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A Sit-Down with a Foodie Incubator Founder in Petworth
Boasting a rotating lineup of culinary talent, EatsPlace gives start-up chefs and mixologists a place to call their own.
If you’re a fan of pop-ups, then EatsPlace should be on your list of dining experiences in DC. The neighborhood restaurant and bar doubles as a food incubator and restaurant accelerator. On any given night you might catch a new chef, try a cuisine you’re not familiar with or take a cocktail class with one of the city’s best mixologists.
The idea for EatsPlace comes from founder Katy Chang. Chang was working as an entertainment lawyer when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2004. She eventually made a full recovery but found that her perspective on life had changed significantly, and she now wanted to connect people through food.
Chang dove into the industry for years, but found that locating a place to produce food was difficult. In 2012 she bought a rowhouse in Petworth, with a mission to convert it into a space for pop-ups and events, with the bottom level serving as a commercial kitchen. Two years later, EatsPlace opened its doors.
We spoke with Chang to get her insights on the DC food industry, as well as insider tips that will help you discover the city!
Washington, DC's innovative restaurant scene is getting all kinds of attention. What do you think makes it one of the top dining cities in the country?
KC: This is an exciting time in the DC food scene. It's very diverse. You eat very well whether you spend a lot or a little. There's a ton of international influences, and people from all over the world come here and expect great food. The chefs hail from everywhere, and you never know what will be popping up!
What, if anything, is currently missing from the DC food scene?
KC: DC's food scene just gets better and better, but I'd love to see even more diversity in food, including international chefs and female chefs.
What makes EatsPlace a must visit in Petworth, and why did you choose the neighborhood?
KC: EatsPlace has a constantly changing menu and such a variety of food from talented chefs. I live in the neighborhood, and it's vibrant and has a nice mix of young folks, families and long-timers. I love gathering everyone at EatsPlace and listening to all the stories.
Can you name some of your favorite pop-ups that have been at EatsPlace?
KC: There are too many to choose from! The fun part about EatsPlace is that so many tasty restaurants have launched here. But a few that come to mind are Haiyo Dog, which serves hot dogs with an Asian twist; Mackenzie Kitburi’s Delilah, which offered fresh, seasonal food straight from the farm yet refined; and Kalye DC, a pop-up that helped introduce Filipino street food to many who hadn't tried it before.
When you're not at EatsPlace, you're probably grabbing a bite and a drink from _______.
KC: Barrel – has great meat platters and bourbon; Nido – a laid-back Mediterranean bistro; or Union Market – it has lots of options, and it's fun to stroll around and get a little something from each vendor.
What three words would you use to describe the Petworth neighborhood?
KC: Friendly, diverse and creative.
What are your favorite things to see and do in the neighborhood? Any hidden gems we should know about?
Looking for another neighborhood with unique dining options? Check out all the cool places to eat on H Street NE.