For Georgetown students, Epicurean and Company, better known as Epi, may simply be a last resort comfort food joint to visit with friends at 2 a.m., almost always after a disappointing night out. But as someone who does not go to Georgetown, and visits Epi for scrambled eggs at breakfast rather than late-night quesadillas, Epicurean and Company is a dining haven unparalleled across America.
For starters, the location could not be better. Wedged between Darnall Hall and the medical facility, just a few steps away from the weekend madness at Henle, Epi draws in the average passerby with its large windows showing the promise of warm, ambient lighting — a refuge from the dark night. The restaurant is centered between a sports bar and a forthcoming noodle bar. A watering hole with soothing classical music, Epi is a late-night bastion of conversation between students who may not associate with one another during the day. Its inhabitants include a lively mix of first-years, interning residents and groups tumbling out of Ubers, ready to settle down for a post-midnight snack. Other groups of friends sit silently on their phones, simply texting stories of their late-night adventures to their group chats, in order to truly enjoy the full flavors of their meals.
The cozy booths and large conjoined tables create the perfect space for new friendships, forged and lost by the time, to have shared a pizza. I have been lucky enough to overhear several of these conversations, through which I have picked up on the local lingo. Mostly, though, the spirited chatter surrounds classes, clubs and those unique travels and experiences that make the Hilltop such an exciting place to be.
The food at Epi is indulgent, as the restaurant name suggests. There is the ever-difficult choice between the buffet or grill. Personally, I take my chances with the buffet, since I do not know how to work the automated ordering system, with its endless receipts. At the buffet, I recommend the lightest of the plate options, which is the plastic tray with three dividers. Because cost is determined by the ounce, every sliver off allows one to pack on more rice and chicken. Just as Georgetown is a school that garners international attention, Epi is a restaurant with options from almost every corner of the world, yet still features universal favorites, like larger-than-life cookies.
For accoutrements, there is free ice, lemon wedges, individualized salt and pepper packets and much, much more. Well, perhaps not much more. Still, the plastic cutlery is sturdier than that at any other college campus in America. Not to mention that there is a coffee bar that makes an excellent illy coffee or chocolate banana milkshake.
I fondly recall my lazy Sunday mornings at Georgetown, sitting with my laptop, gazing out of the restaurant’s tall window panes. The drizzle of spring rain outside, the scent of brewing coffee and the quiet and warmth of the restaurant lend a nostalgic coziness to the scene.
On a scale from Leo O’Donovan’s Dining Hall to Bulldog Tavern, I would have to place Epi high on the spectrum, even on par with Farmers Fishers Bakers. Its late-night conversation and warm ambience are of the highest quality – but its quesadilla cannot be beaten.
Andrew J. Bilden is the sibling to a freshman in the School of Foreign Service. Georgetown From Afar appears every other Friday.