My family decided to check out the new tavern on Upshur called Slash Run. Co-owned by Jackie Greenbaum and Gordon Banks (who also own the restaurants El Chucho and Bar Charley), along with their partners Nick Nazdin and Ellen Cox, the new Tavern at 201 Upshur St NW opened on Thursday to rave reviews from neighbors.
We went in early on a Sunday evening mainly to make sure our 4 year old had dinner at her regular time (don't upset the time schedule of a 4 year old, or you'll pay -- all day long). The atmosphere of the "hair glam/rock" burger joint is dark, with black walls, ceiling and cool checkered floor. The tables are a nice red and the chairs a dark grey and the bench that wraps half-way around the restaurant is a funky baby blue. The chairs and the bench are soft and comfy to sit in.
The big mural on the wall featuring Marion Barry (yeah, he's riding a lion) with Nixon and Elvis (it's originally from Chief Ike's Mambo Room, which closed earlier this year in Adams Morgan) as well as the bright red bar in the back, help give Slash Run a visual pop and sense of fun as you walk in. It looks like a place to either get a burger and a milkshake or cozy up to the bar and drink beer, all the while listening to the great music on the jukebox.
Like any restaurant, it's about the service and the food. Both were great tonight.
While there's still the bumps of any new establishment, we were pleased by the level of attentiveness of the staff and how quick the food came out. We were seated by co-owner Jackie Greenbaum when we came in, and while most tables seem to be ready for 2 people, they were quick to pull two tables together for the three of us. (There were two reserved tables, but that's unusual, said Nick Nazdin, the Bar Manager and one of the minority partners of the restaurant; he's worked with Jackie and Gordon for 10 years. Co-owner Gordon Banks was having his parents and family in for dinner, so had reserved two tables.)
I had a chance to speak briefly with Jackie and Nick, and they both said that the reaction from the neighborhood has been great, and business has been solid for the weekend since they opened. We didn't get a chance to talk further about the restaurant, as Gordon's family came in and everyone focused on them. Just bad timing, really. Perhaps I can do a follow-up article in the future.
The menu, well, it's all about hamburgers. Thirteen burgers are offered, with names like Le Petit Mort (blue cheese, arugula, garlic, and mushrooms sautéed in red wine) and Bar Stool Rodeo (featuring BBQ sauce, fried poblano rings, cheddar and fine ground coffee).
You'll also find wings, shrimp cocktail, salads, various tuna dishes, hot dogs and schnitzel sandwiches. This isn't a froo-froo cocktail bar -- this is a place to come get a beer, a hamburger, listen to Def Leppard and leave with a full tummy.
My wife got the salad with tuna, cooked very rare and really enjoyed it. My daughter got the kids' burger (plain cheeseburger and waffle fries, with carrot sticks). My daughter's only complaint was a lack of pickles with the burger, but to be fair, my daughter has a weird obsession with pickles, and the staff were nice enough to bring us some pickles when we asked.
I got the Slash Supreme, your "run-of-the-mill" bacon cheeseburger, but this wasn't a boring bacon cheeseburger. The bacon was crunchy without being hard, and the onions, tomato and pickles all tasted like they had been tossed in a slight sour pickling mix, meaning they were delicious. And the soft, slightly salty pretzel bun was a really nice touch. All in all, a really good burger.
I didn't get a chance to try the beer (alas, still a bit slammed by bronchitis and some evil head cold) but my wife enjoyed a cider, and my daughter was happy to get orange juice in a kid's cup. And yes, they do have a small kid's menu.
I think Slash Run is going to do great in Petworth. It's kid-friendly, there's a ton of hamburger, tuna and vegan dishes on the menu sure to please most neighbors. If they had mac & cheese, my daughter would be in heaven (she thinks every place should have it). While I didn't see milkshakes on the menu, with the diner-esque vibe this place has, I could see a whole side menu of shakes (with and without alcohol) going over great in this summer's heat.
I hope they open their doors to the residents of the Armed Forces Retirement Home right across the street -- I'm sure those veterans will enjoy a local place to go grab a burger and a beer that's close enough to campus without having to travel more than 50 feet away from the main gate.
Check them out when you get a chance. They're open from 5pm until "late" every day except Sunday, when they open at noon for a late brunch and close early at 8pm.
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