E2 = Excellent Eats
Submitted by Jonathan Nasser
A New Neighbor Is Poppin' In
We're finally into the swing of 2019, with January firmly in our rear view mirrors. 2018
was a busy year, and our neighborhood has gone through some changes in our restaurant scene. Some places have gotten a lot of attention, but I thought I would mention one that maybe you haven't tried.
Pop & Pan has reopened on 18th Street just east of Ella, after its previous shopping strip on 34th Street closed up shop. Popcorn comes in a variety of flavors such as yellow cheddar, white cheddar, habanero cheddar, lemon, dill, caramel, and more - including combination flavors. Needless to say, your popcorn snacking needs should be well covered here. They have paninis like chicken cilantro (with pesto), turkey and cheese, and goat cheese veggie which are spins on classics. At the same time, they have a fried chicken panini and a smoked brisket panini would probably be considered nontraditional options, and showcase a little bit of the breadth of what the restaurant can accomplish.
To be more blunt: the popcorn and paninis are good and worthwhile options - and welcome additions to the neighborhood - but my favorite menu items are on the rest of the menu. The open-face sandwich portion of the menu really consists of proper entree dishes - don't expect anything that looks like a sandwich. The smoked brisket may be the best in the neighborhood and the fried chicken with cornbread would be an outstanding item on any southern restaurant's menu. The kitchen smokes its own meats, and offered whole smoked turkeys for Thanksgiving. The restaurant has plenty of great offerings beyond its namesake that you might not associate with popcorn and paninis - there are wonderful cracklins, fried cauliflower, protein bowls, and plenty more. Pop & Pan is also open for Sunday brunch, and their hash always hits the spot for me. They have great specials, creative food, and a fair price point - the sort of place that is definitely on my family's rotation.