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Hit Hummus Shop Little Sesame Opens a Chinatown Location

The new shop stays open until 10 p.m. and will eventually serve wine and beer

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Little Sesame has officially doubled down on D.C.’s taste for tahini, opening a second shop today that brings its hit hummus bowls, pita sandwiches, and dairy-free soft serve to Chinatown.

The new location (736 Sixth Street NW) will follow the example of the original standalone store, which opened near the end of August last year in Dupont Circle, with a similar look and an identical menu of veggie-heavy, Israeli-style dishes.

The location near Capital One Arena, however, will stay open from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. on weekdays, two hours later than the Dupont store. It also plans to eventually roll out two more firsts for the brand: weekend hours and beer and wine service. Co-owner Nick Wiseman tells Eater that Little Sesame is still waiting on its liquor license. He and his cousin Dave Wiseman also own Hill Prince on H Street NE and Whaley’s in Navy Yard.

For opening day, Little Sesame’s Chinatown counter will serve its seasonal winter menu, with highlights such as a winter squash hummus bowl — livened up with pomegranate molasses and crispy chickpeas — and a roasted eggplant pita with zhug, tahini, and pickled red cabbage. There are also sides of salatim and two flavors of soft serve (vanilla tahini, Turkish coffee) that come topped with cocoa nib, halva dust, or a sweet sesame crumble.

Nick Wiseman tells Eater he and fellow chef-partner Ronen Tenne have plans to introduce burekas, savory stuffed pastries that have gained popularity as a late-night food in Israel, at the Chinatown shop.

Ronen Tenne Little Sesame
Chef and partner Ronen Tenne works the line at the new Little Sesame in Chinatown.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.
Little Sesame tops hummus bowls with garnishes and house-made condiments.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Although the seating area is narrower than the Dupont shop, Little Sesame’s new outpost will feel very familiar to fans. Muted pink and turquoise tiles, wooden stump stools, and an abundance of potted plants are all part of an Edit Lab design. The breezy feel — and the cranked-up Israeli tunes — are intended to help diners take a mental break from the workday.

Last year, Little Sesame introduced an ordering app to help cut down on the stress of lines.

Counting Little Sesame’s first life inside the former DGS Delicatessen, Wiseman says the hummus shop spent three years building a following in Dupont before branching out, and he expects to continue that patient approach in Chinatown.

Little Sesame chickpeas
Little Sesame uses organic chickpeas
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

But there is a new side of the business that should attract a suit-and-tie crowd that dreams about running away to start a #VanLife Instagram account.

Little Sesame has partnered with serenity cube company Getaway House and athleisure brand Outdoor Voices to plan a packaged “Wild Sesame” weekend in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley on Saturday, April 20, and Sunday, April 21.

Tickets for groups of two ($600) or four ($1,000) include cabins, a full Saturday of outdoor activities — kayaking and group yoga, for example — drinks, live music, and open-fire meals cooked by Wiseman and Tenne. Wiseman says there are plans for large-format lamb and a Sunday breakfast that includes giant pans of shakshuka. An early bird deal ($100) includes a Friday night stay with a breakfast kit and coffee.

Little Sesame Chinatown
The new Little Sesame is full of stools, plants, and white tiles.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.
Booths at the new Little Sesame.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.
Window seats at the new Little Sesame.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

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