Neighborhood Eats: Chez Billy, Back Alley Waffles and DC’s New Beach Bar

by Rebecca Cooper

Neighborhood Eats: Chez Billy, Back Alley Waffles and DC's New Beach Bar: Figure 1
The bar at The Hamilton. Courtesy of The Hamilton.

While DC foodies were all abuzz about one particular piece of news this week — that celebrity chef José Andrés has been named one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the world — there are a bunch of restaurant and bar tidbits to catch up on in this week’s column.

Open: French restaurant Chez Billy officially opened in Petworth last Sunday, making it the next venture for the Hilton brothers — also of Marvin, Gibson, and American Ice Company fame. The large space at 3815 Georgia Avenue NW takes its name from the building’s previous occupant, Billy Simpson’s — a seafood restaurant held in high regard by many of the city’s prominent African-American entertainers and politicians for nearly half a century. The menu at Chez Billy is classic French, with gougeres, steak frites, and moules highlighted. Cocktails will run you $12 a pop, but there are plenty of places to enjoy them; the two-level space boasts several bars, interior balconies, and seating areas.

Neighborhood Eats: Chez Billy, Back Alley Waffles and DC's New Beach Bar: Figure 2
Chez Billy

Mount Vernon Square’s Blagden Alley is quickly becoming a restaurant hot spot; first, Rogue 24 brought the wonders of molecular gastronomy, and now Back Alley Waffles has opened at 1209 10th Street NW REAR to give the neighborhood its morning pick-me-up. Co-owners Craig Nelsen and Sherman Davis are keeping the menu simple: waffles with butter and syrup (not a whole bunch of fancy toppings), smoothies, and coffee. Oh yeah, and there’s free Wi-Fi in the space, which is adorned with mosaics designed by the owners.

Opening…eventually: The New York Avenue Beach Bar will likely be calling your name after a sweltering day in July or August. Passenger owner Tom Brown is planning to truck in tons of sand and open up a “beach bar” in an empty parking lot around the corner from his existing Mount Vernon Square spot, the Washington Post reports. Brown says the bar will be low-key, with more cheap beer and summery punches that can be mass-produced, rather than the meticulously crafted individual cocktails available at Passenger. The project is still in the works, but it could be up and running by Memorial Day if all goes well.

Neighborhood Eats: Chez Billy, Back Alley Waffles and DC's New Beach Bar: Figure 3
Parking lot slated to become New York Avenue Beach Bar.

Purported H Street NE pizza joint Kith & Kin has changed its name — it’ll now be called H & Pizza — and it has an opening date: June 1. The new pizza place, which will sit next to Taylor Gourmet at 1118 H Street NE will feature an assembly-line style of pick-your-own crust, sauces, and toppings, co-owner Michael Lastoria tells CityPaper’s Young & Hungry. They won’t be serving pizza by the slice — kind of surprising, given the neighborhood’s healthy nightlife scene and the owners’ New York roots — but they are trying to keep prices reasonable in the growing neighborhood.

Opening…soon: Also in the keeping-it-simple category, a shop devoted entirely to fresh, hot pretzels is opening this weekend in Hill East, The Hill is Home reports. The Pretzel Bakery will serve chewy, warm pretzels with a bunch of different mustards and dips, Philly-native owner and pretzel maker Sean Haney told the blog. Pretzels will be $2 apiece or 3 for $5; but if you stop by the 15th and D Street SE location on opening day (April 21), you can try one for $1.

Events: The spring/summer seafood festivals have begun. Last week it was crawfish at Pearl Dive, and this week it’s Oysterstock at Chinatown’s Poste in the Hotel Monaco. In honor of Earth Day, Poste is holding an oyster feast in its massive courtyard on Sunday, featuring oysters in grilled, half-shell, stuffing, and stew form, as well as brats, sides, and beer and wine from local breweries and vineyards. The $75 ticket gets you all-you-can-eat-and-drink from 2pm until sundown, and proceeds benefit the Oyster Recovery Project.

If you’re interested in something a little holier on your Sunday, consider hitting up the The Hamilton’s new Gospel Brunch. The massive Metro Center restaurant/bar/concert venue is offering a brunch where diners will be serenaded by a gospel choir every Sunday. For $25, you get to watch an hour-long concert by a professional gospel choir, a complimentary Bloody Mary or mimosa, coffee and pastries, and a breakfast buffet featuring southern fare such as gumbo with dirty rice, shrimp and grits, and buttermilk biscuits and gravy. (Word to the wise: they don’t mess around with those biscuits.) Book in advance, as seatings are limited to 10am and 12:30pm.

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This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/neighborhood_eats_chez_billy_back_alley_waffles_and_dcs_new_beach_bar/5438

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