The East Side’s best-known Indian restaurant has had an eventful fall. Indigo, a family-owned restaurant on K Street NE, was included in Michelin’s first-ever guide to DC restaurants – less than a month before announcing a second location, coming to Brookland in early 2017.
“Located in a cheerful yellow house with a patio full of colorful picnic tables, Indigo is far from fancy,” the guide’s entry says. “But, how can you not adore a place where love notes from customers cover the walls?” The small restaurant’s walls are adorned with messages written by fans of the restaurant – from more traditional praise like, “Always remember: you can’t make everyone happy. You aren’t food from Indigo,” to slightly more unusual comments like, “We mustache Indigo!”
The owners, the husband-wife team of Nidhi and Dinesh Tandon, got their start in a popup stand in Union Station. Indigo is short for “Indian food on the go.” Anyone who’s attended the restaurant know that the Tandons get their inspiration from their eight-year-old daughter Grace, who is always credited in Facebook posts and is mentioned on several of the notes on the walls of the small yellow house. The Tandons and their three children live above the restaurant.
The Indigo DC Facebook page, in addition to posting menus (which change daily) and other pictures, announced on Nov. 14 that the Tandons have secured their second location. “Friends,” the post started, “me and Nidhi are very excited to share our big day with you all. But before that we want to remind you that we owe all this to you and a lot to mom’s blessings and family support. My little Grace is our inspiration. Indigo is very proud yet excited and humbled at the same [time] to announce our new location coming up in early 2017.”
The menu offers a wide variety of options, most of which are in the $12-14 range. Chicken tikka and lamb curry are phenomenal options, and neither is overwhelmingly spicy. Vegetarians can choose from the “Vegetarian Paradise” menu, including vegan and non-vegan options. And no meal is complete without a delicious garlic roti.
Indigo is located at 243 K St. NE, with a second location opening soon at 3301 12th Street NE. Find them online at www.IndigoWDC.com and Facebook.com/Indigo.DC.5.
A Musical Joint
On a frigid night in December, the coldest night of the winter to that point, Mount Vernon Triangle residents gathered in the raised back area of A Baked Joint to hear the relaxed, soothing music of indie folk singer-songwriter, guitarist, and harmonica player Eli Schwarzschild. More than a dozen people watched and listened intently in the lounge-like back room as Schwarzschild played original music as well as covers of everyone from Ray Charles to Oasis.
The first in what should become a series of evening concerts at A Baked Joint allowed for ease of listening but did not overtake the entire restaurant. While Schwarzschild and his listeners sat in a circle, the front room carried on normally with the music playing through speakers. Though the chatter and buzz from the front room was noticeable in the back, it did not distract from the music.
“It’s been really nice,” said Sarah, who’d braved the cold to catch up with a friend over tea and pastries. “At other places these live performances are blasted really loud in the whole space, but this is the perfect volume so that we can hear it but still have a conversation … It’s almost like they’re playing from a recording, but then you can just stand up and see him playing. It’s a great experience.”
As Schwarzschild played, the mellow crowd selections from the diverse menu. The sister restaurant to Georgetown’s Baked and Wired opened in the summer of 2015 and has quickly become a neighborhood favorite due to its pastries, breads, hot drinks, cocktails, and sandwiches. In particular, the fried green tomato and pernil sandwiches go great with a DC Mule, Chaider Toddy, or one of the many available teas. A Baked Joint also offers a daily happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m.: $5 tap beer and $2 off wine. A breakfast menu features their incredible Biscuit Sammie.
Prices are very affordable. Sandwiches are $10 or $11, with add-on options available for several. Cocktails are under $10 and teas range from $3.50 to $5.50. Expect to spend $15-$20 and get a very good meal.
Neighborhood Notes: Carnegie Library
Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District President and CEO Kenyattah Robinson issued a joint statement with Downtown DC Business Improvement District Executive Director Neil O. Albert on Dec. 9, expressing support for Apple’s recent announcement to open an Apple Store in the Carnegie Library. “We welcome the announcement that Apple has executed a letter of intent to open a global flagship store in the historic Carnegie Library,” the statement read. “Apple’s proposal is yet another signal of the retail growth and business opportunities that are flourishing at the center of our vibrant city.” The Historical Society of Washington DC will remain in the building.
Neighborhood Notes: Construction and Sidewalk Closure
NoMa residents have seen construction on a new office building on the 100 block of M Street NE, between the Flats 130 apartments and the NoMa/Gallaudet U Metro stop. The construction will lead to closure of segments of the sidewalks on M Street and Second Street; a new crosswalk on M has been added to allow for safe crossing.
Max Moline is a communications specialist living in DC. He frequents Nationals Park and enjoys writing about food as much as he does eating it. He’s always looking for new places to try. Rooftops and cigar lounges are a plus! Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org; @MaxMoline425.