A Beer Garden, Taco Spot, and Charcuterie Shop Open at The Roost This Week

Kitchen sink nachos, tacos, and wings from Hi/Fi Taco at the Roost. Photograph by Stacey Windsor.

Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s food hall The Roost began its rollout in Capitol Hill two weeks ago with the debut of Cameo, an eco-conscious coffee shop, and Shop Made in DC, selling local goods. The “culinary clubhouse” will introduce ten more concepts in the coming months, starting with three this week.

The latest additions include beer garden Shelter, Hi/Fi Taco, and another location of the group’s Red Apron Butcher. Only Shelter will host seating for now, but menus from all three spots will be available on the beer garden’s 100-seat patio (plus 20 indoor seats that open up to the outside). Order in advance at theroost.menu for pickup and delivery.

Here’s what to expect:

Shelter

Opening Thursday, September 24

Greg Engert is the mastermind behind some of DC’s top beer bars, including ChurchKey, the Sovereign, and Bluejacket brewery. At Shelter, he’s giving special attention to low-alcohol brews with about half the list devoted to session drafts. The lineup won’t be quite as vast as Engert initially planned; Due to the pandemic, many brewers have slowed production of kegs and casks in favor of cans and bottles. Still, look out for everything from a lambic with apricots from Belgium’s famed Cantillon brewery to an American blonde ale with galaxy hops from Bluejacket.

You can also get a sneak peek at the Roost’s forthcoming wine and cocktail bar Show of Hands, which will debut in the next few weeks. Spirits director Nick Farrell has bottled up cocktails for two, including a Mediterranean-style sangria with pomegranate, orange blossom, and Greek honey as well as a pineapple Chartreuse rickey. The cocktails, along with a curated list of beers, natural wines, and spirits, will be available to-go via a small retail shop.

Hi/Fi Taco

Opening Thursday, September 24

Red Apron Butcher’s Nate Anda at Hi/Fi at the Roost. Photograph by Stacey Windsor.

Red Apron butcher/chef Nathan Anda will bring his meat expertise to tacos at this new joint. Among his creations: an orange-soda braised carnitas taco paired with curtido (Salvadoran cabbage slaw), smoked crema, American cheese, and chicharrones as well as as a crunchy-shelled ground beef, shredded lettuce, and queso taco appropriately named “Taco Night in America.” It’s not all meat though—you’ll find fried avocado and catfish options too. Queso comes three ways, including a “bacon cheeseburger” version. Try the cheese dip with chips or smothered on “kitchen sink” nachos.

Tacos from Hi/Fi Taco at the Roost. Photograph by Stacey Windsor.

Red Apron

Opening Saturday, September 26

The fourth location of this charcuterie-and-sandwich spot will offer a menu of its greatest hits. Of course that means plenty of cured meats, pickles, and hot mustard served with English muffin-like tigelles.  There are a couple salads, but the heartier plates are the main attraction. Think poutine, dan dan noodles with Szechuan gravy, and burgers with beef-fat fries. RBG gets a nod with the “Roost Bader Ginsburger”—a burger with beef and chorizo patties,

Read more

Home to roost: A Bridgewater barn goes from chicken house to stylish business

The barn, initially built as a carriage house for a horse and buggy, was part of the 2-acre property in Bridgewater that Hoffman purchased 16 years ago. The main attraction was the 1882 Gothic Revival farmhouse, but it was the whole kit and caboodle that drew him. “The listing said ‘farmhouse with barn and two acres,’ ” Hoffman recalled. “That’s all I needed to know.”

Spurred by his expanding business and the barn’s growing disrepair — frost had recently caused its foundation to crack — Hoffman decided to renovate. He stripped it to the shell. Everything needed updating, from the compromised foundation to the rickety roof. Hoffman shored up the structure, built an entry addition to accommodate a new stairway to the loft, installed a new standing-seam metal roof, and pulled off old Cape Cod-style shingles in favor of clapboard siding similar to the original exterior cladding.

Hoffman also reinstated a pair of boarded-up windows after seeing a copy of a hand-drawn map from 1890 that included his property. “It showed windows on either side of the barn door, which weren’t there when I bought it,” he said. To top it, Hoffman designed a cupola with glass on all four sides, which he mounted on the roof at 45 degrees. “It reflects my style of looking at things from a different perspective,” he said. “It also shows we can do difficult things that require lots of math.”

Inside, Hoffman infused a fresh take on the barn’s antiquity while preserving its original character. “I didn’t want to lose the look of the 140-year-old raw, brown wood,” he said. Still, the building needed to be insulated. The solution? Hoffman insulated the underside of the roof with closed-cell foam, then enclosed it with rough-sawn pine that he stained to look old. “I came up with my own special sauce to antique it,” he said. His method involved applying the stain with rollers, as well as hand-rubbing it with rags — some before the boards were installed and some afterward. He also antiqued the new rafters and collar ties needed to ensure stability. “It’s respectably close to the existing wood,” Hoffman said.

For the walls, Hoffman reused the original pine sheathing boards he had pulled off the exterior. This is supplemented with rough-sawn shiplap sourced at Gurney’s Saw Mill Inc., a sixth-generation-run mill in Freetown. “It adds a small-town touch to this renovation story,” Hoffman said.

Although he’s generally of the “you don’t paint old wood” mind-set, interior designer Tracy Parkinson of Nest + Co., whom Hoffman engaged to help with the interior furnishings and finishes, advised him to paint some of the shiplap in the loft white. “Light bounces off the wall now and really brightens the office area,” Parkinson said.

Parkinson also persuaded him to put up a bit of wallpaper. “I just couldn’t envision it,” Hoffman said. “Wallpaper doesn’t belong in a barn.” But when she showed him her pick — a pattern with barn blueprints by Chip and Joanna Gaines’

Read more