The first sign of a good coffee shop is when it only stocks 2 percent, whole or soy milk.
The second sign — no syrups.
The Wydown Coffee Bar, named after a boulevard in St. Louis, isn’t messing around.
Co-owned by two brothers from St. Louis, The Wydown is the third coffee shop in an area that has underserved the coffee culture for way too long. It’ll be the second shop on 14th Street with a drip bar when it moves to its new location in December, only blocks from Peregrine Espresso.
The biggest difference between Peregrine and Wydown? Wydown has seating. And that’s huge.
While its pop-up location only has two outlets for day-long laptop junkies to latch onto, the open, warehouse-like space with chalkboard walls, a tree-trunk table with picnic tables and bowling alley benches on either side, is already making serious coffee shop goers feel at home.
Wydown serves homemade muffins, scones and breads, alongside French pastries from Georgetown’s Patisserie Poupon.
The shop’s co-owner, Alex, says The Wydown was named so customers would ask about its origin and thereby leave with a positive image of St. Louis.
It’s soon to do that and more in one of the fastest developing areas in the District.
Follow them @thewydown for details of their move.
Kapnos, Mike Isabella’s third restaurant in the District, has been open for four days. And yes, it was possible to get a 7:30 p.m. reservation in its first week.
The spits were spinning with lamb, goat and suckling pig, but the pork dish — at $28 a plate — was not a favorite among the chef’s tasting menu dishes, which overall is a pretty good deal for $65 per person.
If you go to Kapnos and want to select your own mezze, here’s what you should get:
Spreads: Tyrokaftari, or whipped feta served with a warm, puffy folded flatbread — aka pita.
Cold mezze: The spicey watermelon is a fresh palate cleanser topped with peppery black tempanade-like dollops.
Garden mezze: Greek fries. Enough said. The hot disks of chick peas sprinkled with mizithra, a traditional white unpasteurized cheese, is perfectly balanced by an order of the garden salad made of fresh tomatoes, feta in luscious olive oil. The fava is pretty good, too.
Ocean mezze: The smokiness of the charred octopus is like nothing you’ve had before.
Phyllo pies: Roasted duck
Although a homemade olive oil ice cream could win anyone over, the semolina cake it was paired with was not impressive. The waitstaff will likely recommend the apple baklava. You should get it, but it won’t set you packing for the Greek Isles.
The 14th and U Streets restaurant boom moves north with the opening of Mike Isabella’s third restaurant, Kapnos, set for July 5.
But the Top Chef star won’t be left out of D.C.’s “Little Italy” scene. A week after Kapnos gets off the ground, Isabella will open G next door, which will star Italian sandwiches by day and a tasting menu at night.
The two soon-to-be hotspots will be the first commercial spaces to open under the 14W apartment complex. The mixed commercial and residential property will add the city’s 10th Sweetgreen later this year.