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Bubbie’s Plant Burgers and Fizz is opening its flagship location in Adams Morgan this winter. The plant-based slice of edible Americana from Chef Margaux Riccio and restaurateur Shaun Sharkey is moving into 2412 18th St. NW. It will have the look of a throwback diner—about 40 of the 100 indoor seats will be at a low-slung counter.
“I want it to be your friendly neighborhood diner,” Riccio says, noting that the restaurant will also be certified Kosher just like the couple’s other plant-based restaurant, Pow Pow. “We don’t want to be known for being vegan. We want to be your neighborhood spot to pop in for a burger.”
Bubbie’s began as a pop-up operating out of Rock & Roll Hotel before the H Street NE music venue closed. The concept, focused on burgers, fries, and chicken sandwiches, was enough of a hit that Sharkey and Riccio began searching for a brick-and-mortar location and set their sights on Adams Morgan.
In the meantime, the pair opened Plant Food Lab at 1829 M St. NW to test drive new plant-based restaurant ideas as a part of their expansion plans in the District and maybe even the D.C. region. Bubbie’s is the first one to rotate through and will stay open until the Adams Morgan restaurant launches.
That’s where Post critic Tim Carman recently tried and raved about dishes like the “Big Bubb” with double Impossible burger patties, house-made cashew American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, and a Worcestershire-based signature sauce. Another hit is the “Buffalo Fried Chick’n” sandwich with cashew-based blue cheese. Riccio makes plant-based meats and cheeses as a part of her burgeoning venture Vertage, a wholesale and retail company.
Bubbie’s home in Adams Morgan will serve all of its signature sandwiches and sides, plus a host of other options. Brunch will be a big draw with pancakes, waffles, and omelettes. “I make a super creepy egg now,” Riccio says, proud of her stand-in for breakfast’s most popular protein. For now it’s made of oats. “The spice blend is what makes it taste like eggs,” she explains. “I pre-make the batter and let it set so it gets that right consistency.”
Riccio, who makes everything from scratch except Impossible patties, plans to take another cue from diners and offer daily specials. On Mondays, for example, you might get to try her meatloaf. Bubbie’s will also have a liquor license. Look for cocktails from beverage director Mick Perrigo, including boozy milkshakes and spiked kombucha. He used to lead the bar at Left Door off 14th Street NW.
In addition to outdoor seating and a first-floor dining room, the restaurant has a basement. That’s where Sharkey and Riccio will build out a chef’s table for private parties, classes, pop-ups, special tastings, and other events.
The restaurateurs were ahead of the curve, along with a few other trailblazers like Fare Well and Shouk. All three opened in D.C. in 2016. The popularity of plant-based proteins and vegan restaurants has only increased since then as Americans are reducing their meat intake for various reasons like climate concerns, poor conditions at meat-packing plants, or their health.
Next up for Riccio and Sharkey? Cenzo’s Upper Westside, a New York-style Italian sandwich and pizza shop.
Bubbie’s Plant Burgers and Fizz, 2412 18th St. NW; bubbiesburgers.com