When chef Alex McCoy first announced plans for his Thai restaurant, Alfie’s, it was destined for Petworth–a funky, 1930’s-era space at 845 Upshur Street, Northwest. Over a six-month pop-up in Park View, McCoy realized he needed a larger kitchen to accommodate the ambitious menu of homemade curries and grilled street snacks, not to mention nightly crowds. While still searching for a permanent home for Alfie’s (closing Sunday), McCoy plans to convert his original Petworth space into an “Old World” sandwich shop and market, inspired by his favorite spots in London.
“I love English sandwiches because they’re often a big bun filled with duck confit, arugula, and mustard,” says McCoy. “It’s the simplicity of it that makes it so delicious—just really fresh product.”
Plans for the Petworth venture include a traditional roster of British sandwiches inspired by frequent trips to London, where both his parents grew up. The signature sandwich will be salt beef, the Brit’s version of corned beef, which McCoy plans to prepare in-house and serve in the style of the legendary Brick Lane bakery, Beigel Bake: hot and juicy, stacked on a white bagel with extra-spicy British mustard and pickles.
In the beginning, the Upshurt Street sandwich shop—whose name is still waiting approval by the city—will be takeout-only, though patio seats are in the works. Other menu items will include simple sandwiches like tuna and chicken salad (all made from scratch), quick-grab dishes, and local produce from Potomac Farm Market. McCoy had a similar concept in mind when launching Duke’s Grocery in Dupont in 2013, which he initially envisioned as an East London-style takeout. Duke’s eventually grew into a full-service restaurant offering a global range of sandwiches, and McCoy split from the business early last year to pursue Alfie’s and other projects.
McCoy says he hopes to have the shop up and running in the next few months. In the meantime, his sandwich focus will turn towards New Orleans with the opening of Tchoup’s Market, a Louisiana-inspired po’ boy shop and restaurant. The new venture is slated to debut on August 4th in the same space that housed Alfie’s at 3301 Georgia Avenue, Northwest.