The Dish: What’s In A Name?

Some of the district’s favorite restaurants bare names that may mean more than you think.
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With well-over a thousand places to wine and dine in the district, it’s hard to memorize the names of all the restaurants.  But some of them, you may want to pay closer attention to.  Many restaurant names aren’t just chosen out of a hat, but instead, are named after famous and influential people, places… and things.  Here’s a variety of spots, from fine dining to hot dog joints, whose names you should know beyond the restaurant.

Marvin

2007 14th Street NW, U Street/Shaw, 202.797.7171

Singer and songwriter Marvin Gaye, of D.C., inspired Marvin restaurant and lounge in Northwest.

Named after: Marvin Gaye
Wait, who’s that?: The late Marvin Gaye was a D.C. native who was one of the most famous soul singers of his time.  Songs like “What’s Goin’ On” and “Let’s Get It On” helped crown Gaye as “The Prince of Motown” and become inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
Unique features: The restaurant is inspired by Gaye’s two years of “self-imposed exile” in a small town in Belgium.  It incorporates Belgium culture and D.C. soulfulness in one.
Tasty menu items: The Country-Fried Chicken and Waffles is a bit different than the typical chicken and waffles menu item.  It comes with tasty collard greens on the side.

1789

1225 36th Street NW, Georgetown, 202.965.1789

1789 Restaurant provides a colonial feel for diners similar to the colonial year it was named after. (photo courtesy of Maureen Hirsch, Clyde's Restaurant Group)

Named after: The year 1789
Well, what happened then?: John Carroll, the first Roman Catholic bishop and archbishop in the United States, founded Georgetown University in 1789.  Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic university in North America.
Unique features: During the summer, 1789 offers a three course meal every Sunday through Thursday for $40.
Tasty menu items: The menus change daily, but the Rockfish entree comes with juicy green cabbage, topped with fresh shrimp, tomatoes, baby carrots and garlic– filling and delicious.

Eatonville

2121 14th Street NW, U Street/Shaw, 202.332.ZORA (9672)

Eatonville on 14th Street is named after Hurston's hometown.

Named after: The town of Eatonville, Fl.
Well, what happened there?: In January 1891, Zora Neale Hurston was born in Eatonville, Fl. Hurston grew up to become an American folklorist, anthropologist and a noted author from the Harlem Renaissance era.  She published over 50 pieces of writing, her most famous being the novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God.”
Unique features: The owner of Eatonville, , is also the owner of Busboys & Poets, which he named after author Langston Hughes.  He located Eatonville across the street from Busboys & Poets to “reunite” the two authors, Hurston and Hughes, who once worked together but fell apart after issues with their collaborated play, Mule Bone.
Tasty menu items: Feeling adventurous?  Try the Roasted Duck Breast with sweet potato and sausage hash and collard greens.  It’ll be worth the risk.

Granville Moore’s

1238 H Street NE, H Street Corridor, 202.399.2546

Granville Moore's daily drink specials uniquely named "Daily Prescriptions." (photo by JD Silk, courtesy of Granville Moore's)

Named after: Dr. Granville Moore
Well, who’s that?: A neighborhood doctor, Dr. Granville Moore, was a well-known name in his community, the location of Granville Moore’s.  Twice a week, every week, Dr. Moore provided pro-bono medical service for the sick and less fortunate people of his community.
Unique features: The drink specials of the day are called “Dr. Granville’s Daily Prescriptions.”
Tasty menu items: Forget the beef and turkey.  It’s all about the bison and veggie.  Check out Granville Moore’s fresh bison and homemade veggie burgers, made to perfection with your favorite toppings and served with frites.

Jaleo

7271 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda, 301.913.0003

The "Jaleo" painting by John Singer Sargent that inspired the name for the Jaleo restaurant.

Named after: Painter John Singer Sargent’s “El Jaleo” painting
Well, what’s the painting mean?: John Singer Sargent, an American artist who specialized in portrait painting, created the Jaleo in 1882.  El Jaleo, meaning “uproar” or “revelry” in Spanish, depicts a Spanish woman dancing, men playing the guitar, a man shouting and other men and women clapping.  This painting has been reproduced in murals in the restaurant.
Unique features: The “Jaleo Hour,” which falls during many restaurant’s happy hours– Sunday to Friday from 4-7 PM– features $4 tapas (Jose Andres‘ tapas, to be exact!).  But wait, at the Bethesda location only, on Saturdays from 10 PM to midnight, you can get these tasty tapas for the same price.
Tasty menu items: Try out Jaleo’s brunch item “Tostado con salmon ahumado y huevo duro”: a juicy smoked salmon on toast, served with a hard-boiled egg, goat cheese and capers.  All that for just $7.50!

DC-3

423 8th Street SE, 202.546.1935

The interior of DC-3 features a map of the DC-3 flight routes and a giant fake propeller. (photo courtesy of Christina Miller, Linda Roth Associates, Inc.)

Named after: The Douglas Commercial 3 airplane
Well, what’s that?: Regarded as the most significant transport aircraft ever made, the first DC-3 aircraft was created in the mid 1930s.  Its speed and range of travel revolutionized air transport, as the idea of intercontinental and international flight was still new.
Unique features: DC-3 offers a side of Frips– crispy crinkle-cut fries and fried pickles.
Tasty menu items: If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Q’s Seoul Bulgogi & Kimchi.  It’s basically a combination of barbequed beef, pork, and kimchi (a vegetable mix) stuffed into a hotdog bun and topped with your favorite condiments.  You may not have room for the frips!

Coppi’s Organic Restaurant

1414 U Street NW, U Street Corridor, 202.319.7773

Italian cyclist Fausto Coppi inspired the name for Coppi's Organic Restaurant on U Street.

Named after: Fausto Coppi
Well, who’s that?: An Italian cyclist, Coppi was internationally known for his variety of cycling skills, including climbing and time trailing.  Coppi won the  Giro d’Italia (Tour of Italy) five times, the Tour de France twice, the World Cycling Championship in 1953.
Unique features: If you follow Coppi’s on Twitter (@CoppisOrganic), you have a chance of getting 10 percent off your bill for the rest of the year.
Tasty menu items: Since Coppi’s is organic, it’s okay to indulge in a little dessert.  Try the Calzone di Nutella, chocolate hazelnut cream stuffed inside pizza dough. Delizioso!

Cafe Saint-Ex

1847 14th Street NW, U Street/Shaw, 202.265.7839

The bar at Cafe Saint-Ex, a restaurant inspired by pilot and author Antoine Saint-Exupery. (photo courtesy of Dusty Lockhart, Three Lockhard PR)

Named after: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Well, who’s that?: A French writer and aviator, de Saint-Exupéry is best known for his novel “The Little Prince,” which has been translated into nearly 200 languages and sold over 80 million copies.  He was also a commercial pilot before World War II and joined the French Armed Forces when the war took off.
Unique features: A community cafe, Cafe Saint-Ex holds several fundraisers throughout the year to help give back to the community.  In June, the Memorial Day Chili Cook Off helped raise $8,000 for Ross Elementary in Northwest.
Tasty menu items: Are you a “living green” machine?  Try the Eco Friendly Foods Pork Chop served with creme fraiche risotto, jam, strawberries and a balsamic dressing.  Chow down and help save the environment.

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2 Responses to “The Dish: What’s In A Name?”

  1. Daryle says:

    Sargent’s Jaleo was painted in 1882, not 1822.

  2. wrappedupinbooks says:

    C’mon, that’s not really a picture of Zora Neale Hurston! It’s a picture of an actress who portrayed her in a play about her life.

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