Floriana and Pulpo owner Dino Tapper has teamed up with local mixologists (and brothers) Ari and Micah Wilder to open Federal in Adams Morgan. The trio has known each other since their middle school days.
The modern American restaurant has two spaces—Fed Restaurant on the street level and Federal Lounge downstairs. Chef Scott Perry, who most recently worked at Pulpo, is now manning the kitchen at Federal. Meanwhile, Billy Klein, who recently left Cafe Saint-Ex, has landed at Pulpo as executive chef and partner. (Klein will roll out a new menu Pulpo in the coming weeks, and the Wilder brothers are also revamping the entire drink menu at the Cleveland Park eatery.)
The opening menu at Federal is limited, but some of the main attractions include domestic charcuterie and “exotic” cheeses, all of which can be used for grilled cheeses. Right now there are nine cheeses, but that will likely grow to about 30. Other menu items ($5 to $12) include stuffed squash, housemade corn dogs, buttermilk fried chicken, and pan-seared scallops with sweet corn, caramelized apple, and smoke bacon. Tapper emphasizes that everything is made from scratch—even the mustard, ketchup, and mayo.
Once things get going, Tapper says the restaurant will also host pop-ups with guest chefs and mixologists on top of its own menu. The downstairs lounge may eventually be used as an occasional supper club space.
As for the drinks, a “kitchen bar” will turn out cocktails with seasonal ingredients from the Wilder brothers. To start, there are seven cocktails plus two frozen drinks, including the “French Quarter Hurricane” and the “Mexican Standoff” with chocolate-flavored tequila, coconut liqueur, and cream soda, garnished with fresh fruit. In addition to the regular drink list, there will also be a hand-written menu of specials.
The downstairs lounge, which will serve the full menu, probably won’t be open until tomorrow. In general, it won’t open until 10 p.m., whereas the restaurant opens at 5 p.m. Eventually, Tapper plans to serve brunch as well.
Fed Restaurant, 2477 18th St. NW
Photo by Jessica Sidman