American cuisine

Call Your Mother owners mix up South American cuisine in new restaurant – The GW Hatchet

Media credit: Sarah Urtz | photo editing assistant

Latin American-inspired restaurant Mercy Me will open in the West End next month.

You’ve devoured the bagels at Call Your Mother and maybe tried the pizza at Timber Pizza Co. at Foggy Bottom Farm Fresh Market. Now the couple behind the two restaurants are trying out South American cuisine at an upcoming West End eatery.

Call Your Mother co-owners Andrew Dana and Daniela Moreira are opening what they call a “sort of” South American restaurant called Mercy Me at 1143 New Hampshire Ave. NW. The new spot will cater to both early risers and night owls, serving up sophisticated Spanish-inspired dishes as well as smoothie bowls and pastries in the morning when it opens in March.

During the day, diners can sit in the restaurant with their laptops and order a cup of coffee and a pastry, like medialunas – a South American croissant – or Mercy Me’s everything Latin-inspired bagel flavored with chimichurri spices, Dana said. At night, guests can enjoy a full bar and order Latin American dishes like Caribbean-inspired fish ribs and coconut rice.

Dana uses the term “sort of” South American because the dishes will incorporate Spanish flavors into multiple types of cuisines, he said. Arancini, for example, are typically an Italian dish, but Dana and her team said they make the dish with Spanish flavors.

“None of this is going to be super classic,” Dana said. “Some of them are going to be inspired by South America. Some of them are going to be dope stuff that we really like. You know we don’t like being typecast by something, so we’re adding this” kind of” in there to be able to do a lot of things.

Mercy Me will be located a few blocks from campus in the restaurant space under the Wink Hotel, which is currently undergoing renovations. Dana and Moreira said they are teaming up with another DC food power couple, former Doi Moi executive chef Johanna Hellrigl and co-owner of Chaplin’s and Zeppelin, Micah Wilder, to launch the new venture.

Dana said the name “Mercy Me” was inspired by DC native Marvin Gaye and his song “Mercy, Mercy Me.”

“If you take a bite of anything on the menu, you’re basically going to say ‘Lord have mercy’ or ‘Mercy on me, so delicious,'” Dana said, referencing Gaye’s song lyrics.

Dana said he hopes Mercy Me aims to appeal to anyone looking for a quick bite or a sit-down dinner. He said prices for food at the restaurant vary, ranging from a coffee and pastry for $5 in the morning to a bone-in steak for around $20.

“It’s, we keep saying, create your own adventure,” Dana said. “You can come in and have the experience you’re looking for. It can be super casual. You can go super high end with the steaks or you can keep it low cost. Or, for a night out because your parents are in town paying the bill, you can hit the jackpot.

He added that the upcoming spot will attract residents of the West End or students from nearby universities like GW and Georgetown.

“We never have a target audience,” Dana said. “I’ve always backtracked on that. I believe our target audience is everyone. We make things at a price that everyone can afford and we make foods that everyone’s going to love so we don’t ostracize anyone. This project is no different.It’s for GW students, office workers, folks who live a bit around the corner.

Cameron Cayer contributed reporting.