Courtesy of Swizzler
Courtesy of Swizzler

Another former Taylor Gourmet storefront has a new tenant. The team behind the popular food truck and farmers market stand Swizzler is opening its first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Navy Yard’s fast-casual row. Swizzler’s menu of hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, and fries is a little slice of Americana, making the location next to Nats Park a good fit.

The first Swizzler food truck hit the road in D.C. in 2014, but its origins date back to a group project three friends worked on during their junior year at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. An entrepreneurship class spurred them to test out a food venture on campus.

When they moved to D.C. they first built a reputation off their signature corkscrew-shaped hot dogs with decadent toppings. Then they began experimenting with gourmet burgers on a new food truck and at area farmers markets, where they drew lines of up to 60 people. 

With their first restaurant, co-founders Jesse Konig and Ben Johnson are honing in on a mission to remake fast food using quality ingredients. Konig describes their offerings as “fun nostalgic foods without the mystery meat.” “We’re trying to bring a sustainable twist to the fast food American classics,” he says. They’ve always used humanely raised chicken and grass-fed, grass-finished beef, but want to raise greater awareness about where they’re sourcing their ingredients. Also look for scratch-made veggie burgers.

Affordability is another focal point. “Grass-fed, grass-finished beef comes at a premium, but our mission is to give people easy access to real food,” Konig explains. “We’re also trying to make it everyday affordable like Wendy’s, Burger King, and McDonald’s. Well, maybe not the dollar menu, but hopefully we’re cheaper than Five Guys and Shake Shack.”

The menu will include some of their hits like the “Feast Mode” hot dog topped with caramelized onions, goat cheese, candied jalapeños, and black pepper honey, plus some dialed back simple pleasures like a plain cheeseburger and hot dog with ketchup, mustard, and relish so diners can taste the quality of the beef. 

Konig says he and Johnson are targeting a late spring opening. They’re not seeking a liquor license at first, but may look into serving beer once they’ve settled in. They’ve tapped Natalie Park of Natalie Park Design Studio to create a space that’s fun and nostalgic.

Swizzler, 1259 1st St. SE;