The owners of the Girl & The Vine, the new cafe, wine store, and deli in Takoma Park, were betting the family-friendly neighborhood would demand huge hunks of cheese. They were right.
“I thought I went overboard with our opening cheese order and was going to get stuck with them. But 75 percent was gone in the first week. We were blown away,” says chef Rob Theriot, who opened the 2,8000-square-foot, two-level venture two weeks ago with Ellē alums Jocelyne DeHaas and David Fritzler.
The demand for dairy displays the venue’s versatility. The 20 to 25 types of mostly-domestic cheeses are sold to-go in the store and as a snack on cheese boards (three for $18, five for $25).
DeHaas, Fritzler, and Theriot have past experience working together at Tryst Trading Co., where Theriot was an executive chef. His latest gigs in the fast-casual world, as director of operations at Choolaah Indian BBQ, and in wine retail, at Wardman Wines in Brookland, helped hone his skills for his latest post. The Girl and the Vine operates as a counter service model one floor above a retail section that hopes to eventually offer up to 120 types of wine.
“Most of my career has been around simple things done well,” Theriot says. At the Girl & the Vine, he’s translating that mantra into sandwiches.
Theriot is having fun with a fried chicken sandwich, which gets an acidic kick from pickled green tomatoes. Another early best seller, he reports, is a “Chip-wich” that stacks smoked turkey, kettle chips, smashed avocado, pepper jack cheese, bacon, sprouts, and dijonnaise on a 7-inch hoagie.
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Classic deli chips also get an upgrade under his watch. His homemade feta chips come doused with feta aioli full of fresh herbs, lemon, and za’atar. Southern fries — his spin on poutine — feature a creamy jalapeno jack cheese, red-eye gravy, country ham, and pickled onion.
Wine bottles start around $15, and a few are $50 to $60. There’s a $10 corkage fee to enjoy them on-site, he adds.
“There’s something for everyone,” he says. “It’s priced not at restaurant markups so it’s affordable.”
The patio will soon expand for more seating, and hours were recently tweaked to 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (closed on Tuesdays). The sleek subway tile-lined bar is currently slinging five cocktails, including a michelada and an Irish coffee.
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