Jump to content

Red Apron Burger Bar (Formerly GBD Chicken and Doughnuts), in the old Yola Space in South Dupont - Closed


Recommended Posts

GBD Chicken and Doughnuts is opening on Friday at 8am at 1323 Conn Ave (where Yola used to be, so fried chicken & doughnuts is replacing a healthy yogurt place).

From the Our Story page on their website:

"GBD (which gets its name from the restaurant kitchen shorthand for golden, brown and delicious) pairs the sweet and savory specialties of husband and wife team Chef Kyle Bailey & Pastry Chef Tiffany MacIsaac the culinary masterminds behind Birch & Barley."

Washington Post article about the opening and offerings here

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After (a wonderful) brunch at DGS Saturday we were going to stop by and try the donuts, but there was a line nearly out the door so we said next time. Federal Donuts in Philadelphia, after which GBD presumably models itself, seems to be doing pretty well, so hopefully this place will take off. Side topic: are donuts the next cupcakes?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Side topic: are donuts the next cupcakes?

I think you are on to something with this. This place just opened up in Minneapolis. I could easily believe it was in Hampden, Baltimore rather than the midwest. I'm not much of a sweet tooth kind of gal, but that apple bourbon bacon fritter does call to me. I see GBD has a similar one, bourbon butterscotch glazed brioche topped with bacon. I may have to head down there and totally violate my paleo diet. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lemon cruller today was light* and spectacular, practically inhaled within seconds of sitting down. I tried the grapefruit campari cake donut which seems to appear in all the early writeups: too dense for me and a tad too sweet, I expected the citrus to cut through more than it did. Minor quibbles though. I was in and out slightly after 9:00, but I'm sure they are jammed during morning and lunch rush right now.

*not in a caloric or fat-content way, certainly

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have tried a couple things at GBD now. During the soft opening I got to try a few of the donut flavors, then this morning the breakfast chicken. Everything I've had has been good.

The breakfast fried chicken on a sweet potato biscuit with honey was good, but tiny. And for $3.25, I'm not sure if I'll hurry back for another one at that size to price ratio. The chicken was freshly fried, crispy, and juicy, but the "biscuit" was more of a roll (a small disappointment for this southern girl). I do still want to get back at lunch time though to try the lunch boxes and sides (boxes are $8 and consist of either 4 tenders or a thigh and drumstick plus biscuit and slaw). You can add a side to the box for $2, or the sides are $3.50 on their own.

As for the donuts, they have a nice variety of flavors and variations between cake and yeast donuts. I think they may have some rotating flavors as well. My order of preference for what I've had is the apple fritter, chocolate filled, coffee cake yeast, then key lime. None were bad, but there were some I liked more (I love key lime, but this one was a tad to tart for me, and I didn't love the ginger snap with it).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One new point of reference. My boss stopped by this morning to grab a donut and got a chocolate cake donut. Before tasting it he remarked that it felt like a brick in the bag. Then he came down to my office saying, "Wow, this is terrible...taste it" (which is always a good preface before being offered food!). The bite I had was indeed not good. It was very hard, dense, and dry and the chocolate taste wasn't that great.

So in my somewhat limited experience, I would say that the yeast/brioche donuts have been uniformly good, but my one cake donut experience has been pretty bad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Side topic: are donuts the next cupcakes?

I thought that cupcakes were the next doughnut. There was a strong donut trend that started after Krispy Kreme went public in 2000 and places like Doughnut Plant developed a cult following well before Magnolia did. Not to mention the whole L.A. doughnut culture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought that cupcakes were the next doughnut. There was a strong donut trend that started after Krispy Kreme went public in 2000 and places like Doughnut Plant developed a cult following well before Magnolia did. Not to mention the whole L.A. doughnut culture.

Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Donuts might be ubiquitous around here, but donuts were never trendy the way cupcakes have been recently. And while maybe there have been some local places with strong (local) followings, that seems different entirely from what GBD, Astro, and Zekes are trying to do, the audience they're trying to attract, and their aspiration / optimism around being able to pay downtown DC rents.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know what they have in the kitchen, but it is SMALL. Sis and I went for a pre-mani-pedi bite on Saturday morning, and the line was already substantial at 5 after 10 (they open at 10 on the weekends). However, we quickly realized that part of the reason for that was because there was only one register. They were taking names with the orders, which they used to notify folks when their donuts were ready for pickup, but then there was some definite confusion regarding the hot items (chicken biscuits, glazed donuts) - they would just ask the people standing around, "Are you waiting for biscuits? How many?" And there wasn't really any kind of order to the handing out of things, and had it been busier, I could see people getting annoyed/pissed if they didn't get their food when they thought they should have. Bottom line, some definite service kinks still need to be worked out.

On to the food! The fried chicken biscuit was WAY too sweet. The chicken was fried perfectly and had great crust, but it was completely undersalted, and between the sweet potato biscuit and the honey, the meat was overwhelmed by everything around it. The bourbon butterscotch bacon donut was quite good - not too sweet, not too salty, and just the right amount of bacon and icing. The highlight of the morning was the strawberry lemon brioche donut - absolutely delicious. It was filled with lemon curd and had a perfect balance of sour and sweet. We could have eaten many many more of those.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I stopped by yesterday mid-morning between meal times and not surprisingly it was empty. Very friendly staff, but the peanut butter and jelly donut was only so so. The donut was expensive ($3.03 after tax) but large - think 2 to 2 1/2 of krispy kremes. Unfortunately, while the jelly was nice and the peanut butter glaze ok - the cake donut was too thick and heavy - more bread than donut. So in essence I had a really expensive, filling, and extra-caloried PBJ sandwich. Maybe I should have chosen one of the other donuts. The lunch boxes intrigue me so I may be back to try them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...The chicken was fried perfectly and had great crust, but it was completely undersalted, and between the sweet potato biscuit and the honey, the meat was overwhelmed by everything around it.

They've got to do something about the fried chicken's seasoning.

Yes. I had a drumstick, and both the meat and the crust needed salt. The sauces helped, but it seems you should be able to eat the chicken alone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^Interesting. Maybe they're paying attention to feedback, because when I tried the chicken this weekend is was quite well seasoned (but not oversalted). And perfectly crispy, which was a surprise as my order was sitting under a heat lamp for about ten minutes while waiting for macaroni and cheese.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't get it straight out of the fryer or anything, but the apple fritter I paid $3 for tonight was not anything I'd go running back for. Or even walking back. It was fluffy enough but there was little apple flavor and no cinnamon to speak of. Are they aware they can season the inside of the dough? Just glazing isn't enough.

That tap list they have is awesome though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After (a wonderful) brunch at DGS Saturday we were going to stop by and try the donuts, but there was a line nearly out the door so we said next time.  Federal Donuts in Philadelphia, after which GBD presumably models itself, seems to be doing pretty well, so hopefully this place will take off.  Side topic: are donuts the next cupcakes?

Made it in here for a first visit today and, since it was post-lunch, just got a donut.  Noted they are using MadCap coffee but, thinking about it after leaving, was a bit confused since the cashier had shown me the bag (of beans or ground coffee) when I'd asked and it was an espresso but she also told me they don't do espresso drinks.  They're either using that for their drip coffee or I mistook which blend it was.

Donuts share a challenge with cupcakes, pizza, burgers and fried chicken for that matter.  It's tough to rate them against each other because quality can be high in different sub-categories and thus personal preference really figures in.  I think I prefer a lighter, more airy, smaller sized donut than the heavier types (whether yeast or cake).  I've only tried Federal at Citizens Bank Park but liked those better than these, which are just bigger and more elaborate.

Is the chicken here deep fried and very crunchy?  I find it really difficult to find truly great fried chicken in DC and miss Gillian Clark's version.

...

As for the donuts, they have a nice variety of flavors and variations between cake and yeast donuts. I think they may have some rotating flavors as well. My order of preference for what I've had is the apple fritter, chocolate filled, coffee cake yeast, then key lime. None were bad, but there were some I liked more (I love key lime, but this one was a tad to tart for me, and I didn't love the ginger snap with it).

Exactly.  I too love a great key lime pie and this was the flavor I chose. The donut was fresh and tasted appropriately yeasty but larger and heavier than I like best. And, yes, that key lime curd was very tart.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been dying to try GBD and finally got the opportunity tonight.  I had a fried chicken breast along with a side of Greek yogurt potato salad and tomato and basil salad.  I was sorely disappointed in the chicken.  It was crispy but the inside was completely dried out.  I kept dunking the chicken in chipotle barbecue sauce, hoping to salvage the experience but it just wasn't doing it for me. The sides were fine although nothing exciting.

I couldn't leave without a donut, so I took home a raspberry ginger fritter.  It was the end of the day so maybe the donuts are better earlier on.  It was just too heavy and overly coated with raspberry.  I did enjoy the ginger flavor.

I am glad I can cross this off my to do list.  Unfortunately, there's nothing to draw me back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My only experiences here have been with donuts to go.  Some of the donuts have been excellent while others have merely been very good.  For those who (like me) prefer donuts that are not too sweet or goopy, try the cake donuts in flavors including grapefruit campari, passionfruit, or espresso.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

They've got to do something about the fried chicken's seasoning.

They haven't done anything about the seasoning.

In fact, I don't believe that the chicken was seasoned at all. No salt, no spice, no flavor. Just terrible.

The mac and cheese side was fine, the chicken wasn't worth eating. Also, the biscuit, while tasty, wasn't a biscuit in the Southern sense.

I'm surprised this is in the Dining Guide list, given the experience I had. Are the doughnuts that good?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went with a large group and had a pretty disappointing meal.  First the high points: Everyone loved the biscuits.  I thought the fish and chips were excellent.  After that, it was hit and miss, at best.  The cole slaw was strong.  The mashed potatoes and mac and cheese were disappointing (entirely undersalted, but even adding salt only helped so much).  Chicken got ok but not very good reviews.  The donuts were a mixed bag.  And service was not good.  The place has great potential, but the meal was really disappointing.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went with a large group and had a pretty disappointing meal.  First the high points: Everyone loved the biscuits.  I thought the fish and chips were excellent.  After that, it was hit and miss, at best.  The cole slaw was strong.  The mashed potatoes and mac and cheese were disappointing (entirely undersalted, but even adding salt only helped so much).  Chicken got ok but not very good reviews.  The donuts were a mixed bag.  And service was not good.  The place has great potential, but the meal was really disappointing.  

Think about it: if you can't get fried chicken and donuts right, maybe it's time to stop opening new restaurants.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Think about it: if you can't get fried chicken and donuts right, maybe it's time to stop opening new restaurants.

My office has moved closer to GBD, and so I've had a chance to explore their menu a little bit--not a lot, but a little bit. I had a few of their donuts when they first opened, and was not excited at all. But in going back, I think that their donuts have improved and the last few I've had have been really great. One of them--a creme filled donut topped with chocolate cookie crumbs--is really messy and really splendid. I think that many of their other donuts have improved to the point that I'd be happy to eat one on a regular basis (and I would not have said that after trying them shortly after they opened).

The chicken remains a real issue, though. The fried chicken tenders at lunch are laughably bad the two times I've tried them--the breading and the chicken both seem very flavorless. The portion is ample, so I guess that's a plus, and the sides I've tried have been good. The chicken part of the breakfast chicken biscuit has been worse than the tenders--it's advertised as a thigh, but in my experience it's maybe a quarter of a thigh--including a fair amount of chicken fat and skin that make it unpleasant to eat. The biscuits themselves, though, are great.

Maybe they should consider giving up the fried chicken altogether--they've been open long enough to see that the chicken part of the equation is not working.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe they should consider giving up the fried chicken altogether--they've been open long enough to see that the chicken part of the equation is not working.

The problem then is that they would essentially be a donut and beer shop. Which is a little odd, though I'm not judging. And an NRG establishment (or anyone for that matter) ain't giving up on alcohol because that's the profit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem then is that they would essentially be a donut and beer shop. Which is a little odd, though I'm not judging. And an NRG establishment (or anyone for that matter) ain't giving up on alcohol because that's the profit.

From Today's Post:

"The team will display some of that  experimentalism this week when it rolls out four new beers, Engert says. Three of them are designed to pair with doughnuts created by Neighborhood Restaurant Group executive pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac for GBD, the fried chicken and doughnuts shop near Dupont Circle."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reason #9,142 why you shouldn't trust national publications judging local restaurants:

06/05/15 - "America's Best Doughnuts" on huffingtonpost.com, which lists GBD as having the #35 doughnut in the United States, and says:

"A relative newcomer to the doughnut world, GBD (short for "Golden Brown and Delicious") was opened last year by the husband-and-wife duo of chef Kyle Bailey and pasty chef Tiffany MacIsaac, and they've already raised the bar when it comes to D.C. doughnuts ...."

Three months before ...

03/12/15 - "Tiffany MacIsaac Set To Open Shaw Storefront for Buttercream Bakeshop" by Becky Krystal on washingtonpost.com, which says:

"Tiffany MacIsaac is settling down in Shaw. The former executive pastry chef at Neighborhood Restaurant Group has signed a lease to open a storefront for her Buttercream Bakeshop at 1250 Ninth St. NW. ...."

While not fraudulent, it's a blatant error. And the only way to avoid egregious errors like this one is to read hyper-local, internet-based restaurant websites that are working full-steam 24/7/365, like this one, or, or, or .... well, I can't think of any others, actually.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"So Long, GBD: The Doughnut and Fried Chicken Shop is Closing Wednesday" by Becky Krystal on washingtonpost.com

I went once with Matt, and never returned for a second visit - this just didn't work.

That said, NRG will still control the space, and so this thread will remain active with the new concept when it opens (why do I get the feeling that it's going to have something to do with "beer?")

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/15/2016 at 4:30 PM, DonRocks said:

"So Long, GBD: The Doughnut and Fried Chicken Shop is Closing Wednesday" by Becky Krystal on washingtonpost.com

I went once with Matt, and never returned for a second visit - this just didn't work.

That said, NRG will still control the space, and so this thread will remain active with the new concept when it opens (why do I get the feeling that it's going to have something to do with "beer?")

Reopening tomorrow as Red Apron Burger Bar (yes, with beer) (Washington City Paper).

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From WaPo:  Red Apron Burger Bar closing here and merging (for lack of a better term) with EatBar and then adopting a similar split-menu concept with B-Side in Mosaic in October. Plus delivery.   (People took exception to the last bit of the article, but I assumed it was a general reference to businesses not lasting very long in that Dupont space.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dupont's loss is my gain (at least in October, when the burgers hit B-side)!  That burger made with Ancient White Park beef was really good the one time I made it down to the Red Apron Burger Bar!

RABB had some terrific pricing on some really good HH beers, but I guess that didn't drive enough traffic to the location.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...