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D.C.’s Dearly Missed Burger Bar Mélange Makes a Surprise Comeback on Halloween

Ethiopian chef Elias Taddesse reboots his brand as a takeout-only outfit in Shaw

The opening Oklahoma burger at Mélange.
Rey Lopez for Mélange
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Six months after the original location shut down, Eater DC’s 2021 Chef of the Year Elias Taddesse revives his acclaimed burger bar Mélange in D.C. this month.

One year after opening Doro Soul Food, his essential Shaw takeout that infuses soul food favorites with Ethiopian spices and flavors, Mélange Burger joins the mix in the same pint-sized space on Tuesday, October 31. Mélange Burger (1819 7th Street NW) will operate Tuesdays to Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for carryout and delivery only.

Mélange, which suddenly closed this spring after a successful, 3-year run in Mt. Vernon Triangle, wowed diners with doro wat fried chicken sandwiches, brown butter aioli cheeseburgers, and inventive mashups that homage to Taddesse’s East African heritage, fine dining background at Michelin-starred restaurants in NYC, and nostalgia for American drive-thrus while growing up in Minneapolis. Taddesse has a Mélange 2.0 standalone location planned for 2024.

For now, the resurrected edition in Shaw specializes in new twists and takes on smash burgers served between fluffy milk bread buns. Patties are built with dry-aged beef from Maryland’s Sassafras Farm, which Taddesse grinds and blends in-house. Burgers are capped off with condiments like homemade condiments like jalapeno bacon jam, roasted garlic aioli, and butter chive Dijonnaise.

The quartet of opening options ($9.50-$13.50) includes the signature Le Royale topped with Colby Jack, The Oklahoma featuring cooked-in onions, the McDowell christened with American cheese, and the vegetarian New Shroom ($13.50) — a double-patty medley of minced mushrooms, onions, herbs, and pea protein.