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Shaw’s Fish Burger Joint Is Throwing Beer Into the Mix

FishScale is waiting on its inaugural alcohol license

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FishScale’s star fish burger.
Yayo Grassi/FishScale
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Nearly two years after bringing grilled fish patties to Shaw, FishScale is ready to add booze to the lineup this spring.

The seafood team, led by Blacksalt alum Brandon Williams, is waiting on approval from the city to start serving bottled beers and wines by mid-April at 637 Florida Avenue NW.

The opening lineup of local brews will include Baltimore’s Charm City Still Mead and Alexandria’s Port City Ale Optimal Wit, poured alongside its compact menu of fish and lump crab burgers.

Williams sold his first self-styled fish burger at the White House farmers market in 2012. Five years later, he debuted his first brick-and-mortar space along the bustling U Street corridor. There he grinds and grills fresh-caught fish like sheepshead, rockfish, and sea bass into burgers over smoldering hardwood charcoal, oak, and wood.

Each fish burger ($9.95 to $13.95) served inside the narrow 14-seat restaurant weighs in at a quarter pound, free of breadcrumbs or fillers. Its seasonal Maryland blue crab patty ($17.95), expected to join the menu next month, comes packed with lump crab meat sourced from Chesapeake Bay waters. Wild salmon burgers are also days away.

Condiments include kimchi, pesto, and sunflower yogurt coleslaw, with sides like grilled corn and romaine salads. Here’s a look at the April menu:

An off-menu “surf and shell” burger, landing at Fish Scale in April, comes stacked with a half-pound helping of crab and fish patties.
Kristal Williams/Fish Scale

Hours are Monday to Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Thursday to Saturday until 9 p.m. Adding alcohol could mean staying open longer.

“Initially we will not extend our hours but we do have plans to do so,” a rep tells Eater.