Opal, Eater’s essential 38 destination for fish, vegetables, and meats from the American coastline in a converted Chevy Chase row house, welcomed a superstar walk-in over the weekend. Rapper and business mogul Jay-Z strolled in for a late brunch on Sunday, August 6, the same day his equally famous wife Beyoncé wrapped up a two-night concert at Landover, Maryland’s FedExField.
Around 4 p.m., as the group was wrapping up brunch, staff from the strip’s neighborhood pizza spot Little Beast Cafe & Bistro whipped up a gift box of cupcakes from its Red Velvet confectionary shop. “Our staff was super psyched when they found out he was over at Opal,” says Meaghaan Tolman, director of operations at Gordon Restaurant Group. “His security guard said he was going through the back door to avoid press.”
Little Beast’s teenage employee of the month Javi Thompson took charge and patiently waited in an alley, cupcakes in tow, for the VIP exit near dumpsters. “Jay-Z was extremely nice and appreciative,” says Tolman. “His actual quote was, ‘I love you for this, man.”
The box was filled with a half-dozen of Red Velvet Cupcakery’s greatest hits like Southern Belle, cookies-and-cream, vanilla bean, and carrot cake flavors.
“I think everyone’s aware Beyoncé and Jay-Z no longer eat sugar, but I’m sure the bodyguards enjoyed,” says Tolman.
Jay-Z and his Sunday brunch group — which included his sister-in-law Solange Knowles — choose a six-top table next to Opal’s open kitchen, offering a front-row seat of its wood-fired oven that bakes baller breads and roasts all sorts of proteins. The nearly year-old sibling to Logan Circle’s super-seasonal mainstay Nina May comes from culinary duo Colin McClimans and Danilo Simic.
“He was very nice to staff and offered to take a photo,” the team told Eater. “He seemed to particularly enjoy Opal’s wood-fired bread and brunch pastries.”
Brunch at Opal is pretty cheap by a billionaire’s standards. Its two-course tasting menu option with a beverage ($29) includes items like yogurt and puffed sorghum granola, preserved tomato baked eggs with cannellini beans, rapini, and toast, and mushroom risotto.
Opal’s Instagram account enjoyed a big bump in followers after the unannounced celebrity appearance, notes a rep. “We picked the right day to throw a baby shower at Opal! Our guest of honor was QUITE excited!” commented user @clairenb2014.
Located on the D.C.-Maryland border, the Chevy Chase strip is about a 50-minute drive from the 62,000-seat home of the NFL Washington Commanders and Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour stop. Her Sunday night show was delayed for about two hours due to storms, and her camp paid Metro $100,000 to keep its doors open later.
Jay-Z is the latest big-name performer spotted out and about in D.C.
Grammy-winning rapper Drake made the most of a two-night stand at Capital One Arena in late July. In town for his It’s All A Blur tour stop, he carved out time to DJ a set for a packed crowd at Dupont’s subterranean nightclub Heist, show up at Versus sibling Ciel Social Club, and dine at RPM Italian.