New Carry Out/Communal Kitchen Coming to Petworth – What Kind of Cuisine Would you Like to See?

Photo of Georgia and Quincy Ave, NW by PoPville flickr user a.w.miller

“Dear PoPville,

I am working on a combination Carry Out / Communal Kitchen on Georgia Avenue a few blocks north of the Petworth Metro station and I would be curious to hear what your readers think would be a good cuisine for that area. (Also would be happy to hear from folks who are looking to rent commercial kitchen space for their food trucks, catering company, etc.)


Future Petworth Carry Out”

I’m gonna take first crack here. And I think I’ll at least echo a few other voices because it seems to come up at least once a week – a good Jewish Deli carryout. Pastrami, corned beef etc.

What would you guys like to see?

Ed. Note: The writer of this note is the real deal. Whichever cuisine is selected I guarantee we will be doing back flips and shedding more tears of joy.

118 Comment

  • A deli would be great. But I think something like empanadas would also be a real hit….affordable, ready to carry, and appealing to newcomers and old-timers alike.

    A bakery that specializes in bread (such as Great Harvest) would also be welcome.

  • I’d really like somewhere i could pick up decently priced dinners, say $10/plate. Like a protein and two sides. You could have several options available and already cooked. Kinda like the steam tray places downtown, but good.

    Whatever you go with, welcome to the neighborhood. We’re glad to have you.

    • I would look into the business model of Forage in Los Feliz in LA. It sounds like a hipster paradise (and it is) but it is also amazing. It is a protein plus sides (or salads) hot meal bar but done in a local meal. When I was there, I picked a beautiful piece of roast chicken plus mac and cheese and a great mixed vegetable grain salad. It was packed, affordable, easy to stop in and out, and sit down was via a tray and you buss your own table. It was great to see where your food came from, get a hot meal to eat in or go, without too much expense or fuss.

  • gotryit

    Sound awesome, and I second what PoP said.

  • Vegetarian, I will be in the minority

    • I ditto that! DC has a serious dearth of vegetarian restaurants.

      • There is a pretty huge, tasty, and cheap vegetarian kitchen further south on Georgia near Howard – Sol Vegetarian.

        • Soul Vegetarian (correction intended only to point out that it’s soul food, not Latin food). There’s also Everlasting Life right around there.

    • Just consistently having a vegetarian option or two would be enough for me!

    • +2 on the vegetarian! Regardless of the cuisine type, please make sure there are good vegetarian and vegan options. We live a few blocks from there and would love a good quality take out place.

  • As of now, I feel like I get an endless repeat of pizza (Boli’s, Redbrick, Pete’s), Salvadorian food (Pollo Sabroso, Julia’s) and Thai food (Thaitanic). Talk about needing a change.

    Anything outside those selections would be amazing. For example, good Chinese (the quality here is scary) or good To-go ‘meals’ (like the 1 protein 2 sides mentioned before) are very much missing.

  • I would love a good deli. I miss the great italian delis in NJ. I also would like a good place to get a dinner plate that wasn’t fried or chinese food. A good turkey club or burger would also be great.

  • Something along the lines of Fast Gourmet or Taylor Gourmet would be great, but with a better salad option than Taylor Gourmet currently has. A few plate options like someone mentioned earlier would be good, too.

    On average, my husband and I pick up sandwiches or salads from Chop’t, Marvelous Market, or Paul’s 3 times a week. It would be great to be able to pick dinner up on the way home from metro instead of trudging around downtown for it after work. We live in Petworth about 4 blocks from where your location will be, so we are happy to hear that you are moving in. Regardless of what type of food you decide on, if it’s good, we’ll be there!

  • What’s a communal kitchen?

  • I’d love a selection of nice pasta dishes, stays well to-go, and there isn’t really a great to-go pasta option around, yet that will always be a crowd pleaser.

    Deli sounds good as well. I’d LOVE Chinese, but if someone isn’t a Chinese food specialist, regardless of their overall culinary talents, I worry about how feasible that is and how good it could really be; the last thing we need is another crappy take-out Chinese place.

    • That could be great both in terms of food and in terms of business. A couple types of pasta, a couple sauces, a range of topics, yum!

  • Please look into buying an Amato’s franchise. Best Italian sandwich ever. God, the pickles are amazing. You’d make fortune here.

  • binpetworth

    Kabobs. If I could have something along the quality of Moby Dick move into Petworth, I would never eat in Dupont again!

  • Sweet Green or anything like it!!

  • Jewish or Italian deli deli deli!

  • As others have mentioned, a new take-home dinner option that offered sides and proteins would be great. Perhaps something akin to one of our favorite Jewish delis/restaurants in the area, Parkway Deli up in Silver Spring. Sandwiches, but also a variety of hot items like roast chicken, meatloaf, and soups. And rockin deserts packaged to go. We drive up to Parkway just to get carry out, and I know others who do as well, so I think there would be a great market for a place like that here. Welcome to the neighborhood, can’t wait to see what you have in store for us!

    • Would love this option. Currently our take out options we utilize are pretty much Chipotle, or the $7.99 Dominos M-W take-out special. Will be happy to have more options actually in Petworth. Please have some healthy options as well. Welcome to the neighborhood!

    • Parkway is the JAM! I grew up with them and still trek up to Silver Spring just for the corned beef…

  • anonymouse_dianne

    Who needs “cuisine”? I’m all for the protein and two sides idea. I live at Park Place and can get deli at Subway and take out at Sala Thai. If I could stop for dinner at a reasonable price I’d do fewer Lean Cuisines.

    BTW what’s the story with Eatmore Chicken? It never seems to be open. Well, its open in the early morning but who eats chicken for breakfast?

  • This sounds like a great idea. My husband and I were just talking last night about why there aren’t any food trucks at the metro stops after work for people to pick up dinner on the way home. Petworth has so few options for decent take out. I would love to see something with at least a few healthy options (sandwiches, wraps, salads etc). Welcome to the neighborhood!

  • I think a jewish-style deli would be great. Are there any in the city already?

  • While I do agree Petworth needs more food options, I’d just like to point out that Sweet Mango Cafe has delicious selections of proteins and two sides for $7.50!
    I’ll throw my hat in the ring for Jewish/Italian Deli.

  • exciting news! I definitely vote for a Italian deli type place with both hot and cold options available. Would also like to get some quailty deli meats. I’m dreaming of something similar to a Vace….with accessible options for all.

  • Yes, sad to say, a carry out, simple (but high-quality) menu would be a great option. Both comfort food and healthy options would be much appreciated.

    Can’t wait to see what you decide!

  • I have a line of gluten-free baked goods in DC (muffins, biscotti, tarts, etc) and am currently renting a commercial kitchen that is not as convenient. How do I get in touch with the owner? I would be interested in early morning before restaurant is open.

  • Deli would be great, but it was be even better if they made breakfast sandwiches 7 days a week as well! Can’t wait for this to open!

  • Is a communal kitchen carry out something like Let’s Dish?
    I think a store where you can assemble/make your own dinners for carryout would be huge in DC.

  • I went to the Lets Dish once way out in VA with a groupon or something and I was really impressed. I was talking to the manager out there and they didn’t think there would be a market for a place like in DC which just seemed crazy to me. I would go there all the time if was closer or at least on a metro. Something like that would be awesome in DC.

  • andy

    What I’d give for a nice MLT: a mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe . . . mmmmh!!

  • Don’t forget, there’s Washington Deli a few blocks down. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should.
    A Jewish Deli would be good.

    • Washington Deli is actually around twenty blocks north of the Petworth Metro Station, which is not close at all. Actually, something like the Washington Deli would be great for this new spot.

  • Whatever you decide, I think quality is the most important thing missing in Petworth. We have a few carry out options in Petworth but it’d be nice to have something a little more upscale. With that said, I vote for a nice italian deli.

  • sometimes we just really want good Italian. We also don’t love Maroni brothers Mexican food. it’s too salty, no flavor. We tried to like it but finally gave up after a few tries. A good burrito place would be nice.

    BTW–in case anyone want to check it out there is a REALLY good taco place on the corner of FL and 14th. It is REALLY good. It’s on Florida before you cross 14th going East. I think it’s just called Tacos or something but it’s very hip. Reminds me of the kind of hip, simple places I liked in Seattle.

  • Another vote for a “real” deli/lunchcounter, with prepared salads and sides and hot entrees, sandwiches, and please please to go beer and wine. You can pick an ethnicity or theme (Italian, NY, Southern, etc), but anything like this is severely lacking in our area.

  • Quite honestly, as long as the quality and value are good, the type of cuisine is secondary. Any decent takeout place would be welcome in the neighborhood.

    BTW, welcome to the neighborhood!

  • my vote would be italian or jewish deli. someone mentioned a greek place above, and a “Chix” like place would be awesome as well. I still like the idea of a parkway diner type establishment. I love that place.

  • A real NY/Italian bakery.

    Or BAGELS!!!!!

  • A jewish/eastern european deli with food (not just sandwiches) including perogis, blintzs, borcht, motzah ball soup and BAGELS-real bagels would be a dream come true!

  • jewish/italian deli!

  • Anything with Kale.
    Healthy food that does not require 30 minutes to make.

  • Oh yum! It will be fantastic to get some nice take out for dinner that’s not too greasy. A deli, or Greek or Middle Eastern or something like Chix would be fantastic. Can’t wait. Somewhere I can grab a quick dinner for the family on the way home would be great. I can’t stand Subway and half my household doesn’t like Thai so we need more options!

  • What about Baked by Yael? DailyCandy just did a review of her bagels:

    I haven’t tried them (YET), but if DailyCandy says they’re the best bagel in DC, I believe them. The website says they don’t have a storefront. I don’t know where they’re based out of, but maybe we could convince them to use this new kitchen in Petworth. Their stuff looks amazing!

  • WARNING: I took this query very seriously! My comment is quite lengthy as I really would love to collaborate with the person behind this venture. So with that in mind, go for it, read this epic missive!

    Dear New Business Developer in Petworth:

    I have been eying spots as well thinking about opening up a similar venture. I know for me, newly transplanted from Vermont-thanks to Irene there is no going back—I feel like there is no common ground restaurant here. There is the chic white culture and then there is the ethnic culture existing side by side-for the most part.

    I have an idea to combine the existing cultures, and pay homage to the old black culture of the neighborhood.

    Another crucial aspect to the new place would be to have it act as a social venue as well, include truly diverse talents, from the Petworth neighborhood preferably and mostly. We don’t just need to eat, we need food for our souls.

    I bet that there would be a line around the block for my concept-Mississippi fare done in a healthy way-kale, collards, greens seared in garlic and olive oil, cornbread served with molasses butter, deep fried buttermilk marinated tofu or chicken, Jamaican Patties with a sweet potato crust baked on a bed of cornmeal filled with Jerk Chicken or Jerk TVP, Sausage (Veggie or or pork) and biscuits, lots of delicious, flavorful rice and beans, giant, huge wooden bowls for salads with sprouts, avocados, grated carrots, all fresh from the earth from a local farm that supplies the veggies—plus a juice stand that caters to the Central and South American set, and for dessert—well you have to have a great coconut layer cake, a great caramel cake, peach cobbler and banana pudding.

    And, you might want me to help you! I work as an innkeeper part time right now in Adams Morgan but I am looking for a venture similar to this. As I said in the beginning, I am a recent transplant, I am half Italian and half Mississippian, was born and raised in Boston and lived abroad, in Asia and Europe for almost twenty years, then Vermont to raise my family–now I am here. Irene just pushed me to commit to change a bit sooner than I had planned and I am glad to have found the Petworh neighborhood.

    I used to own a hotel and a catering company at Stratton Mountain in Vermont. I love catering and I love anthropology and history and I hate it when cultures live parallel lives with too few vehicles to help them connect. Food can be that vehicle. Anemic young office workers would love to arrive at a bountiful table full of spirit, love and good vibes.

    For the decor, I am thinking Mississippi Road House, grand plantation homes gone to seed a bit… For the music I am thinking world culture but with a strong, very strong nod to the blues-with lots of the Blues Ladies in the mix. Sometimes fun, sometimes deep and soulful.

    I also think there needs to be a strong nod to the needy with an active giving program present in the plan.No doubt the Petworth church ladies will have many suggestions on that front.

    Since I am drastically underemployed, if I may go on here, just a wee bit more…my 18 year old daughter came down to visit me a couple of weeks ago. I took her to a trendy Petworth Restaurant…I thought it was super cute, weird menu, but good. I also thought the decor was fun and modern, I thought I had made a good choice. We sat in the window at a table for two. She was troubled by the menu, the non-meat items were just difficult to find appetizing, I sort of saw what she meant. She was polite and happy and we had dinner and dessert. But then when I said, “gee, isn’t this such a terrific place? Here in Petworth?” she confessed, ” well, to be honest Mom I am feeling like I just want to leave this place, I am not comfortable here.”
    Seriously? What???? Why???
    “I feel like we are the whites on display.” she continued, “look around you, look at this bizarre Urban Outfitters decor in a historic black neighborhood, look at this menu, I just feel embarrassed to be a part of something so insensitive and noninclusive to it’s local culture.” (Background Note: She was raised in a Vermont village of 650 white people.Okay, at our peak diversity moment we did actually have two black people and a family of Japanese Americans in our village. We also had a sizable gay community, myself being a part of that community.)

    The Offended Mom: “Oh I see. Yes. Okay. hmmm. Well I really hadn’t thought about it quite that way.”

    But then I remembered, I brought my new friend and neighbor with me to an event in the restaurant. She is a Harvard Law School Grad, and she is black. She also raised her eye brows when I asked her how she liked it. She liked it, but…same thing, it seemed designed to give cool whites a place to enjoy the hood from.

    I don’t agree with my daughter’s perception. I think that where we were in fact was a hybrid of cultures. It happens to have mainly white patrons right now, but I think with a few well thought out bridge building efforts, such a restaurant is a terrific find and a great resource in the Petworth community.

    I apologize if I am stepping on any toes here, but I feel like if we are not defensive, and we listen to what is being said, we will progress together and create one of the most dynamic urban neighborhoods known to mankind. No kidding.

    I think Petworth is an amazing place, I love how we even have a little village center down on Upshur. By widening our circle to include those of us who have been here for many generations and those of us who have just arrived- we will create a sustainable and higher quality of living. I want a pastrami sandwich on rye as much as the next guy, but at this crucial point in Petworth’s obvious redevelopment stage, in such a time of transition we might be better off in the long run in creating a unifying space.

    Let’s do what is not done. A sort of “Very Petworth” version of Busboys and Poets. Entertainment, education, social activism and GREAT memorable, cookbook worthy cuisine ( i use this word with a wink…).
    Let’s serve the earth’s best, most exquisite coffee there as well-from the most marvelous coffeehouse in this city-Qualia Coffee.

    Okay, I’m done. Missive over, or ‘ovah’ as they say where I am from.

    • I think many will agree we desire more places that make everyone in our diverse neighborhood welcome. I think a carry-out place by design will be more accessible to all due to its lower price point.

      I also would like to point out, since you are quite new to the neighborhood, that before Petworth’s strong middle-class African-American history was Petworth’s strong middle-class Jewish and Italian community history. Seriously. Look it up. A deli/carryout that honored both of those histories would be most welcome.

      Finally, I would like to suggest that you go ahead and open your interesting concept in ADDITION to the deli/carryout we are talking about here. The more the merrier! We in Petworth want more options, not just the “best” option. Thanks!

      -An eager future customer

    • A fascinating example of the forgotten further-back history of Petworth is in the historic register of Billy Simpson’s (soon to be the Hilton brothers’ Chez Billy): In 1935, the business was “Kushner’s Seafood Grill,” owned by Aaron Kushner, a Russian Jew who immigrated as a child. Billy Simpson bought the business in 1956.

    • Toss your daughter a pair of swimmies before she drowns in her guilt.

    • Julia, have you tried Eatonville? It’s got some similarities to your vision, but it’s tasty today! (Good value too)

    • This sounds kind of like an upscale version of Everlasting Life, which has a lot of the dishes you named… not that another one would be bad

  • deli deli deli deli

  • Korean carryout!!!!!! Bibimbap bowls, Korean style pancakes, spicy rice cakes. Just a handful of items that take out/travel well and have to be prepared fresh but are quick to do so.

  • Yes, I echo the deli/bagel idea. If it’s structured around a community center vibe, then I don’t think it would have the effect noted by the above individual of “whites on display”. Also, I frequent the restaurant she is alluding to – love it and think it brings a lot to the neighborhood. Variety/something different is not always such a terrible thing.

  • Deli and/or salad place! But really, as long as the place is clean and the food is fresh, I will visit, regardless of the type of food.

  • Anything that has some healthy or organic options would be most welcome. Also, fwiw, petworth/parkview were actually historically white until housing convenants were overturned by the courts and I think parkview elementary was turned into an all black school during the 50s or so. I never feel “on display” and that seems to be more your daughters all white up bringing coming into play. “on display” would be the thugs openly drinking outside the Parkview Rec center and not giving a damn.

    • Woops. That was supposed to go under Anon, 12:42pm. Clean and fresh. Be prepared though, if you do go with a deli, it can be a tough crowd when it comes to PoP reader feedback. I commend you already. That said, welcome to the neighborhood!! 🙂

  • I’d vote for a place with wraps, including lots that are vegetarian (avacados, sprouts, falafel). And shakes on the side (fruit smoothies, yogurt drinks, etc).

  • I wonder if the space might be in one of the 3 or 4 rowhouses right now being renovated adjacent to Qualia. In any case, welcome and I can’t wait, whichever cuisine you choose.

  • While a deli sounds great on paper, it would do very little daytime lunch traffic 5 days a week. Not a great business model. Folks don’t really eat deli sandwiches for dinner, but maybe Im wrong.

    • I think more people actually work in the neighborhood than you might realize. My husband does and he and his co-workers often go out to eat at lunch. They also have meetings and cater in food quite a bit. There are also people who work from home and work off hours. I am not saying that it will be downtown level lunch time crowd but I bet you would be surprised. And, I eat deli sandwiches for dinner.

  • An italian deli would sell cold cuts (prosciutto!) and different cheeses. I would buy my weekly supply here if it’s good. It could also sell pastas. So it’s not only sandwiches.

  • Yeah, prepare for little to no daytime traffic. That said, a wrap/deli/sandwich place would be great.

  • Yeah, I don’t know that that’s right. I went into Lion’s Den on a sick day recently and there was a surprisingly big lunch crowd.

  • an idea —

    ok so maybe not quite a bakery, but some sort of quasi-social-entrepreneurial model.

  • It would be fabulous to have something that we now have to travel across town to get. I vote for a re-creation of Vace’s Italian Deli (Bethesda and Cleveland Park), where you can get great sandwiches, but also buy great meats and cheeses, pizza fixings, as well as pizzas by the pie or slice. Oh, and Italian spices, polenta, canned tomatoes, etc. And all sorts of freshly made stuffed pastas, plus great pasta sauce. Good bread would be a super addition. Unlike a simple deli, it’s also a supplier for those who want to easily cook great Italian food at home, or need the raw materials to be more complex. Oh, and prosciutto and pepperoni—we definitely need a supplier of great aged/cured pork.

    Alternately, Middle Eastern would be great, a la Lebanese Taverna or Fresh Med across from the Uptown.

  • Chipotle, Kebab House, Shawarmas, a Deli that sells soup of the day and turkey bacon grilled cheese 😀

  • I know others have said this already but whatever restaurant, make sure it has a couple decent veggie options.

    I go all the time to Sala Thai, Ras, Looking Glass, King and I, Domku, Fusion and that is where my options end (both for dining in and take out). I dislike Subway’s veggie sandwiches and Sweet Mango does not have a veggie dish with protein only side dishes. So any addition for take out will be great!

  • Not just a deli please! Hearty, hot, fresh, meal-food (as opposed to just sandwiches etc). Maybe a mix of E. European, Italian, African, or whatever. My wife cooks mean Senegalese dishes that are all fish/meat, rice, veggies, not spicy but very savory. Great in huge quantities. Agree you probably want a diverse menu to reflect the neighborhood. Love the idea of it being a community hub as well. Filling stomachs for a reasonable price in a welcoming environment will go a long way.

    Maybe make huge steaming pots of a handful of dishes each day and dole it out till it runs out! 🙂

  • Agree that anything quality will do great in the neighborhood.

    But seriously, a good bagel/deli place would be amazing!!

  • Please just sell some decent bread. We often just need a baguette or some rolls to add to dinner. The Yes baguettes are limp, and the Safeway options mediocre.

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