Chef Sam Adkins has an epic middle name: Ulysses. But his sister Sally? She doesn’t have one at all.
Growing up, Adkins’ sister was a bit jealous of her brother’s middle moniker. “When I was a kid—and I knew I wanted to own a restaurant pretty early on—I was like, ‘I’ll tell you what, I’ll just name my first restaurant Sally’s Middle Name.” Then when people asked her if she has a middle name, she can say, “Yeah, it’s a little bistro in Washington, D.C.”
Adkins wasn’t joking. He and his wife, Aphra Adkins, are set to open Sally’s Middle Name at 1320 H St. NE in the former Pizza Parts & Service space. (News of the restaurant was first reported by PoPville.)
The restaurant will serve small plates with individual proteins like a piece of halibut or a piece of duck plus lots of vegetable dishes. Rather than making the proteins “the huge thing” and the vegetables “just there,” the idea is to flip the focus. “We liken it to American dim sum in a way, but not exactly Asian inspired,” says Adkins, whose resume includes William Jeffrey’s Tavern, Cashion’s Eat Place, and Jackie’s.
The daily changing menu will rely heavily on local and seasonal products. “We’re going to write our menu on the chalk board and go with that,” Adkins says. Ice cream will also be made in-house with interesting flavors like white pepper or durian.
Sally’s Middle Name will have an open kitchen, and what was once a counter to place your pizza order will be converted into a bar. Boundary Road Beverage Director Brenden Mulder-Rosi is coming on board to put together the drink menu, which will range from cocktails to Budweiser tallboys.
Upstairs, the Adkinses are planning to partner with Toki Underground chef Erik Bruner-Yang and his wife Seda Nak to open a market that will double as a private event space. This will not, however, be another Honeycomb (Bruner-Yang’s Asian market in Union Market). The retail space will focus more on goods than foods. Aphra Adkins is a seamstress and a budding fashion designer who will be making napkins and aprons for the restaurant—both of which will be for sale. There will also cookbooks, quilts, and possibly some granola.
Although the restaurant will only be open for dinner to start, the upstairs will be open during the day with coffee (pour-overs and French presses) and wi-fi.
Sally’s Middle Name aims to open by June 1.
UPDATE: Here are some sample menu items:
Pickled grilled onion salad
Beet greens sautéed with duck fat and apples
Roasted butternut squash with raw honey yogurt and pepitas
Slow-cooked lamb veal belly with fig gastrique
Curried chicken drumsticks with mango chutney
Poached pears with white pepper custard
Rhubarb ice cream
Challah French toast with seasonal fruit topping
Corned beef hash with two eggs, cherry tomatoes, and herbs
Photo via Google Maps