H Street NE Eatery to Open With No-Tipping Policy

by Andrew Ramonas June 3, 2015 at 11:10 am 1,339 4 Comments

An American small-plates restaurant will open officially today on the H Street corridor with a focus on local ingredients, but not tips.

Sally’s Middle Name at 1320 H St. NE won’t expect its customers to reward waitstaff for good service. Rather, an 18 percent service charge will be added to each bill and any tips received will go to a local charity.

Aphra Adkins, who owns the restaurant in the the former Pizza Parts & Service space with her husband, Sam, said her staff is making an hourly wage and the service charge will be shared with all the workers, except her and Sam.

“What we’re hoping to promote with that is a little bit more love between the front of the house and the back of the house, as well as a little bit of encouragement to the people who work here when it’s slow,” Aphra Adkins said.

Named after Sam’s sister, who doesn’t have a middle name, Sally’s Middle Name will have a rotating selection of food that could change daily.

The menu online today has brined chicken breast with shitake chicken jus for $13, disco fries with rabbit gravy and fontina cheese for $12 and 11 other dishes that are less than $14.

Sally’s Middle Name also makes ice cream in-house. The current flavors include maple walnut and mint for $4, each.

Alcohol isn’t available yet. But the eatery should start pouring beer and wine next week, Adkins said.

The restaurant will be open for dinner every day except Tuesday, when it’s closed. It also will have brunch Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.

Next Wednesday, Akae, a self-described “lifestyle and home goods boutique,” will open above Sally’s Middle Name. The shop is from Aphra Adkins and Seda Nak, the wife of Toki Underground and Maketto owner Erik Bruner-Yang.

Its hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Photo of Akae courtesy of Akae

  • taloisi

    Umm come on. This is junior high level logic stuff, and yet you STILL used that title. Many restaurant menus state “18% fee added to parties of 6 or more,” does that mean parties of 6 or more no longer have to tip anywhwere? Why not just say that ALL FOOD IS FREE (after a $50 per person fee) I’m less apt to go to a restaurant that adds the tip in advance. Every restaurant employee is paid an hourly wage, but it can be as low as $2.77 in DC. However, if this place is paying a GOOD hourly wage, I’d feel much better about it. I thought 20% was pretty standard these days, anyway?

    • MaxC

      They are paying more than the “typical” hourly wage that most people working in the restaurant business receive. Most servers and bartenders rarely see a paycheck as their $2.77 goes mostly to taxes and such. The 18% is for all parties, size doesn’t matter. You would think that 20% was standard, but it ranges from 15-30% depending on the patron and here in DC with staffers and interns who don’t make big bucks, tipping can be lower than that, or people who are just plain rude, or who have had bad service…my list could go on.

  • Chris

    That’s not at all a no-tipping policy. It’s an 18-percent-mandatory-tipping policy. Which, fine, I guess. But unless the hourly wage the wait staff is getting is at least minimum wage, they’re probably getting boned out of some money.

  • Monica D.

    I have many friends who work as servers and they all wpuld prefer an hourly wage so that they KNOW what they are taking home on a weekly basis, and they know that they will always have the money to pay their bills. Its impossible to save and have a little spending money when you don’t know what you are getting day to day. At least if there is a slow day it won’t impact someone’s weekly budgeting. And the owners aren’t keeping the money for themselves (a la Amy’s Baking Company). Many restaurants are beginning to do this, the employees seem happy enough when I went to eat, the food is good Farm to Table. Unless the employees have a problem-I don’t see a problem here.


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