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You may already know brothers Manuel and Juan Olivera for their chivito and Cuban sandwiches at gas station eatery Fast Gourmet. But in their latest venture, TakEatEasy, an almost around-the-clock bistro and tapas bar near Dupont Circle, the brothers want to show D.C. that they’ve got more up their sleeves than just sandwiches.
The brothers, who are no longer affiliated with Fast Gourmet, describe TakEatEasy as a mix of influences from their cooking backgrounds—South American, French, American, Mediterranean. “I opened with a very basic menu that will change each week. It’s a mix of things I like,” Juan says.
Though the menu will change frequently, some dishes are sure to be staples. For instance, the brothers’ newer version of the chivito sandwich with pancetta (instead of bacon) and a garlic mayo confit for an extra kick, isn’t going anywhere. Other dishes include bacalao (salt cod) croquettes, shrimp cooked in extra-virgin olive oil with Spanish pimento and red pepper flakes, and a rotating menu of pastas, such as squid ink ravioli with crawfish.
Starting this weekend, TakEatEasy will be open until 5 a.m. The brothers hope to start running brunch service in about a month.
“I really feel the city needs different late-night options besides pizza. There’s a niche for late night places that have things other than just coffee,” says Manuel. His brother Juan chimes in, “The concept is to try to sell high-quality food in a chill environment.”
TakEatEasy, 1990 M St., NW; (202) 290-2440; takeateasydc.com
Photo of TakEatEasy interior and Manuel (left) and Juan (right) Olivera by Marissa Bialecki