Chef Andrew Markert is poised to triple the number of restaurants under his care. Beuchert’s Saloon is reopening on Oct. 20 after a more than year-long hiatus that left Capitol Hill without one of its favorite haunts. But 623 Pennsylvania Ave. SE didn’t go dark.
During the pandemic, Markert used the space to test Fight Club—a gourmet deli and boozy punch shop that hooked people with its salami & slaw sandwiches and half-smoke hush puppies. Markert says he is close to inking a deal on a permanent space for Fight Club.
In the meantime, he’ll open his most refined restaurant to date. Newland should welcome its first diners in the former Montmartre space this winter.
Got all that? It’s a lot for Markert to juggle too, but he says he’s reached a point in his career where he has the mentality and the maturity to do it all. “The industry is fragile but it’s starting to rebound and starting to get stronger and for me, especially with all these concepts we’ve flushed out over the pandemic, it makes sense to take the leap,” he says. “It’s scary of course, but now’s the time for me.”
Oct. 16 is Fight Club’s last round at its current location. Following service, the restaurant will close for its costume change and reopen as Beuchert’s Saloon on Oct. 20 with some of the “bangers” that regulars might have missed, like the crispy cauliflower in caramel miso, bison tartare with onion jam and buffalo ricotta, and grilled lamb belly flavored with rose water harissa. The farm stand section of the menu is back and celebrates whatever vegetables are at their peak. See the full reopening menu below.
“I never wanted [Beuchert’s] to go away, but circumstances arose and we had to pivot during the pandemic,” Markert says. “Fight Club carried us through. But Beuchert’s being one of my passion projects for so long, I’m excited to bring it back and start plating food again. I’ve been playing a little more with the seasonality of vegetables and utilizing the farms more. You can’t dive into an in-depth menu when it’s limited by sandwiches and snacks.”
As Markert begins to split his time at his other restaurants, chef de cuisine Bart Hutchins will play a leadership role in the Beuchert’s Saloon kitchen. Rounding out the team are beverage manager Cory Holzerland and company beverage director Mackenzie Conway.
Beuchert’s Saloon will seat its indoor dining room as well as its streatery on Pennsylvania Avenue SE. Markert got ahead of the curve and already ordered his first batch of propane. Most Fight Club customers ate outside or took their sandwiches to-go, meaning the interior of the restaurant has sat relatively dormant.
The bison above the bar—Mike and Ike—haven’t seen customers’ tipsy faces in almost two years. “I’m looking forward to busting out their Christmas garb this year,” Markert says, telling City Paper that President Barack Obama signed a law during his presidency deeming bison the first national mammal.
When Beuchert’s Saloon reopens, the hours will be Sundays through Thursdays from 4 to 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 4 to 11 p.m., with the bar staying open until at least midnight. Saturday and Sunday brunch (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) returns Nov. 6.