New U Street NW restaurant Hawthorne wants bros to brunch.
According to co-owner Fritz Brogan, brunch has been branded too femme, with its bubbly fruit drinks and stereotypes of giggling gals who can’t hold their liquor. He wants to stray from that.
“We think a lot of guys don’t really like to sip Champagne,” says Brogan, who also operates Mexican restaurant Mission in Dupont along with business partner Reed Landry.
To accommodate threatened masculinity, Hawthorne’s bottomless brunch menu, launching in March, will include a brunch entree and unlimited craft beers or Hawthorne Smash cocktails made with Old Forester bourbon and choice of fruits. (Because that’s more “manly” than a mimosa? By the way, there will still be mimosas.) The meal will end with a shot of bourbon.
Other aspects of the restaurant are more gender neutral. One of the Hawthorne’s biggest draws is a rooftop dining space, encased entirely in glass with a retractable ceiling. The glass rooftop is weather sensitive, so if it begins to drizzle, it will automatically close.
“We opened it a few times at night and all the drunk people just stared at it,” Brogan said.
The view includes the tippity tops of the Capitol and Washington Monument across a sea of old U Street apartments. The price of the scenic view is making it down four flights of stairs after gulping down those strong manly beverages.
The four floors, including the rooftop, alternate between sleek black and crisp white decor with exposed brick walls and wood panelling. The first and and second floors have more of a “family vibe” and are more dedicated to dining. The bistro dinner menu includes eight different types of mussels, varying from bacon and beer to alfredo, salt cod croquettes, and crispy pork shoulder. There are also soups, salads, sandwiches, and a variety of vegan and gluten-free options. Brogan envisions the third floor as a dance space.
“Every floor we want different space for different groups,” Brogan says.
Large groups between 30 and 40 people can also rent floors, sans rental fee. And every floor has its own bar.
Hawthorne, 1336 U St. NW, hawthornedc.com
Photo courtesy Hawthorne