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14th Street’s Buzzing Cuban Cafe Has Ambitious Plans for a Wharf Location

Colada Shop will open a roomier spot with an expanded menu

Cuban sandwiches from Colada Shop
Cuban sandwiches from Colada Shop
Maya Oren/Colada Shop

There’s new hope for D.C. residents who get claustrophobic while waiting for a cortadito in Colada Shop’s busy, narrow storefront off 14th Street NW.

The popular Cuban cafe announced today it will open its third location this fall in the Wharf development on the Southwest Waterfront. The new venue (10 Pearl Street SW) will seat 50 people inside, will have a 20-person patio, and will deploy food runners after customers order at the counter. Washingtonian was the first to report the news.

More breathing room will also allow for a bigger menu. Group chef Mario Monte is adding rich calderos — stewed entrees. According to Washingtonian, that will include a traditional ropa vieja and a Cuban spin on shakshuka. A separate bar will be another change that helps free up space. Colada Shop is outfitting the space in collaboration with a Los Angeles firm called Design Bitches (seriously).

Colada Shop Guava cocktail
A seasonal guava cocktail from Colada Shop.
Maya Oren/For Colada Shop

The first Colada Shop opened in Sterling, Virginia, in August 2016. A second shop at 1405 T Street NW sprang up early the following year, winning over the city with Cuban espresso drinks, finger foods such as guava pastries and fried empanadas, and pressed sandwiches typically found in Miami’s ventanitas (little windows). Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema declared the D.C. shop a hit, listing it as one of his top 10 new restaurants in spring in 2017.

Colada Shop president Daniella Senior and creative director Juan Coronado, both founding partners, each have experience working for José Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup. Senior told Eater last year that the company had plans to open multiple new locations and was scouting in Shaw, the West End, and Foggy Bottom.

The brand has continued to adapt in its first few years, adding an all-night Thursday happy hour in D.C. last year and recently installing a retractable roof for its top level.

As D.C.’s latest hot dining development, the Wharf has attracted a number of high-priced restaurants (Del Mar, Officina). More casual options have joined in recently, including Falafel Inc. and Praline Bakery. Blue Bottle Coffee and Dolcezza will compete with Colada Shop to supply the area with a caffeine buzz.