All-day Cuban cafe Colada Shop is almost ready to open a bright waterfront location at Southwest DC’s Wharf. Co-owner Daniella Senior says her team is eyeing an early July opening for the restaurant, which will be larger than its siblings in Logan Circle and Sterling. It’ll also boast a more diverse menu.
In addition to offering longtime favorites like Cuban sandwiches, and flaky empanadas, food and beverage director Mario Monte has added heartier plates for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the morning you’ll find caldero items cooked in a traditional aluminum vessel, such as poached eggs in sofrito (“shakshuka-style” says Senior), or a Spanish-inspired version with a stew of chickpeas, peppers, and chorizo. Cuban classics like ropa vieja will make an appearance, as will sides such as avocado with pickled onions, crispy yucca, tostones, and stewed sweet plantains with cinnamon and anise. The entrees can be served with rice and beans or salad.
The team is also changing up the fast-casual service style. Customers will still order at a counter, but food runners will now bring plated meals to the 50-odd patio seats (space indoors will be determined by health guidelines closer to opening). There’s also a separate area for the extensive coffee program and a full sit-down bar.
“We’re keeping it casual but want people to relax a little more,” says Senior.
Pina coladas and mojitos aren’t going anywhere, but the new cafe will have a broader bar program with spirits beyond rum. Guests can match a range of spirits with tropical mixers like coconut water, ginger beer, tonic, and fresh guava or pineapple juice. There’s also a new line of refreshing highballs to sip by the water.
Dominican artist Kilia Llano painted the outside of the cafe—a vibrant visual in the new waterfront development.
“I keep getting asked how the Wharf allowed us to do the storefront—it’s very bright,” says Senior. “Every time I see it, I love it.”
Colada Shop at the DC Wharf. 10 Pearl St., SW