A new Latin cafe serving juicy rotisserie chicken, spicy beef barbacoa sandwiches, and vegetarian breakfast sandwiches opened today on an iconic stretch near Dupont Circle.
Cafe Mia (1829 M Street NW) moves into a spot that has hosted a number failed eateries, (most recently Filipino counter the Flipside). Restaurateur Jeff Diaz, who recently parted ways with short-lived Bar Lorea off U Street, is behind the place.
Everything from bottled juices to chicken marinated for 12 hours is prepared on-site.
The poultry rotates on the spit for an hour before hitting silver trays in portions ranging to from chicken quarters to whole birds. Diners can add two sides (spicy cucumber, mac and cheese, street corn, sweet plantain) for a filling lunch. Slow-roasted beef barbacoa is another featured protein that stars in bowls and sandwiches.
The chicken recipe took 10 iterations to perfect the seasonings. A dipping sauce is made with Peruvian hot sauce Aji Sobremesa.
“We pride ourself that nothing is coming out of the freezer,” Diaz says, adding he was able to hire many workers from Bar Lorea.
Although there is Super Pollo on Connecticut Avenue and famed sandwich spot Bub and Pop’s next-door, Diaz thinks Cafe Mia will fill a void for Latin-accented breakfast and lunch options.
He says one of his first customers this morning was thrilled to see vegetarian options past an everyday egg-and-cheese sandwich. The Miguel breakfast sandwich features roasted poblano peppers, grilled tomatoes, cheese, black beans, and scrambled eggs. A Mediterranean breakfast bowl is designed for health fanatics, subbing in sweet potatoes for home fries. The bowl also features feta cheese, kalamata olives, roasted tomatoes, crispy capers, spinach, egg whites, olive oil, and black pepper.
Cafe Mia serves breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and flips to lunch service until 4 p.m. on weekdays (closed Saturday and Sunday). A late-night chicken menu is expected to go live in the spring.
Menu items can be supersized for catering orders for 10 to 12. There’s also delivery through ChowNow, and he’s working on releasing a Cafe Mia ordering app.
Sandwiches come with a personal touch — they’re named after Diaz’s kids. There’s the Zechari (roasted tomatoes, basil pesto, cheese, spinach, caramelized onions, french baguette) and tuna-filled Jacob with cucumber, olives, egg, red onion, olive oil, vinegar, tomato, roasted red peppers, and parsley. Generous fillings are housed between brioche buns, French baguettes, and croissants from Lyon Bakery.
“These are New York portions,” says Diaz, a Brooklyn native. He says Cafe Mia is partly inspired by the no-frills delis he used to frequent in his neighborhood. Irving Farm, one of NYC’s first specialty roasters, supplies the coffee.
The M Street strip’s revitalization continues this month with the arrival of Sign of the Whale 2.0.