Nearly five months after a fire forced her to close the original Shaw location of Green Almond Pantry, chef Cagla Onal-Urel is reopening the critically acclaimed Mediterranean lunch counter at a new location in Georgetown. Starting Thursday, May 13, customers can place online preorders to pick up Onal-Urel’s outstanding focaccia, Kennebec potato frittata, salads, and dips from the former Sundevich stall inside the shared space at 3210 Grace Street NW.
Onal-Urel will open the cafe and market from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday to start. She’s excited to have a grill in the space, expanding the possibilities of future dinner specials, but Green Almond Pantry will first ease back into operations with customer favorites like mercimek koftesi (Turkish red lentil balls), lemon and fava bean dip, and eggplant confit and goat feta sandwiches served on homemade demi baguettes. A market section includes eggs by the dozen from Earth N Eats farm, tinned fish, Greek oregano, olive oil, and balsamic. Onal-Urel appreciates the building’s outdoor seating near the C&O canal outback. To-go dinners will continue to be dictated by what sort of meal she wants to feed her daughter that night.
“This is really my passion,” Onal-Urel says. “I love eating. This is what I miss.”
Although Green Almond Pantry had only eights seats and only served dinner to-go, Onal-Urel’s cooking left a big impression on critics. Esquire named it one of the 22 Best New Restaurants in America in 2019, and Washington Post food columnist Tim Carman professed his love for it in a review the same year.
Before opening Green Almond Pantry, the chef worked with restaurateur Peter Pastan at high-end Italian restaurant Obelisk and Logan Circle pizzeria Etto. Onal-Urel says she expects to receive a liquor license soon, something she never had in Shaw, so she’s excited to start stocking wines and Pastan’s Capitoline vermouth.
“[It’s] the way that we do the food,” she says. “Whatever we like, we’re going to serve.”