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Chef Alex McCoy’s Latest Stall at Union Market Riffs on European Sandwiches

Bar Boheme opens in January with freshly baked focaccia, porchetta, and Negronis on tap

The “Emilia” sandwich (mortadella, chunky pistachio cream, arugula, radicchio, charred radicchio, mozzarella fior di latte, basil).
Alex McCoy
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

For his latest grab-and-go venture at Union Market’s food hall, Lucky Buns chef Alex McCoy goes all in on European-styled handhelds filled with freshly sliced and cured meats.

Bar Boheme opens in early January with over a dozen paper-wrapped sandwiches that run the Old World gamut, embracing nostalgic favorites from England to the Mediterranean. A “Brick Lane” piles house-cured British salt beef, spicy English mustard, and pickles on a rustic loaf.

“We’re having fun with classic European flavors, but done our way and using local produce,” he tells Eater. “I’m a sandwich guy and love a good sub.”

At Bar Boheme, homemade pork rillettes, grilled Thai herbal sausage, mortadella, and cured salmon will play a starring role in rotating sandwiches. Building blocks of buttery focaccia, Spanish rustic bread, and multigrain loaves will be baked fresh in the stall every morning. Bar Boheme packs a sensory overload into one small space, from hearty slabs of Italian pork roast (porchetta) sliced behind the counter to vats of bubbling confit.

Porchetta will be carved daily behind the counter at Bar Boheme.
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A pork-and-beef Swedish meatball sandwich is McCoy’s cheffed-up answer to Ikea’s cult menu item. He dresses up the meaty orbs with fresh herbs, charred onion cream gravy, lingonberry preserves, and pickled cucumbers.

“It’s less about being refined and more simple European sandwiches with four or five fresh ingredients that stand out on their own,” he says. “It’s not meant to be a gratuitous, cheesy, messy experience.”

One stall over at Lucky Buns, diners pair hatch green chile-topped patties with sides of curry-flavored fries. The Adams Morgan original will be joined by another standalone D.C. location at the Wharf next March. The beloved burger bar also popped up across the pond this summer at London’s chic Carousel wine bar.

Bar Boheme’s booze list centers around natural biodynamic wines by the bottle or glass, bitter aperitivo cocktails like Negronis on tap, and pours of France’s popular anise-flavored spirit Pastis. Also look for Belgium and French beers and Brittany ciders.

A cold deli counter will also showcase items like Portuguese tinned seafood, seasonal salads, and cured lox. The 75-square-foot, utilitarian-styled stall carves out room for just six seats, so diners are encouraged to take the party to go.

“You can get a bunch of stuff and go sit down to have a picnic with friends,” says McCoy.

The Northeast food hall (1309 5th Street NE) recently got a boost with the arrival of Yasmīne, a Lebanese street foods stall from chefs Chris Morgan and Gerald Addison (Bammy’s) and beverage director Said Haddad.