On paper, it’s difficult to define Maketto. “It’s a communal marketplace,” says co-founder Will Packer, “but that confuses people more than it should, so we just say it’s a restaurant, retail space, and coffee bar.”
And it is, but it’s also a wine bar. And an apothecary. And a magazine newsstand. And a community space for events and yoga. As a customer, though, the space feels purposeful and the experience coherent.
Opened in April 2015, Maketto is the Washington, D.C., version of night markets popular around the world. But instead of various independent vendors vying for attention, Maketto is slick and seamless. The first floor houses a retail shop with brands like A.P.C., Undercover, and Rains, among others. A wall of sneakers displays designs from Adidas, Hender Scheme, Yohji Yamamoto, and Raf Simons. A set of stairs leads to the second floor, which is home to a coffee bar operated by Vigilante Coffee, and a wall of magazines—all for sale.
The concept space also features a restaurant and full kitchen, where chef and Maketto co-founder Erik Bruner-Yang works to evolve the Cambodian- and Taiwanese-influenced menu. A highlight from the Michelin Bib Gourmand-winner is the Taiwanese fried chicken. If you’re lucky enough to secure a seat for dinner (tricky without a reservation), the crunchy, breaded chicken rubbed with five spices is an excellent choice. For lunch, delicious dim sum is on the menu.
Beyond the kitchen, on the roof (weather permitting), you’ll find the occasional yoga class, book signing, reading, or performance. “People didn’t feel like there was any platform [for locals],” Packer explains. “We want to be a place that cool people in our community can use.”
1351 H Street NE, Washington, D.C. 20002