Chef Michael Rafidi is opening a second location of his popular Eastern Mediterranean cafe, Yellow. The Navy Yard spot, which specializes in Levantine cuisine, will expand to Georgetown (1524 Wisconsin Ave., NW) this fall. On tap: homemade pastries like orange blossom croissants, wood-fired pita sandwiches, vegetable dishes, interesting wines, and specialty coffee drinks.
Whereas the original Yellow adjoins Rafidi’s Michelin-starred dinner destination, Albi, the Georgetown cafe will be its own standalone show with all-day hours and more room to dine. The cafe—outfitted with 30 seats indoors and a 30-person patio—will eventually run morning through night. Here, fire-kissed breads, meats, and vegetables will come from a wood-burning pizza oven versus Albi’s open hearth. Rafidi is playing with shawarma wrap-style sandwiches in addition to stuffed pitas, plus savory pastries such as sfeeha lamb meat pies with za’atar and creamy garlic toum.
Mornings will bring man’oushe flatbreads and possibly Mediterranean bagels that sell out quickly whenever they’ve popped up in Navy Yard. Rafidi says they’re toying with both Jerusalem-style bagels and kaak, a round-ish Lebanese street bread that’s shaped like a purse.
When evening hours eventually launch, Rafidi says to expect grazing fare: “fun wines, mezze, flatbreads, hummus, and little vegetable dishes.”
“It won’t transition to a mini Albi or anything, but it’ll be how I do things,” says Rafidi, who grew up in Maryland as the grandson of Palestinian and Jordanian immigrants. “Yellow will evolve with what’s local, what’s seasonal. It’ll be based off of spontaneity.”
Coffee director Ayat Elhag plans to delve into new aspects of the beverage program. Local Counter Culture coffee drinks will carry-over, and she’s experimenting with draft lattes in flavors like honey-halva and baklava mocha. Elhag also plans to contribute to the international cafe culture scene in Georgetown with traditional Arabic-style coffee service and Turkish coffees. Patrons will also be able to combine coffee and dessert with a Turkish coffee-soft serve affogato in addition to flavors like labne and tahini.
Yellow Georgetown. 1524 Wisconsin Ave., NW.