Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
When Mothership closed, a sad sigh could be heard throughout Park View and southern Petworth. True, the service was often spotty, but it was a neighborhood restaurant in an area of town aching for more casual sit-down spots. For months, we walked past its drawn bamboo blinds and window sill menagerie of empty flower pots, counting the dead flies in their final resting places just behind the glass. Please, we murmured in silent supplication, don’t put some shit-ass chain in here. Please don’t burden this neighborhood with the hip albatross of an outrageously expensive small plates concept with a line down the block. Don’t fuck us, restaurant karma! It was with great trepidation that we heard the news that a white dude (chef Alex McCoy) would be opening a Southeast Asian “expat” bar/restaurant. I was ready to be pissed, but then I ate there—reluctantly for the first time—because it’s a block from my house. I was utterly charmed: The bartenders are friendly and awesome, I see my neighbors, I don’t go broke eating there, the food is sublimely good and authentically Northern Thai. (The only thing “expat,” as far as I can tell, is a burger on the regular menu and a full English served at brunch.) Plus, there’s a strong, cheap late-night happy hour. Although McCoy initially planned to move Alfie’s to a permanent location at 845 Upshur St. NW, he’s now considering keeping it in place and opening a different concept in Petworth. Either way, Alfie’s will stay in Park View until at least September.