You cannot help but smile and appreciate life’s small joys when you walk into Butter Me Up at 14th Street in Logan Circle.
You will immediately notice heart-shaped bowls on tables decorated with champagne vases full of flowers. The colorful wallpaper creates a playful space, and a U-shaped bar beneath a ceiling of succulents certainly helps the restaurant fulfill its mission of creating an experience “made to uplift” its customers.
Butter Me Up is a Black-owned and women-centered breakfast and lunch cafe employing an all-female staff. The restaurant began as a pop-up shop inside Founder and CEO Andre McCain’s HalfSmoke restaurant in Shaw, but it has since expanded to two brick-and-mortar locations — both of which have added to the original menu, which consisted of solely breakfast sandwiches.
While breakfast sandwiches are not the only item on the menu, they are certainly where Butter Me Up excels. Indulgent breakfast combinations shine, especially in dishes like the appropriately named “Feels Like Home” breakfast sandwich, which consists of buttermilk fried chicken, soft scrambled eggs, caramelized onions, smoked cheddar, sriracha mayo and dill pickles between a succulent brioche bun. Unsurprisingly, the Washington Post named this sandwich one of the best fried chicken sandwiches in Washington, D.C.
Creating an award-winning breakfast sandwich doesn’t happen overnight. In its first year as a ghost kitchen out of HalfSmoke, Butter Me Up served 72,000 meals. A letter from District Mayor Muriel Bowser hangs on the wall at the restaurant’s 14th Street location, referencing the “astounding” accomplishment.
Butter Me Up’s carefully curated space and menu bring customers together to connect and relax, which somehow makes the food taste even better.
Furthermore, Butter Me Up sources many of its ingredients from local businesses. An essential part of the restaurant’s mission in its infancy was to uplift local vendors during the COVID-19 pandemic who may have been overlooked, said McCain.
Butter Me Up continues to keep this mission at its core, sourcing ingredients from a plethora of local vendors including brioche rolls from Panorama Bakery, sage turkey sausage from Landover-based MeatCrafters, eggs from several DMV farms and pickles from the District’s own Gordy’s Pickle Jar.
Despite the added cost of sourcing ingredients locally, McCain thinks this has contributed to the restaurant’s success — specifically the accomplishment of being named one of the best breakfast sandwiches. He says the expense is worth it because locally sourced products taste better.
Beyond indulgent sandwiches, the 14th Street location offers a variety of toasts, acai bowls, smoothies and shareable sides. The Sweet Potato Tots have a crispy exterior that contrasts the melt-in-your-mouth interior, and paired with a dollop of toasted marshmallow cream — it’s a dish reminiscent of the sweet potato casserole many people will find on their tables in less than a week for Thanksgiving.
French toast sticks dusted with powdered sugar offer crisp, buttery edges and soft, cinnamony centers. Dip one in a heart-shaped dish of maple syrup, and it’s hard not to be transported back to the shameless enjoyment of eating finger foods as a child.
The restaurant also offers drinks to pair with breakfast. Colorful mimosas and other champagne-based cocktails emerge from the U-shaped bar, and silky lattes are prepared behind a quaint coffee counter. The Strawberry Acai Lemonade is a real star: aesthetically pleasing with a strawberry nestled on the rim of the glass, the perfect combination of sweet and refreshing.
Consider Butter Me Up next time you are looking to try a new spot for brunch and are particularly craving a sandwich. In addition to its 14th Street location, Butter Me Up has an additional location in Montgomery Mall. It’s a must-try spot with ambiance and food that will surely uplift your spirits.