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When Bagels & Baguettes closed in 2016, it left Stanton Park without its beloved breakfast spot of more than 20 years. Gina Chersevani used to go there when she lived on the Hill for 18 years and remembers it fondly. She knows a thing or two about bagels and breakfast as the proprietor of Buffalo & Bergen in Union Market, which debuted back in 2012.
Chersevani will be the one bringing bagels back to that address on Capitol Hill when she opens the second location of her retro soda fountain meets New York deli in the fall. Buffalo & Bergen is going into a small space inside the rehabbed complex at 236 Massachusetts Ave. NE. (Note that Buffalo & Bergen’s specific address will be 240 Massachusetts Ave. NE.)
The building is part of Heritage Foundation’s “expanding footprint” on Capitol Hill. Eric Korsvall of Massachusetts Avenue Properties (an affiliate of Heritage Foundation) says they’ll finalize the leases for the remaining retail spaces in the coming months.
The Buffalo & Bergen inside Union Market is a half-moon counter serving knishes and loaded bagel sandwiches like the “Goodfeathers” with turkey, bacon, house-made pesto, mozzarella, and tomato and the “The Mountain Shiksa” with fresh lox, maple-pecan cream cheese, and bacon. If you can’t eat gluten, the bagel shop will stuff bagel sandwich fillings into half an avocado.
Drinks range from innocent egg creams to boozy cocktails. Chersevani goes by “the mixtress,” having earned her chops bartending at places like Hank’s on The Hill and consulting on bar menus across town.
While not much bigger than Union Market, the Capitol Hill location of Buffalo & Bergen is more ambitious and will serve three meals a day. “We’re so comfortable in our luncheonette concept, we’re going to explore what a night time New York deli is,” Chersevani says.
Salads and deli sandwiches like Reubens will be served by day, and by night, diners can expect daily specials you might find at a diner like chicken cutlets and lasagna. She hasn’t named a chef yet.
Diners have gotten a reboot in D.C. lately. Over the past couple of years the city has gained Ari’s Diner in Ivy City, Unconventional Diner in Shaw, Slim’s Diner in Petworth, and Crimson Diner in Chinatown.
The new Buffalo & Bergen will also have a full coffee bar and a small patio where Chersevani hopes to keep things playful. She envisions sending cocktail trays outside for groups to enjoy with a shaker full of a drink, plus accompaniments.
“We’ve really embraced New York. We’ve jammed everything in,” she says. Chersevani gets her bagel dough delivered daily from the Big Apple. The bagels are then topped and baked on premises several times a day. “I want people to feel at home,” she continues. “What I love about my place is people know your name. They know your order. They know your drink.”
The Washington Business Journal reported last week that the second location of Buffalo & Bergen would be opening in Shaw. “There is no second location going to Shaw,” Chersevani says. “This is it.” The publication has since put out an updated piece noting the correction, saying only that Chersevani has “been in discussions with Marriott” to open a different concept inside the hotel coming to 1114 9th St. NW.
Buffalo & Bergen, 240 Massachusetts Ave. NE, buffalobergendc.com