Bravo "Top Chef" contestant Spike Mendelsohn and family opened up their first Good Stuff Eatery in Capitol Hill, and hopefully it's not the last. The restaurant, which opened to the public in July, has a trendy, young feel to it.
Good Stuff Eatery is nothing short of a family affair. Restaurant connoisseurs Harvey and Cathy Mendelsohn are the proud owners of the trendy restaurant. Micheline Mendelsohn, Spike's sister, is the director of marketing, and Spike is the executive chef. The name “Good Stuff” comes from a saying that the late Sunny Nakis (Spike’s grandfather) would say after eating a well-prepared meal. The restaurant group, Sunny Side Group, LLC, is named after him as well.
As I walked into Good Stuff Eatery for the first time, I was struck by the huge flat screen televisions (there are five in total) airing Full House along with the 1998 classic song “Wannabe” playing in the background. Spike and family wanted the place to be thought of as a “contemporary farmhouse” with the distressed wood, the choice in color pallet and exposed pipes.
The eatery provides for a diverse combination of burger choices along with an impressive selection of milkshakes, including flavors such as toasted marshmallow. When asked why he picked the certain cuisine for the restaurant Spike said he wanted to first master how to create really good burgers and really good shakes before moving on to any other style of cookery. Spike stressed the fact that the food on the menu is certainly not gourmet, however; Good Stuff Eatery supports and uses all products that are locally grown in the District.
What sets Good Stuff above the rest? It is by far the out of the ordinary menu choices! The most exotic burger on the menu is the “Blazin’ Barn,” which is composed of a beef patty topped with pickled daikon and carrots, mint, cilantro, Thai basil, lettuce, and homemade spicy mayo. “On the edge,” is how Chef Spike refers to the unique creation. The menu also offers vegetarian items such as the “Vegetarians Are People Too ‘Shroom Burger” and a variety of “Wedges” (salads). The average burger costs about $6.89, and “Sunny’s Handcut Fries” cost $2.59.
After touring the restaurant and speaking with multiple business members, it was time to eat! With the vast varieties to pick from I decided to eat the Colletti’s Smokehouse (named after Spike’s best friend and restaurant manager, Mike Colletti); fries seasoned with rosemary, thyme and black pepper; and a toasted marshmallow milkshake. I paired the perfectly seasoned fries with a homemade chipotle dressing. When asked how the food was, I replied, “Soo good!” Harvey Mendelsohn, Spike’s father, picked up one of my fries and chimed in, “It’s not good…it’s delicious!” And I couldn’t agree more!
With an expected lunch crowd of 40,000 people, between the hours of 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Good Stuff Eatery has the ideal location. The site, operated by Chef Spike for about a year now, was once home to Pulp stationary store. The narrow structure is an unusual design for a restaurant, but the Mendelsohns aren’t bothered by it. To maintain efficiency, a buzzer system will be implemented upon ordering with about a seven-minute pick-up time. Delivery and takeout options are being worked on and should be available in soon.
Why D.C.? Aside from Spike’s sister living in the area for five years and parents for the past two, the Mendelsohn clan agrees that Washington is the new up and coming food area. The Capitol Hill location is the pilot store for Good Stuff Eatery. The store will be going through many tests during a trial period to find out what works and what doesn’t work. Chef Spike plans to open many more restaurants in the D.C. area. Future locations are TBA, however, there is talk about the popular area of Adams Morgan.
With amazing food and a friendly environment, Good Stuff Eatery will get to your heart and make you want to come back for more.
303 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003
Tel: (202) 543-8222