Food

An All-Day Brunch Restaurant—With Dog Cabanas—Opens on 14th Street

Humans and fur friends are welcome at Butter Me Up, opening Friday.

Butter Me Up opens on 14th Street with all-day brunch and canine cabanas. Photography by Albert Ting.

Like many restaurateurs, Butter Me Up owner Andre McCain aims to please his neighborhood clientele. In Shaw, the all-day-brunch concept serves all-day bottomless mimosas for the cool kids. At Montgomery Mall, a spinoff sells French toast sticks for the actual kids. And at McCain’s first standalone Butter Me Up on 14th Street, there are canine cabanas for millennials without kids. The restaurant opens for two- and four-legged patrons on Friday, September 2. 

The bright restaurant seats 45 between indoors and out.

McCain noticed a lot of locals trotting around with their fur babies, so he built four patio cabanas specifically for guests with pets. Humans can sip sorbet mimosas and munch on fancy toasts while their dogs—well-behaved only, please—can enjoy shade, water, plush bedding, and a pup-friendly menu of treats from local producers. The cabanas will be first-come, first-serve to start, with reservations available down the line. 

Fancy toasts come topped with smoked salmon.

This, however, is not a dog cafe. The pet-free can head to the 45-seat dining room and patio for breakfast and brunch at all hours. McCain started Butter Me Up as a pandemic pop-up out of his Shaw restaurant Half Smoke and says he has sold over 100,000 breakfast sandwiches—made with local ingredients—to date. A  lot of the favorites are on the menu, including the “Feels Like Home” with buttermilk fried chicken, soft scrambled eggs, caramelized onions, dill pickles, smoked cheddar, and Sriracha mayo, or the “Staycation” with eggs, goat cheese, caramelized onions, and avocado.

An egg sandwich from Halfsmoke's breakfast pop up Butter Me Up. Photo courtesy of Butter Me Up.
Decadent breakfast sandwiches make up much of the menu.

If pet-owners are one target demographic, the other is: ladies who brunch. McCain says around 90 percent of Butter Me Up’s customers in Shaw are women, and the new Logan Circle space “is designed to cater to the multi-faceted woman.”

“Women are very active and take a lot of initiative in the morning,” says McCain. “Maybe she’s coming from the gym. Maybe another day she’s hungover. Maybe she has a child or a pet. We’re trying to be dialed in to create a place to address all of those needs in a very approachable way.”

Ladies who brunch can linger inside.

Maybe it’s a vast generalization that women are active creatures of the morning (but also kind of true?). On the menu, this all translates to post-gym-friendly options like acai bowls and smoothies; hangover cures such as fresh fruit juice cocktails or French toast sticks; and strong coffee for the parenting crowd. 

Healthy items include smoothies and acai bowls.

That being said, McCain is ready to welcome patrons of all stripes—particularly for a “pay what you want” event on Thursday, September 8. Customers can leave whatever amount they feel comfortable—entrees generally run $12 to $14—and all proceeds will be donated to the Washington Area Women’s Foundation.

Butter Me Up. 1409 T St., NW. Open 8 AM to 8 PM.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.