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Booze may no longer be the best thing at the bar.
To celebrate its two-year anniversary, Ripple in Cleveland Park has created a “Grilled Cheese Bar,” putting an upscale twist on the classic comfort food. The specialty menu is only available at the bar, where chefs make the sandwiches at a charcuterie station.
Customers can customize their sandwiches with 15 artisanal cheeses and a variety of breads, veggies, meats, and spreads. Or they can choose from silly-named options like the “Swiss Bank Account,” with prosciutto, challerhocker, and truffles, or the “Krusty Krab,” a crab- and béchamel-filled ode to Sponge Bob Square Pants.
Starting June 5, Ripple will offer the Grilled Cheese Bar Sunday through Thursday, 5-6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. to midnight (for drunchies—drunk munchies—of course).
“It’s a new way for chefs to be creative,” Ripple chef Logan Cox says. “It’s challenging to do something familiar with new spin, but that’s what we’re here for.”
While “Stinky Pete” may not sound like the most appetizing of the entrées, it’s Cox’s favorite sandwich. He’s a big fan of combining two of the sandwich’s key ingredients: stinky cheese and anchovies. The sandwich also includes asparagus, which is known to make your pee smell.
Ripple isn’t the only restaurant with a foodie bar around town. At each of his four locations around the D.C. area, Chef Geoff Tracy has created a “Bacon Bar” with dishes ranging from smoked paprika cracklins to chocolate bacon caramel corn. Initially, Tracy had played with the idea of opening a restaurant called Chef Geoff’s Bacon Bar but decided it was too niche.
“We always joke that everything is better with bacon,” Tracy says. “I don’t know why, but any time I post a picture of bacon on Twitter, people get really pumped up about it. I take a picture of beautiful chicken, and there’s one retweet. With a tray of bacon, there’s always a bunch of social media interaction. That was a sign this would be a great way to draw people in and get them talking about it.”
On Wednesdays and Thursdays, each of Tracy’s chefs has a unique three-course bacon bar menu, transforming breakfast food into something that’s edible on a first date.
“Every season we’re tracking the sales and pitting chefs against chefs from the other locations,” Tracy said. “The prize is just a $10 gold trophy, but the bragging rights are big.”
Photo by Elizabeth Parker