Emissary, located in Dupont Circle on the corner of P and 21st streets, is a trendy, independent coffee shop that transforms into a bar at night.
What looks like a small space from the outside, opens up beyond the doors to be spacious and often filled to capacity with people working on laptops, having casual meetings or intently reading books. The large space is encompassed by exposed brick walls and a plethora of seating options, from bar stools and cafe-style seating to couches.
Emissary brews North Carolina-based Counter Culture Coffee and the syrups, which come in vanilla, caramel and chocolate, are homemade. Their coffee offerings range from drip coffees ($2.50) to flat whites ($3.41) to mochas ($4.09). In addition to coffee, Emissary serves a variety of tea, like ginger zing and jasmine green ($3.59), as well as made-in-house chai and matcha lattes ($3.41).
For the days when coffee just won’t do it, Emissary slings alcoholic drinks from their bar. During the day, you can sip on special daytime beers and wine, while at night Emissary serves local craft beer, house wine and cocktails in addition to their regular beer and wine menu, all for between $6 and $12.
Beyond beverages, Emissary has an expansive food menu with options for everyone. The daytime menu features all day breakfast from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with options like lox and brioche served with cream cheese, cucumber, red onions, capers, tomato and a side of organic greens ($12) or a nutella and peanut butter panini ($9). At 11:30 a.m., Emissary starts serving their afternoon menu with snack items like house-made garlic hummus ($10) and a kale farro bowl ($12).
But the menu item that stands above the rest is their elevated take on a classic grilled cheese, made with aged cheddar and a spiced pear chutney ($11).
Served on two thick slices of grilled rustic loaf, Emissary’s grilled cheese remains crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. They have perfected the cheese-to-bread ratio, as cheddar cheese can be found in every single bite. When served, the cheese oozes out of the sandwich – creamy, sharp and a bit tangy.
The pear chutney adds an unexpected bit of sweetness to the sandwich. The spread breaks up the flavor of the cheese and provides a perfect balance for the sharper, aged cheddar. The sandwich is served with an organic green salad on the side that is lightly tossed in a vinaigrette dressing, serving as a nice break from the flavorful grilled cheese.
Emissary is a perfect spot for when you’re getting sick of studying in Gelman Library or the campus Starbucks. Make your way to Dupont, order a grilled cheese and take advantage of Emissary’s free wifi to study away.