Chicken + Whiskey, the casual Logan Circle counter that serves Peruvian poultry from a counter in the front and has a wall of brown liquor and vinyls in the back, will open a follow-up location in Navy Yard. Maryland-based Star Restaurant Group (Doi Moi) signed a deal to move into the base level of Jair Lynch’s brand new condo building (70 N Street SE) by December.
The South American rotisserie shop and whiskey bar joined the bustling 14th Street NW corridor in 2017 with a rising Latin chef designing the menu. Enrique Limardo (Seven Reasons, Immigrant Food, Imperfecto) complements slow-roasted chickens that are brined for 12 hours with Venezuelan arepas.
“He’s the engine that makes this thing [work]. His food is so damn good,” says Des Reilly, managing principal of Star Restaurant Group. “We deliver his sauces, recipes and flavor profiles in an inexpensive way.”
Unlike the narrow layout of the original — a chicken joint in the front, with a speakeasy tucked behind a refrigerator door in the back — Chicken + Whiskey will put its two components side-by-side in Navy Yard with roll-up garage doors spanning the length of the facade. The 3,210-square-foot ground floor space comes with a 900-square-foot prep and production area in the basement, making it about 1,000 square feet larger than the original.
A patio on N Street will fit 33, and an outdoor extension between the restaurant and condo entrance will come to life during Nationals games with tables and projector screens. Tucked under a covered overpass, the 2,000-square-foot pop-up patio will fit about 85.
“It’s going to be a fun daytime place to hang out during ballgames. And if it rains, it’s a covered patio to hang out during the delay — or get out of the sun with shade,” Reilly says.
Pollo a la brasa, starting at $9.49 for a quarter chicken, comes with two sides, including beans, yuca fries, or sweet plantains. Cassava-coated chicken strips, served with a choice of ají amarillo or house barbecue sauce, are also a top seller.
Unlike the original in Logan Circle, the bar at Navy Yard’s Chicken + Whiskey will open at 11 a.m. The whiskey list is 99 bottles deep, offering a mix of both rare domestic and international brands. On Wednesdays, the bar runs a buy-one-get-one deal on Old Fashioneds. During the pandemic, managing partner Kris Carr’s “Botellita” bottled cocktails have been a hit, with OG, coconut, or maple Old Fashioneds and sazeracs available for takeout and delivery.
A Navy Yard expansion has been on Chicken + Whiskey’s radar for two years, but COVID-19 caused the team to get cold feet a year ago and press pause on the project. Now that the neighborhood is showing positive progress — with upcoming arrivals from Knead Hospitality Group’s anticipated American restaurant Gatsby, self-pour pub Tap 99, and a Silver Diner — the time felt right to pull the trigger. Reilly expects to submit a building permit by next month.
Star’s managing principal (and former DJ) Charles Koch built an all-vinyl music program for the Logan Circle whiskey bar that returned on a reservation-only, weekend basis in December after a nine-month hiatus. Similar to the original, expect loud, Latin music on the chicken side and rock, soul, hip hop, and pop on the whiskey front.
“We don’t want to lose our identity,” Reilly says. “We are a dive bar and we love our music program, vintage records, and grittiness.”
The hospitality company is flying out LA-based muralist Pepa Llama to help implement a colorful Peruvian-inspired design. With 25-foot ceilings, she’ll have a large canvas. Its 14th Street NW home base recently got a refresh with a new logo, paint job, and more Peruvian flair. Reilly says there are already a “couple other” Chicken + Whiskey locations in development around the greater D.C. area.
Last year, Star took over the reins of nearby neighborhood staple Doi Moi and implemented a new Vietnamese menu and tropical design. Star’s local footprint includes consulting work on Heist nightclub, as well as creating The Walrus Oyster & Ale House in National Harbor.
- Doi Moi Reopens Under New Management With a Menu Full of Vietnamese Food [EDC]
- The Chef at Latin Hit Seven Reasons Plans to Open a New D.C. Restaurant Next Year [EDC]
- This Venezuelan Chef’s Imagination Runs Wild at His Dream D.C. Restaurant [EDC]
- A Restaurant Celebrating Immigrants Will Open Near the White House [EDC]
- At Imperfecto, a Much-Hyped Chef Takes Mediterranean Flavors on a Latin American Trip [EDC]
- Chicken + Whiskey Blends South American Cooking With Global Spirits [EDC]