British pub Alibi is normally in the business of serving draft beers and neat whiskeys to politicos in Capitol Hill, but starting today, it will turn into a market selling high-quality beef, groceries, and home essentials.
While some grocery stores are being depleted, Alibi (237 2nd Street NW) will be taking orders for family-sized meal kits, liquor, beer, wine, butter, milk, eggs by the dozen ($5), and Amish bacon by the pound ($7). Chef Mike Ellis will drive and deliver meals within a two-mile radius at no extra charge, as long as customer order a day ahead of time. Next-day pickup is available Monday to Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.
Ellis recently led the kitchen at acclaimed surf-and-turf spot Charlie Palmer Steak nearby. After Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a dine-in ban to stem the spread of coronavirus, Ellis spent the week brainstorming ways to keep money coming in.
“I went home Monday without a job. I said I wasn’t going to lose my house and everything else — I’m turning [Alibi] into a grocery store with raw meals, beer, wine, and liquor,” he says.
The pantry, dubbed #YourAlibi, is stocked with hanger or flat iron steak by the ounce, and dry-aged ground beef by the pound from Maryland purveyor Roseda Farms. Essentials include bleach by the gallon, Bounty paper towels, and $2 rolls of toilet paper (limit four per order). Any order over $25 comes with a roll on the house.
One cooking kit includes a set with two four-pound chickens covered in dry-rub. There’s also a set of salmon packed with lemon and herbs, and a Chesapeake Bay-themed meal comes with four jumbo lump Maryland crab cakes.
A prepared food section includes chicken or eggplant Parmesan and chicken pot pie. Ellis is selling trimming such as green beans with garlic and onions, potatoes roasted with sea salt and rosemary, and a garden salad. There’s also 32-ounce tubs of pecorino-accented tomato soup. Banofee pie, made out of toffee pudding and banana, is available by the slice or whole pie.
Alibi is competing with liquor store prices on liters of Tito’s ($30) and Redemption bourbon ($38) as well as 750-milliliter bottles of Dobel Tequila ($40) and District Made Rye ($55). There are wines, six-packs of beer, Hellbender Ignite IPA, and Anxo District Dry Cider.
Fresh meats, fish, and produce will rotate weekly, depending on what’s available.
While restaurants are limited to takeout and delivery, more chefs like Ellis are doing personal drop-offs as an alternative to absorbing charges from third-party delivery companies.
Beuchert’s Saloon’s Andrew Markert is giving customers quick face time, and Convivial chef-owner Cedric Maupillier now delivers “room service” to Shaw residents at City Market at O, offering everything from French wines by the glass to quiche. Reid Shilling at Navy Yard’s Shilling Canning Company is making drop-offs of steak frites and large cocktails housed in mason jars to residents at The Yards.