Saturday, February 27, 2010

NEW MENU ITEM: Salmon Burger!

Come try our latest addition to the menu: The salmon burger! Come and get it before it swims upstream!

Big Chair Coffee n' Grill

Open 7 days a week 7am - 9pm

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Vote Big Chair Coffee for Best Coffee Shop

Vote Big Chair Coffee for Best Coffee Shop

Go to the link above to vote! Poll closes March 15th. Let's get Big Chair and River East on the map!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

TODAY AT BIG CHAIR: Leo Alexander Meet and Greet, Sat 3pm -7pm

DC 2010 Mayoral Candidate


Cordially Invites
The River East Community At-Large


Saturday, February 20, 2010
3pm Until 7pm

Big Chair Coffee n' Grill
2122 MLK Jr. Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 2020
(202) 525-4287

Light refreshments will be served compliments of the "Leo Alexander for DC Mayor"

*This is not a public endorsement by Big Chair Coffee"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Good to Go takeout: Big Chair Coffee n' Grill in Anacostia

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Mac Mekonnen serves a turkey burger and fries at Big Chair Coffee n' Grill.
Mac Mekonnen serves a turkey burger and fries at Big Chair Coffee n' Grill. (Michael Temchine - For The Washington Post)
Wednesday, February 3, 2010

When giving directions to their home in Anacostia, my friends often say, "We live just past the big chair." Until last month, they were referring to the giant structure on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue that, as most locals know, was erected in 1959 to advertise the Curtis Brothers furniture store, now long shuttered. These days, in addition to that larger-than-life landmark, my friends are also referring to the coffee shop that recently opened across the street from it. For this community, where sit-down spots are lacking, the new eatery is huge news.

Big Chair Coffee n' Grill is run by Ayehubizu Yimenu along with her son Dave, nephew Mac and other family members. The location used to be a plumbing shop; Dave spent the past two years turning the space into a cozy two-story cafe. The brew menu is fairly standard (from $1.40 for a small coffee to $4.10 for a large caramel macchiato), but soon the owners plan to offer coffee ceremonies, a tradition carried over from their native Ethiopia. (The coffee is Java brand.)

What to eat? We dropped in on a cold night, so house-made chicken noodle soup ($5.25) sounded good -- and it was, with a pleasantly oniony broth, thick coins of carrot and lots of white meat. Selections that rotate daily include cream of broccoli and corn-and-shrimp chowder. Other solid bets are the boneless wings ($7 for about eight), which are sort of like nuggets that have been given the hot-sauce treatment, and the turkey burger ($7.80), simply dressed with lettuce, tomato and a light swath of mayo. There's a beef burger ($4.95), but Mac says the veggie version ($7.75) is "selling like hotcakes" to his clientele who seem, so far, to appreciate Big Chair's health-minded options in a neighborhood where fried food abounds. We'll be back to try the omelets ($5.99, made with your choice of cheese, vegetables and meat), which we're told are a tasty, not-too-filling way to start the day.

Take your meal on the first floor at the bar or at one of the few small tables near it, or head to the lounge area upstairs and someone will cheerfully bring you your food when it's ready. Either way, take a look around at the art hanging on the walls: Available for purchase, it's the work of local artists from the nearby Honfleur Gallery.

Big Chair Coffee has been in business for only about three weeks, yet already it has its regulars. "I'm in here every day," said one customer whose office is just up the street. The people next to us nodded in agreement. With its simple but satisfying food and friendly-cool vibe, Big Chair feels like one of those mellow get-togethers that you hope will grow to a full-on party.

-- Catherine Barker

Big Chair Coffee n' Grill

2122 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE; 202-525-4287, Hours: Daily, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Big chair coffee on washington post

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Anacostia gives coffee shop warm reception

Lidya Tewelde makes a latte during the lunch rush at Big Chair Coffee & Grill in Anacostia. Residents said they are happy to have a coffee shop in the neighborhood.
Lidya Tewelde makes a latte during the lunch rush at Big Chair Coffee & Grill in Anacostia. Residents said they are happy to have a coffee shop in the neighborhood. (Mark Gail/washington Post)
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Korinna Garbis, 29, of Arlington County ordered lunch at the counter on her second visit. Working for a construction company in the area, she said she was excited to have another lunch option close to her job.

"There's not really a lot of options here, so a lot of times I go to Barracks Row," she said. "It just is a good, dynamic scene in general, and there's no other place around here to get cocoa. It's nice to be able to get out of the office and regroup for a moment."

Residents are just as enthusiastic, said Cheryl Jenifer, 59, an educational consultant who lives around the corner.

"The atmosphere is very cozy and warm. And anything that's quaint adds to Anacostia, which is a historic community. I was a principal in this area for over 20 years, so I've worked and lived right here. So something like this makes you feel like you don't have to venture so far," she said.

A liquor license is pending. Yimenu said that it's strictly to offer wine and beer as more of a restaurant setting and not along the lines of a nightclub.

The coffee shop used to close at 7 p.m., but the hours were extended to 9 p.m. The buzz for the business even prompted an earlier than scheduled opening.

"I wanted to do a grand opening on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but we were in here on Jan. 11 testing the machine and cleaning up everything and all of a sudden customers and reporters started coming in," she said. "My hair wasn't even done, but I wasn't going to turn any business away."

The coffee shop is at 2122 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE. For information, call 202-525-4287 or visit