When Chez Billy closed on Georgia Avenue last summer, the question was what would come next? This historic building started out as a sweets shop (Minoux confections) in 1929, a seafood restaurant in the late 1930s (Kushner’s), and later became famous as Billy Simpson’s Restaurant (the building has a plaque on the front dedicated to Billy Simpson). Later in the 1980s it was a Caribbean restaurant and a disco (upstairs), and then eventually, Chez Billy, which closed last July.
The space was reborn as Ten Tigers Parlour (3828 Georgia Ave NW), by the same owners of Chez Billy. With a new Asian-inspired menu by Chef Tim Ma, Ten Tigers wants to be the place to go in the evening to enjoy good eats and activities.
But what about the daytime?
That’s where the delicious Short Eats comes into the story. Started by Yohan Ferdinando, Short Eats offers Sri Lankan street food for breakfast and lunch, drinks and coffee, along with free wifi, some old school video games and plenty of open seating, perfect for an on-the-way-to-work food grab or the stay-all-day-and-work space as a pop-up weekdays at Ten Tigers.
Short Eats is a family affair, one near and dear to Yohan and his mother, Bernadette. The recipes Yohan creates for his rotis and curry bowls come from his mother and grandmother, and the family connection and passion for the food is clear (and delicious).
“Short Eats is fast casual, easy grab and go,” Yohan said, describing the pop-up. “We’re really a curry house, but these are real curries, the kind that take days to make from hand. These are recipes that come from my family, with ingredients that come directly from Sri Lanka.”
Describing the food as street food, with the curries falling in between Indian and Thai flavor profiles, Yohan said the rotis and other menu items they offer are the foods being sold on streets in Sri Lanka, where the vendors call out “Short eats! Short eats!”
Short Eats is the perfect spot to grab a sausage or vegan roti and a cup of coffee on the way to work, or come in, grab a table inside or outside and work for the day. They even offer low-priced refills of Qualia coffee for customers who bring in their almost empty cups from the coffee house located further up Georgia Avenue.
On the menu you’ll find pork, turkey, veggie (and vegan) lovingly wrapped up in a hot roti, and can be paired with a ceylon ginger tea or mango juice. Their curry bowls feature homemade curries, dahl and others, along with a traditional pol sambol or mint sambol (which is more mild).
“You could put almost anything in a roti,” Yohan said, “They’re perfect for taking to work, or enjoy sitting here.”
It’s still a little-known place to eat, work and chill out during the day. That needs to change.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the arcade. Between Mortal Kombat, Millipede and other videos games, there’s plenty to do to take a break from working. There’s even a ping-pong table, but my daughter and I have that reserved for the rest of the summer. (Sorry not sorry.)
Visit Yohan and Short Eats weekdays from 7am until 2pm(ish). You’ll find a new local gem.
Wifi + Workspaces + Arcade
M-F daily 7a-2p OR LATER
3813 Georgia Ave NW
(One Block from Georgia Ave/Petworth Metro)