Faculty Favorites: Ms. Brown sends me to Heat Da Spot


Courtesy of Margot Durfee

Margot Durfee

A few years ago, Wilson social studies teacher Jennifer Brown was driving to work when she passed the grand opening of Heat Da Spot, an Ethiopian cafe and restaurant in Petworth. The cafe quickly became one of her go-to spots.

“It was the favorite place when I worked at Roosevelt STAY; we all went there in the mornings [once] I convinced them how magical it was,” Brown excitedly said. Having lived in Benin, West Africa, for three years, Brown explained that she thought Heat Da Spot was going to be a West African restaurant. Upon further inspection, she realized, “It’s my second favorite [cuisine] after West African: Ethiopian!” 

She frequently orders the premade vegetarian platter and the “stewed spicy lamb and tomato sauce… the injera is so good when you dip it in.”

To investigate the restaurant Brown swears by, my friend and I hopped on the metro to the Georgia Ave-Petworth station on the green and yellow lines. Heat Da Spot is a black and white single-story brick building with a small outdoor seating area. The interior is small and eclectic—each of the five vibrant red and yellow walls were covered in glossy posters advertising events like an “all you can eat Ethio buffet.” In the back of the cafe was a long marble counter supporting a large espresso machine and cash register. Lined along the back wall were precarious stacks of colorful tea boxes. The rest of the cafe was a medley of assorted furniture, from blue embroidered armchairs with gold armrests to wooden stools and bar tables.  

Heat Da Spot offers a range of Ethiopian and American breakfast and lunch options, all between $3 and $15. We ordered the feta with eggs ($10.99)—cubes of bread soaked in a spicy tomato sauce beneath a layer of creamy feta cheese and an omelette. Upon the instruction of one of the owners, who kindly brought the dishes to us, we cut into the omelette, mixed the components together, and ate it with the creamy green “secret sauce,” which tasted of bell peppers and chilis. The rich flavors of the feta, eggs, and bread paired nicely with the freshness of the tomato slices. 

My favorite dish was the ful platter ($9.99)—fluffy scrambled eggs, tomato and fava bean stew, and spongy injera (a sour dough-risen flatbread). The spicy stew was comfortingly warm, the fava beans giving it a smooth texture. The injera added an extra dimension of sourness.

After devouring both dishes, my friend and I decided we were still hungry—a disappointment considering we had just spent $20 on food. To my wallet’s dismay, we went back to the counter and ordered the waffle with pie ($13.99), a stack of waffles topped with a layer of sausage, scrambled eggs, tomatoes, pepper, and melted cheese. Unfortunately, compared to the previous two dishes, this one was underwhelming—the waffles were slightly soggy and the overall flavor wasn’t particularly enticing.

Heat Da Spot has great service, an enjoyable atmosphere, and generally high quality food. However, I recommend sticking to the Ethiopian dishes if you want to make the most of your money.