If I had to choose one word to describe Open City, it would be “comfort.” It’s the type of place you go if you’re an out-of-towner and miss home, or the type of place you could work cozily in for hours, or where you could take a friend you haven’t seen in a long time for brunch…
Open City is located in Woodley Park, right by the National Zoo. It is on a quaint street surrounded by several other DC restaurant staples, but there is a certain energy the place emits that immediately draws you in. Maybe it’s the tall side and overhead windows that attract an absurd amount of natural light. The place just looks and feels happy.
Open City really does it all. It’s a diner. It’s a bar. It’s a coffeehouse. You really could come here at any time of day. Don’t feel like making breakfast? Open City’s got you. Want a place to sip on wine with your girlfriends? Open City is it.
The restaurant’s versatility also carries over to its menu, where you can find a wide array of dishes with varying ethnic influences. I mean, how many places are there in the world where you can get pimento mac ‘n cheese, coconut tofu curry, and mini pupusas all in one meal? Open City is probably the only place–trust me, I ordered all those dishes!
Honestly, I didn’t realize how strange that meal combo was until I was eating it, but in a weird way, it felt right. Call me cheesy, but the three dishes had one thing in common – they were all made with care, and it was obvious. The pupusas had a wonderfully starchy yet smooth quality, the pimento mac ‘n cheese was so good you would never have thought the noodles were gluten-free, and the coconut curry was filling and comforting yet it still made you feel really healthy.
I also had the pleasure of trying a few items from Open City’s gluten-free baked goods selection, which did not disappoint. The maple almond muffin was also vegan, made with almond milk, and had an amazing crunch from the candied almonds on top. The chocolate mint cookie was totally sinful, chewy, and rich. Last but not least, the coffee at Open City was impeccable and affordable.
Any NOBREAD-er should note that you can order anything from Open City’s immense sandwich menu on gluten-free bread. They even have gluten-free pizza crust, which can be substituted for any of their pies. If you want to venture out to other sections of the menu, which you totally should, Open City’s menu is clearly labeled with gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian items.