Photo by Stephanie Breijo
The calamari taco is just one of Citizen's new happy hour items.
It's been an exciting few months for Greg Johnson. In August he moved his downtown dining staple, Citizen, from its basement location at 909 E. Main St. to its new bright, sunny and spacious digs at 1203 E. Main St., and now, the restaurateur has secured another draw: Citizen's Virginia ABC license.
Citizen fast became a favorite breakfast and lunch spot since its opening in July of 2011, and now that it's offering happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, with dinner service and brunch soon to follow in the new year, it looks as though the downtown darling is set to give the people what they want: more internationally inspired dishes, every day of the week, and with booze.
"Most of the stuff I have is pretty much local and micros, except for the wine," Johnson says of his new wine and beer menu. "I have one Virginia wine, but other things from Spain, and France. It's a relatively small list, for now." His selection includes eight beers by the bottle or can for $5 or $6, and four wines all at $4 per glass or $16 per whole bottle. These prices aren't just for happy hour; they'll continue into dinner service once it launches by spring, and come brunch service, you'll probably find cava mimosas and sake bloody Marys on the table. (And yes, for the record, one can order beer and wine as early as 7 a.m. throughout the week, effective immediately.)
From 3 to 7 p.m., find appetizer bar food such as pimento cheese; thin, cornbread-fried catfish; calamari tacos; breaded and seared goat cheese with Indian pickle chutney; and curry-pickled egg with red and green chutneys, all between $3 and $5. Once dinner service launches, hopefully by March, the fairly small dinner menu will include items like a variation on ramen bowls, but done with grits instead of noodles, still priced reasonably.
"It'll be value-priced and everybody will feel like they got a great deal for what they paid for," says Johnson. "I don't know what that price point is yet, but I'm fairly moderate now and I'll probably continue to be that."
When he launches brunch, he foresees the menu highlighting local products and more egg dishes, while still including some of Citizen's beloved breakfast options. "We sell way too many breakfast burritos not to have that on there," he says with a laugh. "That and the huevos rancheros; they'd burn the place down if we didn't."
-DC Brau: Citizen ($5)
-Victory Brewing Co.: Golden Monkey ($6)
-Legend Brewing Co.: Legend Brown Ale ($5)
-Hardywood Park Craft Brewery: Hardywood Singel ($6)
-Strangeways Brewing: Albino Monkey ($6)
-Anchor Steam Brewing Co.: Anchor Steam Beer ($5)
-Lagunitas Brewing Co.: Little Sumpin' Sumpin'
-Viña Galana Tempranillo
-Catoctin Creek Cabernet Franc
-Raza Vinho Verde
-Domaine de La Motte Chardonnay
Citizen is located at 1203 E. Main St. and is now open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.