At Orange Anchor, the barback will double as a "deckhand." That's because the nautically themed restaurant, opening along the Georgetown waterfront next week, will offer a takeout menu and delivery for boats moored at Washington Harbour.
Owner Reese Gardner, who's also behind Second State, Copperwood Tavern, and Irish Whiskey Public House, is a member of the National Potomac Yacht Club. A photo of his boat—named "Knot Yours"—hangs on the "yacht club" wall alongside photos of other boat names.
Boaters placing delivery orders will be able to choose from a selection of salads and sandwiches, including a shrimp and lobster roll and an "anchor dog" (a beef hot dog wrapped in bacon and topped with mustard crab salad and crispy shallots). Orange Anchor is also charging for ice—though not for cocktails, as sister restaurant Second State controversially tried to do. Instead, the restaurant will sell bags of ice and solo cups to boats.
"It's stuff that I've always wanted when I was out there," Gardner says. "There's nothing worse than running out of ice or having hungry people in your boat and no food. It's awful."
While the delivery is mostly intended for bigger boats, Gardner says he's not opposed to orders from kayakers if they can get within reach of the dock. Boat delivery will only be available between April 1 and Oct. 30.
You can still feel sort of like you're on a boat if you're dining in. Every table setting comes with a wine flute: "When you charter a yacht, the first thing that happens when you walk on is you get a glass of Champagne that says compliments of the captain," Gardner says. "Same thing in our dining room... As soon as you sit down, you're going to get a pour of Champagne and they're going to say, 'Compliments of the captain.'"
The seafood-heavy menu includes dishes like clams casino, seared scallops with foie gras, twin lobster tails, lobster mac and cheese, and seared tuna. Caviar tacos are comprised of Yukon potato shells filled with Hackleback caviar ($32 for two). Dishes that don't come from the water range from duck confit corn dogs to an ancho-rubbed pork chop.
Rather than a range of oysters, Orange Anchor has only one type—a medium-sized Chincoteague oyster—served four ways. You can get your bivalves chilled with the traditional mignonette sauce and horseradish; grilled with parmesan, parsley, butter, and garlic crumb; breaded in cornmeal and fried with a Cajun tartar sauce; or on the half-shell filled with Champagne.
The nautical theme carries throughout the "Georgetown preppy" design. Dock pilings frame the entrance, while the host stand is fashioned like the helm of a boat complete with wheel, compass, and speedometer. Coat hooks are made from boat cleats. Restrooms are set up with community sinks for people to easily clean up when they come off the water, and spacious single stalls that have enough room for boaters to change clothing if they want.
The blue and orange-accented dining room has a 15-seat bar as well as a separate service bar that prepares drinks for tables, so if you're sitting at the main bar you have the bartender's full attention. The bar supplies 40 types of rum and rum cocktails. An orange crush—or "anchor crush"—will be the restaurant's signature drink. Orange, if you haven't gotten a hint from the name, is a theme. Oranges that sit in bowls on the stainless steel bar are tattooed with anchors.
All the wines come from coastal regions. Draft beers are all craft, but cans include basics like Miller Lite, Bud Lite, and Yuengling—all served with bright orange branded koozies which guests can keep. "You don't even have to steal them," Gardner says.
Orange Anchor will offer half-off all food and drink for its launch on Feb. 11 and 12. The grand opening, with full menu prices, is Feb. 13. Brunch rolls out on Feb. 21.
Check out photos of the space and food menus below.
Orange Anchor, 3050 K St. NW; (202) 802-9990 for the restaurant; (202) 802-9989 for boat delivery; orangeanchordc.com
Photos by Jessica Sidman