Bad Saint is a 25-seat restaurant taking a fresh and seasonal approach to traditional Filipino food. This spring, we are joining a strip of independent local businesses on 11th Street, NW in the diverse, dynamic neighborhood of Columbia Heights in Washington, DC. Our menu will celebrate the full range of eats on the Filipino table – humble homey favorites, snacks, regional specialties, and fiesta (celebration) dishes. The restaurant will showcase what Filipinos are famous for: food obsession, warm hospitality, and good times. Come as you are, and definitely come hungry.
Like Thai, Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian cuisines, the essential flavors of Filipino food are sweet, sour and salty. As you might expect, there will be food for meat-etarians, like adobo (meat braised with soy, vinegar and garlic), kare kare (oxtail stew) and lumpiang shanghai (pork spring rolls). Our approach will also highlight seasonal seafood and vegetables, important parts of the Philippine diet. Sour tamarind soup with prawns, stir fried water spinach, crabs simmered in coconut milk and chiles, and smoky grilled eggplant…and there’s lots more where that came from! With a diverse menu, including options for vegetarians and vegans, there will be something for everyone. To wash it all down, we’ll have an eclectic and food-friendly selection of cocktails, beer and wine.
The first thing you hear upon entering any Filipino home is:
Kumain na kayo? “Have you eaten yet?”
At Bad Saint, we are creating a casual neighborhood restaurant that evokes the experience of eating in a Filipino home. We want you to feel like you have walked into a bumpin’ Filipino family party – gracious, down-to-earth hospitality, seriously craveable food, and yummy drinks in a disarming and convivial setting.
Our name – Bad Saint – comes from Saint Malo, Louisiana, the site of the first permanent settlement of Filipinos in the United States. Filipino sailors deserted Spanish galleon ships and made their way to this coastal fishing village. The village was named after Jean Saint Malo, the leader of a nearby community of African Americans who had escaped slavery. To us, Saint Malo symbolizes the Filipino immigrant experience in the U.S. and the diverse, resilient culture that gave rise to Filipino cuisine. The Philippines has long been a crossroads: local Malays, waves of Chinese migration and assimilation, Spanish and American imperialism. You can taste this layered history in Filipino food.
THE KOPONAN (THE TEAM)
Nick Pimentel - Co-Owner/Designer/Visual Identity Guru
Nick has extensive experience doing graphic design and visual branding for some of DC’s favorite restaurants and bars, including Columbia Room, Hogo, El Chucho Cocina Superior, Looking Glass Lounge and The Passenger. In recent years, he has expanded his portfolio of skills and services to include restaurant layout and functionality, interior design, concept development, hiring, contracting and project management. You can see examples of his handiwork at Room 11, Petworth Citizen, and Crane & Turtle.
Nick is also a partner in Room 11, a neighborhood wine bar and restaurant, recognized as one of the Best New Bars in the U.S. by Food & Wine Magazine.
At Bad Saint, Nick will manage Bad Saint’s visual identity – from interior design to menus to our social media - and troubleshoot the day-to-day realities of restaurant life with his business partner, Genevieve.
For Nick’s full bio, click here.
Genevieve Villamora - Co-Owner/General Manager/Front of the House Maven
Before starting a second career in the restaurant industry, Genevieve worked at social justice nonprofit organizations in DC for a decade. She has extensive experience in organizational development, coalition building, event planning, partnership cultivation, personnel management, mentorship, strategic planning, and program implementation – all skills that directly translate to the restaurant world.
Genevieve has a mix of both casual and fine dining restaurant experience, and has worked at Teaism, Big Bear Café, Room 11, Komi, Little Serow, and Crane & Turtle.
At Bad Saint, Genevieve will be managing daily operations, running the front of the house, and overseeing general office-y stuff.
For Genevieve’s full bio, click here.
Tom Cunanan - Chef
When he was 15, Tom started started working in the restaurant industry as a dishwasher at Corduroy. He graduated with a Culinary Associate’s degree from the Art Institute of Washington in 2005, and has since worked at some of Washington’s notable restaurants, including Ardeo + Bardeo, Vidalia, DC Coast, Zentan at the Donovan House, Bibiana, and the late Hook and PS7’s.
In 2012, while he was working full-time, Tom started a Filipino catering business named Tarsier Catering, where he served up modern riffs on traditional dishes. Tom currently works as a Sous Chef at Nopa Kitchen + Bar.
At Bad Saint, Tom will lead the back of the house and keep our guests stuffed with delicious Filipino food.
For Tom’s full bio, click here.
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
The funds raised through this Kickstarter campaign will go toward significant structural improvements to our space. We have replaced an entire wall that was riddled with termite damage and rebuilt a portion of a load-bearing brick wall that was on the verge of crumbling. We also increased the electrical capacity of our building – a costly and time-consuming undertaking.
This Kickstarter campaign will also help pay for built-in storage throughout our adorably tiny kitchen and dining room, vital additions that will boost the functionality of our space and enable us to maximize our efficiency.
We’re humbled by and grateful for any contribution you can make to our Kickstarter campaign. We look forward to hosting you at the restaurant!
To thank you for your support, we've put together a bunch of rewards inspired by our memories of growing up Filipino American. Think karaoke sing-a-thons in smoky suburban basements; a collection of Pinoy punk, built cassette by cassette on trips to the motherland; home kitchens blessed by jugs of garlicky chile vinegar; and balikbayan boxes overflowing with polvoron, candied pili nuts, and rolls and rolls of Mentos. We hope these small tokens of our affection give you a little taste of the Bad Saint experience.
Risks and challenges
Restaurants are a risky business. There’s no sugar coating that fact. In the past 5-10 years, DC has seen its food scene get increasingly diverse, crowded and competitive. Luckily, what we have to offer – fresh and seasonal Filipino food – is new and unique. Our two successful pop-ups have proven that DC diners have serious Filipino food cravings. We are fortunate to have landed in a fantastic location – 11th Street, NW in Columbia Heights. It’s a part of town that has become a destination commercial strip, for both local residents and folks from all other corners of the District and beyond. Finally, our team has the experience, the connections, the work ethic and the determination to make Bad Saint a success.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)