Fare Well Brings Vegan Diner to H Street
Fare Well, the new vegan bakery, bistro and bar from Doron Petersan, opens at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, June 22, at 406 H St. NE.
Fare Well is a bigger and bolder take on the plant-based food that began at Sticky Fingers, Petersan’s vegan bakery and café in Columbia Heights. In fact, the two-time winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars will move production for the bakery from her tiny Columbia Heights kitchen to the larger production kitchen downstairs at H Street.
The new 50-seat, 2,600 square-foot restaurant has the look and feel of a classic mid-century American diner, outfitted with a pastry case and lunch counter. The dining room has 32 seats with a 10-stool bar, and the grab-and-go space has counter-seating for another eight. Turquoise, grays and white dominate the design, which is accented with decorative tile patterns and retro lighting
Fare Well features an expanded bread program, grab-and-go breakfast and lunch service, a full bakery case, bar program, barista-serviced coffee counter and restaurant with classic diner-style service and seating.
“When we were finalizing the idea for Fare Well, we realized our aim was to create a sort of forward-thinking throwback,” Petersan said. “We took our biggest inspiration from the classic American diner, and we think Fare Well is just the kind of place that will feel instantly familiar and comforting to first-time diners while giving its regulars plenty of reasons to keep coming back.”
Chef Amanda Desaulniers’ animal-free menu includes American comfort food classics and Mediterranean fare. All-day breakfast includes French toast casserole made with challah bread, seasonal fruit sauce and vanilla coconut whipped cream; polenta biscuit sliders with tofu-chickpea eggs, cashew cheddar, fennel seitan sausage, baby spinach and cashew-hollandaise; Greek tofu-chickpea omelets with tomato, spinach, tofu-feta and a crispy potoato cake; and chilaquiles verde with a crisped corn tortilla, tofu scramble, black beans, poblano peppers, tomatillo verde and cilantro crema. Lunch selections include calzones and a weekly sandwich specials.
Dinner features a menu of fresh pastas like fettuccini mushroom scampi with cashew lemon garlic sauce, roasted mushrooms and fresh tomatoes; and cannelloni with almond ricotta, marinara and sautéed spinach; pierogis with cashew cheddar, garlic, onion, sauerkraut, sour cream and sautéed seasonal greens; a truffled pot pie with potatoes, leeks, peas, mushrooms, gravy, truffle dust and soy curls in a flaky crust; moussaka with potatoes, eggplant, zucchini, crumbled tempeh, cinnamon, marinara and tofu-cashew béchamel; and a mushroom-chickpea burger with walnuts, sunflower seeds, garlic aioli, lettuce, tomato and caramelized onion on a house-made bun with choice of soup, house salad or chips are also among the dinner options. There are also plant-based small plates, including knishes with caramelized onion, garlic and house-made mustard; house-made cashew and almond burrata with kale pesto, balsamic marinated tomatoes, arugula and capers served with toasted baguette; and buffalo cauliflower dip with roasted and whipped cauliflower, buffalo cashew cream and a toasted baguette.
A vegan kids’ menu includes fettuccine with olive oil or marinara, pierogi with sour cream, pancakes with maple syrup or southern fried seitan with potato cake and gravy. Breakfast is $10-$12, small plates are $8-$10, soup of the day is $4.50, salads are $8-$10, the weekly sandwich special served with a cup of sour or small house salad is $12, the kids’ menu with a drink is $7, entrées are $14, fresh pastas are $10-$10, sides are $2-$5 and desserts are $8.
In the bakery case, executive pastry chef Jenny Webb goes beyond Sticky Fingers’ sweets with scones, danishes and croissants joining stromboli and quiche, while a full standing, rotating display case brings back the glory of diner desserts. House-baked bread, which is available by the loaf as well as on sandwiches and other menu items, includes focaccia, challah and whole grain varieties.
Behind the bar, manager Matthew Halligan’s beverage program includes classic and original cocktails, like the Buffalo Negra made with Four Roses Yellow bourbon, basil, balsamic vinegar, simple syrup and ginger beer and The Queen of H Street with vodka, raspberry puree, thyme, lemon, white tea simple syrup and egg white substitute. Draft offerings include four wines and four rotating beers, which lean heavily on locals like 3 Stars, Atlas, D.C. Brau and Right Proper. The bar also nods to the diner theme with a seasonally inspired boozy milkshakes and house-made sodas. Cocktails are $11, beer and wine is $7-$10 per glass, sodas are $3 and the boozy milkshakes are $8.
Fare Well is open from 8 a.m.-midnight Wednesday and through Thursday, 8 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-midnight Sunday. It is closed Monday and Tuesday. Quick serve grab-and-go is available from opening until 11 a.m. when the full menu and seated service begins.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.