New Eastern Market addition Stache International is set to open at 11 a.m. on January 14, partner Grace Moses tells Eater. Situated next door to Thomas Magee's Sporting House, Stache's team hopes to fill a niche for lunch and late-night bar crowds.
It's been a long and complicated renovation, says partner Ray Moses. "The building is 125 years old. This space has never had any major renovation during that time." When he and his partners first entered the building, there was one electrical outlet, no plumbing, and no HVAC. An elevator shaft plunged through the center of the restaurant. "It was basically a box when we got it, so it's been a major challenge to get it in workable order to be a restaurant." The group plans to finish installing a garage door on the storefront this week.
Stepping in the 50-seat restaurant today one finds the space transformed. Striped accent walls and framed Ringling Bros. posters give the Stache a carnival feel. A mixture of glossy wooden picnic tables, bar stools, and four tops surround the open kitchen.
Stache's menu fully embraces its role as a bar food destination with interesting twists on traditional sandwiches. The grilled cheese is more like a reverse bloody mary. Celery salt-garlic bread comes topped with fried pickle slices, McClure's bloody mary mix tomato spread, dill Havarti, swiss cheese. Another Stache creation, dubbed Carny's Delight, is a mashup of the traditional gyro and a deep-fried corn dog. Being located within the Eastern Market area, Ray says he and his partners are dedicated to making everything as fresh as possible. The kitchen offers very little storage and fridge space, most of which will likely be dedicated to preserving the restaurant's house-smoked and cured meats.
While Stache won't have a liquor license, Grace Moses says the restaurant plans to deliver to several bars around town that lack kitchens including its neighbor Thomas Magee's and possibly The Well. For those who can't wait until the opening, Stache is doing some limited pop-ups at Thomas Magee's.