Pleasant Dining Surprises and New Eats

In Bloomingdale, Tyber Creek Wine Bar & Kitchen offers a friendly neighborhood spot for wine, food and socially-distancing camaraderie. Photo: Pete McCall

Bloomingdale Delights
Husband Peter had a pleasant experience the other day. Driving home mid-day from a doctor’s appointment, he searched for lunch in the Bloomingdale neighborhood. He parked near First & T Streets NW, where he found the Tyber Creek Wine Bar & Kitchen. The three-year old restaurant exceeded his expectations for a delightful al fresco repast. There was no wait for an outside table.

Peter perused the two-page menu and ordered the $10 lox & Bullfrog bagel. The smoked salmon was “just what the doctor would order on a humid day,” he said. The dill-and-capers-laced cream cheese snuggled on the “everything” bagel might be fattening, but it satisfied his taste buds. And he brought some of it home for me to taste.

This friendly neighborhood wine bar offers a rotating menu of affordable victuals, plus an interesting wine list which includes vintages from Italy, Spain, Hungary and even the nation of Georgia. Besides chicken, seafood and meat entrees, options include bagels and hearty sandwiches (chicken salad, roast beef, caprese, turkey breast & avocado), salads, hummus, cheese and charcuterie boards. Among brunch items are cinnamon rolls, buttermilk biscuits, breakfast bagel sandwiches, smoked salmon Benedict, Bloody Marys and mimosas.

Located at 84 T St. NW, Tyber Creek currently has limited hours due to Covid-19. For updated information call 202-827-3664 or visit

Breaking your Fast
Here’s something for early birds who wake up hungry: HalfSmoke, 651 Florida Ave. NW, already known for house-made sausages and wood-grilled entrées, has launched Butter Me Up, a kitchen pop-up to provide healthy breakfast goodies. Butter Me Up is a culinary incubator, a start-up studio for fledgling restaurateurs/chefs who lack their own bricks-and-mortar spaces.

Spearheaded by Michelle Andrade, general manager and chief operating officer for HalfSmoke, Butter Me Up makes “morning” sandwiches from scratch with locally produced ingredients.  Breads are stacked with bacon (pork or turkey), scrambled eggs, smoked cheddar, “beyond meat” (vegan), roasted peppers, avocado; buttermilk-brined fried chicken. You get the idea.

For a boozy eye-opener: Bloody Marys are concocted with house-made mix; there are also mimosas. Non-alcoholic options include fresh fruit juice, tea and coffee. Breakfast dishes are available for carryout and delivery daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. To order, visit @buttermeupdc on Instagram or call 202- 986-2127. Complimentary delivery is available for residents within a one-mile radius.

Also offering the same healthy morning menu is fellow culinary incubator, Mess Hall, 703 Edgewood St. NE. Mess Hall was created to address the need for affordable commercial space for aspiring chefs and other food professionals. In fact, Mess Hall helped Andrew McCain launch HalfSmoke five years ago.

In Shaw, Butter Me Up, HalfSmoke’s breakfast pop-up, offers this tasty eye-opener sandwich. Photo courtesy of HalfSmoke

More Breakfast…
In the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood, Pearl’s Bagels (1017 7th St. NW) has finally arrived. For now, the shop is open for pre-order only. Customers place their order by 4 p.m. for next-day pickup. Operated by Allee and Oliver Cox, the new shop is named after their French bulldog. Besides classic bagel varieties, Pearl’s sells nova lox from Ivy City Smokehouse, cream cheese, capers, and other toppings, plus coffee from a Princeton, New Jersey roaster. To place an order or for updates, visit

New on U (cluck cluck)
Here’s something fun and easy for summer entertaining, and no one has to labor over a hot stove or grill: Roaming Rooster, the food truck known for its Popeyes-style, free-range fried chicken sandwiches, has signed a lease at 1301 U St. NW, in the restaurant space vacated by TaKorean in 2018. Construction has already begun.

Co-founder Michael Habtemariam hopes to offer carryout by mid-August or September. Already, a Roaming Rooster food truck is parked outside the future bricks-and-mortar location, offering online pickup and delivery through Uber Eats. Since launching its first food truck in 2015, Roaming Rooster has grown to four trucks and has opened a stand-alone store in Woodridge (3176 Bladensburg Road NE).

Born in Ethiopia, Habtemariam and his brother Biniam moved to Ottawa, Canada and eventually settled in Washington. Hareg Mesfin, Biniam’s wife, is the third partner in the company.

Chicken sandwiches can be ordered plain, Buffalo-style, spread with honey butter, or Nashville hot style. Roaming Rooster has also signed on as a vendor for the developing Western Market food hall at 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, in Foggy Bottom.

On U Street and inside Western Market, Habtemariam plans to keep the menu simple. Besides his signature sandwiches, Roaming Rooster sells fried chicken plates, salads, and chicken tenders. Coming soon are biscuit breakfast sandwiches and milkshakes “in classic flavors.”

More Fried Chicken
In Shaw, Right Proper Brewing Company, 624 T St. NW, also dispenses yummy fried chicken. The house specialty is “The Southern” ($13), a brioche bun stacked with the crisply fried poultry, Boursin cheese, pickles, lettuce and tomatoes. You can also get house-made hot wings, burgers (beef or vegan), lamb dip sandwich, beer battered cheese curds, Southern Cobb salad, breakfast tacos and lots of house-brewed beer. Open daily, but hours may vary; call 202-607-2337 or visit…..Also new in Shaw: The Roasted Boon Coffee and Wine Bar has opened at 1018 Rhode Island Ave. NW. “Boon” refers to a traditional coffee-making ceremony in Eritrea, co-owner Smret Tewolde’s homeland. Boon will roast its own beans on site and plans to serve wine and sangria by September.

Bistro Bohem, Shaw’s Czech style café/ bar at 600 Florida Ave. NW, has closed after eight years….B Two, Chef Bart Vandaele’s spinof of Barrack’s Row’s Belga Café, has also folded…Ghibellina, 1610 14th St. NW, where we’ve enjoyed wood-fired pizza, is another pandemic victim….

Dining from New Heights
We’ve checked out the recently opened rooftop dining at Union Market. Here’s how it works: First, customers order their meals from a Union Market stand, choosing from Arepa Zone, Buffalo & Bergen, District Fishwife, Fava Pot, La Jambe, TaKorean, or others. (We recommend calling ahead, as some eateries might still be closed.) Customers carry their food to the Union Market entrance at Sixth Street and Neal Place NE and take the stairs or elevator to the top. The roof deck has about 8 or 10 picnic tables, arranged for social distancing. Open daily, Union Market is at 1309 Fifth St. NE.

RAMMYS Postponed
The 38th annual RAMMY Awards, originally scheduled for July 26, have been pushed back to September 20. Venue is the same: the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Nominees include many restaurants in our neighborhood.

Sponsored by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) and Events DC, the black tie gala–usually jam packed with food professionals—will be scaled back. As always, the awards will honor the year’s list of hard-working finalists for their contributions to the local dining scene and the culinary industry. For more information visit