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For better or worse, you might have Alexander “Boss” Shepherd to thank for the fact that Congress calls D.C. its home. The “Father of Modern Washington” and powerful political boss of the Gilded Era is credited with helping to improve and modernize the city’s infrastructure, convincing the federal government not to relocate its seat of power to the Midwest. A statue with his likeness stands in front of the Wilson Building. And now, he has a restaurant named after him: Boss Shepherd’s, opening Monday next to the Warner Theatre at 13th and E streets NW.
Behind the restaurant is J. Paul’s original founder Paul Cohn, who’s partnered with Tony & Joe’s owner Greg Casten and real estate developer Bill Jarvis. Chef Jeremy Waybright, formerly executive chef at Union Street Public House in Alexandria, oversees the locally focused American menu. Like many chefs these days, Waybright is all about the farm-to-table thing, but he’s more unique in his goal to eventually rid his kitchen of any internationally produced products. He’s already getting olive oil from the south and soy sauce from Kentucky. There are, of course, some things that Americans just don’t do as well: “Sherry vinegar from Jerez, they’re pretty good at that,” Waybright admits.
The offerings are heavy on seafood, which perhaps is no surprise when you realize the chef is an avid fly fisherman who has tattoos of ocean trout, yellow snapper, and grouper. Starters ($9 to $16) include a crab cake with pickled scallion and hot sauce; fried oysters on the half shell with caper mayo; and bone marrow with pickled egg, radish, and toast. Entrees ($18 to $32) range from Carolina trout to fried chicken to pork toast. “We’re going to smoke, pickle, brine everything in house within reason that we can,” Waybright says. Initially, the menu will be the same for lunch and dinner. A bar-specific menu is also in the works.
The wine list is pretty unique, too: More than half of the offerings are made by women or come from female-owned wineries. “Women have a better palate for wine,” says general manager Daniel Mahdavian, who’s also a partner in the restaurant. The 120 wines, including 35 by the glass, are also heavily local, with lots of Virginia varietals. “We tried to find wines that have a lot of personality,” Mahdavian says. Boss Shepherd’s will also stock about 120 whiskies, including a George Dickel poured directly from the barrel. Cocktails are inspired by classics that were big in Shepherd’s era. Happy hour will be available daily from 4 to 7 p.m.
Take a look at more photos of the lime green-accented space below:
Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Boss Shepherd’s, 13th and E streets NW; (202) 347-2677; boss-shepherds.com