For this edition of Off the Beaten Turf, we visited Uncle Chips, a nominal cookie shop in Truxton Circle that is gaining a reputation for its sandwiches, fresh ingredients and, or course, delicious cookies.
On an unlikely stretch of North Capitol Street, just south of Bates Street and north of P Street NW (map), is a bakery and cafe that seems straight out of San Francisco.
Owner Shannon Boyle moved to DC from the Bay Area to start Uncle Chips, and ended up on North Capitol Street because of the low cost. A former social worker, Boyle just wanted an inexpensive location spacious enough to bake dozens of chocolate chip cookies that she could sell via the web. Opened in 2010, Uncle Chips has quietly been garnering more attention this year, as boxes of chocolate chip cookies have started showing up at neighborhood BBQ’s and mentions of Uncle Chips have appeared on DC blogs.
Boyle, who caters and ships her cookies around the country, estimates that she sells between 50 and 100 cookies a day (her offerings include chocolate chip, double chocolate chip, and oatmeal raisin). When UrbanTurf visited at 9:30am recently, she had already sold two and a half dozen.
As the neighborhood around it has started to evolve, so has Uncle Chips. First, Boyle started serving coffee along with the cookies, then breakfast items like egg sandwiches and the Vegwich, a bagel filled with cream cheese and fresh vegetables. Two months ago, she launched a sandwich menu for lunch with a vague round-the-world theme. (Sandwich options include “Saigon Sam,” a banh mi-type sandwich with pulled pork, carrots, and spicy peanut sauce and the “Mr. Havana,” a version of a Cubano.) Also on the menu is a barbeque sandwich with homemade coleslaw and a comforting “Banana Fluff Nut.”
There are enough offices around — and a lack of competition — to give Uncle Chips decent lunchtime traffic, and Boyle now makes most of her money from in-store purchases. In The Mission, where she moved from, establishments like Uncle Chips sit on every corner.
Right now, Boyle said, she is happy with her location and the diverse population in the neighborhood. “This area feels like a true urban environment, the way it is supposed to be,” she told UrbanTurf, noting that she has felt very welcome in the area. Employees from the longstanding Fresh Cut Barber Shop a few doors away frequent the shop as do the artists and engineers from the new FabLab down the street.
For nearby residents, Uncle Chip’s is a nice addition to a growing neighborhood, and the cookies are definitely worth a taste.