Opening one restaurant in the D.C. area is tough enough — the team at Colada Shop, the area's upcoming Cuban cafe, is shooting for two, around the same time. One location is in Logan Circle in Washington, while the other is out in the suburbs in Sterling.
It's official — the Virginia one is going to open first. Construction is moving along at Colada Shop, located in the new Cascades Overlook development (currently home to a Chuy's and the future home of such restaurants as seafood destination Ocean Blue). Early August is the likely opening timeframe, according to chef Mario Monte.
This restaurant will be larger than the D.C. location (at 1405 T St. NW), with room for about 70 total, mostly due to a generous amount of outdoor seating. There will be a walk-up counter (perfect for families whose kids are playing in the adjacent water fountain, partner Raj Multani notes), as well as garage-door windows that can be opened during warmer times (expect nearby firepits in the winter months). Architect Rich Markus designed the space, which will eventually feature colorful furniture, cement tiles, and a big communal table, Monte said. "It's kind of old world meets new," he said.
The menu at both locations will be similar (D.C. is now targeting a fall debut), with the same variety of Cuban pastries, sandwiches, and more. They'll have a "slushy machine" with rotating flavors (available in non-alcoholic and spiked varieties). Multani says the dual locations, one urban and the other suburban, will help the restaurant gather information about what different demographics think of the concept before they consider future expansion (students from the nearby branch of Northern Virginia Community College are yet another potential customer base for the Virginia shop).