Back in late Jan. 2012 we learned that Solly’s would be expanding next door into the former Madjet Ethiopian Restaurant at the corner of 11th and U St, NW. At that time we heard that we’d soon be able to grab a bite to eat at Solly’s. I recently sat down with the guy who’s going to make that happen – newly hired “Cuzn Mike” Clements.
Cuzn Mike is a very familiar face around town. Some will remember him from the Red Bean (now Radius) which he opened back in 2004 in Mt. Pleasant. Others will recognize him as the face behind the upstairs bar and sometimes griller at Jack Rose in Adams Morgan. Soon you will know him as the guy who makes the delicious sandwiches at Solly’s.
Quick side note, I’ve always wondered how he got the nickname Cuzn Mike. When he first came to DC he worked at 9:30 Club with his cousin and on his first day his cousin introduced him to all the employees as “my cousin Mike”. The name stuck.
Back to the important stuff. When Solly’s decided to expand it never had any intention of becoming a gourmet restaurant. What they did want to provide was a good, reasonable priced food option. Enter Cuzn Mike, “I’ve already got 60 different sandwiches I’m planning on rotating in.” Cuzn explains that there will always be 2 or 3 cold sandwiches, 2 or 3 hot sandwiches, a soup and a rotating entree. Prices will range between $6-$12.
“Dressing the sandwich properly is the key” according to Cuzn. Having spent four years in New Orleans he is very excited to offer Po Boys. So how to dress a sandwich properly? Lettuce, tomato, mayo and pickle upon request. We can expect to find shrimp po boys, oyster po boys not to mention jambalaya and gumbo. But the place is not New Orleans themed. Cuzn is also psyched to be able to roast his own turkey and roast beef. These sandwiches will always be made sliced to order. I was happy to hear we weren’t talking about pre-made sandwiches but freshly sliced. I was also happy to hear about the pastrami sandwich. Oh yeah, there was lots of talk of bacon and house made potato chips too.
If all goes according to plan they hope to complete the expansion in May. There won’t be any servers but they will be open for lunch, late night and eventually will offer a to go window for late night eats.
While the expansion will be connected to the original space it will also feature its own bar. Oh yeah, I forgot about the Fish Tacos. Stay tuned for taco Tuesdays coming soon!
Possible take out window one day