Less than two years after opening his Southern cafe inside the Darcy Hotel in Scott Circle, chef and TV personality David Guas will close Lil’B. He tells Eater he’s parting ways with the hotel following a change in ownership.
“Like any new [thing] that comes in, they want to do something slightly different,” says Guas, who plans to close some time in the next week and a half at 1515 Rhode Island Avenue NW.
The 226-room hotel’s other dining establishment, Robert Wiedmaier’s Michelin-starred seafood restaurant Siren, also recently announced plans to move out of the lobby level this month. Siren is scheduled to close on Tuesday, February 19, and re-open at a to-be-announced location.
Guas is also searching for a new space with his real estate broker. He “definitely” wants to be in a bigger venue to accommodate more coffee drinkers. Lil’B’s 19-seat interior has an outdoor patio that seats 35.
“I don’t think we are going into another hotel,” he says, which is also Siren’s plan. Guas and Wiedmaier, fishing and hunting buddies of over 20 years, aren’t looking for spaces in tandem.
The hotel, which debuted as D.C.’s first and only piece in Hilton Worldwide Inc.’s Curio Collection, was sold late last year to private real estate investment group Northwood Investors. Eater reached out to its new independent ownership for comment.
Guas, who founded Bayou Bakery, imports items from his existing New Orleans-themed shop in Arlington, Virginia. That includes muffulettas, gumbo, and pimento cheese, along with caffeine from Counter Culture Coffee.
Lil’B has a rare black-and-wood La Marzocco espresso machine with sleek brass knobs. The store is also stocked with vinyl records, beer and wine, grab-and-go items, and vintage maps of Louisiana brought over from his shuttered Capitol Hill Bayou Bakery (now Little Pearl).
Even if Guas found a turnkey space “tomorrow,” he notes, he’s in no rush and doesn’t expect Lil’B to resurface until about a year.
For now, Guas’ full attention is on Mardi Gras, which falls on one of the latest dates possible this year (Tuesday, March 5).
“It’s good for business,” he says, of packing in pre-holiday festivities and sales for a full two months. He plans on pumping out 1,500 traditional king cakes this year out of his Arlington bakery.
His third annual Fat Tuesday party Mardi Gras Extravaganza DC will be held at the Showroom (1099 14th Street NW). Its co-owner went to Loyola and is a big fan of all things New Orleans, says Guas. All-you-can-eat-and-drink tickets ($55) go towards DC Central Kitchen. The evening (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) includes a costume contest, brass bands, a live feed of Bourbon Street projected on the wall, drinks from mixtress Gina Chersevani, and a Hurricane cocktail competition.
Spike Mendelsohn is one of two dozen celebrity chefs who will serve riffs on Creole classics. Each gets a theme to work with to encourage variety so that “10 chefs don’t do 10 types of gumbo,” says Guas.
- Peek Inside Lil’ B, David Guas’ New Southern-Style Cafe in Scott Circle [EDC]
- Michelin-Starred Siren Is Moving Out of Its Hotel Digs In Search of a ‘Better Location’ [EDC]
- David Guas Seeks to Hand Off Bayou Bakery DC, Prepares to Launch Lil’ B [EDC]
- D.C.’s only Curio Collection by Hilton hotel is sold, goes independent [WBJ]