Many pandemic pop-ups and ghost kitchens have vanished now that the dining world is new-normalizing. And the ones that are sticking around—well, they tend to have longevity for a reason. Count chef Andrew Markert’s Fight Club as one with staying power. The snack-and-sandwich concept, which took over Beuchert’s Saloon for 14 months with over-the-top sandos and boozy punches, is opening in a permanent Capitol Hill home today at 633 Pennsylvania Ave., SE (formerly Hank’s on the Hill).
Markert and his team are keeping things simple to start while they await their liquor license—and by “simple,” they mean creations like a towering Heir to the BLT stacked with heirloom tomatoes, peppery homemade bacon, shredded lettuce, and pistachio-brown butter mayo on sourdough. All of the crowd favorites are returning for the relaunch: crispy, buttermilk-brined chicken with Crystal hot sauce mayo on maple cakes, salami and slaw on garlic bread, smashburgers, and more. Decadent snacks are also making a comeback, like the “walking taco” (aka Frito pie), onion rings, and mozzarella stick salad (yes, that’s a caprese salad served on a giant mozz stick). For dessert: ice cream sandwiches, of course. All are available for dine-in as well as takeout and delivery.
Once Fight Club is fully back on its feet, the team plans to roll out an extended menu (ETA: June) of cocktails and dinner in the 60-seat space. Barman Mackenzie Conway is plotting a tongue-and-cheek beverage program that he describes as “trash to class”—classics, sure, but also “things cocktologists would shy away from,” like a 99 Bananas cocktail inspired by the potent banana-flavored schnapps. Evening plates will be equally creative. Chef/co-owner Bart Hutchins is planning a “pull-and-eat” themed dinner menu of hearty centerpieces diners can tear into.
“Every culture across the globe has a tradition of a big plate where you can make sandwiches at the table—whether that’s barbecue in the South or Ethiopian food,” says Hutchins. “It’ll be focused on that very shareable, tanked-at-10-o’clock, ripping at a big piece of meat [tradition]—there’s nothing better.”
Fight Club join’s Markert’s other Capitol Hill restaurants (Beuchert’s Saloon, fine dining Newland) as the most casual—the kind of place you’ll be able to watch sports at the bar with a good drink and massive sandwich. It’s currently open, Monday through Friday, from 11 AM until 4 PM. Look for extended hours, booze, dinner, and eventually DJ brunch to come.
Fight Club. 633 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE