PoPville Previews – TakEatEasy


1990 M Street, NW

This edition of PoPville Preview was written by Abbey Becker. Abbey lives near Eastern Market.

If you’re a workday lunch-goer near Dupont Circle or Farragut, you’ve got a new line you can wait in starting today: TakEatEasy opens at 1990 M Street, NW in the former China Cafe space. Owners (and brothers) Manuel and Juan Olivera, along with partners Jorge Mendez and Daniel Aquino, may sound familiar. The brothers were co-founders of the still-popular Fast Gourmet, which makes some of the city’s best sandwiches well into the early-morning hours near U Street. (To be clear, though, the brothers sold their shares of Fast Gourmet and are not technically affiliated with their old shop anymore.)

Expect TakEatEasy to fall somewhere in between fast-casual (think Chipotle and SweetGreen) and a sit-down, full-service restaurant. The restaurant officially seats 49, though there seems to be standing room as well. About 13 or 14 stools line the lacquered bar, which serves everything from beer on tap or in bottles to wine to specialty cocktails.

The walls are covered in blown up photos with a Latin flair, and some look almost holographic. Their signature seems to be a latticework pattern, which is printed on their walls, tables, and the overhang by the semi-open kitchen. It’s not relaxing, exactly, but it’s energetic, a perfect setting for hectic weekday lunchtime hours and late-night visits when your first priority is probably not a quiet dinner.

Continues after the jump.

In terms of cuisine, let’s call it high-quality Latin comfort food. Appetizers are often lightly fried and flavorful, like their salt cod croquettes (what I’d call a fancy and delicious fish stick), creamy sweet corn croquettes, and spanikopita-like puff pastry rolls filled with spinach and cheese. The best may be the Serrano ham rolls—thin strips of meaty, salty ham wrapped around Russian potato salad. They’re an excellent contrast—cold and warm, salty and sweet. Perfect one-bite pops.

Lunch will feature some of the sandwiches from Fast Gourmet, like the famous chivito. At dinner, look for handmade pastas, particularly one with chopped veal and sweet peas.

From the preview, it’s clear the owners have put a lot of thought and care into their new venture. The restaurant was mostly filled with what seemed like adoring friends and fans, and the energy was what most enhanced what could have been a cold and impersonal space along the corporate corridors of the Golden Triangle.

Possibly one of the best parts of TakEatEasy is its hours of operation. Next week, they’ll be open every day from 11 am to midnight, but regular hours will keep them open until 2 am on Thursdays and 5 am on Fridays and Saturdays. Definitely reconsider that giant slice of pizza that you’re not even sure is really that good in the first place.

13 Comment

  • I was there for the soft open last night, cool spot. Manu is a genuinely nice guy, I hope he and Nacho do well here.

    I’d agree with the food assessment. My personal favorite also involved ham rolled up with veal and manchego, breaded and fried. It was tasty.

    DC Brau on tap, nice bottle selection of beers, and another handle that I believe they are going to rotate Dogfishhead selections on. Nice, albeit small, selection of South American reds.

  • I’m so excited to try this place! I know the owners have put a lot of effort into it, and I can’t wait! Thanks for the preview, PoPville!

  • I wonder how long those late night hours will last. There isn’t a whole lot going on around 19th and M after happy hour is over.

    • Huh? There’s dozens of bars and clubs within a three block radius. Many of them stay crowded late into the night. And who doesn’t want a chivito post-Camelot??

      • Not really, most of them are a few blocks east or northeast of this location. It’s almost all offices in every other direction, save for a few expense account-type restaurants that don’t stay open all that late, anyway.

  • Love these guys and their vision! They got royally screwed by the current owners of Fast gourmet and had to walk away from all their hard work starting that place up…Juan is an amazing chef and I wish them all the best of luck! I hope all FGs loyal customers will head downtown to support them!

    • I also think nacho is a great chef! But lets get the story straight and be fair. I have axtually heard both sides of the story and I would have to disagree witb you. They had to walk away because they did some wrong doing against his previous partner as well as a lot of other things. Is interesting to see how all on the not informed accuse without knowing the facts. I do thnk that they will do well. But I dont think is fair all the attacks the fast gourmet people are receiving from critics such as jared.

      • Clearly “Jose” is the current owner of FG. I recognize the same spelling errors and incorrect grammaras on their Facebook page! Not cool man, not cool! ; )

        • Dear Jared
          1. Im no the owner! I sure wish i could own a place like that.
          2. English is not my first language. Yes I have spelling and grammar issues. And it doesn’t help that i responded from my I-phone. Yes my name is Jose which clearly shows why I can have some grammar and spelling mistakes.

          3. Are you trying to boycott Fast Gourmet? Because it sure shows that those are you intentions. Why the hatred toward people you don’t know. Just like u are standing up for your friends. I am too. Or should i think that the comment that you made could clearly come from the Takeateasy team too seek revenge?

          4. I happen to know individuals from both parties. Thats why I know what really happened. And i too got sucked into their story. But once i found out what really happened and saw the proofs I’m sticking with the truth.

          And finally. I do hope the Fast Gourmet Guys see your post. Is clear defamation towards them as business individuals as well as their business.

          Oh an finally. Since you are so good with english maybe you should tutor me.

          Just like you said in your post. What you are doing is not cool man, not cool at all! ;-)

  • All hail NACHO, King of the Chivito!! This place is bound to be amazing! Cant wait!

  • Was there for the soft opening also, and tried it again this weekend. The bread and pasta are baked from scratch in house…excellent for the chivitos! The ‘pan tumaca’ sandwich with serrano ham and manchego is extremely good as well. The bar is fairly large and has a good variety of drinks.

    Great to see a late night joint (til 5 am) opening up around Foggy Bottom

  • I am obsessed with the chivito! Words cannot express how excited I am to be able to grab one on my lunch break! Unfortunately I cannot make it up to FG during lunch, so this is a gift from the heavens! I predict my after lunch productivity will be declining greatly from here on out!!

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