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To-Go TakesWashington D.C.

Shilling Canning Company’s Reid Shilling on Ghost Kitchens and Suckling Pig


To-Go Takes is Resy’s regular feature wherein we quiz the folks behind some of our favorite restaurants about all things related to takeout.

In this edition, we speak to Reid Shilling, the executive chef and owner at Shilling Canning Company, his ode to the Chesapeake region, currently open for indoor and outdoor dining, pickup, and delivery. Below, he shares some of his favorite takeout tips, tricks, cocktails, and regular stops.  


Restaurant: Shilling Canning Company
Name + Title: Reid Shilling, Chef & Owner

Resy: What’s your absolute favorite dish from the restaurant’s takeout menu?
Shilling: It’s hard to answer because our menu changes every two weeks, sometimes every week based on what we receive from our partner farm. But I’d have to celebrate our fried chicken. In the earlier months of our restaurant’s lifecycle, we had a chicken-fried Beaver Creek quail on our menu. Then, fried chicken was added to our menu right before the pandemic hit — we were planning a bar-centric happy hour menu for baseball season, being so close to Nats Park. We decided to keep it and added it to our takeout menu. It became one of our best-selling dishes, understandably. It represents the ultimate comfort food. It’s been on our regular takeout and à la carte menu since, and it’s also part of our weekly three-course brunch.
Shilling’s favorite item on the takeout menu: the fried chicken. Photo by Samantha Giordano Kim, courtesy of Shilling Canning Company
Where are you getting takeout from and what are you ordering?

Peter Prime’s Cane. The snapper escovitch travels so well. A great dish for two people to sit over and share, it’s a cacophony of heat, flavor, and herbs.

Admittedly I’m biased about this, but our new sandwich shop, Ampersandwich, is something I’m regularly ordering from for lunch these days, since we just finished weeks of R&D. The McReid and Baltimore pit beef especially. It officially rolled out to the public as a takeout-only option, but guests can get the sandwiches during happy hour here on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m.

I’m really excited about the chef-driven ghost kitchens that are popping up right now. They are all trying to create lifelines for their businesses despite the fact that it may not be what they’ve intended to do. It’s amazing to see all of these people acting outside their day-to-day comfort zone in an effort to continue to persevere. Espita’s Ghostburger, Columbia Room’s Your Only Friend, Albi’s Pizza, Johnny Spero’s Lonely Hunter & Mort’s Meats, Marcelle Afram’s Shababi and Chris Morgan’s pop-ups at Bammy’s (such as Yazmin and La Tejana), and Kevin Tien’s Wild Tiger are just a few that I’m excited about.

The McReid sandwich at Ampersandwich. Photo by Samantha Giordano Kim, courtesy of Shilling Canning Company
Now that temperatures have dropped, what cold-weather foods are you looking forward to ordering the most?
Chicken and dumplings, anything with grits. We’ve rolled our menu into heartier options like brown butter beans and chicken or an oyster chowder with seafood boudin. It’s warming and comforting but it’s also nutritious — that’s one of our goals.
I don’t typically seek certain restaurants or foods because it’s warm or cold out. Right now, when I’m ordering out it’s also to eat with my wife and daughter, so we look for something that’s delicious and well-rounded, but also accessible. We love to support our local neighborhood restaurants (we hope everyone reading this will too!), like Mi Vida, Salt Line, All Purpose, and Morini. And I love the extra dark chocolate ice cream from Jeni’s Ice Cream here in the Navy Yard — it’s never too cold for a scoop of this!
What’s your favorite place for cocktails to go?
I’m not personally ordering many cocktails to go but Maydan’s bar director Jessica Weinstein makes some of the best cocktails in the city — I love the Royal Melon.
What single restaurant dish would you walk miles for?
Sara [his wife and partner at Shilling Canning Company] and I spent so much time in Spain and really enjoy the regional cuisine in Segovia. Cochinillo from José María would be that one dish — it’s a roasted suckling pig and the entire experience is such a show, filled with all the pomp and circumstance you can imagine. It’s brought out tableside where chef Jose Maria “carves” it (he uses a plate to cut into it). You enjoy it with really crusty bread, and a bottle of chilled wine, enjoying the most perfect combination of crisped skin, tender moist meat, and the richness of the fat.
Ampersandwich’s Baltimore pit beef. Photo by Samantha Giordano Kim, courtesy of Shilling Canning Company

What was your first meal back once restaurants reopened?

Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to go out to eat but my wife Sara and I had a date night at Reverie towards the end of the year and it was such a treat. That’s really been the only dining out I’ve done, but it was memorable. Everything else, all of my time, goes to Shilling and keeping the lights on, and our guests and staff safe.

What do you miss the most about restaurants?

I can’t wait for FULL restaurants, interacting with guests more, the hustle and bustle of the kitchen. I’m a huge baseball fan, so aside from looking forward to that personally, we need that for our community. To have time to dedicate to creativity in the kitchen again. To have my staff feel secure. To have our farm partners, fishermen, and producers know they can depend on our orders for the long run; that their harvest isn’t in vain. I know it’s going to be a while still, but I can’t wait for our community — our entire industry — to be re-invigorated with a sense of excitement and optimism that is at the core of every restaurant’s soul.

Shilling Canning Company is open for indoor and outdoor dining Wednesday through Sunday for dinner and weekend brunch. Order Shilling Canning Company pickup and delivery here.