Where, oh, where to go eat in Midtown? So many favorite spots! Although I hadn’t been there for a while, Celestin’s had been a fun place with a funky vibe and a long time staple on “K” Street. So I was a bit disappointed to hear they had decided to close down. However, when it was announced that the Capitol Garage owners were opening up a Southern cuisine restaurant in its place, I was thrilled! After having spent my undergrad years at a school that straddled the food line of spicy Southern and bland upper-midwestern, I was looking forward to a place that could make hush puppies, fried okra, and grits. I was hoping The Porch could deliver.
What is immediately different from Celestin’s is the facade. Gone is the yellowish plaster with the flowery painting. In its place is a white picket fence, the outside eating space designed to resemble a wrap-around porch you might find on any plantation house in Georgia. Upon entering, the space is airy and bright, with a lovely colored laminate floor, dark wood crown moulding, and eating spaces separated by tempered glass partitions.
As we were shown to our seats, we ran into a couple of friends whom we never bump into out on the town, so that was quite a lovely surprise! Once we were seated, we received a small serving of muffaletta spread, which is pretty much an olive tapenade, but different, flavor wise. I suppose this could be considered the amuse bouche. Then came the difficult selection of beverage. The owners consulted with a good ol’ southern bartender to craft their artisan cocktails. Briana had The Southern Mule, while I enjoyed a One Burnt Orange: Stoli Ohranj vodka, house made blood orange puree, fresh squeezed lemon, topped with Victory stout beer. Most of these handcrafted libations include bourbon, a true testament to its Southern roots! These aren’t your ordinary cocktails, my friends. These are unique, fun, and delicious sipping drinks to enjoy over a lazy dinner… also nice and Southern!
I ordered the Oyster Po’ Boy: A soft loaf of French bread lined with crab mayo and stuffed with cornmeal fried oysters, lettuce, avocado, white cheddar, apple wood bacon (which I removed), and pickled onions. Usually this is done with shrimp, but for some reason, they didn’t have any. Because I’m a sucker for mac and cheese, I indulged in a side of skillet macaroni and cheese. Briana got the sturgeon, which was pan fried with a cornmeal crust and served atop creamy white cheddar grits and garnished with tomato & corn relish. She couldn’t resist ordering a side of collard greens.
After our meal was finished (we also had it for lunch the next day), we joined our friends in the bar area for an evening (well, okay, we closed it down!) of drinks, laughter, and chatting… just what I imagine a night in the South is like.
Overall, I give this place 3.5 stars. The entrees are pretty pricey: $14 for a burger up to $24 for fish, but the portions are hefty and the sides and salads are reasonably priced.