Cashion's Eat Place - Permanently Closed
$31 to $50
Cashion�s Eat Place is a New American eatery in Washington, D.C. that features a market driven, daily changing menu. The restaurant offers a sophisticated setting and features indoor and outdoor patio seating. Cashion�s Eat Place serves dinner six nights a week with an additional brunch service served on Saturday and Sunday. All menu items at the restaurant are prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients so the menu changes daily based on the ingredients available. Common menu items at Cashion�s Eat Place include starters, such as marinated olives and roasted and raw beets and big plates, such as pork burger with Swiss, Gulf shrimp alla plancha and grilled halibut with potato puree.
This restaurant is permanently closed.
- Dining style
Contemporary American, Organic, Mediterranean
- Hours of operation
Tuesday: 5:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Wednesday-Saturday: 5:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday Brunch 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Sunday Dinner 5:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
- Phone number
- Payment options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
- Dress code
- Executive chef
- Cross street
18th Street and Columbia Rd
- Parking details
There is a private parking lot located at the corner of Biltmore Street NW and Columbia Road NW (less than 1 minute walking distance).<br /><br />http://goo.gl/maps/vpZ2Z
- Public transit
Closest Metro stop is Woodley Park/Adams Morgan on the Red Line.
Bar Dining, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
No photos have been uploaded for this restaurant yet.
For menu edits, please contact SinglePlatform at (866) 237-4564.
What 1,200 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews4.1 based on all time ratings
Dined on May 15, 2016overall5food1service5ambience1
We had a reservation for Brunch on Sunday May 15. Someone from Cashion's Eat Place called me on Saturday night and told me it was permanently closing. I appreciated the call and wish all who worked there and may have lost jobs good luck finding new ones! Take care! Colleen Kelley
New York Areavip
Dined on May 7, 2016overall5food5service5ambience5
Great place with amazing service!
Dined on May 7, 2016overall4food5service4ambience5
We went for Saturday morning brunch and it was great. I had a hard time choosing what to get because the whole menu sounded awesome. I went with eggs Benedict with pork shoulder and was very pleased. The restaurant was nearly empty at 11 AM on Saturday which was weird. Definitely a good alternative for the super busy/loud brunches in Adams Morgan. The ambiance/decor of the restaurant was pretty cool too. It's not the cheapest brunch in AdMo but it's still a pretty good value.
Dined on May 4, 2016overall1food1service1ambience1
Even if we had reservations, and there were multiple free tables in the restaurant, we were made to wait 20 minutes at the door without any explanation. After waiting all this time and trying unsuccessfully to get a staff member's attention, we just called it quits and left. We felt really unimportant and snubbed. If that's the sort of service they provide at the door, I don't know what sort of service they provide inside. Very disappointing and there's little chance I'll go there again.
Dined on April 30, 2016overall3food4service2ambience3
My wife and I have been going to Cashion's off and on since the late 1990s, well before we even knew each other. We even went to the restaurant's 20th anniversary dinner. The food was very good as usual, and the restaurant is really still a good value to boot, but the service this time was mysteriously lacking. Our server, whom I believe is also the manager, was friendly, but he seemed to be the only one working in the dining room on a Saturday night. As a result, there were extreme delays in bringing out our appetizers, main courses, and wine, even though the restaurant was oddly only half full. Maybe some or all of the staff had quit or something similar, but we never received an apology or even an explanation. We'll chalk things up to a bad night and give Cashion's another shot at some point out of loyalty, but we'll make sure to leave extra time for the meal, just in case.
Dined on April 23, 2016overall4food4service4ambience4
Really enjoyed the meal, in a comfortable setting
Dined on April 23, 2016overall2food4service1ambience4
The service made me sad and uncomfortable. I asked questions and the responses from our server were rude and sarcastic. I never wanted to speak again. He was inattentive and made me feel embarrassed. The food was good though...
Dined on April 7, 2016overall5food5service5ambience5
I have eaten at many of DC's best restaurants and I keep coming back to Cashion's whenever I come to town. It is definitely one of the best restaurants in the District. It is a "secret" place that locals frequent. I feel a bit "bad" writing such a positive review on OT, because this is the kind of place you don't want to have discovered by the "masses!" Our entire meal was fantastic, but the exceptional dishes included the Beet Salad, the Duck Breast, Hanger Steak and "J1" Sauce, and the truly crazy good Clafoutis desert. Ymmmmm. The wine list is small, but excellent, and the management and staff are incredibly nice and accommodating. I could eat dinner here every night!
Dined on April 5, 2016overall4food5service4ambience3
Met a friend from way back who was in town on business for dinner. We had reservations, but the dining room was empty on a Tue. night, and so we sat at the bar. That was a fine place to be, and the bartender took good care of us. So the place was kind of dead, but the food was very, very good. And I didn't care that the place was kind of dead, because I was catching up with my buddy.
Dined on April 2, 2016overall4food4service3ambience4
The food was perfect brunch food, such a shame that their expresso machine was broken but otherwise a great brunch experience.
Dined on March 19, 2016overall5food5service5ambience5
great food and service, good value. enjoyed the pork breakfast bowl
Dined on March 19, 2016overall4food4service4ambience3
The ambiance was great and our server (whose name escapes me) was quite courteous and friendly, despite the fact that he was the only waiter avaiable among the 8 or 9 tables in the restaurant.
Dined on March 11, 2016overall4food5service3ambience3
The food was creative and well prepared. The wine list was also nice, except that they ran out of the wine we started with. And the waiter was less than friendly. Perhaps he just had a bad day.
Dined on February 27, 2016overall5food5service5ambience5
I am not sure why the restaurant was not more full. Everything we ordered was so good. I would not hesitate to return!
Dined on February 27, 2016overall5food5service5ambience5
Get the honey butter biscuit b4 brunch, so good! Great food, high quality, nice ambiance. Looks like they have a cool bar, too. Would be a good date spot.
Dined on February 26, 2016overall2food1service3ambience2
The restaurant was FREEZING. Literally someone at every table was wearing a winter coat and/or a scarf. We ordered the risotto for an appetizer and it wasn't fully cooked. The pasta was crunchy and hard in the middle. My mother ordered the fish (cod) for her entree and is was literally so salty she could not eat it. I like salty foods, and even I couldn't stomach it. I ordered the fried cauliflower and it was soggy and gross. Again, couldn't eat it. We have lived in the neighborhood for five year, and used the enjoy Cashions. Unfortunately, it has gone down hill and we won't be returning when there are much better options on the block.
Dined on February 25, 2016overall5food5service5ambience5
Exceptional every time!
Dined on February 14, 2016overall1food3service3ambience1
Post Theater, Valentine's Day dinner --- what a terrible way to end a night out. This formerly fine restaurant failed, top to bottom. The fixed price menu was uninspiring, without highlight, and (for $65) quite stingy. Worse, this restaurant as freezing -- cold enough that it should have been closed for the evening. Clearly they were having an HVAC problem, but you'd think management would off words or concern. Every diner was wearing top coats and jackets. We all just wanted to leave, but felt locked in by the fixed price commitment. Did management offer free wine or cocktails? No. Free coffee or tea? No. Apologies? Not from management, though our waitress did her best. The highlight? Knowing we need never return.
Dined on February 14, 2016overall1food2service1ambience2
Valentine's evening dinner. Billed as a $65 per person chefs tasting menu but in reality, a choice of one of two appetizers, three main course choices and two desserts--no much if a "tasting". One of the worst dining experiences we've had in years. Beginning with the fact that the restaurant was freezing cold--most diners were wearing their winter coats hats and scarves. While I understand that the weather was unusually cold, at least an acknowledgment from the host or server would have been appreciated. Our first contact with our server was about 10 minutes after being seated, when he rushed up to the table and asked if we knew what we wanted to eat. "How about a drink first" we asked. "Um, ok" was the reply. It was downhill from there. Upon opening the bottle of wine we ordered, he immediately asked again if we "knew what we wanted to eat?" After ordering the steak,he turned to my companion--"medium rare" I said, "yes" was his one word reply. Did that mean that was how the chef was preparing the steak, of that he approved of my choice? I'll never know... The very small appetizers were served, or should I say dropped on the table as the server rushed by to attend to another table. As for the main course, perhaps the food was hot (or at least warm) when it left the kitchen,but by the time it made its way through the dining room, everything on the plate was cool to the touch. And speaking of the plate, picture two small pieces of meat with a brown sauce, two brown potatoes each a bit smaller than a golf ball, and a smear of brownish purée that was gummy and slightly bitter--and cold. That's a whole lot of brown, I thought upon the plate being dropped in front of me. The parade of plates being sent back to the kitchen should have been an indicator of what I was in for--but by that point, I just wanted to get out if there and go find a fireplace to warm up. Dessert, thankfully, was supposed to be served cold.
Dined on February 14, 2016overall2food2service2ambience2
I have been here for dinner a few times in the past and was impressed so felt comfortable booking a brunch on Valentine's Day. Boy was I wrong. Place was freezing cold. Patrons were all wearing their coats. Menu listed bottomless Bloody Mary on Saturday and Sunday but was told it was only Saturday. When I pointed what menu said was then told I had the wrong menu and that it was a holiday. Again pointed out it was on my wife's menu and it wasn't a holiday. Was told ok after a conversation with the manager. Turned out the Bloody Mary was almost tasteless. From then on food was ok and service was fine. Although wait staff kept dropping dishes and silverware while clearing and setting the table behind us. Will not be back.
Dined on February 13, 2016overall2food3service3ambience1
Our valentines day dinner was a very uncomfortable experience. The restaurant is completely unprepared for winter temperatures. Unfortunately, the very cold dining environment affected the food as well. Customers should have been warned to dress appropriately, or even offered a chance to cancel their reservation in time to secure another reservation on the Saturday before valentines day. The coffee was cold. The bathrooms were uncomfortably cold. I was surprised the restaurant didn't suffer from broken water pipes. Such a shame - because the flavors and combinations and fresh ingredients is definitely what we had in mind. But attention to detail needs to be paid throughout. If a hot meal is plated in a freezing cold kitchen - and walked through an incredibly cold dining room (EVERYONE in the restaurant had coats on, or wrapped across their shoulders) - the food is no longer at the appropriate temperature by the time it reaches the diner. My duck and its sauce were literally cool. This really takes away from flavors. It was truly an uncomfortable dining experience. I would certainly recommend Cashion's - but not/not when the weather is cold. And that is crazy - because it really can't take too much to correct this for the winter - e.g. thermal drapes ALONG the entire dining window (so you lose the "view" of Columbia Rd??) and dozens of more industrial type space heaters.
Dined on February 13, 2016overall1food2service3ambience1
I used to love this place, but I have come to grips with the fact that it just isn't any good anymore. First of all, the dining room is absolutely freezing. They know it too but apparently refuse to do anything effectual about it. We asked for a warmer table farther away from the entrance but were advised that those tables (which remained empty during our entire meal) were for fours, whereas we were a two. I am not a cold person yet I was wearing my jacket during dinner, as was much of the dining room. Second, the food, while fine, is nothing to write home about in my experience. I had a hanger steak slathered with some overly-sweet barbeque sauce (which, full marks, was cooked to the right temperature). But it's just not even close to worth it for what they're charging. I suggest going elsewhere.
Dined on February 13, 2016overall1food1service3ambience1
Don't go there on a chilly night. You will freeze inside and end up eating dinner with your coat in. Good used to be stellar. What a disappointment this time!
Dined on January 30, 2016overall2food1service2ambience3
I had visited Cashions many times before, and although sometimes it wasn't consistent, the experience had been good overall, until last Saturday. I will never go back! To start with the Manhattan glass wasn't chill, they use a regular maraschino cherry?! Really? not even a relative inexpensive infused cherry? I ordered the beef tartare for an appetizer, to my surprise it wasn't real meat, it was an EXTREMELY salty mousse, served with potato chips, not even home made potato chips, just cheap bag chips, that was send back after the 1st bite. My Salmon was cook nicely, however the wine rissoto wasn't done well either. I clearly left without having dessert. They had two hostess which did the job as waiters as well. I do have to say great job to the one that help us, he was busting his behind. I'm not sure what happened, but again, i will never go back...oh yeah no bread anymore, just some crackers!
Dined on January 27, 2016overall4food4service5ambience2
Very quiet (and very cold) but the food was great and it was the first time we had been when the place was not packed!
Dined on January 26, 2016overall5food5service5ambience5
The daily created menu was a nice change to the same ole thing at other spots. There were choices for all dietary preferences. The salmon with mushroom risotto was ah-mazing! The music was eclectic as were the dishes our meals came on. Truly an experience.
Dined on January 2, 2016overall4food4service4ambience4
Always a special experience when the wait staff and chefs are willing to put together a fine dining experience to meet my vegan needs. Presentation and favors were exceptional.
Dined on December 22, 2015overall3food3service5ambience3
Went here with girlfriends 12 months ago- was dying to go back my husband. The menu was just meh this time, seemed smaller- we got mushroom risotto, fried vegetables, and a cheese platter- cheese platter was small- with wilted grapes, risotto was pretty good- hearty- fried veggies were tasty but given the venue I'd expect more. Overall, we decided to bag it and left before big plates. Open nail on the seat snagged my pants and left a hole. Told host and someone else about the nail, both just shrugged.. Overall, just wasn't that impressed this time. Restaurant was empty as we were early to catch a show right after. :(
Dined on December 13, 2015overall4food4service5ambience5
Very relaxed and pleasant for brunch. Able to sit and chat comfortably with family.
Cashion’s Eat Place will close on Thursday after more than two decades, following a lawsuit filed by its landlord to evict the restaurant.
The Adams Morgan restaurant owed $69,323 in rent, taxes, and other fees between Dec. 1, 2015 and March 31, according to an ongoing lawsuit filed by property owners Stuart and Susan Auchincloss in D.C. Landlord and Tenant court on April 1.
“We do owe the landlord back rent,” chef and partner John Manolatos wrote in an email. “The case has been stayed till we finalize the sale of the lease, which should take place next week.”
Stuart Auchincloss confirmed that was in fact the case. Johnny’s Half Shell will replace Cashion’s Eat Place and close its Capitol Hill location, Politicofirst reported. The move will be a homecoming of sorts: Johnny’s Half Shell co-owner Ann Cashion founded Cashion’s Eat Place but sold the restaurant to then-sous chef Manolatos, his brother George Manolatos, and Justin Abad in 2007.
“I think they’re both good restaurants, and I’m glad to have good restaurants in our space,” Auchincloss says. “What I want to do is encourage people to visit whatever restaurant happens to be going strong at 1819 Columbia Road NW.”
Abad, who stepped away from an operating role in the restaurant in December and is now working with Mindful Restaurant Group,referred questions to Manolatos. “He is responsible for all of those things. I have no permission to comment,” Abad says.
Going forward, John Manolatos says that he will focus on Pop’s SeaBar, which he runs with Abad, and do some consulting.
Cashion’s Eat Place posted the following farewell message on Facebook:
To our Friends, Neighbors, and Family:
As some of you have already heard, Cashion’s Eat Place will be closing our doors after nearly twenty-one years of service. For over two decades it has been our pleasure to be at the heart of the dining scene in Adams Morgan, and we have met and grown to know some truly wonderful people along the way. Unfortunately, we must admit, with heavy hearts, that all good things must eventually end.
We have relished cooking delicious food, pouring fine wine, and helping to raise the bar for hospitality, but even more so we will always cherish the relationships that we have established with our guests, our neighbors, and our vendors. Truly, the people are what make the experience worth living, and we have been fortunate enough to have some of the finest in the city coming through our doors.
We thank everyone who has supported us. We could not have done what we did without you, and we are all grateful for the opportunity to have been part of a truly wonderful restaurant experience. We hope that in the coming weeks, and months, that we can look forward to continue working with you on our new endeavors.
Please stay tuned for final details about our closing, so we can send Cashion’s out in style.
Thank you all again. Cheers, and we’ll see you tonight!
The Partners, Managers, and Staff of Cashion’s
John Manolatos, George Manolatos, William Dickett, Justin Abad; Partners Dustin Beruta; General Manager
Cheers and see you all tonight!
This post has been updated with comment from John Manolatos and Stuart Auchincloss.
Photo via Cashion’s Eat Place
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Ann Cashion is a James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur in Washington D.C.
Cashion is a native of Jackson, Mississippi, and she graduated from Harvard University in 1976. She enrolled in graduate school at Stanford University for two years before dropping out to pursue a culinary career, starting in a bakery in Berkeley, California. She apprenticed in Italy and France before coming to Washington, D.C. in 1984. Cashion worked at Restaurant Nora, was head chef at Austin Grill, and was executive chef at Jaleo, where she hired José Andrés.
In 1995, she opened her own restaurant, Cashion's Eat Place, in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of D.C. The restaurant was voted "Best New Restaurant" by the readership of Gourmet and was listed in The Washington Post food columnist Phyllis Richman's 50 favorites.Eat Place had many prominent patrons, including chefs Jean-Louis Palladin and Ferran Adrià, and President Bill Clinton. In 1997, Ann Cashion was honored as the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington's "Chef of the Year," and she was invited to cook at the James Beard House.
With partner John Fulchino, Cashion opened a second restaurant, Johnny's Half Shell, in 1999. The small 35-seat restaurant in the Dupont Circle neighborhood was recognized by Gourmet as one of “America’s best new restaurants.” In 2004, Cashion won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic.
Cashion and Fulchino sold Cashion's Eat Place in 2007 to two of its longtime employees, after which it continued to operate under the same name until 2016, when it closed.
Johnny's Half Shell relocated to the Capitol Hill neighborhood in 2006; the new space could seat over 400, and it became a popular restaurant for Congressional fundraisers. In 2007, Cashion opened Taqueria Nacional next-door to Half Shell, and Bon Appétit named it one of the five best Mexican restaurants in the United States.Taqueria moved to the Logan Circle neighborhood in 2013, and Johnny's Half Shell moved to Adams Morgan in 2016, taking over the space originally occupied by Cashion's Eat Place.Taqueria opened in Mount Pleasant in 2019, and the Logan Circle location closed in 2020.Johnny's Half Shell closed in 2020, when indoor dining was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cashion was one of the chefs featured in the 1997 book, Women of Taste. When Bon Appétit named Washington, D.C. its 2016 restaurant city of the year, Cashion was identified as one of the city's "incredible chefs."
- ^ abcde"Ann Cashion's Biography". StarChefs. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
- ^ abcdefghSpiegel, Anna (October 4, 2016). "Inside Johnny's Half Shell Reopening: One of DC's Great Restaurant Comebacks". Washingtonian Magazine.
- ^Bialecki, Marissa (August 1, 2012). "Capital Chefs: Ann Cashion of Johnny's Half Shell". We Love DC.
- ^Richman, Phyllis (October 8, 1995). "Metropolitan Down-Home". The Washington Post.
- ^ abcdeGreeley, Alexandra (February 27, 2018). "For Chef Ann Cashion — An "Eat Place" and More". Food Service Monthly.
- ^Annie Groer; Ann Gerhart (July 18, 1997). "The Reliable Source". The Washington Post.
- ^Sagon, Candy (August 13, 1997). "4 Chefs, 250 Miles, 1 Bottle of Advil". The Washington Post.
- ^Sietsema, Tom (May 12, 2004). "And the Winners Are …". The Washington Post. p. F7.
- ^Sidman, Jessica (9 May 2016). "Landlord Sued to Evict Cashion's Eat Place (UPDATED)". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
- ^Carman, Tim (9 May 2016). "UPDATED: Cashion's Eat Place to close, Johnny's Half Shell to take over the space". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
- ^"Cashion's Eat Place :: Closed". Cashions Eat Place. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
- ^Hayes, Laura (20 September 2019). "In a Mount Pleasant Switcheroo, Taqueria Nacional Replaces Taqueria Los Compadres". Washington City Paper.
- ^ abSietsema, Tom (January 15, 2021). "We lost Johnny's Half Shell to the pandemic. After 20 years, it deserves a farewell toast". Washington Post.
- ^Russell, Beverly (September 25, 1997). Women of taste : recipes and profiles of famous women chefs. Wiley. ISBN .
- ^Knowlton, Andrew (August 10, 2016). "Washington D.C. Is the Restaurant City of the Year". Bon Appétit.
Cashion's Eat Place is CLOSED
Previously located in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of northwest D.C., Cashion's Eat Place was founded in May of 1995 by James Beard winning Chef Ann Cashion and business partner John Fulchino. In July of 2007, long-time Sous Chef John Manolatos partnered with General Manager Justin Abad and his brother George Manolatos and purchased the restaurant from its founders. In January of 2013 William Dickett, Jr. (or lovingly referred to as "Billy D.") joined the ranks as partner, completing the new ownership group.
Cashion's Eat Place continued to be at the forefront of the culinary scene in the District's ever-changing dining landscape for over 20 years.
Chef John focused on building and developing relationships with farmers, purveyors, and the like, setting the foundation for his culinary creations. His menu changed daily and was heavily influenced by the season and the farmers. The food was inventive, local, and eclectic and showcases the range of culinary skill that Chef John has developed over his tenure in the kitchen.
Justin oversaw the dining room and wine program. His brand of hospitality was centered around defining and exceeding guests expectations. His wine program was designed to complement the subtle and balanced menu created each day and features a heavily European slant.
George and Billy D. focused their time and attention on the bar scene at Cashion's. As a result of their hospitality, they cultivated a following of loyal patrons that are most-often known on a first name basis and visited as many times as 3 times per week.
The bar, like the restaurant, is food-centric and lends itself for a great meal.
The Old Team at Cashion's
John’s fervor for the culinary world developed at an early age as he observed the passion and joy that his Greek family of cooks took from food. With this foundation, Manolatos’ dedication and culinary curiosity landed him an apprenticeship next to Ann Cashion. After an eleven-year tenure as Sous Chef at Cashion’s Eat Place along with the invaluable teachings of Chef Cashion, Manolatos purchased Cashion’s Eat Place with his brother George and business partner Justin Abad in 2007.
Originally from St. Petersburg, FL Justin found his way in the District via The George Washington University where he studied Psychology and Political Science. In 2002, he began working at Cashion's as a server while completing his studies. Justin fell in love with the culture of dining thanks to his time spent studying in Rome, Italy and upon his return began an intense study of wine with the mentorship of John Fulchino (then owner and wine director of Cashion's). Shortly after graduation in December 2004, Justin became General Manager and focused his attention on beginning his own project with business partner John Manolatos. In July of 2007, they purchased Cashion's with John's brother George and continue to define their brand of hospitality and culinary expression.
George grew up just outside the city limits, in Silver Spring MD. He developed a love for food at a young age, thanks to his mother-the best cook in the neighborhood back then. George fell in love with the restaurant industry when he landed his first bar tending job at Johnny’s on the Half Shell. Working his way up to bar manager, he developed a love for the cocktail. Now a partner at Cashion’s Eat Place, he enjoys giving new twists on some of the cocktail classics using local ingredients.
William Dickett, Jr. (Billy D.)
Known by many in the community as Billy D., he is a native New Yorker who made his way to the Washington D.C. area the summer of 1989. He began working as a bar manager/general manager at a fine dining jazz club in Herndon, Virginia. Desiring to reposition himself professionally, he relocated to Adams Morgan in the spring of 1991 where he worked as a bar manager until being recruited by the team at Jaleo. After working with the group for nearly 3 years Billy went back to college for veterinarian studies. Shortly thereafter he returned to his calling in the hospitality industry. In 2004 Billy reunited with Ann Cashion and John Fulchino at Cashion's Eat Place. He joined ownership of Cashion's Eat Place in the fall of 2012 where he remains today. He lives in the community and enjoys daily interaction with his friends and neighbors.
Thanks for the many great years of dining!
Eat place cashions
Many restaurants will say they're one, big happy family, but do they have the photo album to prove it? John Fulchino does. He co-owned Cashion's Eat Place for 12 years with Ann Cashion, the restaurant's namesake and James Beard award-winning chef.
As Fulchino flips through the album, he retells Cashion's history— now 20 years long. There's a blurry photo of Ann at work in the kitchen from opening night. The next page is a photo from prison. As Fulchino tells it, the pair had a "brilliant" and business-savvy friend with somewhat of a past. But that didn't matter because the friend helped them write a business plan from jail.
Really, this photo album contains much more than just memories. It's a collection of stories that brings D.C.'s dining identity into focus. Pictured are the chefs, managers, farmers and food purveyors who helped elevate the city's food and restaurants during the last 20 years.
Cashion, herself, says she's guided by a style of cooking that is inspired by the region. To her, the original 1995 menu still represents Mid-Atlantic food at its finest. For those who would like a taste of nostalgia, be sure to visit the restaurant during the last week of May. Cashion's will serve dishes from the first menu to mark the milestone anniversary. These include organic oven-roasted chicken, veal sweetbreads and wild mushroom ragout served over polenta.
The week also includes a special homecoming. After nine years, Cashion will return to the kitchen and cook a three-course dinner (tickets available here). She will be working alongside the restaurant's current owners, chef John Manolatos and Justin Abad. Both were hired by Cashion and Fulchino and eventually took over the restaurant in 2007. Under their management, the restaurant name and concept have stayed largely the same, but they've tweaked the menu. In a few weeks, they'll also give the space a new facelift.
Eater sat down with the full legacy of owners: Ann Cashion and John Fulchino (the past) and Justin Abad and John Manolatos (the present) to learn about the dynamic forces at play in this restaurant — tradition and change.
What was it like when the doors first opened?
Ann Cashion: Well, I remember the party. The party was for family and friends, and that was just one of the nicest evenings ever. It was very emotional. Everybody who came through the door was so excited for us. I have to say we were well-received. But we had to develop a clientele, and then of course, internally we had to get the staff and get them up-to-speed. That was a little challenging because we lost a lot of the early staff, but John [Manolatos] was there from day one.
So what was your job at that point?
John Manoloatos: Pretty much whatever was needed. It was what everybody else didn't want to do, and there was a lot to do. We didn't work off recipes per se, so there was a lot of instruction. Verbal, quick instruction. The other cooks here were experienced, and I was trying to learn, so it was a bit confusing at first.
John Fulchino: I was actually painting a wall in the far corner when John walked in the front door and asked me for a job. He asked me if the chef was in. He actually thought that I was a laborer... and I kind of was [laughter].
JM: Yeah, I had no idea who he was. I was actually working up the street at a delicatessen, and I heard about the restaurant. At that point, Ann — to me — was just some lady. But, working under Ann taught me so much. It was her method. I was working with the whole animals and learning how to cut and prepare it. You had to be willing to adapt because this was not a stagnant menu.
Ann Cashion and John Manolatos [Photo: R. Lopez].
What was your driving motivation with the menu?
AC: It was the restaurants that I had come to love from France and Italy. The food was specific to place, and so the ingredient pool was part of the scenery and culture. There was a lot of respect for traditional dishes, and you would find the same dishes in many of the restaurants because that's the way people loved to eat. It was an allegiance to cuisine there that I loved. My idea was to create a restaurant that would feel like that but be reflective of this area... From the beginning we were trying very hard to figure out who we could buy from in the region.
JF: Go to the Dupont Circle farmers market and mention Ann's name, and people will start bowing down. People really know her, and she was one of the early people to adopt what you would call farm-to-table.
AC: But, I couldn't have done this without my people from the beginning. So many cooks came out of this kitchen. John is a notable and still here. There was Gillian Clark [previously Colorado Kitchen and The General Store], Katsuya Fuksushima [Daikaya], Brad Walker [Boundary Road], Sam Adkins [Sally's Middle Name].
How did Cashion's start in the first place?
JF: We were doing a lot before we opened this restaurant. Ann and I helped to open the first Austin Grill in 1988, then in 1991 we opened the second Austin Grill in Alexandria. We then went on to open Jaleo and hire José [Andrés]. We then bought Cafe Atlantico which was originally here, and we opened Cashion's in 1995. So, this space was a Dominican nightclub and it was hot, hot... I remember putting up the menu box during construction and a man walked by and asked: "You going to have dancing?" and I said "No, no, just full on good food." I remember he said, "You're never going to make it!"
Q: Talk about the biggest changes you've seen since Cashion's first opened 20 years ago.
JF: The biggest difference is that on 18th Street there were a lot of good restaurants. I would say, now Adams Morgan is much more a bar and nightclub scene. But, this was a place to come get really good ethnic food. And, we were a bit off the beaten path because it was what we wanted to curate food-wise.
Q: How did the change in ownership come about? Was it something you played a role in even after you handed over the keys to John and Justin?
AC: There was no sort of transitional role for us. We were focused on Johnny's Half Shell. There wasn't any need for us to stay in it. John and Justin were ready. Now, I don't think I was quite psychologically ready to sell, or put Cashion's on the market, but I knew it was in the right hands. I remember saying to myself, "Now is the time." And, you know, we obviously trusted them. The name on the front still reads "Cashion's." This was a very unique situation.
Justin Abad: And, you know, this is one of the most vivid memories that I have. It was us closing the deal. That was our day one. It was a Wednesday. It was July 11th , and we were sitting at the table in the front window. The four of us and our banker were there. So the five of us sitting up there, and we were telling stories, and I mean just laughing and crying. And, then we get up from the table and the banker reminds us that we still have to sign the papers officially. I remember looking at John, and being like "Are you kidding me? We just did this?" Then, we held a menu meeting at 5 p.m. and our doors opened at 5:30 p.m. for dinner service. It was practically seamless. Because remember, I was still the manager here... meanwhile though, we talked about this for a while, and the transfer was based off conversations a year in the making, so we had time to prepare for it too.
Q: Talk about the challenges that you guys faced after the business transferred in 2007.
JM: This city was changing when we took over. There was a lot more competition with the restaurant industry. Then, 2008 happened. The market fell apart. People started tightening up their wallets. It got really tough for us here. We also saw a trend in the way people were eating and dining out.
About a year ago, we went with a more casual eating environment. The menu changed from a traditional appetizer and entree variety to small shared plates. You know, before, we were proud to give people two and half hours to sit and eat and enjoy themselves. But, that no longer is the case. There's been a mindset shift in the way people dine out.
JA: The way that people dine has certainly changed. From my perspective as a manager in the dining room, it took us a little longer to recognize that change than most.
AC: I also reject that change fully by the way.
JA: [laughter] Listen, the way we learned about what a good restaurant should be was from Ann and Johnny. They taught us that a restaurant needs to be based on a culture of hospitality. It's about the guests having an experience with the people around the table. That, in my opinion, has dropped out of fashion. It's not as important, and it's not a high value for a lot of operators today.
Justin Abad and John Fulchino.
JF: You know, I think dining in America is at a critical point. I question where it's headed. It seems to be much more about entertainment than the food experience. And, for someone who cooks traditionally and with restraint — I ask, "Is that going to get lost now?" Trends in this city seem to be exploited. Everyone wants to try the latest and greatest thing, but is that where the focus should be? It's a quandary that we are in right now. I don't think D.C. is a real food town, like New Orleans, and I think this is a city susceptible to trends. There are a lot of trendy, mediocre restaurants that we are dealing with right now.
JA: That being said, I think D.C. is striving to be a food town. I also think D.C. is becoming slightly less transient. It's starting to get roots, and the culture is evolving.
Q: Ann, what will you be doing in the kitchen later this month? Will you be cooking up nostalgia at Cashion's?
AC: Yes, there's definitely nostalgia here. We actually looked at some of the original menus, not to replicate each course, but to draw inspiration. We definitely are trying to make a connection to the past. John will be doing what he does now. I see my role as being the ghost of Cashion's past. You know, there will be people at this dinner that ate here in the early days. And, food memories are very powerful. I want them to run into that experience again on the plate. So yeah, it's going to be really fun. I am so looking forward to it.
Q: There are changes going on here, including with the space, right? What does the future look like for Cashion's?
JM: First off, when Ann is in the kitchen, you know it's going to be a blast. And, as far as the food, a lot of what Ann does is already ingrained into me. It's what I've always done. The whole time I've worked here, there have been things on the menu that are iterations of the original.
And, there are larger changes ahead. It's going to be exhausting. We never had the chance to physically build something. I built a repertoire of food, but the house that you live in, we didn't really build this. We want to make a nice splash of change.
JA: Yup, we are redoing the entire bar. The bar top as well as the bar back. In the main dining room, we will tear down the main wall and reveal the exposed brick. Integrate the pictures and the portraits that are here, and have a muralist put a representative piece that encapsulates John's philosophy on food and cooking. We'll be replacing chairs and tables. Redoing the bathrooms. It's a little bit of a facelift. But we're still going for that funky elegance look. What won't change is the sign outside. That isn't going anywhere.
Q: Finally, Cashion's will be turning 21 next year. What will be the restaurant's first, legal drink?
JM: I would say it would be a Montenegro. Because before this whole trend of Amaro bars, I was drinking the stuff. And, throwing it up mind you, in this restaurant's bathroom once.
JA: Mine would be a throwback to something that inspired me about wine: Domaine Tempier, Bandol, Rosé. I would have a glass of that in celebration. I didn't understand the wine then, and I'm growing to understand it now. And, that's how I feel about this restaurant too.
JF: For me I'm just an old-fashioned dude, I would just fix a nice margarita. Fresh squeezed margarita with salt is where a 21-year-old should start.
AC: For me, it's wine too. Because I think wine has been part of this whole adventure. And, I believe if it were my choice, I would be drinking one of Laurence Faller's from Domaine Weinbach. Her wine is just wonderful.
Cashion's Eat Place
1819 Columbia Road NW, Washington DC, DC 20009Visit Website
Near Odessa, I and Yanka were already impatient, so Max had to slow down. Having done business in the roadside bushes, we decided to stand up for a smoke. Rather, only Max smoked, and Yana and I were in company.
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And it should be dirty. "And he turned to the audience: Spit on this sarty girl. Allow me !!!". Five excited spectators, already to the limit, surrounded me and spit flew at me from all sides. They ran down my face, chest and got stuck in my pubic hair.