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A former baptistry on the National Cathedral grounds that was more recently used as a gift shop will soon be home to a new Open City diner and coffeehouse. The Woodley Park hub plans to open a second location in the octagonal building known as Herb Cottage in the first few weeks of December.
Owner Constantine Stavropoulos, who also operates Tryst, the Diner, and the Coupe, says the building was damaged after the 2011 earthquake. While they were repairing it, Cathedral officials decided the space might be better suited for a food operation. They sent out a request for proposals and ultimately Stavropoulos won the bidding process in January of 2012. “They really did want something local,” Stavropoulos says. “Even though there’s tourists and there’s visitors, they really want them to experience what D.C. local has to offer.”
The place will be open from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. seven days a week serving Tryst coffee and baked goods. The menu will be slightly different and more limited than the Woodley Park Open City because of the small kitchen space, but expect to find a range of salads, sandwiches, and small plates plus brunch on weekends. There will also be a kids menu and free Wi-Fi. While the new Open City won’t serve alcohol to start, Stavropoulos is considering offering beer or wine later on.
The building will have 35 to 40 seats inside, including some couches, love seats, and a communal table. An outdoor patio, accommodating another 40 people, will open next spring.