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Old Overholt is the drink of choice for many restaurant and bar industry folks in D.C. And at the Airedale, opening in Columbia Heights on Thursday, it’s also a soft-serve ice cream flavor.
Co-owner Ben Jordan says he was inspired by a pizza spot in Chicago that serves Jameson soft-serve. “Old Overholt is like my favorite drink ever,” he says. “People give me nice bottles of whiskey and I never drink them. I leave them on a shelf.” While he doesn’t have plans for other boozy soft-serve flavors, he does want to eventually create an Angostura bitters flavor. When twisted together and topped with a cherry, he’ll have an Old Fashioned frozen dessert.
Beyond the Old Overholt soft-serve, the gastropub will focus on Belgian, French, and German cuisine. Jordan, a former high school teacher in Alexandria of 11 years, has teamed up with Baback Salimi, who grew up in restaurants and previously for Quarry House Tavern. The two met at the bar. Jordan would lament how he was tired of teaching, and Salimi would say he wanted to open his own bar. “Months of that and it came to a point where we were like, ‘Why don’t we do that?'” Jordan says.
The menu will include sandwiches like a croque monsieur, Monte Cristo (deep fried croque monsier with powdered sugar and a Lambrusco wine jelly), and mitraillette (a Belgian specialty stuffed with sausage, hamburger, French fries, Ketchup, and mayo in a demi baguette). You’ll also find bratwursts, half-smokes, fish and chips, and poutine.
Located in the former Mad Momos space, the Airedale has three different outdoor seating areas: a front patio near the entry, a balcony overlooking the front patio, and upstairs back patio with a canopy and beer garden vibe. There are also two bars: a larger one downstairs with 16 taps and a small one upstairs with eight taps. (A draft line at each will be dedicated to Prosecco.) The place will sell mostly Belgian and German beers with some American brews as well.
On weekends, the Airedale will play English Premier League and German Bundesliga soccer with brunch. “I’m a huge, huge soccer fan, and it fits our concept really well,” Jordan explains.
The Airedale gets its name from a breed of terrier dog that Jordan had growing up. “It was used a war dog, a police dog,” Jordan says. Plus, the “first celebrity dog in America” was former President Warren Harding‘s Airedale named Laddie Boy. And now, the terrier’s image is enshrined above the door of the Columbia Heights bar.
The Airedale, 3605 14th St. NW
Photos by Jessica Sidman