Social Beast and Mijita’s Tex Mex just became the DC food scene’s latest pandemic-induced loss. The two-in-one Glover Park restaurant concept announced its final day of business will be Tuesday, November 30.
In a social media post over the weekend, the restaurant invited customers to stop by the indoor/outdoor Glover Park space and say goodbye before they close up shop.
Social Beast opened this past spring as a successor to Ghostline—owner Aaron Gordon’s collection of takeout and delivery-only eateries.* Gordon says his initial “ghost food hall” business model, which opened in the summer of 2020, saw substantial buzz and worked well for individual vendors like Ramen by Uzu who served a pandemic-wary public.
But costs were too high to keep the whole setup going.
“The space was huge, the electrical bills were huge, the rents were huge,” Gordon says of the former Town Hall venue. “We just couldn’t quite make the numbers work for us.”
Gordon reversed course, closing the ghost kitchen to make way for the more interactive Social Beast in the same location. The new concept focused on creating a fun and safe dine-in space, with an outdoor cocktail garden and live weekly jazz performances. Social Beast featured a Mijita’s Tex Mex menu from chef Naomi Gallego (who had worked at Ghostline) alongside sandwiches, salads, and Detroit-style pizza.
Increasing COVID vaccine rates also spelled promise that restaurants could begin to get back in business with fewer restrictions. But Gordon says a brutal summer with the Delta variant and no clear end to the pandemic dashed his hopes.
“COVID outlasted us,” he says. “It just broke our backs.”
*Aaron Gordon is food editor Anna Spiegel’s brother-in-law.