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The Kennedy Center’s Huge New Campus Hosts an All-Star Lineup of Chefs For 2 Weeks

Maketto’s Erik Bruner-Yang will collaborate with a bunch of big names

The REACH, a new multi use complex at the Kennedy Center, on August 27 in Washington, DC.
The River Pavilion at the Kennedy Center’s new REACH complex will host a pop-up from Erik Bruner-Yang’s incoming ABC Pony cafe.
The Washington Post via Getty Images

The REACH — a $250 million addition to the Kennedy Center that includes three new arts and performance pavilions, an outdoor stage with a video wall, and grove of ginko trees, and an arts cafe — opens with a bang tomorrow by kicking off a 16-day festival on the banks of the Potomac River. Free passes are required to get in, and some days are already sold out.

To feed the crowds, the Kennedy Center has enlisted restaurateurs Erik Bruner-Yang and Eric Hilton, partners in the incoming ABC Pony cafe in Navy Yard, to offer a preview pop-up of the all-day venue that will blend Asian, Italian, and American ingredients like Bruner-Yang’s essential Brothers and Sisters does at the Line.

ABC Pony will set up at the River Pavilion throughout the festival, serving lunch and dinner from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a short menu including a Caesar salad; a mixed melon “Naanzanella” with cantaloupe, watermelon, and crispy scallion pancakes; a wild grain bowl, shrimp rolls with herbed mayo on brioche, and fusilli alla bolognese. There will also be a daily dessert, snacks, and an all-day coffee bar.

An expansive view of the REACH
An expansive view of the REACH
Kennedy Center [official]

Additionally, Bruner-Yang has enlisted some of the most respected chefs around the city to collaborate on hour-long cooking demonstrations that will dole out 250 free samples. Here’s the schedule:

  • September 7: Bruner-Yang will cook samples from Maketto, starting at 10 a.m.
  • September 8: Bruner-Yang with Opie Crooks (A Rakes Progress), 8 p.m.
  • September 9: Bruner-Yang with Kwame Onwuachi (Kith/Kin), 7 p.m.
  • September 10: Bruner-Yang with Cable Smith (The Royal), 2 p.m.
  • September 11: Maketto demonstration, 7 p.m.
  • September 12: Bruner-Yang with Kevin Tien (Himitsu, Emilie’s), 7 p.m.
  • September 13: Bruner-Yang with Johnny Spero (Reverie), noon
  • September 14: Bruner-Yang with Tim Ma (American Son), 6 p.m.
  • September 15: Bruner-Yang with Gil Welsford (Nicecream), 8 p.m.
  • September 16: Bruner-Yang with Jerome Grant (Sweet Home Cafe), 8 p.m.
  • September 17: Bruner-Yang with Marcelle Afram (Bluejacket), 6 p.m.
  • September 18: Bruner-Yang with Johanna Hellrigl (Doi Moi), 6 p.m.
  • September 19: Bruner-Yang with Scott Drewno and Danny Lee (Chiko), 10 a.m.
  • September 20: Bruner-Yang with Shannan Troncoso (Brookland’s Finest), 2:30 pm.
  • September 21: Bruner-Yang with Carlos Delgado (China Chilcano), 1 p.m.

Food trucks from &pizza, Big Cheese (grilled cheese), Pablo’s Toc O’s (sic), Sweet Crepe Love, and Capital Chicken and Waffle, and Cali Burger will set up shop in the front plaza throughout the festival. There will also be appearances trucks from Ravin Cravin (chicken and salads), Dogs on the Curb (hot dogs), Kona Ice, and Lattimore’s Funnel Cakes.

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