The owners of Stable, David Fritsche and Silvan Kraemer, have made names for themselves serving the food and drink of their homeland. Their Swiss restaurant on H Street NE is known for its schnapps, fondue, and potato rösti. With their new venture, they’re embracing the Mid-Atlantic. Pier 1354, a seafood shack specializing in Old Bay-dusted seafood and beachy drinks, launches Aug. 6 and will last at least through September. It will be open Thursdays through Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
“We’re shooting for sitting at the pier without the water,” Fritsche says. When he first moved to D.C. in 2011, he lived near the Southwest Waterfront, home to the Maine Avenue Fish Market. Instantly, he was hooked. Heading to the beach with a bushel of crabs and beer became a quick tradition he and Kraemer hoped to one day replicate as a business. “We never had the opportunity or the space,” Fritsche continues. “Now, at this moment, we have the opportunity to use this beautiful patio and do a summer pop-up.”
Pier 1354 is an example of small businesses supporting each other through the toughest of times. While indoor dining at a reduced capacity is currently permitted in D.C. under Phase 2 of reopening, most customers prefer to eat outdoors. Al fresco seating is a coveted resource and a lifeline for survival. The patio that will play host to the pop-up belongs to Gallery O on H. The gallery typically uses its sunny outdoor area for special events and weddings, but there are few bookings because of the pandemic.
“We’re neighbors,” Fritsche says. “They are very good regulars of ours. On H Street, once you’re neighbors with someone you’re more than a neighbor. We’re a community where people help each other out. Everybody’s slow. They approached us willing to help us anyway to keep afloat.”
Before opening day, the patio will be decked out with tables covered with brown butcher paper that seat up to six people, string lights, and decor like beach balls. About 50 diners can be seated at a time. Pier 1354 takes reservations through RESY and walk-ins will also be welcome. Customers should expect to leave their information for contract tracing purposes. Pick-up will be available to start, with delivery possible down the line.
The menu (below) includes oysters on the half shell, shrimp cocktail, two flavors of peel & eat shrimp that can be served with typical shrimp boil accompaniments like corn and Andouille sausage, mussels, and Chesapeake Bay blue crabs. “The menu is very straightforward,” Fritsche says. “It’s what we like to eat.”
“Since we’re doing the Chesapeake Bay, we want to stay local with our cocktails and beers,” Kraemer says. He’s featuring spirits from as many D.C. distilleries as possible in the summery drinks as a way of supporting other small businesses trying to make it through the pandemic. There will be one carry-over from Stable—frozen pops made of schnapps that they call “schnapsicles.” The beverage menu also includes local beer and a small selection of wine.
The entrance to Pier 1354 is on H Street NE. Look for signs that will direct you to the patio.
Pier 1354, 1354 H St. NE; (202) 735-4890; stabledc.com