Creme Cafe and Lounge
Creme Cafe and Lounge is one of the newest hotspots on U Street. The restaurant is small and quaint with gold walls and gold antique mirrors that accent the place giving it a serene ambiance.
The furniture is cream and cozy which gives off a modern flair along with the vanilla colored orchids that hang along each table setting. The blonde wood colored tables are accented with small martini glasses that are used as candles.
The restaurant’s owner, David Ayalew, said, “After coming up with about 10 different names, I would go to bed and wake up, the name Creme would ring in my head so that’s why I decided to name it that, for some legal reason we could not spell it cream so we just spell it Creme instead but pronounce it cream..” It is a fitting choice for the place hence its color scheme.
Ayalew is 42 years old and is from Ethiopia. He came to the U.S. in 1982 where for many years he worked at the Ritz night club for about 14 years. He had some sense of business and decided to start the restaurant when he noticed that U Street was changing. Due to the gentrification of U Street, about three years ago the quality of spending had changed along with the quality of the crowd. The urban crowd in the area is fairly mixed with disposable income. He states, “I figured if I came here to do something before everyone got a jump on it, it would be a great opportunity so I decided to take advantage of the situation.”
Ayalew’s clientele is from age 25 and as high as 70. “It’s amazing because what makes this place so great is that we have regular customers that come here sometimes three or four times a week.” The restaurant is known for its wonderful brunch menu that offers a special on the bottomless mimosa. One of their signature dishes is Shrimp and Grits that is also offered during dinner time as well. The Shrimp and Grits dish entails succulent shrimp, andouille sausage, garlic, shallots & creamy stone-ground grits. The dish is well prepared with the freshest ingredients. Ayalew states, “All of our dishes are made to order and the quality of food is impeccable. We have a truck to deliver only fresh fruits, meats, and vegetables everyday so unlike other restaurants we do no serve anything frozen.”
Some of the other dishes that customers enjoy are Meat and Potatoes Americana which is a generous portion of braised English-cut short rib of beef, potatoes gratin, and roasted vegetables. Another favorite is the No Bread Crumb Crab Cake that is an appetizer and is infused with jumbo lump crab salad in spring roll skin, served warm with sliced cucumber and Dijon mayonnaise.
The desserts are to die for and taste homemade. The coconut cake is a tremendous slice of cake that has a hint of lime in the icing and is prepared on a plate with fresh blueberry sauce. While biting into a piece of this delectable surprise, one instantly feels that they are in the comfort in their own home. They also have signature martinis such as the Dark and Stormy Martini that is a combination of green ginger mixed with Gosling’s Rum with sugar, and fresh lime juice. This can be served straight up or on the rocks. Another drink that is well respected is the Southern Surprise that is a wonderful concoction with Southern Comfort, Myers Rum, Sloe Gin, Amaretto, and orange juice.
The restaurant has a beautiful atmosphere with great consistency, great food, and customer service. Creme Cafe will definitely be taken to the next level and will definitely be in business for a long time.
“I am very ambitious and I love a challenge of a business. Failure is not an option”, Ayalew states.