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With Chicken-Themed Rap Art, Shaw Late-Night Joint Is Almost Ready to Fry

Roy Boys expects to open in the former Tasty Burger space next week

Vibe’s legendary “Live From Death Row” 1996 magazine cover is reimagined with a chicken-themed twist at Roy Boys.
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

Fried chicken and fresh oyster joint Roy Boys is close to opening in Shaw, bringing with it a poultry-heavy 1990s throwback theme that includes artwork of Tupac Shakur with a beak.

The late-night hangout (2108 8th Street NW), projected to open some time next week following final permit approvals, comes from Scott Parker — the prolific Arlington bar owner behind millennial-targeted drinking destinations like Clarendon’s Don Tito and The G.O.A.T.

Back in October, Eater reported news of Parker’s deal to take over a space inside the Atlantic Plumbing building for his first D.C. restaurant. Patrons will have a hard time remembering its former life as Boston chain Tasty Burger.

In place of the family-friendly retro diner is a neon-lit bar that features bright yellow busts in the shape of chicken heads. Nods to ‘90s hip-hop stars are meant to pay homage to its iconic neighbor, the 9:30 Club.

“It fits the neighborhood,” says Roy Boys general manager and managing partner Marlon Marshall, who was most recently general manager at Logan Circle’s Ghibellina.

Artist Christopher Lynch drew inspiration from Roy Boys menu to create some offbeat wall decor. Here’s one of the Notorious B.I.G. as a shades-wearing chicken counting mollusks:

The artist also used spray paint and acrylic to reimagine the iconic Vibe cover of Death Row Records stars near the bathrooms, painting beaks on Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Suge Knight, and Tupac Shakur in their Goodfellas-inspired pose.

Chef Will Sullivan, most recently chef de cuisine at Clarendon’s Green Pig Bistro, is spearheading the kitchen at Roy Boys. The menu is expected to be finalized this weekend, featuring oysters served raw on the half shell and fried inside a sandwich.

Sullivan has designed inventive desserts to delight drunk eaters. Homemade ice cream arrives in waffle cone taco shells, topped with chocolate and peanuts or pineapple, coconut, and a caramel drizzle ($7 each). The most colorful of the bunch comes covered in Fruity Pebbles and shiny hard candies.

One debut cocktail from bar manager and Jack Rose alum Frank Mills is the “Vacation Regardless” (Jose Cuervo Tradicional, rose water-infused Saint Germaine, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, egg white, Peychaud’s bitters, and dehydrated red rose petals).

“It reminds you to relax and enjoy,” says Mills — a mantra he says always-busy locals could use.

His opening lineup of six cocktails ($13 each) also includes a tall orange elixir on ice dubbed “Power Up” with rum. There will be 40-ounce bottles of rosé and lots of bubbly behind the bar.

Mills, a D.C. bar vet who was part of the opening team at Roofers Union, plans to roll out a lineup of daily bloody marys and oyster shooters.The former will come served in a frozen mug, rimmed with with kosher salt and black ground peppercorn ($10 each). Customers can opt for a traditional red or “verde” (green) house-made mix with tequila or vodka.

The drink doesn’t stop there: Patrons can add a skewer that’s spearing a chicken wing, a shrimp, bell peppers, and pickled okra for $6 extra.

A cursive slogan “The World Is Your Oyster” is surrounded by a pop art montage of celebrities like Hillary Clinton, Drew Barrymore, and Al Sharpton eating Roy Boys-branded food.
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC
Sugary taco selections at Roy Boys.
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC
Alterations to the 2-year-old space included spray painting the white tin ceiling matte black and exposing its cement walls.
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC
Notorious B.I.G.’s “Ready to Die” album cover takes center stage in the bathrooms.
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

The seat count stayed around 60, with a newly added bar rail facing existing roll-up garage windows. The plan is to add mirrored outdoor seating.

Tasty Burger’s take-out window will be revived at Roy Boys, with fried chicken sandwiches and buckets served from dinner time until 5 a.m. to capitalize on people looking to chow down after last call. Happy hour will run seven days a week from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Lunch and brunch will join the mix around springtime.

Parker told Eater he was always locked in on Shaw for his debut restaurant in the District.

“It’s an amazing neighborhood with tons of changes,” he said last month.

On the other side of the river, Parker and partners are converting their A-Town Bar and Grill in Ballston into a German beer hall called Bronson, expected to open in March.

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