We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Cause, the Shaw “philanthropub” that plans, still, to donate all its profits to charity, will officially reopen Monday after repairs to its air-conditioning and electrical systems. But not all the changes are utilitarian. The Cause team also used the six-week shutdown to give the restaurant an entirely new look and revamped the food and drink menu. Hopefully, the changes will help Cause bring in the profits it has yet to see.
The green and beige walls have been replaced with charcoal gray paint, which has been painted over by a group of seven or eight local street artists. (Check out some snapshots above and below.)
Chef Adam Stein has edited and expanded the menu. Instead of a dozen specials scrawled on a chalk board, there will only be a couple specials and more entrees on the regular menu, including lamb ragout and fried catfish. Two desserts—a buttermilk panna cotta and chocolate mousse layer cake—are also now menu fixtures.
Cause also has a new general manager on board: Eric King, who previously worked at Hank’s Oyster Bar on the Hill. King says his goal is to put Cause back in “restaurant mode” as opposed to being a bar that operated as an event space. A new drink menu is meant to better pair with the food, whereas there wasn’t previously much cohesion. Cause has a completely new 10-bottle wine list plus a new draft line up on its six-tap system and 20 or so beer bottles and cans.
When King came on board, he found the bar stocked full of random flavored sprits and liqueurs he’d never use—like Root Beer Float Smirnoff. So for the first few weeks or months of Cause’s reopening, he plans to turn the bar into an “experimental cocktail kitchen.” Instead of a set cocktail list, bartenders will create daily specials and allow guests to dream up their own concoctions. Once he’s able to clear the inventory and make room for the bottles he wants, King says he’ll go back to a regular cocktail menu with eight to 10 classic cocktails and some variations.
In the meantime, happy hour offerings have expanded. From 5 to 7 p.m. every day, the restaurant will offer $5 draft beers, $5 featured house cocktails, $5 select wines, and $5 food specials including hush puppies and “G. Tso style” chicken wings.
King says he’s also interested in introducing a Bloody Mary bar and Champagne brunch with six or so sparkling wine cocktails on weekends. And as for the boozy adult cereals? Those will stay.
Photos by Eric King