Three-year-old Houston favorite Belle Station will export its lively brunch scene, Southern comfort foods, and top DJ connections to D.C. this fall.
The brand’s first foray outside of Midtown Houston will land at 14th and U Streets NW, occupying a four-story building that’s currently sitting vacant (1355 U Street NW). Why D.C.? In short, some of its Houston investors are based in D.C., and one came across a coveted alcohol license.
“This is a great location for a lease,” owner/operator Jeremy Kight tells Eater. “There aren’t a lot of Southern-influenced places in D.C. and we feel like we could be a niche market.”
Houston’s Southern-leaning menu includes starters like wings, fried pickle chips, and honey butter chicken biscuits, alongside an array of carnivorous mains like a “belle” filet, “gentlemens” ribeye, and burgers. Brunch — coined “The Belle’s Babe Brunch and Sucka’-Free Sundays” — brings on $6 mimosas and “Belle-inis,” along with biscuits and gravy, chicken and waffles, and avocado toast.
“A lot of people are probably more health aware [in D.C.] and don’t want a bunch of fried food,” he says. “We’re going to tailor the menu to make those people happy too.”
That means he’ll likely add more greens to the sophomore location with the help of a local chef.
The drinks list is filled out by spiked lemonades, frozen margaritas, and Southern whiskeys and bourbons to help build cocktails like a “Call Me Old Fashion.”
Here’s a look at the Houston menu:
Belle Station’s Wednesday steak night special is a steal: a choice cut (like pork chop, lamb, tomahawk) and two sides for $20, in addition to seasonal wine pairings.
“That is something really successful down here,” he says.
Belle Station also doubles as a nightclub and draws big crowds for its high-caliber DJ bookings (NYC’s famed DJ Chachi is a regular).
“I am a DJ as well and nerd out over our sound and lighting system,” he says, adding he plans to import its top-notch Martin Audio sound system to D.C. (also installed at U Street Music Hall).
The setup will also feature a rooftop patio, and the team is tinkering with the idea of planting a speakeasy in the basement. Houston’s much-smaller location is sprawled across just one floor. He likens D.C.’s “Belle Station 2.0” to multi-floor millennial magnet Hawthorne down the street.
In addition to a weekday happy hour, the daily programming-obsessed venue also throws throwback hip-hop parties on Thursdays; UFC fight night showings on Saturdays; and free salsa lessons one Friday night each month in Houston.
A press release sums up the hospitable venue as “a nod to old-timey Southern belles and their endless string of chic brunches and lavish parties.”