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The New Latin Cafe From the Call Your Mother Crew Opens for a Takeout Test Run

Mercy Me starts selling breakfast tacos, South American pastries, and Roman-style grilled pizza in a West End hotel

Mercy Me is selling breakfast tacos and Call Your Mother bagels
Mercy Me is selling breakfast tacos and Call Your Mother bagels with South American flavors
Mercy Me [official]

Mercy Me, the “Sorta South American” cafe collaboration between the owners of hit bagel shop Call Your Mother and former Doi Moi chef Johanna Hellrigl, opened this morning for a two-day test run inside the rebranded Wink hotel, now know as YoursTruly, in the West End.

The cafe (1143 New Hampshire Avenue NW) will serve all-day breakfast (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and squares of Roman-style pan pizza that are finished on the grill for lunch. All sales on Thursday, June 11, and Friday, June 12, will be donated to Black Lives Matter.

“This is low-key, this is for the neighborhood. We’ll ramp it up when the time is right,” co-owner Andrew Dana says.

The limited takeout menu includes two breakfast tacos (bacon, egg, and cheese, or egg and sweet corn) served on half flour, half corn tortillas with a schmear of guasacaca, a Venezuelan avocado salsa. Call Your Mother bagels form the base of new sandwiches that integrate Latin ingredients like quinoa crunch or cream cheese made with dried chimichurri herbs.

Camila Arango, the owner of Pluma by Bluebird bakery, has signed on as pastry chef and developed South American sweets such as cinnamon-sugar bolinhos (Brazilian doughnut holes), carrot cake with passionfruit ganache, and caramelized pineapple empanadas. Drinks include drip coffee an espresso from Annapolis-based roaster Ceremony and a Mercy Me kombucha made from green tea, lemongrass, Peruvian ginger, butterfly pea flower, and maple syrup.

Starting at noon, Mercy Me will serve three types of pizza. Like the bagel sandwiches at Call Your Mother, they’ll have names that allude to rap stars and athletes. A variety with Hellrigl’s chorizo, pickled sweet drop peppers, habanero honey, provolone, mozzarella, and tomato sauce is called the Gilbert, after former Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas.

Dana says he expects Mercy Me will continue operating through the weekend, then establish Wednesday through Sunday operations for the first couple weeks. Argentina-born chef Daniela Moreira, an Eater Young Gun (‘17), is Dana’s partner (Call Your Mother, Timber Pizza Co.) and fiancée. After a couple of weeks, Mercy Me expects to add frozen Caribbean cocktails from Micah Wilder, who owns Shaw ramen bar Chaplin’s and new sushi spot Zeppelin. A dinner menu, originally built around an in-house butcher shop showing off sustainably raised cuts of beef, is also a few weeks out.