Gosh, wouldn’t it be lovely to live in Woodley Park? Just imagine your Sundays: A morning jog in your backyard (Rock Creek Park), brunch with friends on a restaurant’s sunny patio, followed by a lovely stroll through the zoo to coo at the baby lion cubs.
DC’s idyllic neighborhood is nicely wedged between Cleveland Park and Adams Morgan (for those of us who like a little peace and a little crazy), and it’s chock-full of adorable, locally run coffee shops and restaurants.
Exhibit A: Open City.
Open City, the sister restaurant to Tryst and The Diner, serves breakfast all day (and until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays), which makes it the go-to spot for local yuppies craving a hangover cure. My friend Brooke used to live up the road and would dine there (and suggest it for brunch) with alarming frequency. She swears by the Salmon Scramble: “It’s everything you want in a comfort breakfast, without the frivolousness,” she says.
We didn’t end up trying that particular flavor o’ scramble on our visit on MLK Day, nor did Brooke end up joining us. But we did end up waiting over an hour for a table because the place was absolutely packed to the brim with families. And waiting for a table at Open City means you’re gulping down buckets of coffee readily served up by the hipster baristas behind the coffee bar (but don’t worry; it’s Tryst coffee, and it’s delish).
We were eventually seated in what I like to call the Sun Room, but that sounds more posh than it actually is. All windows, with a great big wooden table in the middle, the room is warm and sunny and open enough to invite even a few creatures in for brunch: There was a sparrow hopping around our feet, nibbling crumbs the entire time we were dining. Très quaint.
The menu is quite large and offers a predictable selection of sandwiches, salads, soups, and larger entrees (though there’s not a special brunch menu; as I said before, breakfast is served all day here). The breakfast menu is particularly egg-heavy: omelets and scrambled eggs are served in any way, with any toppings, and with any sides. Then there are egg sandwiches and, simply, eggs any style you want them.
There are some other breakfast items, such as pancakes and French toast, but at Open City, the focus is mostly on the eggs. Oh, they also have a gluten-free menu, which earns them bonus points, I suppose.
I went for it and ordered their namesake, the Open City Omelet. Surely if it’s named after the place itself, it has to be the best on the menu, right? It was filled with hash browns (weird that they were in my omelet and not accompanying it), applewood-smoked bacon and aged white cheddar cheese. Since the hash browns were within, it came with a side of fresh fruit. The entire dish was perplexing and not amazing, frankly. It was just eggs. With hash browns inside. I don’t get it.
The OC Royale was our next dish, but it’s one that’s entirely customizable (which is a requirement for a breakfast menu, I think). Oh, the decisions to be made! Two eggs any style; bacon, ham, sausage, or chicken sausage; multigrain pancakes, cornmeal buttermilk pancakes or brioche French toast; has browns or grits; choice of toast. Can’t really screw that up.
The Chorizo Scramble has scallions, tomato, cilantro, and aged white cheddar scrambled in. It was also rather tasteless, but standard greasy breakfast that certainly does the trick on a Sunday morning.
There were a few more of us at the table, but to be honest, those dishes weren’t more memorable than the ones I just described. Hell, even the service wasn’t worth remembering: Our waitress came and went so quickly – and with hardly any words between us – I don’t remember her face at all.
Open City is definitely thriving off it’s fabulous location, just like Tryst and The Diner are. Would you ever really make a trip into Woodley Park specifically for Open City? Nope. But when you are there, it is kinda, sorta perfect.
The Bitches say: B-. Great neighborhood spot and good breakfast selection, but blah taste and service. Make it your local spot, but don’t go out of your way.
2331 Calvert St. NW
Washington, DC 20008