Chef and TV personality David Guas has approached Bayou Bakery regular Aaron Silverman about assuming the lease for the N’awlins themed restaurant he brought to the grounds of the Old Naval Hospital in May 2015.
As first reported by Washingtonian food editor Jessica Sidman, Silverman, the James Beard Award-winning chef behind Rose’s Luxury and Pineapple and Pearls, has signed a letter of intent with Hill Center and is contemplating moving the daytime cafe part of his operation to the Bayou Bakery space at 901 Pennsylvania Avenue SE.
“A colleague and fellow chef in the neighborhood has all good intentions to be the successor of this great building,” is how Guas described the potential ownership change in a written statement.
Guas opened the original Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Va., in late 2010, carving out a place for himself as a purveyor of gourmet coffee, signature pastries and classic Southern cooking.
He added Capitol Hill to his portfolio several years later, leaping at the opportunity to put down roots in a former carriage house because it reminded him of home. “It looks like a mini Jackson Square,” he said of the historic property he helped restore. Per Guas, he and the architects that rehabilitated the building are scheduled to receive an award for the preservation effort this May.
Giving it up does not sound like it was an easy decision. “Without having a full-service dinner restaurant, which is not the brand of Bayou Bakery, the concept is not suited for this space,” Guas said in the written statement. “In its next life, I hope the building will be loved just as strongly as I do.”
Simone Rathle, Guas’ wife and publicist, told Eater his next project involves injecting a bit of Cajun hospitality into the forthcoming Darcy hotel (1515 Rhode Island Avenue NW). According to Rathle, Guas is launching a combination coffee den and eatery dubbed Lil’ B, which is projected to feature some of his greatest hits (house-made beignets, muffuletta sandwiches) as well as personal touches (coffee service will include a cortado, a tribute to Guas’ Cuban father).
Rathle outlined plans for a beverage program featuring “locally brewed beers, meads, and wines,” and said the coffee bar would work with beans from Counter Culture Coffee as well as dairy products from Trickling Springs Creamery.