Welcoming a new coffeeshop to the fold is always nice: There is the anticipation of getting that first cup, seeing how it’s served and who serves it, and then the anticipation of turning that one singular moment into a ritual– whether solo or with friends. I asked Nazia Khan, who is Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s Director of Coffee, a few questions about new-kid Cameo at The Roost and this is what she said:
1. What’s the meaning behind the name Cameo, if any?
To be honest, Cameo was inspired by a trip to the apple orchard last fall, where I saw Cameo apples and thought, “That would be a great name for a coffeeshop!” Inspiration can come from the most unlikely places! But the team and I loved how Cameo is a simple name that has many meanings, like a piece of jewelry or a brief but significant appearance. But ultimately, we know the shop and experiences in it will shape the name.
2. How has your experience at The Wydown informed the development of Cameo?
The Wydown, and the owners (Chad and Alex McCracken) taught me what I know about tasting, brewing the best coffee possible, which certainly served as a launching point for curating and developing Cameo’s menu. More importantly, however, they set the highest standard for quality, compassion, and lightness in the same space. Above all, this is the lesson I will take to everything I do moving forward: you can be a leader in your industry, but still have fun and be kind to others. In fact, life and work is much more enjoyable that way.
3. Are you excited to open in Hill East? Do you have a special connection to the area? If not, where is home?
I am thrilled to be opening in Hill East! The neighborhood has a small town energy that is infectious. I live in Mount Pleasant, and I believe it has a similar “village in the city” energy, where everyone knows their neighbors and supports their neighborhood businesses. Living in a bustling city like DC, and especially during this tremendously difficult and isolating Pandemic, the sense of community and neighborhood support is as important as ever. Opening a coffee shop during COVID-19 and seeing the community come together and welcome us with open arms has been truly heartwarming.
Cameo is currently open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is located inside The Roost at the Blackbird Apartments, 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue SE.