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District Soul Food & Lounge - Chris Everett and David Roundtree's Soul Food on Barracks Row

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District Soul Food & Lounge is taking over the former Banana Cafe space. 

Capitol Hill Corner with the goods:

"Two Brothers Soul Food, a popular but short-lived restaurant on Route 1 outside the Beltway has chosen the former Banana Café on Barracks Row as their new home.  According to ANC Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg, in whose district the restaurant lies, the restaurant plans to open in September.  Banana Café closed last December, when owner Jorge Garcia-Meitin Zamorano retired.

District Soul Food owners Chris Everett and David Roundtree announced last November that they were closing Two Brothers after seven months and relocating.  The restaurant opened in May of 2017 and had experienced a number of structural issues with the building, which eventually drove the decision to relocate.

The menu will feature authentic Southern cooking, heavy on fried chicken, pulled pork, fried fish, collard greens, baked beans, etc.  Oldenburg says that the owners will offer live jazz in the former piano bar on the second floor.  Everett and Roundtree are partners in other real estate deals, but relative newcomers to the hospitality business – Two Brothers was their first venture as restaurateurs.

The space is undergoing renovation, which, according to ANC Commissioner Chander Jayaraman will include plans for indoor trash storage.  Jayaraman, as chair of ANC6B’s Alcohol Beverage Control Committee, has been a strong advocate of indoor trash storage, and developed a strategy of using alcohol beverage license applications and renewals to encourage Barracks Row restaurants to provide indoor storage to combat rodent issues."

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I stopped in for lunch but forgot to ask about the Happy Hour. The menu was smaller than what is online, and I don't know if that's because I was there at lunch or if they've scaled back or not yet ramped up the menu. (The menu was in a tripartite plastic cover, but only the middle parts had menus in them.)  My guess is that they're still getting their legs. It was pretty empty of customers when I got there but then people began to arrive. When I left, I passed a two-top who had a table covered with bright plates of food that looked delicious. There was a specials board outside that I don't recall seeing on the way in and I wondered if maybe they'd ordered some things off that.

The crab fries I ordered were good, topped with a generous portion of crab. The menu said this had a lemon parsley aioli, but it seemed like a remoulade to me. The sauce had a nice zing to it. I enjoyed it. The potatoes were cut in all kinds of different sizes (from steak fries to thin), so I guess that means they are really handcut. The jerk wings delivered to someone else (who was clearly a frequent customer) looked appealing, and that seemed to be the only kind of wings they had on the day's menu.

I sat at the bar and needed a booster seat. The bar seats were fairly tall (not the very highest I've encountered but certainly not low), and the bar/counter was up to my collarbone. I'm short, but there were full-sized men practically dwarfed by that thing. It should probably be lowered, if that is feasible. It is set really high. It seems to be designed more for people standing than sitting.

They've reconfigured from the way Banana Cafe was laid out. (I didn't go upstairs, so I don't know what they've done with that. I assume that's still the lounge area.) 

The business is a promising addition to Barracks Row. I'll be interested to check back in once they have some more time under their belts. I'd like to try the pulled pork and the fried chicken. That was just a bit much for lunch. I recommend the crab fries, though.



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