On a Friday afternoon, the area near 18th and H streets is a more subdued atmosphere than the bustling streets in the heart of Foggy Bottom. Lawyers and business professionals make their way to grab a quick bite before heading back to the office, and college students stroll the perimeter between classes in search of an alternative to their food truck lunch ritual.
If you’re one of those students in search of a relaxed and fast barbecue fix, look no further than Fat Pete’s Barbecue, which recently opened a new location near 18th and H streets.
Fat Pete’s is all about southern comfort, as reflected by its menu filled with hearty entrees.
I ordered a pulled chicken sandwich ($6.99) with a side of BBQ beans ($3.25 for 8 ounces).
The food was ready in no time at all. With the array of six different types of sauces – sweet, spicy, Texas mop, Alabama white, Carolina vinegar and South Carolina mustard – for your meat, you won’t want to wait a minute longer to dig in. I recommend mixing the sweet and spicy sauces for a tangy yet peppery concoction.
If the sweet sauce is just a little too sweet for your taste buds, try the Texas mop with subtle sour notes. The Alabama white is a mild complement to anything too spicy, while the South Carolina mustard can turn up the heat with a play on classic dijon.
The pulled chicken was definitely satisfying – it was moist and flavorful, with a lingering smoky essence. The beans echoed the smoky taste of the meat and were a warm, creamy pairing.
I also stole a bite of my roommate’s side of macaroni and cheese ($3.25 for 8 ounces). It tasted rather bland, and the ratio of cheese to pasta was far too low on the cheese. The group's consensus was that the dish wasn't stellar – even Whole Foods’ mac and cheese is a better choice to satisfy your craving – but it did complement the flavorful meat.
My roommates, who dined with me, ordered the pulled pork, smoked chicken and smoked turkey, and each received high praise.
Other sides include potato salad, macaroni salad and coleslaw. And for dessert, you can try a classic Mississippi mud pie ($3.50 for a small serving).
The ambiance of Fat Pete’s is best described as laid-back country with an urban twist to attract D.C.'s young professionals. The brick exterior and interior accents contribute to the rustic aesthetic.
Counter seating is available around the perimeter of the restaurant, though the majority of the seating is outdoors.
While limited in seating in comparison to the Cleveland Park location, which is more sit down restaurant-style, Fat Pete’s Foggy Bottom establishment is perfect for grab-and-go barbecue on your lunch hour.
Overall, Fat Pete’s is the perfect place to grab a quick lunch before your next lecture. Though the side dishes aren’t stand-out, the entrees make up for it.