One of the most buzzed about new openings to DC's culinary scene is EatsPlace, a food incubator/pop-up space designed to give start-up restaurants and burgeoning chefs a stage to showcase their talents. Coming to the Petworth neighborhood this week, EatsPlace will feature a rotating schedule of chefs-in-residence and events, the first of which will bring fluffy biscuits from local favorite Mason Dixie Biscuit company and soul food from DC Born & Raised. Eater DC met with EatsPlace founder Katy Chang to discuss details of her inventive new project and scored some sneak peeks of the space, which will softly open on October 8.
The idea behind EatsPlace is fairly simple. The space is home to a commercial kitchen, and will host four-month pop-up chef residencies. The benefit to the chefs, who often do not have a brick and mortar location, is that they can refine their restaurant concept, share their food with local diners and build a following which can help them reach their financial dream of owning their own restaurant. The benefit to diners is that they can support local chefs, try a new dining concept every season and of course, enjoy a new hang out spot with a culinary focus. In addition to a dining area, EatsPlace will also have a marketplace where customers can purchase artisan products from local vendors.
Mason Dixie Biscuit Company and DC Born & Raised will be the first chefs-in-residence at EatsPlace. Although there were plenty of applicants for the first chef spot at EatsPlace, these two burgeoning companies stood out. "I'm looking for concepts that get diners excited. I look for a culinary story that can be told on the plate and as a dining experience," says Chang. As a woman entrepreneur herself, one of the factors that grabbed Chang's attention about Mason Dixie Biscuit Company is that they have a female CEO, Ayeshah Abuelhiga.
The fact that the entire Mason Dixie team is from the DC area didn't hurt their chances of being selected. That's also the case for DC Born & Raised where, as if the name could suggest otherwise, lifelong Washingtonian chef Charles Lyons celebrates classic regional dishes while putting his spin on southern soul food. Mason Dixie Biscuit Company will be sharing their goodies at EatsPlace for breakfast and lunch service starting on October 9, while DC Born & Raised will be serving up dinner plates starting on October 8 until early February.
Although EatsPlace is still gearing up to open its doors, Chang is already looking toward the future. "I hope to get my Dad, the baba of Baba's Cooking School, to come out of retirement to do a short residency at EatsPlace. We're also excited about the possibility of working with Frenchie's Artisan Pastries and Desserts, Operation: Eatery, Genevieve Villamora, and Schmear Bagels." Don't expect just eats, as Chang will helm the bar and feature local breweries in addition to her own line of bitters and infusions for craft cocktails. There are also plans for guest bartenders and brewers in residence.
For EatsPlace's soft opening, DC Born & Raised will be open daily for dinner Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. starting Wednesday, October 8. DC Born & Raised will also serve weekend brunch, with weekend hours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mason Dixie Biscuit will be open for weekday breakfast and lunch starting Thursday, October 9 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Drinks @EatsPlace will be open starting Wednesday, October 8. Regular hours going forward will be 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday. On Friday, Drinks @EatsPlace will be open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Drinks @EatsPlace will be open 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to midnight on Sunday. —Shayla Martin
EatsPlace, 3607 Georgia Avenue NW, Washington DC 20010