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Updated (3/8): Stable DC is scheduled to open in late March.
Swiss business partners David Fritsche and Silvan Kraemer grew up in small towns in Switzerland where instead of playing PlayStation, Fritsche says they goofed around surrounded by animals in farmhouses scattered throughout the countryside. It’s this idyllic, tied-to-nature sentiment that the partners hope to bring to their aptly named Swiss-American restaurant, Stable DC. It replaces Peruvian restaurant Ocopa that shuttered this month at 1324 H St. NE.
Washingtonians got a brief taste of Stable DC when it popped up at EatsPlace on Georgia Avenue in February. It’s taken much longer than expected for the pair to open their first brick and mortar restaurant. Fritsche says they’ve been on the hunt for a space for more than a year. “We quit our jobs last year and had a location secured up in Cleveland Park, but it fell through the cracks and we just let it go,” he says. “We started from scratch again and found the space on H Street and it suits us perfectly because it’s more casual, more relaxed, that’s what we want.”
Fritsche will serve as the chef while Kraemer will head up the front of the house, including building the drink list with classic European cocktails, local beer, and local wine. Fritsche’s resume includes several top Swiss hotel restaurants; the Madinat Jumeirah and Pisces in Dubai; The Kingsley Hotel in Ireland; the Essex House in New York; and locally, The Dupont Circle Hotel.
So what exactly is Swiss food? A lot more than fondue, according to Fritsche. “It’s the excellence of Europe,” he says, explaining that Switzerland draws from the cuisine of its neighbors: France, Germany, Austria and Italy. When Stable DC popped up at EatsPlace the menu included everything from gravlax with celeriac remoulade and a duck confit pop-tart to heartier dishes like venison loin with red cabbage and spätzle.
“Everyone knows fondue, we might do that once in a while, but we don’t want to be known as a fondue house,”Fritsche says. “We’re not a chalet in the Swiss Alps.”
Fritsche adds that they will source locally whenever possible, giving nods to the Chesapeake’s soft shell crabs and oysters. They’ll also make as much as possible in house including curing charcuterie and baking bread. To prepare, Fritsche spent time at The Swiss Bakery in Springfield, Va.
The duo hopes to open in March and they’ve set very high standards. “If you have dinner in Switzerland, you bring your friends, family and you relax,” Fritsche says. “We want to put that same thing back in place, but we want to provide three Michelin star food, three Michelin star service but without anyone noticing. I don’t care how you look, who you are, you’re going to be treated like you’re the president in a relaxed fun environment.”
When it opens, Stable DC plans to serve dinner and brunch, but they’re not counting out breakfast or lunch if the neighborhood proves it can support it.
Stable DC, 1324 H St. NE; stabledc.com