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The duo behind local charcuterie company Cured DC is looking to open a charcuterie beer garden next year. Chris Johnson and James Brosch, who met on Craigslist, have been producing duck prosciutto, chorizo, salami, and other cured meats since 2012.
Their products have been on menus at bars like Mockingbird Hill, at farmers markets, and at retail markets, including Each Peach Market. They’ve even operated a charcuterie CSA.
Johnson calls his obsession with charcuterie unshakeable. “I can’t shake this thing. I tried,” he says. “But every time I just keep coming back to the same thing in my head.” Cured DC has mostly been a side hustle for Johnson, who works to fund development in Latin America at the Inter-American Development Bank. But when the charcuterie beer garden opens, he’ll make meat his full time job.
He first found his passion for sausage while living abroad for school and for work in locales like England and Brazil. “At the London Borough Market I had a chorizo sandwich that is responsible for me getting into this,” he says. When he got back to the U.S. he bought a small meat grinder and other equipment necessary to process and cure meat and began experimenting in his two-bedroom D.C. apartment.
Johnson signed on as one of the first members at Union Kitchen in 2012, granting Cured DC access to a commercial kitchen. After a falling out with the food incubator, Johnson and Brosch relocated their operation to a space they share with another former Union Kitchen member, Runningbyrd Tea. They hope to use the local tea company’s Shenandoah Smoke flavor in a cocktail at the beer garden.
Cured DC is targeting Hyattsville, Maryland to open a bar that would feature a selection of charcuterie and also wood-fired meat dishes inspired by Johnson’s travels, including some Brazilian barbecue fare. He hopes to continue sourcing his pork from Cabin Creek Heritage Farm in Maryland.
Johnson and Brosch are looking for a space that has just the right amount of square footage. And quirk. “Our ideal is some old auto mechanic’s garage somewhere,” Johnson says.
They’re targeting a late summer or early fall opening. In the meantime, you can try food from Cured DC at Mess Hall’s New Kitchens on the Block on Oct. 8. The event gives Washingtonians the opportunity to taste food from 11 coming-soon restaurants.