Little Beast Is Reopening Its All-Day Chevy Chase Cafe and Plans to Bring Detroit Pizza to Penn Quarter

The downtown spot will bring together coffee, cupcakes, and Detroit-style pizza.

Detroit-style pizza at Red Light. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Chevy Chase’s Italian bistro Little Beast is bringing back its coffeeshop and bakery on Wednesday. The all-day cafe component was unveiled during the October 2018 opening, and then closed as the restaurant found its footing. Now that brunch and dinner service are smoothly operating, the family-friendly neighborhood spot is ready to resurrect the coffeeshop, says owner Aaron Gordon*.

The cafe is pouring locally roasted Vigilante coffee and serving baked goods made fresh each morning by pastry chef Kristen Brabrook. Previously she  baked cupcakes at sister Red Velvet Cupcakery in Reston before taking charge of the doughs at their Penn Quarter pizza pop-up, Vivi.

Coffee is locally roasted by Vigilante Coffee. Photo by Rey Lopez.
Coffee is locally roasted by Vigilante Coffee. Photo by Rey Lopez.

Puff pastries are a specialty of the house, including croissants, cinnamon rolls, and a “cruffin” (the love child of a croissant and a muffin, filled with vanilla pastry cream and chocolate ganache).

“We’re a little bit silly here, we’re a little bit whimsical,” says Gordon.

While the bakery is having fun, there’s a serious focus on inclusive treats like vegan pop tarts and gluten free quiche.

The pastry menu features a sacher torte. Photo by Rey Lopez.
The pastry menu features a sacher torte. Photo by Rey Lopez.

The coffeeshop and pizzeria hybrid won’t be a one-act show for Gordon’s restaurant crew.

Gordon says he’s in the lease-negotiation stage for a Penn Quarter restaurant on Seventh Street, “a stone throw from Bakers & Baristas ” which recently closed. The space will bring together a number of tried-and-true concepts for the group.

On one side of the space, Gordon envisions an all-day Red Velvet Cupcakery & Coffeehouse, which will serve coffee drinks and baked goods . On the other side, he’ll bring a version of Little Beast downtown. But instead of wood-fired pizzas, the restaurant will serve Detroit-style pies from Gordon’s 14th Street bar, Red Light.

Gordon says the two-in-one concept will also open daily for breakfast and brunch from 7 AM to 4 PM, offering pizzas, pastries, and coffee. Gordon hopes to open the Penn Quarter restaurant in early May.

Little Beast Coffeehouse & Bakery is celebrating the January 15 opening with free Red Velvet cupcakes all day and free medium drip coffee until January 31. The cafe is open Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 3 PM.

*Gordon is food editor Anna Spiegel’s brother-in-law.

Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in NoMa.