The Square and the two spoon theory
D.C.’s newest food hall opened downtown on Sep. 5
American University isn’t alone in a new meal plan; many D.C. residents also have a new meal plan: visiting The Square.
Located by Farragut Square, the new food hall opened on Sep. 5 and features a variety of partners and restaurants.
Two chefs, Richie Brandenburg and Rubén García, developed the food hall through the company they co-founded, Unfold Hospitality. Unfold Hospitality website is a group of “creators & storytellers committed to elevate the food & restaurant industries through quality products, thriving ideas and building an empowered community.”
García worked at a number of restaurants in Spain and has created restaurants in New York City, Los Angeles and D.C., according to The Square’s website. Later, García and Brandenburg both worked with the José Andrés Group, where Brandenburg was the kitchen director. José Andrés Group has a singular mission: “To Change the World Through the Power of Food.” This group is behind the José Andrés restaurants and has a close relationship with DC Central Kitchen, a nonprofit that provides culinary job training. Brandenburg is also the curator of Union Market in D.C.
In an interview with The Eagle, Brandenburg explained the importance of The Square and its relationship to the D.C. identity.
“D.C. doesn't have something that it really calls its own. New York has Central Park. Chicago has the waterfront. San Francisco’s got a Golden Gate Park and it’s got multiple things. That’s theirs,” Brandenburg said. “D.C.’s got the mall and that’s not really ours. That really belongs to the country.” He added that The Square would belong to the District.
On The Square’s website, García shares a similar sentiment, stating that, “Nothing beats the culinary scene in DC. This city made us who we are. With The Square, we say Thank you.”
During the interview, Brandenburg said that there is an unmarked “easter egg” in the floor of The Square.
“In the floor are two spoons” that the two co-founders took from the night they met — the opening of The Bazaar restaurant for José Andrés in LA. The silver spoons are easy to find, located centrally between restaurants.
Brandenburg emphasized that, “There is at least one thing on each menu that hopefully can be approachable for the college student.”
Being that it is a food hall, The Square provides various opportunities to purchase a meal that will not hinder the college budget. Taqueria Xochi’s tinga taco is $6, Cashion’s Rendezvous offers The Square Burger for $13 and Atrium Bar serves a Spanish charcuterie board for $20.
As of September some of the restaurants are still not open, but The Square still boasts many options, including Jamón Jamón by Rubén García featuring sandwiches and cheeses, Cashion’s Rendezvous by Ann Cashion and John Fulchino which serves seafood and Junge’s by Richie Brandenburg and Rubén García, which offers churros and soft serve. The Square “will ultimately host more than 15 restaurants and bars.”
The Square is now open and is located on K St. NW, and the restaurants inside have varying hours, with most open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
When I visited The Square, I was surprised by its openness. Most of the walls roll up, exposing the outdoor seating and restaurants within. The music was upbeat pop, similar to the pop of colors that surrounded the customers. White tables, LED signs and cardstock takeaway menus made it feel upscale. Each restaurant had its own established menu, color wheel and staff. A casual lunch spot for the everyday lunch hour, the adventurous tourist or the college student who needs to get off campus.
I tried the Jamón Jamón half sandwich half salad for $16. The salad consisted of hard-boiled egg, lettuce and tomatoes, all tossed in an oil dressing. The manchego cheese sandwich was the perfect savory sandwich with bread not even Panera could rival. I highly recommend it, as this is one of the cheapest combos on the menu. The Square is the perfect spot for any AU student.
This article was edited by Abigail Hatting, Jordan Young and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis and Luna Jinks.