Logan Circle stalwart Estadio takes its tapas outside this week, inviting customers to sip on Spanish sherries, sangria, and its destination gin and tonics across a 60-seat alfresco setup on the corner of 14th Street and Church Street NW.
Friday, August 21, will mark the end of a five-month hiatus from full-service operations at the decade-old Spanish restaurant, which has been running a limited takeout menu focused on paella. The outdoor pop-up (1520 14th Street NW) is called Estadio Afuera, which means “outside” in Spanish. The interior dining room will remain closed, and outdoor tables will be 7 feet apart.
“The way I am looking at it is even though this year is largely lost and so sad in many ways, we have this period coming up which is really the best two months to be open,” owner Max Kuller says. “We’re trying to be the best seasonal version of Estadio we can be.”
Kuller says it’s always been a dream to add outdoor seating, and there was once a fleeting plan to organize a tomato festival on Church Street.
Tomatoes and crab will play a big part in seasonal dishes from Dimas Mendoza, who earned a recent promotion from his sous chef position. New items under Mendoza’s watch include roasted sweet corn with alioli, manchego, chile, lime, and cilantro; salmon with baby zucchini, corn, tomatoes, mushrooms, scallions, baby spinach and a piquillo pepper labneh; and local tomato gazpacho. He’s also making crackly shards of homemade herbed flatbread.
Mendoza opened Estadio in 2010 and has worked with Kuller’s family since he helped open beloved wine bar Proof in Penn Quarter in 2007. He left to help Haidar Karoum open Chloe in 2018, then came back into the fold.
The essential restaurant, one of the earlier participants in the 14th Street NW boom, is known for its strong selection of cheese and charcuterie, as well as pintxos, bocadillos, and classic tapas dishes. Longtime favorites haven’t gone anywhere. There’s tortilla española, patatas bravas, open-faced montaditos, golden brown croquetas, sautéed shrimp al ajillo, plancha-grilled calamari with salsa verde, shishito peppers, and manchego cheesecake.
The 85-item savory menu has been condensed, though, and a paella special will run Sundays. Hours are Tuesday to Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m.
Estadio also briefly hosted the Scrappy’s bagel pop-up from chef Rob Rubba, who recently opened a takeout version of vegetable-centric tasting menu spot Oyster Oyster in Shaw.