Daily Grill: New Drinks, New Food and a Recently Robbed Reporter

After a brief national scare this week, it turns out the U.S. won’t be affected by a global shortage of bacon. That’s good news for the Daily Grill at 18th and M st. in Dupont.

After a three-week hiatus, The restaurant’s bar reopened last night and members of the media were invited to see its new look and try the new happy hour specials. Two of the new menu items, the Capitol Dog and the Crab Cake BLT, are heavy on the bacon.

Along with new food and beers on the menu, the bar was gutted and revamped with new seats, TVs and light fixtures. Here’s how the night went:

We met Carl…

Sitting with the rest of the media who attended was Carl Pierre. He writes for InTheCapital.com, a startup about startups and the social scene in D.C. “You forget how much you actually use your phone until you don’t have one,” Pierre said unprompted as he watched another guest type on her phone. It turns out Pierre was without a phone last night because he had recently been robbed at H Street Country Club in NE, D.C. He had placed his wallet/phone holder on a table. Inside was $200 cash, his credit cards and his iPhone 4S. He turned away for a flash and it was gone. Pierre used a GPS app on his friend’s phone to locate his. He saw it moving and he followed it a few blocks before approaching “a bad neighborhood.” He gave up on the chase and has resigned to purchasing the iPhone 5.

More on the food, drinks and who showed up…

The food and drinks…

Our first drink the Vitamin C, an orange juice-like martini, made with Ketel One Citroen. The chef, Phil Kastel, brought out some of the new Happy Hour food. In addition to the Capitol Dog and Crab Cake BLT, we had the Parmesan truffle frites (french fries with garlic and cheese), the Sausage and Arugula Lavash (which is a nicer way of saying “pizza”) and the Short Rib Sliders (little pork sandwiches). Kastel works out of L.A. and he developed each new item on the menu. Bob Spivak, the President and CEO of Daily Grill’s parent company Grill Concepts, Inc., was on hand to walk us through the experience. “In five years, we’ll be laughing about Budweiser, Miller Lite, Coors Light– all those beers that aren’t really beers,” he said. He hopes Americans take a more epicurean approach to beer and start drinking more regional ones. Of the 10 new beers the Daily Grills is offering, six are brewed on the East Coast. We tried the Dogfish Head Midas Touch, a beer brewed in Delaware and   similar to Blue Moon.

Notables: D.C. Publicist Dannia Hakki and USA Today travel reporters Jayne Clark and Nancy Trejos. Clark showed off her freshly-designed USA Today business cards, which feature the new big blue dot logo. Trejos is still using the old cards.

Quotable: “I don’t want to be in a story about journalism perks.”– Trejos