Temporary restaurant serves up bugs for a good cause

(WJLA) - Crickets, worms, grasshoppers and other insects were on the menu for one day only at a pop-up "pestaurant" in D.C.

I, Tommy McFly, am here with my take on the buggy menu.

As I approached the temporary restaurant, located at the Occidental Grill in Northwest D.C., a greeter said, "Wonderful snacks over here, we've got some mealworms and crickets!"

"They're nice and crunchy, kind of like popcorn," one diner said.

"Kind of an earthy potato chip," said another.

"Like a corn tortilla," another described. "It wasn't bad at all - I survived it, and I'm a vegetarian."

Even better, it was all for a good cause.

"Insects plus charity - you can't beat that mix," said a customer.

Each creepy-crawly crunch meant $5 to D.C. Central Kitchen, donated by Ehrlich Pest Control Company, to celebrate their 85th anniversary. All together, the pop-up restaurant raised $6,000 for D.C. Central Kitchen.

"Most days we are out there protecting the public, from insects and pest control, and that's serious business - but today hey, let's have a little fun," said John Myers, the CEO of Ehrlich.

"I eat sunflower seeds daily and I would just happily have a bowl of crickets and do the same thing," said Ian Ravin of the entomology department at the Smithsonian.

"I eat a lot of strange things," said David Dugard of Arlington, a cricket eating champion. "And this, this was easy."

All cricket and critter munching aside, the D.C. Central Kitchen (DCCK) serves over 10,000 meals in the district every single day. They just graduated their 96th job program, which they've been doing for 25 years.

"Seven weeks of culinary training, a month in the kitchen, job searching - so it's 14 weeks of training, and then we get them jobs," explained Chef Rock Harper, an instructor at DCCK.

Though grasshopper burgers are off the menu as of today at the Occidental Grill - they're back to steaks and seafood - a lot of money was raised for the DCCK.