The Pittsburgh Pirates have six. The New York Mets boast four. The Nationals have none. Shutouts? Nope. Shake Shacks? Uh-uh. The Nats are the only major-league team, as of press time, without a Dominican Republic native on the active roster.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t have need for a Dominican caterer. Thanks to the Dominican players who sweep through with visiting squads, a counter-service restaurant in Columbia Heights called Los Hermanos is one of the best-loved caterers in baseball. Los Hermanos sends food during each home stand to visiting teams at Nationals Park (as well as Baltimore’s Oriole Park).
“What they order is the basic stuff that they grew up eating,” says Aris Compres, who runs the restaurant (which made Washingtonian‘s 2013 Cheap Eats list) with his family.
Most nights, Compres provides a homey meal of stewed chicken, yellow rice, white rice with pigeon peas, and fried sweet plantains. For some players, however, that’s just a starter—they place special orders for delivery to their hotels or homes. Jose Reyes of the Toronto Blue Jays loads up on mashed plantains and longaniza, a Dominican-style sausage. A friend of David Ortiz, the Red Sox’s “Big Papi,” calls ahead for stewed oxtail, according to Compres. The Philadelphia Phillies’ Carlos Ruiz, a Panamanian who played in the DR, orders the same dish.
Los Hermanos does have at least one fan in the home clubhouse. Nationals third baseman Yunel Escobar was born and raised in Cuba, a country whose cuisine is similar enough to the Dominican Republic’s that Los Hermanos satisfies. Escobar, who will pocket $5 million this year playing for the team, often has Compres deliver a Styrofoam shell full of lo’tre’golpe—a traditional Dominican breakfast of mashed plantains, fried eggs, and fried salamis.
This article appears in our July 2015 issue of Washingtonian.