An update from the Bitches: Second State is now closed.
Second State opened late this fall in the former Mighty Pint location, and the renovation is startling. The Americana restaurant is inspired by whiskey and the state of Pennsylvania, and serves more than 30 different rye whiskeys, artisan ice, hand-crafted cocktails, and farm-to-table fare.
The restaurant is run by Reese Gardner, Pennsylvania native and the DC restauranteur behind Copperwood Tavern, Irish Whiskey Public House, and the forthcoming Union Social (in Noma) and Orange Anchor (on the Georgetown Waterfront).
The small, 62-seat space was designed by female designer and entrepreneur Maggie O’Neill, whose design firm Swatchroom is behind Lincoln, Teddy & the Bully, Copperwood, and other popular Washington restaurants. The space is rugged yet feminine, with exposed wooden beams, light blue walls, and cozy booths in a light grey and beige palete. The walls are decorated with vintage inspired signs, including license plates, State Fair signs, and a quippy declaration to “Enjoy Your Food, Not Your Phone.”
We gathered for brunch—Becca, Cori Sue, and Baby Bitch Amanda. We were missing our other two DC Bitches—Social Bitch Annie and Biz Bitch Sabrina. Second State’s brunch is themed A Stately Affair” in that those dressed to the nines—think blazers for men and frocks for the ladies—receive a complimentary glass of champagne or rye whiskey upon entrance. We Bitches think that’s the perfect morning greeting.
The restaurant serves fresh, American food—much of it locally sourced—but unlike many other restaurants the portions are large and the cuisine is hearty. You will leave full and satisfied.
The brunch menu is the same as its sister restaurant, Copperwood Tavern. The meal begins with a metal tin of truffled popcorn, which is always a great way to start. So much so, we had to remind ourselves to stop snacking before we even placed an order.
We began with cocktails to toast Amanda’s recent engagement. We opted to divide and conquer the sampling of spirits: a mimosa for Cori Sue, a Bloody Mary for Becca, and a few cocktails sampled in the name of research by Baby Bitch Amanda. The mimosa was great: light, frothy, and made with fresh-squeezed orange juice and a reliable sparkling. Having sipped quite a few by now, we can certainly differentiate.
Amanda was intrigued by the unique brunch cocktail option of the Franklin’s Milk Punch and was not disappointed. The historical cocktail made with brandy, apple cider, milk, nutmeg, and lemon would be the perfect creation for any winter’s day or night.
Needing her dose of super foods before brunching, Becca order the house specialty Kale-Mary. The cleverly named cocktail is made from house-made kale juice, vodka, celery, and a kick of ginger. While the twist on the classic Bloody may not be for everyone, it was just right for Becca.
We shared appetizers—the same we shared at Copperwood, in fact. First up, the French toast sticks, which are always a hit. The sticks are large, and it’s up to the bruncher’s discretion as to whether you dip or use a knife and fork. Given the formidable size, the Bitches use a knife and fork. The crispy, moist French toast sticks are served with orange honey butter and rum maple syrup, a much appreciated departure from typical butter and syrup.
We also shared the Scotch Eggs, a hearty, European take on a deviled egg. As a Brit, Becca mandates and enjoys the dish when we visit the sister restaurants. The enormous boiled eggs are wrapped in breakfast sausage, breaded, fried, and served on a bed of frisee. It’s a unique dish for Washington—and worth trying.
After perusing all of the enticing options, Amanda selected the duck hash for an entrée. Always a lover of a traditional hash dish, she was particularly intrigued by the novel protein selection which was tender, well-spiced, and accompanied by bell peppers, onions, and the delicious ooze from two poached eggs.
Becca selected the blue crab Benedict, which was filled with jumbo lump crab meat, topped with poached eggs, and doused in Old Bay Hollandaise.
As has become routine, Cori Sue selected the steak and eggs. The steak was correctly prepared, but a bit tough—we’re told that’s because of the grass fed Virginia cows. The eggs were prepared as instructed—fried over medium.
Our one gripe is that the potatoes served with the entrees are relatively lackluster. There’s nothing wrong with these fresh ‘tatoes with onions and peppers, but there’s nothing memorable, either.
The Bitches say: A-. A hearty, satisfying spot for brunch with great cocktails and a lovely ambiance.
1831 M St. N.W.
Second State serves brunch Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.