Restaurateur Chris Brown of Zinnia, Soko Butcher & Takoma Bev. Co. and executive chef Danny Wells are teaming up to open Motorkat today in the former Republic space at 6939 Laurel Ave. in Takoma Park.
DCist reported yesterday that the eatery, centered around a seafood raw bar and wood-fired dishes, will celebrate Takoma Park history in more than one way — by reviving the space that once housed Republic, and by honoring one of the most bizarre Takoma Park stories.
“We wanted to bring back that old school Takoma vibe,” says Motorkat co-owner Chris Brown, who also owns Takoma Bev Co, Soko and Zinnia. He’ll be leading the spot with chef and partner Danny Wells, formerly of Republic. The restaurant opens to the public Tuesday.
As DCist reports, Motorkat’s lore begins with a cat: Back in the 1980s and 1990s, Motor Cat and her co-pilot J. Catman became famous for riding along on Catman’s Suzuki 500 motorcycle. He sat behind the wheel, while Motor Cat sat on his shoulder or on the gas tank, ears tucked inside a custom-made helmet.
The spirit of Motorkat is meant to honor her “old school Takoma Park” spunk while refreshing Republic’s former space and menu after she passed away in 2002 at age 17. J. Catman has since moved out of the area.
“The Motorkat concept is inspired by Takoma Park’s activist roots and the menu will revolve around a high-quality sourced raw bar and a seasonally-led wood-fired culinary experience,” Laura Barclay of Main Street Takoma said in a March press release. “Its bar program will feature extraordinarily balanced cocktails with irreverent names and a unique local rotating draft beer program.”
Motorkat’s opening was first reported by Washington City Paper reporter Nevin Martell.
“The city is well known for its affinity to symbolize animal-inspired heroes like city mascot Roscoe the Rooster, but Motorkat was first,” said Danny Wells, Motorkat co-owner, executive chef, and Takoma Park native. “Motorkat is a legend, who cruised the streets of Takoma Park on a motorcycle, inspiring the community around her to live fast. We centered our concept around this symbolism and the progressive roots of Takoma Park.”
Photo and Menu Courtesy of Motorkat