City Paper is not for tourists
Spike Gjerde is opening a second restaurant in D.C. The chef, who also leads A Rake’s Progress inside The LINE DC Hotel, will bring his next concept to Buzzard Point, where the forthcoming dining options are just starting to take shape.
Gjerde has built a small empire of restaurants in Baltimore, starting with Woodberry Kitchen in 2007. He won a James Beard Award for his wood-fired cuisine in 2015. He also operates Artifact Coffee, Bird in Hand, and Sandlot in Baltimore.
Gjerde is best known for championing Mid-Atlantic ingredients, from Chesapeake seafood to rice grown in Maryland. Recent dishes at A Rake’s Progress include Virginia rockfish with cavatelli, chard, various roots, mushrooms, mustard frills, and green garlic soubise; Maryland apple winter greens, radish, candied pecans, and coriander shallot dressing; and Pennsylvania trout on a log with spaetzle, carrots, beets, ramp shoots, and brown butter hollandaise.
He’ll continue his tradition of Mid-Atlantic cookery at his Buzzard Point restaurant (2100 Second St. SW), which he’s opening with his long-time business partner, Corey Polyoka. Details are just starting to take shape, but he’s interested in pursuing a plant-based menu. They hope the restaurant opens in 2020.
Gjerde became interested in Buzzard Point because he was interested in teaming up with developer Herb Miller. Miller is part of the leadership team handling the $250 million redevelopment of the area. The pair met while serving on the board of FRESHFARM Market for three years.
“It turned out we share a lot of the same values when it comes to food,” Gjerde says. “It gave me the confidence that we could do something special.”
Specifically, Gjerde says that Miller understands what it means to build a business that’s committed to supporting the local food economy. Food costs are higher and impact all facets of business, including making rent. “We’re paying farmers,” Gjerde says. “If you’re working with a developer that doesn’t understand that, the economics are going to be subtly shifted and you won’t get out of the starting gate.”
Gjerde doesn’t have plans to move to D.C. even though he’s expanding his footprint here, but he’s smitten with the local dining scene. “I can barely put into words how much I love this city,” he says.