Blind Dog Cafe

Blind Dog Cafe

In this edition of Off the Beaten Turf, we visit one of the city’s newest coffee shops: the Blind Dog Cafe.

As development along 9th Street booms, the retail ecosystem is filling out to satisfy all the needs of the diversifying neighborhood. One of the newest additions to the corridor, the Blind Dog Cafe, offers delicious coffee, comfortable seats and some of the most unique breakfast offerings around.

The tiny cafe, which takes over Darnell’s Bar at 944 Florida Avenue NW (map) during the day, consists of a couple tables along two walls of windows, with cushy, stylish window seating and some chairs scattered around. On the first floor of a row house, the cafe could probably seat just over a dozen customers comfortably, though the outdoor area will add considerable seating once spring arrives. Like Darnell’s Bar, which has a chatty, informal vibe, conversation flows at Blind Dog Cafe.

Greer Gilchrist with some of her baked goods

Greer Gilchrist with some of her baked goods

“Our mission is to develop the neighborhood and become a neighborhood spot,” Greer Gilchrist, the sister of one of the owners, told UrbanTurf. Her brother, Cullen Gilchrist, partnered with Jonas Singer and Noah Karesh to open up the cafe. All the owners live in the neighborhood, and with their location in an existing business, the guys can try out the endeavor without taking on too much risk.

Offering pimento cheese frittatas, fig jam, shallot and parmesan scones and $5 breakfast sandwiches, Blind Dog has one of the more ambitious and creative menus of any DC coffee shop we have seen, going beyond the ubiquitous blueberry muffins and almond croissants. Greer is the baker (“I want to be known for my scones!”) and her brother, who is a line cook at Ardeo+Bardeo, put together the food menu. The attention to taste is apparent at every level; their vanilla latte is flavored with real vanilla beans in a homemade, preservative-free syrup, and PT Coffee Roasting Co.., an award-winning, Kansas-based roaster, supplies the beans. The cafe, as has become popular in DC, offers pour-over rather than drip coffee, so every cup is fresh (and notably strong). Espresso drinks are a little pricey, with flavored lattes selling for more than $4.

Since opening up a month ago, the cafe has been getting a lot of attention on the blogs and Gilchrist tells us that they are now slammed on weekends. Weekdays have been slower to pick up, though the cafe has attracted a handful of regulars who camp out during the day. With unusual ingredients, great coffee, and an inviting vibe, Blind Dog Cafe fills a gap in the rapidly evolving neighborhood.