Dupont’s Fun New Sub-Shop Offers Happy Hour With Diet Coke
Compliments Freshly graduated from the permanent digs of Dupont Circle, but the pandemic-born substore still refuses to take itself too seriously.
The 10-inch sandwich slinger moved from a temporary Logan Circle home to the former Sorellina deli space last week (2029, rue P N.-O.). The small 15-seat Dupont boutique is actually much larger than the first. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for dine-in, take-out or delivery.
While there’s no booze, there’s still happy hour: a comical offer of Diet Cokes for $1 a day (2-3 p.m.). Other playful touches include mini cannolis dipped in shiny fruity pebbles and a working vintage vending machine filled with candy cigarettes for $1.
A more useful, non-edible menu offering is a $15 picnic kit, complete with a reusable blanket, two color-changing cups, napkins, wet wipes and a Frisbee.
The store’s bread and butter, of course, are its important, portable subs that spawned reliable DC during the final days of the pandemic. A Teamster hit comes with ham, capicola, and Genoa salami, plus hot and sweet peppers, onions, oil and vinegar, and shredded lettuce. All of the subs, which cost around $15, come on a 10-inch Italian roll — except for huge three- and six-foot-long options to meet catering demands.
Pete Sitcov and Emily Cipes first debuted Compliments Only on the lower strip of 14th Street NW in December 2020 when the two needed a new place to work after Coconut Club, the island-style hangout by Union Market (where Sitcov was sous-chef and Cipes was co-owner and general manager), temporarily closed.
Back when Sitcov opened Eckington’s Yang Market deli, he named all of his sandwiches after scenes or quotes from his all-time favorite movie: My cousin Viny. At Compliments Only, he pays homage to his lead actress with a fiery “Marisa Tomei Eats Free” that tops Italian charcuterie with honey and chili aioli.
Sitcov expects his new “Sticky Wicky Club” to do well, featuring turkey, ham, bacon, Duke mayonnaise, provolone, tomato, onion, shredduce, oil and vinegar, and oregano. Having an oven in its new location is a game-changer and opens the door to new sandwich ideas. A comforting “Vesuvio II,” for example, comes with plump meatballs, vodka sauce, pepperoncini, oregano, and a melty mozzarella coating. Beef and Pork orbs respawn on their own as a side swimming in marinara.
“This meatball sub I really like and I’m not a hot sandwich type,” Sitcov says.
A decorating call for customers’ tchotchkes has resulted in a collection of wild oddities on its shelves and brick walls. There’s everything from a nerdy portrait of a friend – similar to Vince Vaughn’s painting in wedding crashes — to a stuffed fox’s head “with the bad teeth,” he says. The interior, assembled by //3877, also nods to American tattoo work and its inked team with decorative tiles framing the command line.
DC’s sandwich game has recently gone from strength to strength across the city of Capitol Hill, where another gaming and pandemic operation (Fight Club) has also moved to a permanent address. A current liquor license will add boozy punches to the mix.
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