Restaurateur and humanitarian of the year José Andrés’ latest version of America Eats Tavern — the chef’s tribute to the evolution of American cooking — begins serving cherry wood-smoked barbecue and more on Monday, June 4 in the former Old Glory space.
Thinkfoodgroup’s newest restaurant (3139 M Street NW) is focused on grilled fare, raw seafood, wines, cheeses, beers, and other ingredients plucked from the Mid-Atlantic region. It’s the third home for America Eats Tavern which originated as a pop-up in conjunction with the National Archives inside the former Cafe Atlantico space back in 2011. It later migrated to the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner.
A redesign of recently shuttered Old Glory from Saint Studio for Architecture and Interiors polishes up the 26-year-old restaurant via shiny bronze bar tables, modern lighting fixtures, brown leather seating, and bright geometric tiling. The 193-seat, two-story establishment makes good use of Old Glory’s downstairs bar and the one on its back patio: Spirits sourced from all 50 states will make up the liquor menu including whiskey from Alaska and rum from Hawaii. Even some seafood gets spiked with a bit of booze (the oysters “Rickey” order is inspired by the D.C. gin cocktail).
Old Glory’s ownership group Capitol Restaurant Concepts (J. Paul’s, Paolo’s Ristorante) is staying on board as a partner in the project. Keeping barbecue in the mix was key, which is new territory for Thinkfoodgroup. Whole cherry wood logs, cut 120 miles away, fuel a wood-burning oven installed inside the entirely renovated kitchen. Barbecue selections include beef brisket (available by the half-pound) sourced from Creekstone Farms, Kansas, pulled pork, half-chickens, and pork spare ribs (either half or full racks) from Prairie Farms, Illinois. Grilled whole trout, brought in from Virginia, is marinated in a green goddess dressing and also gets the wood-burning treatment.
“We are experimenting with charred and smoky flavors,” says chef Claudio Foschi, a Cityzen alum who’s worked at Michelin-starred Minibar and Zaytinya for the past four years. In its former lives, America Eats Tavern has served Andrés’ take on dishes such as Virginia ham and New England clam chowder. Historic recipes include an early 19th century vermicelli mac and cheese, as well as gazpacho from American author Mary Randolph.
The updated eatery is starting with dinner service; lunch joins the rotation next week, followed by brunch service the week after.
Status: Scheduled to open at 4 p.m. 3139 M Street NW; website.
Scroll down to look inside the new space and get a sense of the action during a preview dinner on June 1: