Compass Rose popularized khachapuri in the D.C. market when the restaurant opened back in 2014, but they didn't invent it. The cheese-filled pastry is a classic street food throughout Georgia. Owner Rose Previte once told Eater, "There are like 40 different ways to make khachapuri."
In D.C., diners are most familiar with boat-shaped Adjarian version topped with a sunny-side up egg. Cheese (either sweet or savory) is a vital ingredient in every kind of khachapuri, but the egg isn't always necessary. Sometimes regional variations have other fillings instead, like potatoes.
Before arriving in D.C., khachapuri spread from Georgia to other former Soviet satellites and Russia. That means diners don't necessarily have to track down a Georgian restaurant to try it. Check out these area restaurants making khachapuri:
1800 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.
Khachapuri is on the menu, along with other flatbreads, at this Rosslyn wine bar and market. It's long and thin (similar in shape to the Turkish pide) and topped with cheese and an egg. The dish goes for $9.
1346 T St. NW
This international street food restaurant famously served more than 10,000 khachapuri during its first year in business. Previte had searched local dairy farms for sulguni (a brined cheese common in Georgia) but couldn't find it. In the end, she and the restaurant's first chef decided to combine ricotta, feta, and mozzarella. The melted cheese mixture is mixed with butter and a barely cooked egg right before serving. Previte also adds a personal touch— a sprinkling of tangy Lebanese za'atar is a tribute to her family's culture. The dish is $14.
1141 Connecticut Ave. NW
Find two versions of khachapuri at this Russian restaurant. There's the more familiar Adjarian (or Arjarski version), along with a round Imeruli khachapuri topped with cheese. Both styles are $18.
Silk Road Choyhona
28 Bureau Dr., Gaithersburg, Md.
Khachapuri sometimes makes appearances on the chef's specials menu at this Uzbek restaurant in Maryland. But it looks nothing like the versions served at other area restaurants. This flaky, cheese filled pastry is stuffed with a creamy sweet cheese and priced at $2.95.
1650 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.
Now Ray's Hell Burger is getting in on the egg-topped khachapuri action, too. Owner Michael Landrum recently opened Georgian and Mediterranean restaurant Tasty Dug-Out within the same space as the burger joint. The name is a tribute to the "dug-out" shape of the dough.