices like crispy pigs' feet and hush puppies queso fresco, shows potential. The writer's cocktail of choice was "The Truth", which combines rye whiskey, apple cider, white wine, house made grenadine and tarragon. [BYT]

The "But Gandi Didn't Drink!" News: Girl Meets Food attends an early event at the Cause. While she points out the Mahatma cocktail's a bit ironic given its namesake didn't drink, she appreciates the cocktail's potency, and tries plenty of food. "The scrapple was crisp and the butter pickles fresh. The trotter tots were very fatty." [GMF]

The Heavy On Animal Parts News: An ambitious Chowhound poster is trying to get to every new restaurant in DC, and Cause is the latest. The writer compliments the range of the menu, including its emphasis on offal, but focuses on more traditional dishes. "The stew was terrific, the wings were good but a bit sweet, the chicken confit sandwich featured perfect chicken but way too much dry bread, and the olives were, um, gross." Update: Via the Eater comments, this poster has his own blog as well. [Chowhound]

The Financial Reality News: WCP's Young & Hungry column is more interested in the business model of the restaurant than the food. After doing some math on start-up costs and expenses, Jessica Sidman reports, "Just to break even, the restaurant will need to bring in about $1 million a year. " [WCP]

The Commentariat News: The comments section over at Prince of Petworth is generally excited about Cause, singling out it its sangria and fried oysters. One commenter, localdude, wishes the food were better. "Tried the G Tso wings and they tasted nothing like G Tso sauce." [PoP]

The enthusiastic Yelper news Cause has garnered six reviews on Yelp so far, with an average of 4 out of 5 stars. Among its early fans is Ben K. "Everything is super fresh. The cause is admirable. The ambiance is comfortable and cool. And the dry erase tables offered hours of unique entertainment." [Yelp]

The Unctuous Trotter News: Yelp critic Tony P. finds favor with the cocktails and the pig trotters.  "The gin based Mahatma was wonderfully refreshing and delicious, the Evita-rita is an effusive margarita variant...The trotters are unctuous and subtle with a mellow pork flavor." [Yelp]

The Eye Roll News: Yelper Phil K. offers two stars, and a word about the service. "The number of times the waiter described something as 'locally sourced' made me want to order a steak from another hemisphere." [Yelp]

Cause Bar and Restaurant

1926 9th St. NW Washington, DC