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all photos: Shauna Alexander

DC’s most anticipated restaurant of the summer, Jose Andres’ AMERICA EATS tavern will open it’s doors (fittingly) on Monday, Fourth fo July. We were lucky enough to be invited in for a special sneak peak of the place (which just weeks a go was still Cafe Atlantico).

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The tavern, which has been done in collaboration with the National Archives’ exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” (conveniently located next door) and intended as an interactive fund-raising project for the Archives will offer a new take on American classics and celebrate native ingredients and some long forgotten dishes, from burgoo to oysters Rockefeller, like you’ve never seen them before (during our visit, Jose Andres could be spotted in the kitchen, which is feverishly working on final menu touches).

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The bar menu (supervised by our Drink Diary alum Owen Thomson) is also seeing a complete turnaround and will feature American classic cocktails, a series of punches, and almost exclusively American liquors. Beers are all domestic as well, and the wine list allows for certain historic exceptions (sherry, Bordeaux…) based on popular beverages during certain periods of American history


All the interiors have been done pro-bono by SEED, the design firm behind Andres’ CHINA POBLANO Vegas restaurant and represent a relatively stark contrast to Cafe Atlantico’s brightly colored nuevo latino decor, and has been completed in just three weeks since Atlantico’s closing. White is the dominant color with splashes of red and blue throughout the space, and images from the exhibit applied throughout the space, whether through the staircase “Memory tower” mobile installation or otherwise, using repurposed windows as frames. The historical/all-American theme extends to the menus (each dish will feature a mini history lesson on it’s gastronomical roots) and dinnerware (simple, white, featuring the America Eats logo). Curators from the Archives have been frequent guests during the space’s transformation and the restaurant is obviously a passion project for everyone involved.

Oh, and yes, the Minibar will remain open.

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AMERICA Eats Tavern opens on Monday, July 4th for a limited 6 month run. 405 8th Street NW. FULL MENU and COCKTAIL LIST to be released soon. Click here for more information/reservations.

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