Little Beast closed its daytime cafe and bakery last week, just a month after it opened, deciding to focus on dinner and pivot to a three-day brunch service that will begin in January.
The rustic, family-friendly restaurant in Chevy Chase (5600 Connecticut Avenue NW) opened in October with 74 seats inside and 44 on its adjacent outdoor patio. In November, it debuted an interior cafe packed with pistachio croissants, Vigilante coffee, and quirky croissant-muffin hybrids dubbed “cruffins.”
But the space, owner Aaron Gordon tells Eater, “was way too small” to handle a high-volume dinner on top of a 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. cafe operation.
“The prep kitchen became a war zone for prep and refrigeration space,” says Gordon, who also owns Red Velvet Cupcakery and Bakers & Baristas.
Customers were also bummed out to find that Little Beast’s wood-fired pizzas and meaty pastas, comfort foods served at night, were missing during the day.
“Many were upset we didn’t have a full menu,” Gordon says.
As of last week, Little Beast now opens at 5 p.m. every day. Starting January 4, the playful restaurant that’s covered in animated “monsters” created by a Berlin-based graffiti artist will offer a midday meal from Friday to Sunday.
“We decided just to have a full brunch, with pizza, the three busiest days of the week,” Gordon says.
He’s open to trying out afternoons on weekdays again, but only “if we can figure it out.”
When brunch service begins, pastry chef Naomi Gallego (Blue Duck Tavern, Le Diplomate) has cruffin creations flavored with raspberry rose and lemon meringue ready to go. Gordon tells Eater he promoted Gallego to head chef last month, and she’s hard at work crafting a bread basket that will rival the city’s best.