Tuesday, May 31, 2011

America Eats Tavern and Geeking out at NARA

As of June 12th, Café Atlántico is taking a break from serving up table side guac and scrumptious Latin fare. Beard Award winning chef José Andrés has a whole new concept for this Penn Quarter restaurant: the temporary America Eats Tavern.

Debuting on the 4th of July, this new restaurant is the birth of Andres' involvement in the new National Archives (NARA) summer exhibit "What's Cooking, Uncle Sam?" The Government's Effect on the American Diet". It all makes complete sense: a top celebrity chef, with a restaurant literally across the street from the Archives and a string of successful concepts ranging from polished Greek to Spanish tapas. According to the press release, Andrés is serving as the Chief Culinary Advisor for the exhibit (AKA, my dream job) during which time he will make contributions to the exhibit recipe book and help create a related public programs series .

An event like this is too good to be true for a history geek/foodie like me. Some of the more exciting events include a discussion and book signing with Andrés (Fri, June 10 - 7pm), "High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America" (Wed, June 15 -12pm), and "The First Kitchen" (Fri, June 10 - 12pm)

The menu at the America Eats Tavern will consist of classic casual American fare on the ground floor and a fancier menu upstairs. For those of you bougie enough to know and love the famed Minibar, fret not - it will continue to serve it's wealthy clientele (someday, y'all, someday...)

So what will become of Café Atlántico? Word is, Andrés is looking for a new location for the restaurant and a new permanent concept will be put into place after the Tavern's 6 month stint is over. Perhaps an expanded Minibar that will allow more diners to enjoy his artfully designed gastronomic wonders? Andrés is capable of almost anything so I'm excited to see what he comes up with.

"Uncle Sam says, Garden to Cut Food Costs."
National Archives, Records of the Office of War Information.

So pay NARA a visit and while you're down there, pay Café Atlántico one last visit before the doors close for renovations.

Keep an eye out for my review of the Tavern this summer. I will be out of the country when it opens, but when I get back I'm there. Downstairs. In the cheap seats.

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