Mar 27, 2024 - Food and Drink

Swiss restaurant Stable is closing and reopening as Steak Frites DC

A wooden table with white plates of salad, French fries, a baguette and steak

Steak dinner prix fixe. Photo: courtesy Steak Frites DC

Farewell, fondue: D.C.'s only Swiss restaurant Stable is closing next week on H Street, NE, and will soon reopen as a steak frites spot under the same ownership.

Why it matters: H Street has been hit with a series of high-profile restaurant and bar closures, so chef/owners David Fritsche and Silvan Kraemer hope their rebrand to Steak Frites DC will bring a welcome new destination to the neighborhood.

Catch up quick: Stable opened seven years ago and was popular for Swiss delicacies like raclette and homemade breads — traditions they kept alive through the pandemic with private dining chalets.

  • Kraemer says Stable was a winter haven for fondue, but diners fell off in summer. That, combined with a tough business climate, made them want to start fresh.

What they're saying: "It's hard, pre-pandemic H Street had its height and a lot of people came to go out — Biergarten Haus, H Street Country Club, Rock & Roll Hotel — and dine," Kraemer tells Axios. "With the pandemic, [all those] places closing and crime increasing — our regulars come, but there's not as much foot traffic."

What's next: The team's doing a quick turnaround — Steak Frites DC will open April 18 with a fresh, "Swiss-less" look (e.g. those "chalets" will become private booths). Dinner and weekend brunch will focus on a tried-and-true European formula: a moderately priced, complete steak dinner ($36.95 per person) that includes homemade bread, salad, a 10-ounce ribeye cut, and fries.

  • Like some legendary steak frites spots in Geneva, the restaurant will serve its beef on top of a "secret" herb-garlic butter that melts at the table, thanks to platters being placed on fondue burners. Patrons then dunk the meat and fries in buttery sauce as they eat.
A platter of butter with steak on top sitting on a fondue burner
Fondue, but make it steak. Photo: courtesy Steak Frites DC

Zoom in: In addition to the prix-fixe, there's a short lineup of à la carte appetizers and entrées (e.g., shrimp cocktail, a steakhouse burger), plus homemade desserts. Brunch will launch soon with the same set steak menu as well as some Stable favorites like waffles and house-smoked salmon Benedicts.

  • To drink, no more "schnappsicles," but the bar is pouring five styles of espresso martinis.

Between the lines: Head chef Fritsche was twice a victim of the area's tough circumstances last year — first when he was struck by a car biking to work on H Street, resulting in lasting injuries, and shortly after when he was carjacked at gunpoint at a nearby gas station. A GoFundMe page, set up by a neighbor in November, raised over $19,500, but Fritsche still has more surgeries ahead — another reason to streamline the restaurant concept.

  • "It really touched my heart seeing the neighborhood helping out like that," says Fritsche of the GoFundMe. "The heart and soul of what we do, the way we live hospitality — that's not going to change. It's Stable with a different shirt on."

The intrigue: If you miss the Swiss, don't despair. The team says they may bring back Stable's menu in the fall.

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