Famed D.C. bookstore Politics & Prose, located at 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW, recently reopened its small, downstairs cafe after 10 weeks of renovations. The Den, which is operated by local restaurateur Matt Carr, has a brand new interior with more seating as well as a more extensive menu.
The interior design of The Den’s wood and metal decor gave off a modern, cozy vibe, and the store was filled with students and older customers alike when I stopped by in the afternoon. A few paintings and flowers dotted the minimalistic space, which was peaceful enough to even read a book while sipping coffee or eating a meal there.
The Den serves a mix of traditional American meals, as well as coffee, all of which are made of local and freshly sourced ingredients. Menu items include poached egg toast ($8) and pie fries ($4.50). Vegetarian and vegan options include cucumber and avocado toast ($5), and ginger and butternut squash bisque ($5).
I ultimately decided on the traditional grilled cheese ($7) and a glass of iced tea ($2.65). My friend ordered got a grilled cheese and opted for cinnamon toast ($2.50), too.
The iced tea – served in an adorable mason jar that matched the modern decor – had a distinct, sweet raspberry flavor.
Our grilled cheeses, ready to pick up at the counter after 10 minutes, were simply presented with crunchy dill pickles on the side.
The grilled cheese was plain but heavenly. Filled with incredibly stringy and gooey white cheddar cheese, the sandwich made me feel warm inside. The perfectly grilled country bread provided a nice, satisfying crunch.
The cinnamon toast, served on the same type of bread as the grilled cheese, came slathered with whipped cinnamon butter and a heaping scoop of brown sugar on top. My friend described it as as a tasty take on a breakfast classic.
I also sampled the molten chocolate cake ($8.50). It was filled with fudge in the middle that oozed out after I cut into the center and was a bit too rich and sweet for my taste. The cake was served with a vanilla custard, which provided a nice contrast to the cake when I dipped bites of the chocolate into it. A sprinkling of blackberries topped off the dessert with a refreshing flavor.
If you still haven’t spent time at Politics & Prose bookstore – or maybe you just haven’t been in a while – The Den is the perfect reason to go. It’s a perfect spot to find a new book and enjoy simple, cheap and delicious food.