The soaring Northeast space that most recently housed gadgets-galore Sweet Science Coffee flips into Simona Cafe in early September (35 N Street NE).
The chic cafe debuted in Arlington last year and quickly became an all-day neighborhood favorite for seasonal drinks and drip, flat whites, chai lattes, sandwiches built on homemade focaccia, charcuterie boards, and a curated selection of wine and beer. For its second act, Simona Cafe brings the same menu over to its new plant-filled D.C. digs with plans to apply for a liquor license soon. The coffee program mostly relies on beans from Falls Church’s Rare Bird, plus rotating appearances from guest roasters like Richmond’s Recluse Coffee.
Simona kicks off the day with eggy handhelds, joined by all-day offerings like a “fancy” grilled cheese stacked with cheddar, brie, and caramelized onions; open-faced avocado toast with smoky red pepper salsa and arugula; or prosciutto di Parma, whipped butter, and sliced cornichons piled on a fresh baguette.
“We try to do everything from scratch,” says Simona Cafe director and partner Tito Peña. “We don’t buy syrups and make all the bread and salads in-house.”
The 1,110-square-foot location in NoMa is substantially larger than the Arlington original, complete with a bigger pastry counter, kitchen, and storage space. Hours will be 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. out of the gate to capture nearby customers coming home from work.
“NoMa is a good location in an up-and-coming area,” says Simona Cafe founder Jad Bouchebel, who’s also a partner at Wilson Hardware in Arlington. “Our focus is on good quality coffee, and top of that, good quality food.”
Sweet Science founding partner Sandra Wolter recently transitioned her 8-year-old company into an online-only coffee class model (Sweet Science Coffee Education).
“We want to make it more of a neighborhood cafe people know,” says Bouchebel, who was part of Sweet Science and took over the space.
Simona Cafe tapped local coffee vet Reggie Elliott as managing partner of the D.C. location.