Courtesy of Rey Lopez

ThinkFoodLab is the chef's first pop-up style establishment. 

Elisabeth Sherman
July 11, 2017

José Andrés – the man behind that amazing rap song responding to President Trump’s immigration policies – will officially open ThinkFoodLab in Washington D.C. today, July 11.

Courtesy of Rey Lopez

The fast casual restaurant will host a series of pop-up menus that will allow the chefs to test different food “concepts” in an informal setting. The first pop-up will serve re-imagined dishes from Pepe, Andrés’ popular Spanish food truck.

At ThinkFoodLab, Pepe will serve pan de cristal (meaning “bread of glass,” named for it’s extra crispy texture), pollo frito sandwiches, homemade soft serve, and salads. If you’re a fan of the original Pepe food truck, it will still be active around the city during its tenure at ThinkFoodLab.

“We know that in our mainstream restaurants, at the check average that we have, we’re only gonna touch so many people. Getting into the fast-casual world allows us to put José’s message and José’s food in front of a much larger audience,” Joe Raffa, the chief executive at ThinkFoodGroup told Eater.

Their only other fast casual venture is Beefsteak, a vegetable-centric venue that hopes to give busy folks a chance to eat "good food fast."

This is clearly a period of serious expansion for the chef and restaurateur: In May, Andrés announced that he would be opening a massive food hall in Hudson Yards with the Adriá brothers, famous for their Spanish restaurants El Bulli and Tickets. The 35,000-foot-space, opening in 2018, will feature a wine and tapas bars and a paella restaurant, and sell Spanish olive oil, jamon, and other delicacies from the country.

Earlier in the Spring, he also solidified a three-year partnership with Compass Group USA, which will help him develop eateries for stadiums and universities.

No word on how long Pepe will be serving up sandwiches at ThinkFoodLab, but given Andrés flair for amazing cuisine, we’re excited to see what type of food lands there next.

ThinkFoodLab is located at 701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, DC.