Pandemic pop-ups are like the Jerry Butler song—only the strong survive. While many ghost kitchens have ghosted, the best of the rest are largely going brick-and-mortar. I Egg You, the weekend breakfast-sandwich pop-up out of the original Capitol Hill location of Korean/Chinese fast casual spot Chiko, is among the marathoners. The popular concept will move into its own Barracks Row restaurant space this summer. On tap: daily breakfast and lunch service, a full bar specializing in brunch cocktails, and private space for intimate nighttime events from the Fried Rice Collective (the chefs/restaurateurs are also behind mod-Korean favorite Anju). Until the new place opens, the sandwiches will still be available weekends at Chiko.
“We kept saying ‘Ah, it’s just going to be a couple more weeks.'” says chef/co-owner (and breakfast obsessive) Scott Drewno, who started I Egg You in September 2020 with business partner Danny Lee. “But we’re making 300-plus sandwiches every Saturday, and again every Sunday, and two [-plus] years later—we figured we should do something.”
The 60-seat space will stick to its roots as a purveyor of super-comforting, egg-centric sandwiches. Morning creations are a mashup of grilled cheese and fried-egg sandwiches—all on buttery milk toast from local Korean bakery Shilla. Diners can opt for egg sandwiches crisped in brown butter with “lots o’ bacon” or Alexandria-made Logan’s Sausage. The egg-adverse can try open-faced, griddled sandwiches topped with Ivy City smoked salmon or a combo of cream cheese and jam. New specials include a ribeye-and-egg with A1 aioli. For snacking: breakfast potatoes (get them loaded).
Drewno says a lineup of lunchtime options is still in the works—he’s playing with a katsu-style sando with crunchy cabbage and a Japanese curry dipping sauce, as well as a chicken-egg-salad hybrid. Also: “a cool turkey club.” For both breakfast and lunch, Drewno says the ten-seat bar will pour “every breakfast cocktail you can have.” Think micheladas, mimosas, espresso martinis, Irish coffees, Pimm’s cups, and beyond. Caffeine is courtesy of La Colombe.
I Egg You is one of several all-day-breakfast restaurants opening in DC of late, including Butter Me Up in Logan Circle and Cracked Eggery (Woodley Park, Shaw). Despite eggs being a pricier commodity right now—the team is hoping for a market correction by summer—Drewno says the concept is attractive because the breakfast market isn’t oversaturated with local chefs.
“I don’t know if neglected is the right word, but there are opportunities because there hasn’t been as much attention to that market,” says Drewno, who adds that morning meals are often the realm of pricy hotels or chains. “Breakfast, with some love and care and attention, can be just as exciting as dinner.”
I Egg You. 517 Eighth St., SE. Coming summer 2023.