Snackbar moves into former Caboose Café

Snackbar moves into former Caboose Café
Photo Credit: Missy Schrott

By Missy Schrott |

Snackbar, a new restaurant from Scott Mitchell, is setting up shop at Caboose Café’s longtime location in Del Ray.

The iconic piece of real estate at 2419 Mount Vernon Ave. is located in close proximity to popular Del Ray restaurants Cheestique and Taqueria Poblano. Mitchell plans to debut Snackbar as a go-to spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner for everyone from the mayor to the garbage collector.

Mitchell also owns fellow Del Ray restaurant Kaizen and formerly owned St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub. He took over the location from Caboose founder Rhoda Worku, who ran the restaurant for 13 years. After an efficient transfer of ownership, Mitchell decided to keep the café up and running temporarily on its old menu.

Allen Smith, Edward Felice and Mark McCaslin plan Snackbar’s
breakfast, lunch and dinner menus in the restaurant’s dining room (Photo Credit: Missy Schrott)

While it would have been easy to put up brown paper and shutter the storefront during the transition, Mitchell had his employees and the Del Ray community in mind. Snackbar remains open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. so that café regulars don’t lose their favorite lunch spot, and Caboose staff members who have remained on board don’t have to put their jobs on hold.

When the kitchen closes at 3 p.m., painting and renovations commence, and the masterminds behind the operation work on crafting Snackbar’s new menu. Food Director Edward Felice is still figuring out details of the menu, but it will feature classic dishes and simple ingredients, with a bent toward healthy and food with flavors that will drive themselves. Organizers also plan to make use of the kitchen’s bread making facility for its sandwich-heavy lunch menu. Condensed versions of the new breakfast and lunch menus will premiere on Monday.

Mark McCaslin, who was involved in planning the operation, said he wanted the restaurant’s environment to mirror that of the old Snackbar, a sandwich shop that used to reside in Old Town.

“We want the kind of place where people coming for a business meeting feel comfortable sitting next to a guy in a trucker hat,” McCaslin said.

Though it’s still in the planning stages, Snackbar’s end goal is to be a place with great food,

The patio at the former Caboose Cafe, which is transforming into Snackbar (Photo Credit: Missy Schrott)

good company and a comfortable, fun environment for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast and lunch will have fast casual, order-at-the-counter service, and dinner will be full service.

Once renovations are complete, the transition between lunch and dinner will ease with music, dimmed lights and the addition of a bar in the front room. While the restaurant is still in transition, owners hope it becomes a local hotspot. Mitchell expects a big “coming out” to the community during the annual Art on the Avenue festival on Oct. 7.

Other quick bites:

  • Casa Tequila Bar & Grill filed a special use permit to open a 100-seat restaurant serving up authentic Mexican food at 1701 Duke St., near Whole Foods and the King Street Metro. The restaurant also plans to serve beer and wine.
  • Forge Industrial Works has opened a space at 128 S. Royal St. The new retailer sells farm and industrial-themed home products and similar goods, as well as custom-made products. It’s owned by Scott and Michelle Mitchell, who recently opened Snackbar in Del Ray.
  • AV Resto Group LLC filed a special use permit to open new restaurant, The People’s Drug, in the space occupied by Bittersweet Catering at 103 N. Alfred St.
    The planned restaurant will have 23 indoor seats and 16 outdoor seats and serve craft sandwiches and cocktails. The proposed hours of operation are 7:30 a.m. to midnight.
  • Wholistic Hound Academy, which will offer dog training services, hosts its grand opening at 18 Roth St. on Oct. 14 between 3 and 6 p.m. The owner, Sandy Modell, was formerly the general manager for DASH.
  • The 116 King pop-up is opening another location in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The store announced on Instagram and Facebook that it’s hiring employees for both locations.
  • A coffee shop with some food service is slated to open in the Ice House at 200 Commerce St. Applicant Markos Panas filed a special use permit to operate a coffee shop and a carry-out restaurant, with hand pies and pastries that are made off-site.