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Nicholas Stefanelli’s New Wine Bar Brings Downtown a Soaring Piece of Greece

Kaimaki opens Thursday, June 2 with meze, lesser-known Greek wines, and cocktails

Kaimaki, designed by Grupo 7, imports nighttime Greek party vibes to D.C.
Vina Sananikone/Kaimaki

Michelin-starred chef Nicholas Stefanelli doubles down on Midtown Center this week with the addition of a sleek Greek wine bar called Kaimaki.

The casual, next-door counterpart to his prix-fixe showpiece Philotimo opens Thursday, June 2 (1100 15th Street NW) with a menu devoted to Greek wines, street foods, and experimental cocktails. Whereas his lauded eateries Officina and Masseria play up his Italian roots, Stefanelli taps into the Greek side of his ancestry at the snazzy new Midtown Center.

Named after the micro-bubbled top layer of Greek coffee, walk-in-only Kaimaki seats 12 at the bar and another 25 at high-top tables facing floor-to-ceiling windows. Hours are Tuesday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight.

Stefanelli’s beverage director Joseph Kocjan spearheads a cocktail list that includes a rotating crop of classics and originals like the Red Dragon (gin, cucumber habanero shrub, pomegranate juice); Quintessence (tequila, sake vermouth, strawberry lacto phosphate); and Medicane (Greek spirit Kleos Mastiha, Jamaican rum, homemade fassionola, lime, bubbles).

A large list of Greek wines highlights lesser-known regions and labels that Stefanelli curated from travels all over the Mediterranean country and its idyllic isles.

The Red Dragon cocktail (gin, cucumber habanero shrub, pomegranate juice).
Vina Sananikone/Kaimaki
Kaimaki seats 12 at the bar.
Vina Sananikone/Kaimaki

On the snacks front, a section of some meze served at Philotimo includes dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), fava bean fritters, loukoumades (bite-sized doughnuts), and Greek cheeses and cured meats. There’s also hefty helpings of fries, a Greek go-to served with gyros and souvlaki.

In the coming months, Stefanelli also plans to roll out Greek coffee, lunch service, and to-go offerings. Kaimaki is available for private events and can accommodate up to 75 for standing receptions. The Midtown Center complex continues to fill out, between the recent arrival of boozy fried poultry pad Little Chicken and upcoming opening of all-day Ākēdo from modern Japanese izakaya Shōtō.

Meanwhile, Stefanelli’s busy 2022 also includes three original ventures in The Morrow Washington DC, Curio Collection by Hilton, a new 203-room hotel coming to NoMa this fall (222 M Street NE). That includes Le Clou, a modern take on the traditional French brasserie; Vesper, an intimate cocktail lounge with caviar service and live music; and Upstairs at The Morrow, a rooftop lounge and bar with wraparound city views.

A rendering of The Morrow Washington DC, Curio Collection by Hilton.
Courtesy The Morrow Washington DC

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