Chef and TV personality David Guas won’t have to go far to hang out with a close friend when his Southern-inspired cafe, Lil’ B, debuts inside The Darcy hotel in September.
Fellow restaurateur Robert Wiedmaier, who runs months-old Siren across the lobby, is the one who brought his hunting and fishing buddy of 20 years into the fold at the new Scott Circle property. On the hotel team’s criteria for the connected cafe: a local operator who could run a strong coffee program and “be the breakfast and lunch spot” for the hotel, says Guas.
The Bayou Bakery founder fits the bill. Items making their way from his existing New Orleans-themed bakery include muffulettas, gumbo, and pimento cheese. And his roaster of choice is still Counter Culture Coffee.
Guas is treating Lil’ B as a separate animal than Bayou, however, and plans to step outside his comfort zone in terms of aesthetics and menu offerings. One notable addition: a baklava croissant.
“This isn’t super funky like Bayou is,” he says. “It will be more polished in look and decor.”
That sophistication starts with what’s caffeinating customers every day: a rare black-and-wood La Marzocco espresso machine with sleek brass knobs.
Music is a big deal for Guas at his eateries, and he has a vinyl-only policy at Lil’ B. “Energy is dictated by music. It could be Monday but if the music is popping it could make you do things you wouldn’t normally,” he says.
A coffee-themed happy hour (2 p.m. to 4 p.m.) means discounts for nitro brew served out of kegs. Those looking for something a little harder can choose from six to eight wines by the glass; the only non-local beer is from Louisiana-based Abita Brewing Company.
“That’s the beer I grew up drinking,” he says.
The restaurant is expected to operate from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week — allowing Guas to then “hand off” customers to Siren. He extended the service window beyond the 5 p.m. quitting time initially on the table in order to cater to additional diners. Guas tells Eater that Team Darcy realized that families staying at the boutique hotel “can’t afford” to be eating at Siren three nights in a row, and that Lil’ B could serve as a budget-friendly alternative.
Regarding the demise of Bayou Bakery across town on Capitol Hill, he calls the last nine months an “extremely emotional battle.” But he’s now come to terms with the sale of the business.
“We just didn’t have what we needed to support it and keep going. The hardest part would have been to truly let it run to the ground,” he says.
Guas tells Eater some changes may be in the works for his Arlington restaurant, including extended hours and table service on weekends.
Update: A spokeswoman tells Eater that Guas’ latest restaurant is now tentatively scheduled to open after Labor Day.