Fast-growing burger bar Eat Brgz has called dibs on the former home of Grillfish, EatWellDC’s long-running seafood spot that closed last fall after a 26-year run at a prime Northwest nexus.
The Capitol Hill-born counter for experimental mix-in burgers will plant a booze-fueled flag this spring in the 3,000-square-foot West End space with a big patio out front (1200 New Hampshire Avenue NW).
Eat Brgz founder Brandon Gaynor opened the Southeast original in 2019 and counted Michelle Obama as an early fan of its revolutionary take on the American classic. Fresh ingredients and spices are mixed into each burger patty, with protein picks of beef, chicken, Impossible meat, or a double patty. Eat Brgz added a second location across from Capital One Arena last May, and the latest—situated at the nexus of West End, Foggy Bottom, and Dupont—will make three.
“I think the bar will hit a lot harder in this neighborhood, with 13 hotels in two square blocks,” says Gaynor, who plans to keep liquor flowing until midnight.
The new location has twice as many bar seats as Chinatown, which offers weekday happy hour on pitchers of “Caps (Long) Island,” frozen margaritas, and beers by the bucket.
Eat Brgz Dupont will also officially roll out brunch for the first time. The brand toyed with breakfast sandwiches years ago at the original D.C. store, but the pandemic put plans to serve D.C.’s popular weekend meal on pause. Catering will also enter the equation in its new 9-to-5 neighborhood.
All of its best-selling burgers will show up in Dupont, served in a freshly baked potato roll or gluten-free cauliflower bun or on a salad, and topped with one of seven homemade sauces. Diners can also customize their own creations with a choice of cheese, mixed-in toppings, a seasoning, and sauce. Proprietary low-fat, protein-packed milkshakes will also make their way over to the new location, as will sides like Brussels sprouts and fries in classic, Cajun, jerk, or garlic Parmesan varieties.
Four years after starting the company—a big chunk of which were the pandemic—Gaynor says the time feels right to expand hours and break into brunch.
“I joke we were a 13-year-old kid learning about ourselves and growing up. Now we are getting to a point where we are starting to get those brand attributes,” he says. “There’s so many things we can do with the menu—the canvas is there.”
Eat Brgz has adopted a hybrid ordering approach, with sit-down service, on-site kiosks, and advance ordering online or via text. He likens the model to that of essential pizza parlor Stellina.
Eat Brgz Chinatown, which replaced a Legal Sea Foods, has capitalized on its shared back stairwell with RocketBar by offering a pared-down menu to drinkers in the subterranean sports bar.
“They get so blasted down there, it’s more ‘just give me some food,’” says Gaynor.