Designed with baseball fans in mind, the 4,190-square-foot location will feature game-day food and drink specials and TVs to watch the game. Still in the works: an additional 65-seat “pollo patio” that will be open only on game days, as well as outdoor streatery seating for 54.
And, of course, a far cry from your typical stadium grub—but for the same price, if not cheaper—is the restaurant’s Peruvian offerings such as its signature pollo a la brasa crafted by Enrique Limardo, the Venezuelan chef behind Seven Reasons, Imperfecto, and Immigrant Food.
After brining for 12 hours, the chickens slow roast over wood charcoal in Peruvian rotisserie ovens. The birds—cut into quarter, half, or whole portions—come with housemade fiery picante and aji amarillo sauces as well two sides (or four, if you order a whole chicken). Choose from Caribbean coleslaw, sweet plantains, mac and queso, yuca fries, and more.
The location—which is light, airy, and decorated with bright South American colors, including a mural of the Inca sun god, Inti, by Pepa Llama—comes with its own special menu items too. Limardo has crafted a new pork belly arepa filled with crispy chicharrones, gouda, picante sauce, sweet plantain butter, pickled veggies, and cilantro. Also new and exclusive to the ballpark location: Tajin-spiced wings.
“I lived in Peru for a long time, and I spend a lot of time in South America,” says Limardo. “For this particular concept, I always go to Peru as a core of exploration because the country’s food has Chinese influence and Japanese influence but also traditional Peruvian cuisine, so I think of all my time in Peru and I play with creativity.”
Oh, and don’t forget about that whiskey. Like its sister locations, the ballpark bar offers a selection of 99 whiskies, both international and local. “In Venezuela, every time you go to eat in a churrascaria [a barbecue restaurant] or you have chicken or beef, you have it with whiskey. You have a bottle of whiskey on the table,” says Limardo.
But if you’re not a whiskey drinker, no problem. The bar has plenty of non-whiskey cocktails too, such as its spicy Kool-Aid Caliente (tequila, passion berry chacho, lime, blue caracau, grapefruit) or the Bitcoin Becky (vodka, prickly pear, lime, and sparkling grapefruit). Cocktails range from $11 to $13. But during happy hour, which lasts all day on Mondays and from 5-7 on Tuesdays through Fridays, you can nab an $8 Old Fashioned, a $7 house spirit, or take 25% off all whiskies.
However, unlike Chicken + Whiskey’s 14th street location, where the whiskey bar is hidden, speakeasy-style, behind a faux freezer door, the ballpark location has brought the bar up front, along with a DJ booth where partner and longtime DJ Charles Koch curates playlists.
Moving the bar upfront was a pandemic-era decision of practicality, says co-owner Des Reilly.
“During Covid, no one wanted to stand shoulder to shoulder, jammed next to strangers. We wanted space, we wanted outside space, so we could have the comfort and ease of mind to enjoy our time,” says Reilly. “And, Covid or not, that really is the way to do it. This whole inside/outside concept with open air and access to both uncovered and covered spaces and the ability to move freely—people really want that.”
Since opening in 2017, Reilly says they initially hadn’t envisioned growth this quickly (a fourth location is already on the way for Clarendon next spring).
“The truth is when we opened up on 14th Street, we were not doing so well. That first 18 months, we were losing money, so it was really a lesson in grit and tenacity to help us home in on the concept, understand that concept, and really deliver it to our guests,” says Reilly. “Probably at that three year mark is when we realized, ‘Wow, we really have something here. We have something that people really like.'”
Chicken + Whiskey. 70 N St., SE.