There’s a new restaurant at 5014 Connecticut Avenue.
Ghost restaurants, or ghost kitchens, sprang into existence shortly after delivery apps did, and have grown more prevalent in the pandemic as restaurants look for ways to attract more customers and more orders. Many ghost restaurants exist only for delivery service. Nantucket Clam Shack is taking carry-out orders as well.
The concept is something of a homecoming for I’m Eddie Cano owners James Gee and Carolyn and Massimo Papetti. Gee, the chef, worked five summers at some of Nantucket’s top restaurants, then headed to the Hamptons restaurant scene, where he met the Papettis.
Nantucket Clam Shack’s menu is a summery seafood assortment including chowders, lobster rolls and a clam bake kit. “We don’t think people would want it year ’round but we’ll see,” Carolyn Papetti said in an email.
Massimo Papetti gave The Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema a preview of the new offerings, and confirmed that the little Starship robots I’m Eddie Cano has been using for deliveries are taking Nantucket Clam Shack orders now, too.
Meanwhile, across the street
About a month ago, Muchas Gracias, Chef Christian Irabién’s pop-up restaurant next door to Buck’s Fishing & Camping, started serving a four- to five-course tasting menu at a single table on the Buck’s patio.
The Washington City Paper says the meal features Muchas Gracias’ “greatest hits:”
[S]tarting with blue corn chips and two house-made salsas served with “baby Margarita” welcome drinks before moving on to two courses of refreshing salads like gazpacho chamoy featuring mango, pineapple, golden watermelon, dragonfruit, lime, house-made tamarind chamoy (a fruit-based condiment), and tajin (a chili lime seasoning blend).
Also new: lunch. Muchas Gracias takes dinner orders Wednesday through Sunday starting at 4 p.m.. And now, it’s serving lunch Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Burritos are on the lunch menu. Van Ness Main Street got to sample them last week, and “we can report they’re a super-delicious addition to the neighborhood!”
Firehook and Coppi’s Organic closing
Cleveland Park was hit with a double dose of restaurant closing news last week. Firehook Bakery closes Thursday, July 30th after 23 years at 3411 Connecticut Avenue. And Coppi’s Organic (3321 Connecticut) closed for good on Saturday, July 25th.
“No doubt about it, COVID is compounding the challenges facing Cleveland Park businesses,” said Cleveland Park Main Street in a comment on its Facebook post (above) about Firehook. But it also notes that there are many factors playing into these decisions. Popville posted the sign on Firehook’s door saying it was closing because it could not secure a long-term lease.
A few days after that, ANC 3F04 Commissioner Beau Finley posted a screenshot of a statement from Firehook’s landlord: the family that operated Roma at that location from 1932 to 1997 and still owns the property. Or rather, the family estate.
“With the timely passing of Abbo family members,” the statement said, “an estate has assumed majority ownership and will soon be putting its assets on the market for sale per the directive of a family Trust that was established years ago.” It goes on to say that it’s working with Al Volo two doors down to “resurrect dining under the grape vineyards” of the property’s back patio.