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Sospeso is a restaurant and all-day cafe arriving on H Street NE before Thanksgiving. The name comes from “caffè sospeso” which translates to “suspended coffee,” and refers to a practice common in Naples, Italy where a customer altruistically (and anonymously) buys an extra coffee for a stranger who can’t afford a cup that day.

Owner Mike Rosato, who is finishing up a stint as the general manager of Sotto on 14th Street NW, wants coffee to be a big part of Sospeso, but emphasizes that it will also be a full-service, 60-seat restaurant with a bar, spread over two floors. 

The menu draws influence from Mediterranean countries, including Greece, Turkey, and the south of Italy. Rosato’s wife Hatice Rosato is Turkish and will help with the cuisine.

While the restaurant has yet to name a chef, sample dishes (first shared by District Cuisine) include: imam bayildi (roasted eggplant), grilled octopus with giant beans, a porchetta sandwich, moussaka, and sweet bruschetta on rosemary shortbread for dessert. 

The drink program will emphasize wines from Greece and Lebanon, plus cocktails starring Sospeso’s house-made vermouth.

Rosato says they plan to be open daily starting at 7 a.m. through dinner service. “If the neighborhood supports it, we’ll stay open late,” he adds. He picked H Street NE for his first solo project for a reason. “I’ve been looking at H Street for a long time,” he says. “It’s a great community, people like to work together around there.” 

H Street NE is seeing a mini-boom of new restaurants including Mythology Restaurant & Lore Lounge and the re-invented Ben’s Upstairs.

Sospeso, 1344 H St. NE, sospesodc.com