Monday, November 14, 2005

GLOVER PARK: Oh How I Miss Cafe Romeo's

DO YOU REMEMBER THAT "SEINFELD" EPISODE where Elaine takes temporary residence in a random apartment building's janitor's closet just so she could take advantage of being within the delivery range of a particular Chinese restaurant with great flounder? It can be hard to predict what places will deliver where, so in the end I'm normally too lazy to actually call to see if someplace on Wisconsin Avenue might deliver to Connecticut Avenue, etc. Then every once and a while you get a delivery menu in your mailbox that confirms that a particular place will deliver to your place of residence.

In my mailbox tonight arrived the delivery menu for Cafe Romeo's. (They're open 'til 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, which is a rarity for an establishment west of Rock Creek Park.) And I am ever so happy. If you live in Glover Park (I once lived there), you should already know about this once-sketchy place on Wisconsin Avenue, next to Holy Rood Cemetery and the strip of formerly abandoned row houses across from Soma Fit, just south of W Place NW. About 10 months ago or so, Cafe Romeo's underwent a drastic renovation to spruce up the place. Fortunately the menu has remained more or less the same.

Romeo's "MEGA" sandwiches are perfect for the dinner delivery/lunch left-over strategy. I suggest the spinach and artichoke (with grilled herb sauce, caramelized onions, roma tomatoes, feta cheese and mushrooms) and the Romeo's Special (pesto, mozzarella cheese, bacon, roasted peppers, spinach and roma tomatoes). Sandwiches, and these are large sandwiches, are just $6.45. Their pizza isn't all that bad either. So if you live west of Rock Creek Park, and/or are a Ward 3 resident living below Tenley Circle and/or live in Georgetown and/or in Dupont Circle/Sheridan-Kalorama, Romeo's probably delivers to your door. The menu is available here.

BUT THERE WAS AN ERA of Cafe Romeo's before the renovations. And was it ever a spooky era. The food was the same, but being there late night could bring out the neighborhood's odd characters ... you know, those strange estate lawyers, Capitol Hill staffers from Maine and drunken American University undergrads. And if you were looking out in the direction of the Chinese Embassy annex and the Naval Observatory from Cafe Romeo's front doors, mysterious occurances were known to have happened.

The Friday before Halloween 2004, a thick fog had rolled into Washington. I was at Romeo's around 3:45 a.m. when an motorcade rolled by on Wisconsin Avenue.

From my DCist post on Oct. 31, 2004:
Through the thick fog, a group of at least 15 Metropolitan Police squad cars and some motorcycle cops drove up Wisconsin Avenue, lights flashing. They were protecting a WMATA metrobus, which drove uptown with its lights out. It was unclear what was inside the darkened bus.

While DCist is used to government helicopters and the occasional motorcade shutting streets down, with the fog, this episode was particularly spooky, something that would make the mind of any conspiracy theorist go wild.
A friend and I joked that it was Jenna Bush's party bus leaving Smith Point for Camp David. But yet, it is still to this day unclear what/who was in the darkened Metrobus so late at night with heavy police escort.

Regardless, the sandwiches are wonderful.

>> "Cafe Romeo's Menu" [Cafe Romeo's]
>> "Things Going By on a Foggy Foggy Night" [DCist]


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