It's not easy to name a sausage company. The chances of bad puns and innuendos, as you might imagine, are pretty high. So when husband-wife team Scott McIntosh and Ana Marin first launched their sausage company three years ago, they named it 13th Street Meats after the street where they live. Dodge City, American Ice Company, Boundary Stone, and others all carried their products. But now that they've expanded the operation to their own shop at 247 Florida Ave. NW, the name doesn't quite fit. "I don't know anything about branding, but I know that that's 3rd Street," McIntosh says pointing out the door, "and if we're 13th Street Meats, it's just going to be confusion until the end."
So they've switched to another equally straightforward name: Meats & Foods.
The small shop opened quietly last week with a menu that's as simple as the name. For now, there are only six sausage sandwiches—all $6 each—with add-ons like beef chili, cheese, or Gordy's pickles. The half-smoke is so far the top seller, but the veggie dog made with seitan, veggie stock, soy sauce, olive oil, and beans has been a surprise favorite. Eventually, Marin, a former vegetarian, would like to add some vegetable sides like tomato salad or pasta salad. (Right now, the only side is chili.) Beers ($4-$6) include DC Brau, Natty Boh, Coors Light, and Yuengling, and Marin and McIntosh are also looking to add some wine if they can find something good and affordable.
The sausage-making initially started out as a hobby for the former bartenders. Marin was helping open Toki Underground in 2011, and McIntosh, still bartending, spent his days baking, and eventually, making sausages. "You can't find good sausage in supermarkets... Everything's so mild," he says. "That was kind of the reason to start. I was just going to make a good, spicy Italian sausage and see how it worked." McIntosh brought some sausages over to Toki for family meal one day, where the owner of The Pug happened to try one. "He was like, 'Dude, this is really good. Would you be interested in selling these?'"
Now with their own restaurant, the food may be pretty basic, but Marin and McIntosh feel the limited menu will give them the opportunity to hone their skills. "I want this to be the kind of place where you can get fine dining quality food; maybe it's not plated like fine dining but you taste it and you're like, 'Oh, this is really good,'" Marin says.
The food is also far from fine dining prices, too. "The food in the city's great, but there's not a lot of mid-range options," McIntosh says. "Simple good for a reasonable price I think should be a part of city life, and I hope we can do it. We're trying."
$10 for a sausage sandwich AND a beer? Not bad.
Meats & Foods is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon until 9 p.m.
Meats & Foods, 247 Florida Ave. NW; (202) 505-1384; meatsandfoods.com
Photo by Jessica Sidman