Matt Carr: Little Red Fox Owner & Breakfast Burrito Champion
The Young Chef/Owner On Why Great Cooking isn't Just reserved for white tablecloth settings
The Meat & Potatoes
Pizza. Because you can always go back for another slice.
Oil painting. I have a life size portrait of one of my friends hanging in my high school.
GUYS! If you follow this blog or any of my social media accounts, you know that I am OBSESSED with the Little Red Fox. Since it opened in 2013, I have purchased countless lattes, ordered custom pies, tried every sandwich, inhaled breakfast burritos and basically forced my way into The Fox family.
Everything is made from scratch, sourced locally or purchased through small businesses....meaning everything is effing delicious. Yes, it takes some time to receive your made-to-order sandwiches, but these are a piece of art, people - it's worth the wait!
The chef/owner, Matt Carr, welcomed me as a regular and made a point to get to know me when I started frequenting the cafe/market in its first weeks of opening. That alone made me feel really special; being remembered and having the staff actually get to know me, laugh with me, recommend new products - it's a place of happiness. I am always greeted with a smile or a "Hi Michelle!" filled with enthusiasm (special shout out to my girls Autumn and Leah, who always put me in a good mood). That personal touch, and the food of course, keeps me coming back almost every day!
I am so inspired by Matt's passion and his determination to support local and small businesses, while serving seasonal, scratch-made food - even the croissants (a three-day process!). It's a casual establishment with five star cuisine and I hope you make a point to visit frequently - you won't be disappointed! Check out my interview with him below, while reading about his inspiration and hanger cures.
What Inspired You to Open the Fox
When I dropped journalism for a career in food-service, the end goal and dream was always to startup a small business. Little Red Fox wasn't a long gestating idea (for a while I dreamed of opening a pizza place). My wife Jena and I really designed Little Red Fox specifically for this space and neighborhood. It's a combination of our interests (coffee, pie) with services we thought this neighborhood would really love and support (restaurant-quality prepared foods, breakfast sandwiches, fresh pastries). We will never get bored here. We have our hands in so many different pots.
Who or what was your biggest culinary influence? ow would you describe your cooking style?
My time eating around in Portland, OR is really the cornerstone of my culinary education. You can get a locally-sourced scratch-made meal for $10 on almost any corner in the city. There's just such a huge variety and bounty of produce and so many farms so close to the city. The competition there is also so fierce: I often had higher quality meals at food carts than high-end restaurants there, which really taught me that anyone can cook--great cooking isn't reserved for white tablecloth settings. I love high quality well-executed food in informal settings. I make the curries, samosas and croissant dough at Little Red Fox (along with the occasional sandwich shift). That doesn't really fit into any one style, but it does adequately describe what I love to do and eat.
What Is Your Favorite Thing To Eat At The Fox?
Breakfast Burrito. I'm an addict.
How Do You Choose The Products You Sell In The Store?
I used to obsessively follow all of my favorite bands and record labels. Now I focus all that energy on small businesses: finding people that love what they're doing, love their craft, and are putting new twists onto classic ideas, like Big Spoon Roasters' nut butters or Sfoglini's dried pastas. Outside of trash bags and paper products, we don't buy anything from large companies; we exclusively buy and support other small businesses.
Ed. note: ♥ Buy local, support small businesses! ♥
Are Your Ingredients Sourced Locally? If So, Who Are Your Purveyors?
We buy directly from folks like Evensong Farm and Polyface Farms for eggs, pork, and beef; and then go through distributors like Keany Produce, Tuscarora Organic Growers, and Smucker Farms for a variety of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania goods - like Blackberries from Westmoreland Berry Farm in Virginia and apple cider from Kauffman's in Pennsylvania (which might be the best apple cider in the world).
Any Exciting developments or plans for the Little Red fox during the next year? what's the long-term vision?
We just named Bobby Dodd our new head chef. Bobby started out as a loyal customer, so it's been a blast having him make that transition. His fried chicken is a huge favorite among our staff and regulars.
When you get hangry, what one food item or dish is your go to?
Pizza. Because you can always go back for another slice.
"I focus all My energy on small businesses: finding people that love what they're doing, love their craft, and are putting new twists onto classic ideas."
Michelle's Favorite Fox Items
Brown Butter Salted Snickerdoodle (dip it in the latte)
Rosemary Tomato Soup
Pies, all of them
Butter Croissant (omg)
Hot Sauce (house made!)
The Portlander Breakfast Sandwich
Morning Bun (new item!)
Mac & Cheese
Matt Carr is chef/owner of the Little Red Fox in Washington, DC. His hard-working ethic is paired with casual ease and passionate excitement. Matt can always be found at the Fox; taking orders, rolling croissant dough, stocking shelves or just getting to know his customers.
He and his wife, Jena, have a great thing going and I can only hope to see more places like this popping up in DC.
Go check out the Little Red Fox,
open Tuesday-Sunday 7:30am - 7:30pm
*Video interview edited by Robin Dienel.