Monday, January 10, 2011

Restaurant Update: Bar Pilar to expand; Protest continues against Jeff Black establishment; Italian Shirt Laundry "on hold"

I hope everyone had a good (and warm) weekend. While we await the coming White Death, I wanted to pass along a few restaurant-related tidbits from our neighborhood.

As has been reported on We Love DC and elsewhere, Bar Pilar will soon be expanding into a second floor space currently housing Raven Arts. (Raven Arts artist Regina Miele will be involved in a 14th Street gallery opening later this spring, so never fear.) Renderings of what Bar Pilar's space will look like, replete with characters from The Sims: Affluent Urban Neighborhood, can be found on We Love DC and Brightest Young Things.

And speaking of BYT, they unquestionably receive the award for Most Breathless Announcement of Bar Pilar's Expansion, with their headline "How Excited Are You For the Bar Pilar Expansion?" (To borrow a quote from Mike Birbiglia: "Um, like THIS much.")

* * * * *

A couple of blocks south on 14th Street, restaurateur Jeff Black's plans to open a new restaurant and bar (called, respectively, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and BlackJack) at 1612 14th Street continues to face hurdles from both ANC2F and a group of citizen protesters.

As TBD reports, Black, who purchased the former 100% Mexico building for over $2.4 million last month, has made a few concessions to the protesters, including the abandonment of a proposed outdoor smoking deck in the back of the restaurant and an agreement to abide by operating hours until 1 AM during the week and 2 AM on weekends. But certain sticking points remain, such as a request from ANC2F chairman Charles Reed that Black promise not to make any changes to his license for three years--a request which Black has, thus far, refused.

A protest hearing before the ABC Board is scheduled for January 19. Reed and the other protestants are no doubt aware of the potential for the Board to rule in favor of Black on not only Reed's request, but also on other aspects which Black has already agreed to, such as operating hours. Black and his attorney, Andrew Kline, have indicated a willingness to go to a protest hearing--something which increasing numbers of restaurateurs and bar owners may be willing to do in order to push back against what they feel are overly intrusive demands from protestants included in so-called "voluntary agreement".

Stay tuned to see if something can be worked out in advance of the January 19 hearing date.

* * * * *

One final note to pass along: many of you have been asking about the fate of the proposed Italian Shirt Laundry restaurant and bakery, proposed for the former Shirt Laundry dry cleaners space at 14th and Q. I have been in touch with representatives of the Whisk Group, who are developing the restaurant, and have thus far only been able to confirm that plans for the restaurant are "on hold". Undoubtedly, this is due to the (unanticipated?) high costs of performing a cleanup of the site in order to be able to open a food serving establishment in the space.

Meanwhile, the building continues to deteriorate into more of an eyesore, as it has been tagged repeatedly with graffiti. I'll pass along additional information regarding Italian Shirt Laundry and its companion space down the street, Italian Cinema, as I receive it.


Anonymous said...

do you ever cover anything outside 14th and U....that neighborhood is becoming so blah blah blah

Anonymous said...

Um, Wisk Group stating the Italian Shirt Laundry Restaurant project is "on hold." Sure sounds like code for: "it ain't gonna happen." Pity.

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr. 14th and You,

I am a representative from the DC Council and we are updating our Media Outlet.I would like to include your Email address in it. If it's no hassle please send me your email address to

Thank You

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, if you're bored with the neighborhood, isn't it your fault for reading a blog called "14th and You"? Feel free to move on....

Kevin Cain said...

As a resident at 14th and V (Union Row) I hope that the local ANC folks will stop giving in to the neighborhood nazis who basically want to make any new restaurants or bars economically non-viable. Bottom line, if you don't want to live in a vibrant area with new restaurants and bars that are open late, McLean VA is waiting for you.