Yes, Washington boasts a slew of burger joints ranging in size, style, and level of casualness. Still, the growing NoMa neighborhood isn’t yet saturated with easygoing restaurants, not to mention low-key bars where you can drop by during happy hour or late night. So it will no doubt welcome Timothy Dean Burger, a fast-casual restaurant and bar now open at 250 K Street, Northeast.
You may recognize the Washington-born Dean from his Top Chef: DC appearance or his TDB eatery in Largo, Maryland. The District location is similar but has a more expansive menu, plus ample beers and wines and a full bar.
Grilled (bipartisan) burgers
Dean says grilling the burgers over a live flame is what differentiates his patties from the pack—plus a fattier blend for juicier bites and a 21-spice rub kicked up with cayenne, allspice, and jerk seasonings. Pick your own toppings to pile on the brioche bun, or go with house combinations named after Washington figures past and present, like the Sonia (Sotomayor) From the Bronx, with avocado and roasted mushrooms or the fried-egg-topped Thomas Jefferson. More of a pescetarian? Try the RGIII—a seared ahi tuna filet decked with fried onions and chili aïoli—or a Cajun catfish sandwich.
Lobster salad and foie gras pizza
You’ll still order at a counter, but TDB is going for a more elevated feel than Five Guys. Both the burger and the pizza named for Dean’s mentor, the late Washington chef Jean-Louis Palladin, arrive topped with foie gras; the thin-crust pie also gets a scattering of duck confit, grilled figs, and rhubarb purée. Among the salads you’ll find a summery special with butter-poached lobster, watermelon, and mache. On the less-fancy side are crispy Southern wings, a slab-bacon-studded wedge salad, and good ol’ pepperoni pizza.
Inexpensive wines and cocktails for drowning your (Republican) sorrows
While the full drinks program isn’t up and running just yet, Dean plans for a list of 60-odd craft brews on draft and in the bottle and a list of 30 wines under $30. Cocktail servers will take orders and deliver more drinks should you plan to have a leisurely meal versus grab-and-go. Also in the works: several house-concocted creations named after Republicans such as John Boehner and Ronald Reagan. “They’ve been taking a beating, so we thought, ‘Let’s do something for them,’” says Dean.
Late-night menus and al fresco dining
Dean’s new space boasts tables for 65, plus a large outdoor patio of near-equal size. You’ll also be able to post up in the dining room, watch one of the four large flat-screen televisions, and order from a limited menu from 11 to close. Options include sliders with blue cheese and maple bacon, salmon Caesar salad, and sausage-and-pepper pizza.
More Timothy Dean Burgers
“We’re looking at punching these out all over DC,” says Dean, who’s already seeking for other locations, including a spot nearby in Northeast. Eventually, Dean says, you might also see a bistro concept from his team—though nothing too formal.
TD Burger. 250 K St. NE; 202-546-2433. Opening hours fluctuate; call ahead for exact times.