Take a huge whiff of Italy as you walk through the front door of Vace Italian Delicatessen. The salami and sausages hanging over your head will further trigger your panging stomach, making this old school eatery one of those neighborhood joints that has become known throughout the city. Pizza aficionados can head here for a slice or a whole pie, while huge sandwiches made with Italian deli meats and cheeses are an option for those found wanting. If you prefer to cook at home, Vace stocks imported packaged items ranging from pasta to pimentos, and also sells homemade pasta and fresh pizza dough. The counter service can be a bit spotty, but at Vace, the food and the vibrant, colorful atmosphere are the star of the show.
Byblos Deli is a diminutive Cleveland Park café, noted for its delicious gyros and souvlaki sandwiches. Sides include standard Middle Eastern fare, from stuffed grape leaves to baba ganoush, hummus and falafel. Don’t want to go Greek? You can also indulge in yummy homemade chicken salad, a variety of subs or opt to sample the daily special, which often features regional delights not often found around DC. The small inside eating area is a little sparse, leaving the focus on the food, and on nice days Byblos sets tables out on the wide sidewalks overlooking Connecticut Avenue. They’re perfect for enjoying the cheap eats and watching folks stroll by.
Locals come to Wake Up Little Suzie from all over the city to find unique gifts that are either playful, retro, wacky – or all of the above. You can find stuff you never knew you wanted inside the slightly cluttered but decidedly friendly storefront, from unique animal plush toys to robot-shaped clocks. There are also practical items like tableware, greeting cards and pretty candle holders, much of which is made by hand. Wake Up Little Suzie also offers a nice assortment of creative jewelry and kitchen accessories, both served up with just a touch of whimsy. It’s also a good place to pick up colorful and one-of-a-kind gifts for kids and pets.
The entryway of Sherry’s Wine and Spirits may feel narrow and claustrophobic, but that’s simply because of the massive bottle selection inside. This Woodley Park liquor store houses thousands of bottles of wine on its shelves. Can’t figure out which bottle will be the perfect complement for a home-cooked meal or a romantic evening in? Ask one of the well-informed staff members to point you to the perfect vintage. And if you aren’t in the mood for the grape, note that the store has an interesting selection of rare liquors, an impressive array of whiskey and bourbon and all of the necessities for a well-stocked bar. There’s also a nice selection of American and international craft beers, some as rare as the vino bottles found elsewhere. Be sure to keep an eye out for the rotating “hot deals” and specials.
Peddling potables for almost 20 years, Cleveland Park Wines offers a bevy of grape-centric delights, including organic and kosher vintages as well as champagne and dessert wine. The knowledgeable staff aids guests in picking out a future fermented family, with a variety of red and white wines broken down into pinot noirs, rosés, merlots, cabernet sauvignons, and more. Sniff and swirl the bold and buttery notes of the 2008 Chalone Vineyards Estate chardonnay ($22.99), or realize a resolution to drink more dry fruit by sipping up the XYZIN zinfandel ($15.99). For a more seasonal crash course in Bacchic beverages, Cleveland Park Wines' April offerings include dry rosés from around the world, granting aficionados a passport-less daytrip to exotic vineyards. Grab a bottle of Quinta do Carqueijal ($5.99 on sale), or pair an elegant bottle of Loir Valley, Mareuil J. Mourat, with notes of soft peach and rose petals ($16.49), with smoked salmon. Cleveland Park Wines also plays host to ongoing events, where guests can taste exquisite vintages before snapping up a favorite bottle to fill the shelves of pantries, wine cabinets, or basement speakeasies.
You may feel like you’ve stepped back into the 1970s at this underground billiards bar and restaurant. The focus at Breadsoda is on fun, with super-friendly servers and drink-friendly games like ping pong, shuffleboard, darts and Yahtzee available for the youngish clientele. Accompany the entertainment with a grilled cheese BLT, an Italian meatball sandwich or the namesake Breadsoda, piled high with turkey, Swiss cheese and slaw on pumpernickel. Grab a seat at the zigzagging wooden bar to enjoy your meal, or slide into one of the squared-off leather booths that hug the vibrant walls. When you’ve finished, step out to the below-street-level patio area with your pint of craft beer, or meander around the inside, checking out the eclectic trophies, skateboard decks or whatever’s on the hanging flat-screen TVs.