Food

Cuban Cafe Colada Shop Is Coming to the Wharf

Stews and salads join the line-up of sandwiches, empanadas, and piña coladas
Rum cocktails at Colada Shop. Photo by Scott Suchman

Piña colada and café con leche destination Colada Shop will open its third location at the Wharf this fall. The new Cuban cafe will be the biggest yet with an expanded menu of stews and salads.

The 50-seat waterfront restaurant will also offer slightly more formal service than the 14th Street and Sterling, Virginia locations. Diners will still order at a counter, but servers will bring out the food and wait on tables. There will also be a small bar of 1o-to-12 seats where people can post up for coffee in the mornings and cocktails in the evenings.

The menu will expand beyond grab-and-go sandwiches and snacks. Chef Mario Monte will introduce calderos, hearty stews served in pots that are traditionally used in the Caribbean. Look for a Havana shakshuka with sofrito and eggs; ropa vieja, a shredded beef stew considered Cuba’s national dish; and a creamy casserole with sweet plantains and ground beef topped with cheese. Any of the dishes can be accompanied by sides such as sweet plantains and cilantro rice.

For something lighter, Colada Shop will also expand its salad selection. Sandwiches (including the popular Cubano), pastelitos (Caribbean-style filled pastries), and empanadas will remain on the menu. Anyone looking for a late-night bite after a show at the Anthem can find cone-shaped empanadas or yucca-and-chorizo fries, too.

Barman Juan Coronado‘s cocktail menu will retain classics like a daiquiri, piña colada, mojito, and Cuba Libre (all $8 to $11). New draft cocktails plus beers and wines will be added to the lineup. During the daytime, Cuban-style coffee options will mostly stay the same with the potential addition of Havana nitro cold-brew and nitro iced café con leche.

The restaurant is working with an all-woman design firm out of Los Angeles called Design Bitches to give the space a distinct look. Expect lots of greenery and bright colors but with a “cleaner” aesthetic. Like the other locations, the cafe will have large windows with counter seating looking out onto a big outdoor patio.

“The overall vibe we want to maintain is transporting people, but I think we’re definitely giving them a lot more room,” says partner Daniella Senior. “We want to make sure that each location has its identity and has its differences. We don’t want to just open cookie-cutter places.”

Colada Shop. 10 Pearl St., SW. 

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Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.