News & Politics

The Bean Counter

Nutella sandwiches and olive oil brownies.

September 2005

The Bean Counter, a sliver of a cafe in upper Georgetown, does coffee, but it's not just a place for a cup of joe. Owner Derek Wardlaw also makes a great Cuban sandwich ($7.50). "I wanted to cook things I like to eat," he says. His pileup of ham, pork, Swiss cheese, sliced pickles, and yellow mustard, pressed and grilled in a soft Cuban roll, rings true.

Wardlaw, who left the venture-capital world to open his shop, spent time in Miami tasting the sandwiches he's so passionate about. Back in DC, he set about making a great sandwich, roasting his own pork and searching out Cuban rolls from the Lyon Bakery in Southeast DC, which "work really well in the press, sort of like a panini but without the ridges."

The Bean Counter has become a friendly neighborhood spot. It's open for breakfast and lunch; at breakfast, huevos-rancheros-stuffed English muffins rule, though a peanut-butter-and-Nutella sandwich is a close second. Wardlaw's wife, Maggie, does the baking– cholesterol-conscious brownies made with olive oil, oatmeal and chocolate-chip cookies made with whole-wheat flour, even dog treats for Fido.

And there's coffee, all locally roasted from organic fair-trade beans. Colombian is the house brew, with rotating specials like Tanzanian and Ethiopian.

The name? It was bestowed on the owner by his father-in-law back in his venture-capital days.

The Bean Counter: 1665 Wisconsin Ave.; 202-625-1665.

Open Monday through Saturday from 7 AM to 6 PM, and Sunday from 8 AM to 6 PM.