Ok, so Mayorga Lounge in Columbia Heights has been here a while. But as of tonight (27th of May) the lounge portion has upgraded into a really tasty venue. Before, the lounge was internet over-friendly and offered Panini sandwiches for lunches and some light appetizers/entrees in the evening. While not bad, it was more like typical coffee house fare, and not that inspiring.
Located in the old Tivoli Theater building, which they've restored quite nicely, it drew in laptop users like flies. Which actually didn't do wonders for their food sales in the evening, so to try and change the appeal they're trying a couple of new ventures. First, they shut the internet off at dinner time - while we were there tonight I saw a couple of people told that they could set up their laptops, but the internet was "off". Adding to the lack of internet is the change in mood - the lighting is much dimmer, the seating is much less coffee-house and more lounge (with low tables and comfy chairs) and the music is more mellow while still being loud enough to both enjoy it and talk to your companion. And the food...
"Before, our food sales during the week have been slow and we've had to get by on our increased weekend traffic, but a food/alcohol license requires a more even balance between alcohol and food sales. We're hoping with the new menu we'll draw in more diners" our server told us.
And I'm tellin' ya - YUM! The new menu is Japanese/Korean, cooked by a genuine Korean woman. ("I can't even talk to her!" our server confessed.) My hubby and I first shared an appetizer called Modeum Twigim (vegetables in tempura with dipping sauce) which came with 4 small sides: Kimchi, shaved radish, some sort of marinated fish, and watercress. Then, after filling up on that a bit, our entree showed up - Chop Chae Donburi, which is vegetables and wheat noodles over rice. The food was plentiful, delicious, and not too expensive. AND, as rife with food choices in the 14th street/Park Road area now, I believe this is the only Japanese/Korean offering - so hopefully this will really appeal to many.
So - next time you're in the area, stop in and have a tasty bite, relax in the dim lighting, and enjoy the ambiance and music. In fact, I'd even advise going OUT of your way to try this new menu! You won't regret it!