Essential D.C. barbecue joint Federalist Pig is leading a new sandwich pop-up taking pickup and delivery orders out of the Afterwords Cafe inside Kramerbooks, a Dupont Circle sibling within the Salis Holdings group. While pitmaster Rob Sonderman’s menu has little to do with his mastery of hardwood, fire, and smoke, it does integrate a missing piece from the Federalist Pig kitchen in Adams Morgan: a flattop grill.
As part of the Fedwich pop-up, Sonderman is happy to have an opportunity to flatten balls of ground beef on a griddle, where they can sizzle and develop a crust in their own fat. Under Sonderman’s direction, Afterwords cooks who were previously furloughed during the coronavirus pandemic are now stacking two 4-ounce patties on a brioche bun with lettuce, pickles, and a special sauce.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of the smashburger concept,” Sonderman says, adding, “If we had a flattop grill here at Fed Pig, we’d definitely have one on the menu.”
An opening lineup of six sandwiches, first served last weekend, are available for delivery from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on DoorDash and Postmates. Because they’re coming from Kramerbooks, customers can also support the store with a book delivery.
Besides the burger, there’s a Feddy cheesesteak, two types of fried chicken sandwiches, and a FedPig melt that piles pulled pork with melted cheddar and jack cheeses and barbecue sauce on Texas Toast. A Big Ben half-smoke represents a collaboration between Federalist Pig and another Salis brand, Ted’s Bulletin. Sonderman’s jalapeno cheddar sausage teams up with chili from Ted’s, cheese sauce, onions, and mustard on a hoagie roll. Fedwich is also selling Ted’s Tarts for dessert.
Federalist Pig is already operating at capacity, Sonderman says, so he couldn’t produce more barbecue if he wanted to. An influx of online orders have helped to make up for the loss of the catering business. While their have been some hiccups in operations when 30 orders come in at once instead of handling a steady stream of carryout and dine-in customers, Sonderman is grateful for the support from Adams Morgan customers.
“A lot of places int he neighborhood are closed now,” he explains. “A lot of the neighborhood that would only pick us once a month because there are so many great options are now coming to see us once a week or twice a week.”
Sonderman says Federalist Pig has not had to lay off any workers, and generous tips have kept their paychecks close to normal.
For the time being, both of the barbecue brand’s big construction projects are paused. Federalist Pig was working on building a 2,500-square-foot location in Hyattsville, Maryland, and also knocking down a wall so it could expand into a next-door space on Columbia Road NW that used to house a Cricket Wireless.
“The most important thing is keeping the team paid,” Sonderman says. “As much as it’s frustrating and painful that the construction’s on hold, we’ve got bigger things that we’re worried about right now.”