Eat & Smile coming to Woodridge

By Stephanie Liotta Atkinson

Seriously, smile.  There’s more good news for Rhode Island Avenue NE.

One of our very own FoRIA members and Brookland resident, Oliver Friendly, is bringing his boutique catering and guerrilla dining business to the Avenue!  You’re probably wondering what “guerrilla dining” is…

Oliver Friendly is the chef and owner of Eat & Smile Catering, DC’s only entirely locally sourced caterer.  He has forged relationships will local farmers that allow him access to fresh produce, meats, and cheeses, and as a result everything Eat & Smile serves is grown within a 150 mile radius of DC.  Despite the specialty niche, Eat & Smile caters events of all sizes from cocktail parties to weddings (and also provides servers and bar tenders).

Complementing the catering, Friendly is also the chef behind La Table DC, a “guerrilla restaurant holding dinners at roving locations using all local ingredients.”  Guerrilla dining is basically a restaurant minus the fixed location.  But soon there will be no more roving for Friendly!

Like DC’s Chocolate Bar and Bakery, Friendly’s business is already market-tested and successful.  He is now doubling down with a historic storefront space in the Woodridge neighborhood of Rhode Island Avenue NE.  Perhaps this try-it-before-you-buy-it method is going to be the model that renews RIA?  At 2212 Rhode Island Avenue NE (right next to Lace) Friendly will open a full time commercial kitchen for his catering operation, which will also serve as a permanent home for La Table.  Two nights a week the space will open to the public for La Table’s dining experience: a chef’s tasting, where a limited number of guests will be seated for a family style eight course prefix menu at a set price.

Sample La Table menu:
Roasted Cauliflower Soup, Sumac, Bacon Powder, Balsamic
Salami, Breseola, Duck Liver Mousse, Cornichon, Compressed Pear
Butterbib Lettuce, Cognac Raisins, Pinenut Brittle, Creme Fraiche Vinaigrette
Confit Baby Goat Shoulder, Swiss Chard, Morels, Pommes Maxine
Grass Fed Rib Eye, Potato Gratin, Spinach, Roasted Garlic Mousseline
Local Cheese Plate
Apple Tart Tatin, Vanilla Whipped Cream, Tonka Bean Caramel
Black Sesame Gelato, Sesame Brittle, Mint Gel

(Speaking of Gelato, Friendly is also part owner of Dolcezza Artisinal Gelato in Dupont (a most insanely delicious gelateria with a hip interior).  I am told that if we pray very hard to the gods of frozen Italian desserts, our prayers may be answered in 2-3 years…)

If all the real estate stars align as planned, Friendly will close on the Woodridge space in March and open to the public in July or August.

5 thoughts on “Eat & Smile coming to Woodridge

  1. This kind of reminds me of the concept used in Mount Rainier for businesses on 34th Street. Before Sweet & Natural moved in there was a Macrobiotic restaurant that was rarely opened to the public (maybe, one or two evenings a week) and used the rest of the time and space for its catering business. Since this will be the case for the Friendly joint, it might be helpful for both Friendly and the Chocolate bakery to offer their products at the other restaurants and stores in the area including Flip-it, Giant, Yes!, etc. I know that Chez Huareg sells its goods at Yes Market, but I was surprised to see vegan cupcakes from Sweet & Natural at Yes! also. The cupcake store on 12th Street has not offered any of its product at Yes! or other stores, so it would be good if they could do that. I’ve never had time to stop by the 12th Street cupcake store. Better yet, to have a local store on RIA that sells all these local products would be great. Just wishing!

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