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Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that The Uncaged Chefs is expanding to the Fast Eddie’s location in Camp Springs, Maryland, not the former Fast Eddie’s space on K Street NW in D.C.
“Our rule is there’s no rules,” says Damian Brown. The chef behind the line-drawing weekend brunch pop-up, The Uncaged Chefs, serves everything from Cajun crab fries and fried chicken over sweet potato pie waffles to butter pecan French toast and snicker doodle banana pudding.
Brown has been running the pop-up out of Rosebuds BBQ in Capitol Heights, Maryland, but starting August 18, The Uncaged Chefs will also pop-up inside the Fast Eddie’s location in Camp Springs, Maryland. Both events will operate simultaneously from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays.
Brown had the idea for The Uncaged Chefs after leaving a D.C. restaurant job that he says was stifling his creativity. “The owners were trying to put me in a box in terms of being creative,” he says. His solution was to launch a Sunday and Monday night competition that pitted bartenders and servers against the chef to see if anyone else had cooking chops. “Four competitors would have to make a dish like chicken and waffles or sliders then we’d sell it to customers for $15. Customers would have to vote on who wins.”
The chef enjoyed putting twists on familiar comfort foods so much that he created The Uncaged Chefs. While he won’t name the restaurant where the competitions took place, Brown has worked in fine dining kitchens at Blue Duck Tavern, Fiola Mare, Occidental, and Vidalia (now closed). He recently left restaurants to cook for “basketball players, rappers, and producers,” Brown says. “I stopped doing that full time in February and started doing my pop-ups. What they paid me in a month I doubled it in a day at The Uncaged Chefs.”
He says about 200 people visit Rosebuds BBQ on Sundays. “Literally 98 percent of my business is from Instagram,” Brown adds. Rosebuds BBQ only offers take-out, but diners will be able to sit down to brunch at Fast Eddie’s, possibly with live music.
Brown, who often wears a half-mask that covers his mouth, says his ultimate goal is to open his own restaurant. “This field is not for everybody,” he says. “You have to be a pleaser. It’s all about making everybody else happy even though we take the stress and stuff you don’t see back in the kitchen. We just push out good food.”
The Uncaged Chefs at Fast Eddie’s,4801 Allentown Road, Camp Springs; theuncagedchefs.com
The Uncaged Chefs at Rosebuds BBQ, 5915 Central Ave., Capitol Heights; theuncagedchefs.com