Tom Sietsema reports that Café Atlántico is going on hiatus June 12 to make way for a pop-up restaurant orchestrated by José Andrés in partnership with the National Archives.
Fresh from being named Outstanding Chef by the James Beard Foundation, the Spanish celebrity chef plans to replace his Latin American-themed destination in Penn Quarter with a radically different concept, America Eats Tavern, and a menu of iconic U.S. dishes that will coincide with the Archives’ forthcoming exhibit, “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? The Government’s Effect on the American Diet.” Following a minor facelift, the restaurant is expected to make its debut on the Fourth of July. (Fear not, fans of Minibar; Andrés’six-seat culinary ode to molecular gastronomy will, except for that three-week revamp, remain open.)
America Eats Tavern will start on the ground floor with a casual café serving lobster rolls, hot dogs and the star chef’s signature cheesesteak. Upstairs, a more formal restaurant will introduce dishes such as shrimp and grapefruit cocktail, and Brunswick stew.
Come January, after America Eats Tavern closes, probably along with the exhibit, Minibar will likely expand to multiple floors and 18 seats at 405 Eighth St., NW. It will share the space with ThinkFoodTank, the culinary center where Andres and his creative team develop new ideas.
No word about when Café Atlántico will resurface, but a refreshed notion of the restaurant will return, Sietsema writes.