UPDATE: Following the publication of this article, Diet Starts Monday apologized and announced it would remove the “Pill Cosby” from its menu. A statement from the restaurant is included below.
Ben’s Chili Bowl may have finally distanced itself from Bill Cosby by removing its controversial mural, but another 14th/U Street Corridor restaurant is now referencing the actor and alleged sexual predator. Diet Starts Monday, an experimental new restaurant/retail pop-up concept in the former BBQ Joint space, is pouring “Pill Cosby” cocktails—complete with a garnish of empty capsules.
Co-founder Davin Gentry, who launched the Diet Starts Monday clothing and sneaker line with DC natives John Geiger and Kevin “Scooty” Hallums, says the tequila-based hibiscus drink is partially meant to bring awareness to drugging in bars.
“It lets people be a little more aware,” says Gentry.
Jury selection for Cosby’s trial, in which he’s accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, started Monday. At least 60 women have accused Cosby of varying degrees of sexual assault and harassment, according to the Washington Post.
Gentry says the pill-topped cocktail, which appears on a list of others named after African-American celebrities with ties to DC (i.e. Dave Chapelle, Taraji P. Henson), also plays into the diet themes that run through the menu and clothes. Like the rest of brand, it’s meant to push boundaries.
Gentry and Geiger, both established in the men’s fashion world, originally launched Diet Starts Monday as a strictly retail concept before landing on the 14th Street restaurant space (the name nods to procrastination more than anything food or health-related). The team brought on chef Jourdan Davis, a DC native who goes by Chef RedBeard, to dream up an in-shop menu of “the most over-the-top, gluttonous food,” says Davis—think bacon-wrapped, foot-long hot dogs and fried chicken sandwiches that use glazed Dunkin’ Donuts for buns.
So far the Pill Cosby cocktail is the only item that’s overtly political—though it seems everything at Diet Starts Monday is designed to get people talking.
Diet Starts Monday. 2005 14th St NW. Open Thursday through Sunday through July.
Correction: This post originally said Cosby’s trial started Monday; jury selection for the trial started Monday.
Update: the Diet Starts Monday owners reached out to Washingtonian with the following statement:
“This drink was a one-time item – its inclusion as an offering of ours was in poor taste and we’ve taken all necessary steps to ensure it won’t happen again. We take full responsibility and apologize to anyone we offended. The allegations against Mister Cosby are serious and we in no way intended to make light of the pain surrounding his behavior. We rely on our community to help us guide everything we do. We appreciate all the feedback. This was a mistake, it will not be made again. We are sorry.
We’ve begun the process of reaching out to leaders in our community to teach us how to be better, and we value everyone’s thoughts.
Again, we are sorry for any pain this has caused and we’re working to do better.”