Opening “The Box”


Tackle Box’s new location in the heart of Cleveland Heights opened Tuesday to the sounds of a reggae band and the flash of camera lights. The crush of boisterous attendees enjoyed signature cocktails and “Big Ass Beers” along with Tack’s Box’s specialty steamed lobster – quality cuisine served on a gingham table cloth.

This is Tackle Box’s second location. The first, located in Georgetown, is the casual cousin of Hook, the first sustainable seafood restaurant owned by Jonathan Umbel. Umbel got his start in the business 25 years ago when he opened a pizza delivery joint on Connecticut Avenue at the tender age of 19. Now, he wants to continue expanding his chain which has become so popular in Georgetown.

Although he eventually hopes to open many more locations, Umbel says that for now, he is intent on making the new Cleveland Heights branch successful and is focused on nurturing a quality, community-oriented restaurant. As the only seafood place in the immediate area, he’ll be tapping into a whole new market.

While they’re working on getting a band license so that groups like The Proverbs – the reggae band who set the mood for the restaurant’s opening – can play regularly, the Tackle Box will also be introducing a new concept to the D.C. food world. The Connecticut lobster roll. Unlike the traditional cold Maine lobster roll, this variation is served steamed and hot with butter and Tackle Box’s special seasoning.

“The head chef won’t even tell me what’s in it,” said Tyler Tremaine, the general manager at the new location.

The lobster, along with many other steamed seafoods, are brand new items on Tackle Box’s menu along with freshly created signature cocktails. The new drinks were invented by Ed Howard, the head bartender at Tackle Box’s Georgetown location, whose martini won Yelp’s Fourth Annual Best Martini in D.C. Contest.

Currently, the only place where these new items are available is at the Cleveland Heights location. However, Tackle Box is working on integrating them into Georgetown’s menu as well.

With new items like Beet and Goat Cheese Salad and four times the space of its Georgetown counterpart, the new Tackle Box seems to be aiming for success. And although the paint on the sign reading “In cod we trust!” just dried and the brightly colored buoys were just hung on the walls of the new restaurant, Umbel already has even bigger dreams for the future.

“To give you a sneak preview, in the next location, we are attempting to make the world’s largest oyster bar,” he said with a grin.

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