The motto at Dos Mamis, Petworth’s newest hangout, is buenas ondas—good vibes. But it isn’t a just a call to break out the booze with a Womanhattan and play a few rounds of Juego de Sapo, a Peruvian coin toss, in the outdoor wine garden. It’s also reflective of the kind of space renowned restaurateurs Carlie Steiner and Anna Bran-Leis wanted to create for their first collaboration: a neighborhood spot where all patrons feel welcome and safe.
The two seasoned D.C. entrepreneurs became friends through their restaurants on Upshur Street. Steiner, a cocktail connoisseur named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and Zagat’s 30 Under 30 lists, is co-owner of Himitsu. Bran-Leis, a Maryland-raised Guatemalan who first came onto D.C.’s food radar through DC Empanadas, owns Taqueria del Barrio across the street. They’d often call out, “Hey, mami!” to one another on their way to work.
After only one meeting, Bran-Leis and Steiner nailed down a vision for a bar that would be both a blend of their personalities and a departure from other projects. They brightened the moodiness of Hank’s Cocktail Bar—the former tenant of the space—using splashes of seafoam, pinks, and blues, in a design by Natalie Park, for “a little ‘80s and ‘90s Miami” mixed with today, says Steiner. Tearing out Hank’s booths in favor of bar stools and standing room to open up the main area was also intentional.