Before the net fell in love with Grumpy Cat (R.I.P.), Takoma Park fell in love with Motor Cat. The tom cat hepcat with a ardour for Jimi Hendrix won repute withinside the late
80s and90s for carrying a personalized crash helmet and cruising round on a the front of a Suzuki 500 motorbike pushed via way of means of her owner, recognised as “J. Catman.”
We swear we aren’t making up this maximum Takoma Park tale ever.
Though Motor Cat exceeded away in 2002, her reminiscence stimulated the group at the back of Zinnia and Takoma Beverage Co. once they had been arising with a call for his or her new idea withinside the Takoma Park area that changed into previously domestic to Jeff Black`s Republic, which closed ultimate September after a 10-yr run.
Motorkat is a collaboration among owner-associate Chris Brown and govt chef Danny Wells, who presently oversees the kitchen at Zinnia and helmed Republic for maximum of its life till he left in 2017 (he persevered to paintings for the eating place institution till the autumn of 2019). “It feels very weird and surreal to be returned, but absolutely everyday and natural,” he says. “It
s all of the feelings. Its all of the emotions.”
With an envisioned mid-April starting date, the eating place will recognition on an intensive uncooked bar and dishes coming off the wood-fired grill. Brown and Wells took a studies experience to San Francisco, in which they had been specifically stimulated via way of means of State Bird Provision`s dim sum fashion of service. Motorkat visitors will start food via way of means of filling out order sheets for uncooked bar gadgets designed to pop out quickly, which include oysters at the 1/2 of shell, ceviche, lobster sliders, aguachile-fashion Gulf shrimp, and smoked fishes.
Sourdough toast with avocado, beets, grapefruit, honey roasted pistachios at Motorkat in Takoma Park
Sourdough toast with avocado, beets, grapefruit, honey roasted pistachios Credit: Catherine Rytkonen
The “Breads and Things” phase encompasses the entirety from toasts to small sandwiches—a “dinner Benedict” with braised lamb shoulder, a “Motordog” crowned with curried ketchup and pickled chilies, and a Reuben with pastrami-fashion smoked salmon and Thousand Island cream cheese. On the “Vegetables and Grains” a part of the menu may be farro risotto and crispy oyster mushrooms with lemon tarragon tahini. Republic fanatics may be glad understanding Wells
cherished historical grain salad may be creating a return. “I dont assume I actually have a choice,” he says. “People might crucify me if I didn`t.”
Atlantic bluefin tuna, with amaranth, cherry tomato, inexperienced olives at Motorkat in Takoma Park
Atlantic bluefin tuna with amaranth, cherry tomato, inexperienced olives Credit: Catherine Rytkonen
“From the Wood Grill” capabilities meats, seafood, and vegetables, which include tiger prawns with mojo criollo, citrus-brined cabbage steak, and lamb kebabs with goat cheese tzatziki. Planned cakes encompass orange and Meyer lemon tart, banoffee trifle, and rotating sorbets.
Head-on prawns with mojo criollo butter at Motorkat in Takoma Park
Head-on prawns with mojo criollo butter Credit: Catherine Rytkonen
The call Motorkat changed into proposed via way of means of Justin Kaplan-Markley, director of operations for Zinnia and Takoma Beverage Co. Brown and Wells
on the spot response changed into a difficult no; it changed into by no means going to happen. “One of our first discussions approximately naming changed into that it changed into going to be not anything to do with Takoma,” says Brown. “Theres already Azalea City Nails, Takoma Beverage Co., and Roscoe
s Pizzeria. We didnt need to do whatever like that.”
(Roscoe the Rooster changed into a cherished scamp who roamed Takoma Park and now has a statue in his honor withinside the middle of town; Azalea City is a nickname for the town.)
But like Motor Cat herself, the concept grew on them, in the long run triumphing them over. Aside from the call, the largest nod to the nearby celebricat may be a reproduction of her signature helmet striking at the back of the bar, that’s getting a refresh and some greater taps, bringing the overall to 10, to be able to show off nearby brews.
Other updates are withinside the works, which include a newly minted drink rail going for walks parallel to the bar, a non-public eating room for 10 via way of means of the kitchen, and a coat of darkish inexperienced paint at the walls. There will now be more or less eighty seats withinside the eating room, 25 withinside the bar area, and 50 at the patio. Wells is enthusiastic about a brand new walk-in and that the grill may be prolonged via way of means of a foot. One amazing detail will stay the same: the neon signal striking at the returned patio from Video Americain, the tenant previous to Republic.
The eating place may be open for dinner Tuesdays via Thursdays, and for lunch and dinner Fridays via Sundays; brunch may be a part of the sport plan as soon as they
ve settled in. The aim for the eating place is for it to be an easygoing community spot that works properly for nicer occasions. “If you desired to reveal off with own circle of relatives thats in from out of town, you could do it here,” says Brown. “But in case you need to prevent in on a Tuesday upon getting off the Metro, that works, too.”