Once a flower girl, always a flower girl. It’s a fact.
I started my life at various British family weddings, the cute curly-haired flower girl that willingly tottered down the aisle in poofy dresses, tossing out fistfuls of flower petals.
The love for scattered fresh flowers stuck with me into adulthood. Now, I send all my dearest girlfriends flowers for their birthdays. It’s my go-to dinner party accompaniment (along with a good bottle of bubbly). And never, ever is my condo without fresh stems—a fact that my boyfriend has come to accept.
I have spirited negotiations with my favorite P Street flower salesman (you know, the guy in front of CVS), getting his price down by nearly a tenner for a good bunch of hydrangeas. I also keep my eyes peeled for deals from local shops. But regardless of my efforts, I still end up spending a small fortune each year on petals.
Enter: My saving grace. A new company called UrbanStems that hand-delivers gorgeous bunches of happiness in adorable burlap, anywhere in the District, for a painless $35. A feat so simple, so brilliant, that I am devastated that I didn’t think of it first.
And then Cori Sue and I met the men behind the roses, and I nearly died.
Jeff Sheely and Ajay Kori are—how should we say this?—the most adorable entrepreneurs ever. Not only did they start a flower company because they wanted to send reasonably-priced stems to their long-distance lovers, but they show up to brunch looking dapper and wielding bouquets.
Cori Sue and I met the boys at Beuchert’s Saloon, a tiny establishment on Pennsylvania Avenue in Capitol Hill. The place is hipster heaven, from the adorable cocker spaniel—appropriately named Whiskey—who judges everyone who walks in the door, to the buffalo heads watching the bar loaded with craft cocktails.
It’s the second Beuchert’s to live in the space, the first establishment dating back to the 1880s. Legend has it that it was actually a speakeasy during the Prohibition era, fronting as a sewing shop, among other types of storefronts. The current owners have meticulously recreated the period fixes and finishings, and it shows.
We squeezed into a tiny space at a four-person table. The restaurant is long and narrow and only a handful of tables are in the back, leaving most of the diners to crowd around the bar-cum-kitchen. It’s a small spot.
As we sipped on bottomless grapefruit and orange juice mimosas, Jeff and Ajay told us their amazing story. The gist of which is this: The Duke graduates left their lofty corporate jobs to revolutionize the flower industry.
Now UrbanStems is poised to be the Uber of florists, offering three types of bouquets that are hand-selected and sustainably grown in farms in Colombia and Ecuador, which then arrive at a Dupont warehouse and are hand-delivered by bike messengers. Brilliant.
Like us, these entrepreneurs are making the District their guinea pig, launching here while making plans to expand to other cities around the country. We love chatting with other driven small-business owners, and there were so many stories to tell—and laugh about—over brunch. Once the brunch started to finally arrive, that is.
Behind us, a huge brunch party took up half of the restaurant’s space. It wasn’t their fault, but they caused our server to be quite overwhelmed, resulting in our orders and entrees rather delayed.
First we ordered the beignets, which were some of the best you’ll find outside of New Orleans. Warm and fresh from the fryer, the dough was fluffy, delicious, and coated in a fine layer of powdered sugar. Two arrived, so they were easy to split.
I ordered the Eggs Benedict, which was disappointing and undercooked. I like my Bennys runny, but this was rather extreme. Even the Hollandaise sauce was thin, pooling on the plate and soaking the sourdough too quickly. On the side, some greens. I was left unsatisfied.
Jeff ordered the shrimp and grits but was instead presented with the breakfast sammie. Not willing to wait another 45 minutes for a different dish, he told the server that he would be fine with what was in front of him.
He enjoyed the roasted pork, cheddar, and fried egg concoction anyway. It came with two potato latkes on the side, which were fried with toasted shallots and ham. The dish was a heavy one, and Jeff ended up taking half of the sandwich home with him.
Ajay ordered the black pepper biscuits, which came covered in chicken confit gravy. Somewhere in the dish, there were poached eggs, but it was hard to separate from the heavy lemon confit. It looked satisfying, and he finished his plate.
Cori Sue ordered the classic Beuchert’s breakfast, with two big sausages and eggs her way—scrambled. New to the paleo diet and lifestyle, she tackled the all-natural, house-made sausage and eggs with abandon, completely shocking me, as I’m so used to her pescetarian tendencies.
On the side, toast and grits, but she opted for a salad instead. The sausage was delicious, the eggs properly scrambled, and the salad light and fresh. She desperately wanted syrup for her sausage and eggs, but, alas, it never arrived.
But we all know that flowers and bubbly must of course come with their third sibling—chocolate. And so regardless of the service, we couldn’t resist the dessert menu. I had to have the Candy Bar, a homemade frozen confection bar filled with caramel, chocolate, and crunch. It was like a gourmet frozen Snicker’s.
We also ordered the apple ricotta tart, which was presented beautifully and easy to share. The petite, fried tart was filled with warm, seasoned apples and topped with maple pecan ice cream and cider caramel. It was absolutely heavenly, and filling despite the small portion.
The service, however, was terrible. From taking an eternity to bring our coffee, to forgetting our orders, to bringing a wrong entree, to never bringing the syrup at all, our well-dressed, kind, but hapless waiter disappointed repeatedly.
Thankfully, charming young men and flowers will placate any Bitch. And to that we say, cheers to UrbanStems. Get your bunch (or send to your favorite friend or lover) by ordering online and get $5 off with the code BITCHES5.
The Bitches say: B- Some dishes need a bit of work, and the service needs to get it right, but this adorable saloon has huge brunch potential.
623 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003
Beuchert’s serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.