Coming Soon: Birch & Barley and ChurchKey

Beer director Greg Engert, left, and chef Frank Morales of the forthcoming Birch & Barley and ChurchKey

This fall, 14th Street will score a two-for-one beer-centric destination. Two distinct spaces — the 90-seat Birch & Barley restaurant on the ground floor and a beer lover's paradise, dubbed ChurchKey, upstairs — will replace Dakota Cowgirl at 1337 14th St. NW. A roof deck is also being added.

The project is the first in DC for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, creators of Virginia's Rustico, Buzz Bakery, Tallula, EatBar, Vermilion and Evening Star Cafe.

Chef Frank Morales of Rustico will head Birch & Barley, or B&B, as he calls it. On his modern American menu: wood-fired pizzas and dishes such as red brick Cornish hen with shaved Brussels sprouts and Golden Angel thistle honey butter; clay pot blue crab macaroni and cheese with fontina and herb bread crumbs; and duck confit and kabocha squash crepes with grilled Mandarin orange and roasted red pepper.

Meanwhile, beer director Greg Engert, also of Rustico, is designing an ambitious beer program for the 3,200-square-foot ChurchKey. Expect upwards of 550 beers — 500 bottles from 30 countries and 50 draft options, half American and 30 of which will rotate weekly. Also on offer: five hand-pumped, cask-conditioned ales featuring rare English and international styles. A three-zone temperature system will ensure the brew is served at the proper temperature.

ChurchKey will also have its own menu showcasing charcuterie, rillettes and wood-fired pizzas.

The renovated space will feature lots of brick and natural wood, exposed beer lines, three glassed-in keg rooms and a 14-seat chef's table that will look onto the kitchen.

(Photo: Stacey Vaeth Photography)


Anonymous said...

Do you know if the new restaurant will offer gluten-free options, like Rustico? I love that they are sensitive to those with food allergies, and hope they'll continue that in the new space.

Amanda said...

Since it's the same owners, I'm going to bet that they will be equally sensitive. And Frank Morales already has experience catering to food allergies which should make it even easier to accommodate.

btw, have you checked out Gluten Freebird?

Anonymous said...

i live right around the corner on 13th...this is the best news i've heard in quite a while because dakota cowgirl is right in the middle of that section of 14th that gets a little sketchy, plus everyone in the 13th and mass corridor needs a neighborhood joint!

iEatDC said...

I love Vermilion and Evening Star but don't care as much for Tallula and Rustico--all Neighborhood Restaurant Group food is not created equal. But I love beer in a serious way and am looking forward to trying this place!

Anonymous said...

DC's gain is Alexandria's loss - we live in easy walking distance of Rustico and will miss Frank and Greg. Hope they don't forget us. Tom

Yet_another_David said...

Looking forward to both of these. Love Rustico--smart people clearly drive the beer list and the menu (the buffalo chicken croquettes are an ingenious American riff on a Belgian bistro classic)--but it will be great to have another great beer stop that doesn't involve driving to the suburbs or up to Baltimore.

Glad something good is coming in at this address, too. I'm not sure how many people actually mourn the loss of the food at Dakota Cowgirl, but the Titan bar upstairs was a regular hangout for a lot of us on Friday evenings.

Amanda said...

Tom: Not to fear - Greg and Frank will continue to oversee operations at Rustico as well.

The Honest Ape said...

Hey Amanda, any news on the opening of B&B and Churchkey? Was looking at Rustico's Ocktoberfest event for this Saturday and saw news about this new spot. It sounds awesome! I want to be there, right now!

Amanda said...

Hi Honest Ape,
It's looking like it will be closer to the end of the year before we see Birch and Barley. I too wish it was open now!