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Open City, Coffee Cafe and Wifi Hangout - Tryst's Sibling in Woodley Park and National Cathedral


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I have heard that this space, formerly the "Washington Park Gourmet," is going to be some sort of coffee bar. Construction has been ongoing for over a year now, but things seem to have accelerated in recent months. Does anyone here have any inside information on what we can expect, or when it will be opening? I have also heard rumors that the Tryst people are involved...

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I heard from a fairly reliable source that it's going to be another Tryst. Or perhaps I imagined it.

That's what I've been hearing as well, but I have to wonder if it will be known as Tryst, with the other location so relatively nearby.

The generous amount of sidewalk space should provide for some really nice outdoor seating.

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What will make it different than Tryst is what I want to know.  Is there going to be a bar there?

Yes, but there's also a bar in Tryst and The Diner, so that won't be much a differentiating factor. Rumor has it there will be pizza ovens. I heard long ago that it might be a sort of Tryst/Diner hybrid, but I'm not sure to what extent that idea has evolved. I know the staff is excited and eager to see it open. As am I! :lol:

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According to an interview with owner Constantine Stavropoulis, it will be called The Third Place and will be similar to Tryst.

Only kind-of off topic:

Has anyone read the book "A Good Place to Live" by Terry Pindell? It talks a lot about "the third place" in terms of community-building (along with a lot of books that I've never read by Ray Oldenburg). It's one of my favorite books, and I've always thought of Tryst as the penultimate "third place" in DC. So its cool that they're new place will actually be called that.

Thoughts?

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Only kind-of off topic:

Has anyone read the book "A Good Place to Live" by Terry Pindell?  It talks a lot about "the third place" in terms of community-building (along with a lot of books that I've never read by Ray Oldenburg).  It's one of my favorite books, and I've always thought of Tryst as the penultimate "third place" in DC.  So its cool that they're new place will actually be called that.

Thoughts?

I agree... except a little birdie recently (last week) told me there's a new name in the works (forgot what, but I'll try to find out). We'll see... (I'm still holding out for "The Third Place).

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I'm ashamed to say that I've forgotten much of what's behind the name (at least to do the name justice)- I'll post more after consulting the hubby.

I think it's because of their operating hours: 6 am-2am or perhaps all night, they will be open because the City is Open.
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I wonder if Constantine is a movie buff. "Open City" was the name of a post-WWII movie made by Roberto Rossellini, which Ingrid Bergman went to see with her then-husband. She later met, and married, Rossellini; but not before giving birth to twins and scandalizing everybody in Hollywood.

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I wonder if Constantine is a movie buff.  "Open City" was the name of a post-WWII movie made by Roberto Rossellini, which Ingrid Bergman went to see with her then-husband.  She later met, and married, Rossellini; but not before giving birth to twins and scandalizing everybody in Hollywood.

I have heard some mention about this movie in relation to the name, though I'm not sure to what extent (if any) it factored into the decision (and I'm pretty sure scandal's not what he had in mind...) :lol:

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They have been working on "opening" this place for about a year now.  It is about time that this place opens its doors.

I would like to know more about the food that they will be serving...Is it going to be the same menu as Tryst?

I don't have details, but was told it will like a diner/coffeehouse/bar. I know they've been working on the menu and don't think it will be exactly the same as Tryst or The Diner. It does have a pizza oven.

Wish I had more to tell you- I'll work on that.

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I walked by the place and noticed that the plastic had been taken down from the windows. I was in a hurry and didn't stop to peer inside, but from the quick glance I took, it looks very similar to Tryst. I assume the exterior will be getting a new paintjob soon---the removal of old signage and fixtures has left some bare spots.

I hope they open soon enough to be able to put the patio area to good use before it gets too cold!

Edited by Roger Troutman
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From On Tap Magazine:

http://www.ontaponline.com/view_article.php?article_id=10111

OPEN CITY

The latest venture by Constantine Stavropoulos (Tryst, The Diner) is called Open City, and it is situated on a piece of prime real estate by the corners of Connecticut and Calvert in Woodley Park/Adams Morgan. The coffeehouse/diner/bar aims to, like Stavropoulos' successful Tryst, become the "third place" for area residents. "You have this third place that you go to," Stavropoulos explains. "There's your office, your home, and the other place." This particular third place—also Stavropoulos' third spot in the city—will offer WiFi and feature a gourmet coffee bar, a full-service (cocktail) bar with beer on tap and some 12-or-so wines by-the-glass, and plenty of seats in the dining area to order upscale-ish diner food like Italian-style pizzas, eggs all day, sandwiches and salads.

"We're really doing this with the Woodley Park neighborhood in mind," he adds. "We want to evolve the diner idea into one for Washington." That must mean a place where we can get our food, fizz, caffeine, flirt, Net and mingle fixes satisfied all at once.

(2331 Calvert St., NW)

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Don't know yet about the menu, but will find out tonight (or in an hour or so, as hubby is eating lunch there now while helping out).

Smoking policy- again, not sure.  Sorry.  Hope to find out very soon.

Thanks. A friend and I might cancel our plan to hit 2 Amys in favor of trying this spot, right around the corner from where she lives.
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OK, my connection was bad, but here's some info:

There is no smoking (people can smoke outside when outdoor seating becomes available).

On tap: Allagash White, Sierra Nevada, Stone Smoked Porter, Old Dominion Lager, Chimay Triple, Clipper City Winter Warmer (a dark ale).

A few menu items (to give you an idea): omelets, quiches, antipasto plate, burgers, sandwiches (ex: roasted chicken salad; tomato and mozzarella), pizzas, ribs, meatloaf, mussels.

Please keep in mind that this is their first day, and they may be still working out some kinks.

And please let me know what you think- they'd value the feedback!

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On tap:  Allagash White, Sierra Nevada, Stone Smoked Porter, Old Dominion Lager, Chimay Triple, Clipper City Winter Warmer (a dark ale).

If they have a rotating selection from these two providers on tap I'll be impressed.

Hopefully, come summer, it'll be just hidden enough from the Woodley-Metro-to-Zoo walking hordes. Lord knows the neighborhood needed this place. I predict packed houses unless they royally screw something up.

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Hopefully, come summer, it'll be just hidden enough from the Woodley-Metro-to-Zoo walking hordes.

That's really my only worry. It's bound to attract a certain number of the often annoying and occasionally rude hotel guests from across the street, but they will earn the support of the neighborhood, without a doubt. For me, at least, it'll sure beat having to trek across the bridge and stand around stalking an empty seat at Tryst on a Sunday morning :lol:

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That's really my only worry. It's bound to attract a certain number of the often annoying and occasionally rude hotel guests from across the street, but they will earn the support of the neighborhood, without a doubt.

Yes, let's see how they handle the hordes of conventioners from the hotels in Woodley Park. The annual convention of my particular profession (the American Political Science Association) is held at the Marriott and Omni every few years. I hate to generalize about my colleagues, but many of them are frankly cheap and rude. And they are anything but hip. Can Open City avoid becoming a "convention restaurant?" I hope so.

(I firmly believe that the restaurants in Woodley Park are generally not very good because of the convention business. Conventioners are generally looking for a quick lunch rather than a good lunch. Thus, the restaurants in Woodley can get away with charging a fortune for mediocre food because they have a captive audience. Just my theory.)

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I went for dinner last night with a couple of friends and the place was absolutely slammed the entire time.

The menu is very diverse, like the Diner in Adams Morgan. They serve breakfast all day, have lots of sandwiches, pizza, and even mussels and roast chicken.

The staff seemed to be doing everything they possibly could to provide good service and not appear overwhelmed. All employees seemed to be running food, refilling water, and generally running around.

We ordered an artichoke and bacon dip to start. They brought us a spinach and garlic dip. When we pointed this out to the server (not our server), he kept insisting that it was the artichoke dip, even though there is no way that spinach resembles artichoke. After a few minutes of back and forth, our actual server came by and confirmed that it was not, in fact, what we ordered. They insisted we keep the spinach dip, but we didn't eat it because it just wasn't good. So thick and garlicky. But the artichoke and bacon dip was better, would have preferred more bacon, though.

I ordered a croque monsieur sandwich that was on the breakfast menu. A good version of the sandwich, nicely crisped grilled ham with melted gruyere on top. Served with mixed greens. I also ordered some homemade potato chips. These were okay. Thickly sliced, which I like, but perhaps a little stale-tasting.

Dining companions ordered an omelette and hash browns and a turkey burger with fries.

I think this place will do well if for no other reason than it is inexpensive, casual and in a neighborhood not filled with many excellent dining options.

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This weekend the African Studies Association was in the Wardman Park Marriott. And from the previous post, it appears that the academic conventions will find it. Well, at least my sister did. Not much detail, but she liked it enough that she would go back the next time she is in town at the end of December with the other 20000 academics attending the Modern Languages Assoc (MLA) conference.

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I've spent a number of relaxing weekend mornings here this summer. That's quite a statement considering most of the meals were spent dining with an almost two and almost four year old.

The service is great and get high marks for dealing with the babies. When we go we order a bowl of fruit right away so that the little ones have something to eat while we adults take our time. During one visit the waitress had waited on us before and when she came over she asked if we wanted our fruit right away.

Last weekend we arrived later than usual, after noon. Our waitress came, took our order and quickly brought over our chaipachinos (which are increadibly addicting). A few minutes later she came over and let us know that there was a shift change, told us the name of our new waitress, and pointed her out to us. The second waitress then made a point of stopping by the table to make sure that we knew who she was. It's little things like that which make me come back.

The food is simple, well prepared, dineresque food. I've only been for breakfast so I can't comment on the rest of the menu. The multigrain pancakes are great and huge-larger than an almost four year old's head :) My favorite is the cheddar and applewood smoked bacon OC scrambler. A ton of bacon and enough cheese to ooze and string with every bite. A girl couldn't ask for more. The chai waffle is also a standout.

The wait tends to be about 20 minutes on the weekend. The outdoor waiting area could use a few more benches, but provides a fantastic holding pen for little ones who are hungry and full of energy. As an added bonus, it doesn't appear that the touristas have found it-there were no camera carrying, FBI t-shirt wearing folk spotted on any of our visits.

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Having moved to the neighborhood this past weekend without appropriate planning, I found myself in dire need of internet access. I was grateful that Open City was but a hop skitch and a jump from my new place.

I am more grateful that the coffee is well above average. Their drip blend is smooth with no bitter aftertaste. Truly what coffee should taste like. I have also been very pleased with my espresso based drinks. I am sure one morning I will try their espresso straight up, but not yet.

Because of the need for internet access, I have also had a few meals at Open City. The food has been really good. I had a cobb salad that was substantial and delicious. The bacon in the salad was crisp and flavorful. Be warned though that they don't use avocado, in its place they use artichoke hearts.

Open City has an in-house pastry chef who bakes all of the sweets on a daily basis. One day I picked up cookies and macaroons to take to work for a meeting. They were a huge hit. The little breads I picked up were not as good as the cookies and macaroons. Considering the city's dire need for good bakeries this is a nice option when you need to pick up treats.

I have found the service to be exactly what service at a place like Open City should be: efficient, warm and welcoming. The vibe is appropriate for the neighborhood too, as compared to Tryst and The Diner which both reflect the vibe of Adams Morgan.

Every neighborhood needs an Open City.

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I had avoided brunch at Open City for several reasons. I'm not a huge fan of brunch at either of OC's siblings, The Diner or Tryst, although I like the casual atmosphere at both. I had concerns about crowds and parking too. But when my friend suggested brunch at OC yesterday, I acquiesced and was pleasantly surprised.

We quickly found spots at the counter. I ordered a skim latte, French toast with a side of Nutella (yum) and bacon (crispy but not well done). I'm not a huge fan of the monster latte mugs; NOT because I don't enjoy drinking tons of coffee, but because it cools off too much by the time I get halfway through drinking it. Oh well. Everything else was delicious and our service was pleasantly attentive in spite of it being prime time for brunch. My French toast dish could easily be shared as it consisted of four (!) slices of bread cut into halves.

My friends bacon & cheddar scramble looked pretty darn good too. She got hash browns instead of grits (criminal!) so I didn't get to scope out OC's take on my favorite brunch side dish. Next trip.

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My parents were staying at the Omni across the street for the holiday weekend so we met up here for family breakfast on Saturday. Everyone loved it. I had the waffle (next time, I'll ask them to hold the powdered sugar, which was a bit too heavily applied for my taste, otherwise it was perfect), rest of the family ordered a breakfast sandwich, multigrain pancakes with banana-walnut sauce, and a pizza. Everything was well-prepared, the service was friendly and efficient, and the ginormous mugs of hot beverages were very welcome on a damp chilly morning.

I'm sure this was due to the holiday and the relatively early hour (10 am), but parking and crowds were not bad.

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Stopped in last night for a quick xanthine bump before dinner. The "Chaipuccino", ordered with soy milk, felt like wearing a warm afghan blanket while meandering through a nutmeg forest. Surprisingly interesting and delicious, several steps above what I anticipated based on comparable concoctions at other venues.

Also noted two animal crackers arriving with each cup o' joe and tea. Charming way to take the edge off gastric acid via memory lane.

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I would like to frequent Open City more, particularly for an easy weekend breakfast, since options in this area are so limited. But the lack of parking anywhere around there keeps me away. We mostly go to Furins, even in Georgetown, there is always ample parking on a weekend morning.

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I'll give these folks a bump for the altogether pleasant Fried Tilapia Po' Boy they served me for lunch today. The tilapia was breaded so it was rather dry and crispy on the outside, but still somewhat moist on the inside. More of the moistness and flavor came from the spicy cole slaw served on the bottom of the sandwich, which hid a pickle round on each half of the sandwich. It was served on a nicely crisp sub roll.

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