Photos by Clarissa Villondo, Words by Kaylee Dugan
Between Beefsteak, Shouk, The Little Beet, Chaia, and Hip City Veg, D.C.’s vegan and vegetarian options are expanding like wildfire. While some people are still morning the loss of Native Foods Cafe, it feels like a month hasn’t gone by without a new veggie-centric fast casual concept opening in the city. But, where are the sit down restaurants? I like ordering at a counter as much as the next person, but sometimes I need the luxury of a server and a full bar. Sometimes I can’t be bothered to carry a tray to a table. Call me lazy, but sometimes I want to pay to have other people do all the work.
Luckily, Fare Well is here. Doron Petersan’s (of Sticky Finger’s) vegetarian diner, bar, and bakery concept is set to open this Wednesday and considering D.C.’s current obsession with vegetarian food spots, I have a feeling it’s going to be difficult place to get a seat.
Inspired by Middle Eastern and Mediterranean diner’s, Fare Well shies away from the greasy spoon ambience, with white painted brick walls and pops of bright turquoise. The space is narrow, with high ceilings, and is expertly decorated with vintage plates, posters, and kitchen equipment, all unearthed from thrift stores by Petersan herself, or handed down from her family.
Immediately upon entering you’re greeted with the bakery case and lunch counter, and while this will probably be a great spot for people to pop in and grab something quick, the restaurant and full bar is what’s most intriguing. Breakfast will be served all day long (as it should be) and includes options like french toast casserole, polenta biscuit sliders, and chilequiles verde. Lunch and diner menus offer even more options, including small plates like the mushroom scampi and polenta friends, but I’m most excited about The Burger (which should be no surprise). Featuring a mushroom-chickpea patty, with walnuts and sunflower seeds, it’s topped with lettuce, tomato, and caramelized onions, then finished with a garlic aioli. And it’s all on a house-made bun.
Fare Well will also be dolling out fresh pasta, with about eight different options on the menu (including an entree version of that previously mentioned mushroom scampi). The dessert menu is minimal, consisting only of a seasonal shortcake, a seasonal crisp, and Jenny’s Big Boy, a brownie sundae with coconut ice cream, and fudge, topped with whipped cream.
Of course, we can’t forget about the drinks. Fare Well will have house-made sodas and shakes, but the booze is what they’re really focusing on. The wine selection is a small, but curated list of organic wines, while the draft list features four of D.C.’s best breweries, Atlas, 3 Stars, DD Brau, and Right Proper. The cocktail list focuses on a mix of classic’s and brand new drinks. The Queen of H Street features an intriguing egg white substitute, but I’ll definitely be back to grab a Last Word or a Buffalo Negra.
There’s also a dumbwaiter. They wouldn’t let me crawl inside, but trust me. I tried.
Fare Well opens June 22 at 406 H ST NE. Hours are 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wednesday thru Thursday, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday thru Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sunday. Fare Well will be closed on Monday and Tuesday.