For the past two years, creative approaches to reaching restaurant patrons have been one local eatery’s objective.
Honeymoon Chicken, a diner-motif restaurant located in D.C.’s Petworth neighborhood, has hit on the right approach. At the corner of Georgia Avenue and Upshur Street NW, across from the Petworth Library, Honeymoon Chicken serves as a place where anyone can feel comfortable while dining on hearty dishes kissed by honey, thus the name.
We walked into Honeymoon on an early weekday evening. The cozy interior had booths and some counter seating but most of the seating was outside. Immediately, my eyes went to large yeast rolls on display under a warming light. Those rolls glistened with what I learned was melted honey butter.
The operation appears to run smoothly with upbeat and enthusiastic staff. Whenever we saw an appetizing-looking plate of food placed on the counter, we asked, “What’s that?” An oversized chicken sandwich seemed to be the most popular item on the menu as cooks frequently placed them on the counter for waiters to serve to patrons.
General manager J.B.’s excitement set a positive tone.
“Business is beyond our wildest expectations. The community has embraced us so well,” J.B. said about the restaurant which opened in January. “As people started coming outside again, that just increased our volume.”
My dining partner ordered the Kale Parmesan Salad. To say this salad’s huge would be an understatement. The chopped kale, cherry tomatoes, grated parmesan cheese and pickled onions, mixed with creamy parmesan dressing, could easily feed two or three people as a side dish. The salad came with a menu item called Chicken Bites plated to frame the salad. Honeymoon’s Chicken Bites are tender triangles of breast meat lightly floured, then deep fried. They should not be mistaken for chicken nuggets you might get at a fast-food restaurant or in the freezer section of a grocery store.
I started with the Hot Honey Cauliflower. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this dish. So many flavors could be tasted in this concoction of hot honey-dipped roasted cauliflower, crispy garlic, goat cheese, herbs and garnished with pickled fresnos – hot red peppers.
So how about the fried chicken? I ordered the Two-Piece Chicken, dusted with honey. Yes, honey in the form of dust. One of those shiny yeast rolls came with my order. I wanted more of those rolls. My fried chicken was moist and not heavily breaded with a choice of sauces. I asked for the Comeback sauce. It tasted like a tomato-based and Worchester mixture, spicy and sweet, probably from a little honey. We were so full that dessert did not enter our minds. But on the menu one can find Honeymoon Hand Pies which look like fried fruit turnovers.
From its corner location, Honeymoon Chicken attracts customers used to having several dining out options brought on by the pandemic.
“We are flex-casual which everybody wants right now,” said J.B., a veteran from the corporate side of food service. “A lot of people still don’t want to dine in. Our being 70% takeout was right up their aisle.”
Honeymoon Chicken counts as part of the Catalogue network of restaurants from owner Steve Salis of Salis Holdings and like his other venues, takes on the feel of the neighborhood in which it’s located. Other Catalogue restaurants include: Federalist Pig, Ted’s Bulletin, Sidekick Bakery and the iconic Kramers, the bookstore, the Dupont Circle bar and all-day eatery that’s long been a celebrity watch spot.
Honeymoon Chicken is located at 4201 Georgia Ave NW. For information, call 202-983-5010 or visit the website, www.honeymoonchicken.com.