Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What Could Have Been: "Diner," "Tryst" Team Opening in Columbia Heights

Remember back when there was talk of The Diner own Constantine Stavropoulos opening an outpost of his fledgling culinary empire in the U Street corridor? Sure you do. Approximately three years ago, while plans for the building at the corner of 14th and T were still up in the air (the City Paper even did a story on the building), talks were in the works to bring Stavropoulos and a 24-hour diner to the space.

Or, rather, I should say talks were in the works to prevent Stavropoulos from opening a 24-hour diner in the space, as local ANC officials and neighborhoods residents opposed to the concept helped to torpedo the plans. Furniture retailer Room and Board eventually stepped in to claim the space and did a bang-up job on the renovation (and the inexplicably decided to close the store at 7 PM every evening, just as people were getting home from work).

Meanwhile, Stavropoulos never abandoned his plans to open another "Diner" concept in central DC. And now, it seems he's finally landed a space on the burgeoning 11th Street corridor in Columbia Heights. The concept, currently named The Fishbowl, will consist of a combination of a coffee house, restaurant and bar/lounge, and will open in a building at 11th and Monroe that is currently under renovation.

When all is said and done, the over 7,000 sf space will welcome nearly 200 guests and--here's the kicker--be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Of course, such plans are still at the mercy of local neighborhood groups such as the ANC, but by all rights Stavropoulos appears confident that the 24 hour concept will go forward.) At this point, some of you are probably breathing a sigh of relief that such a concept didn't open up at 14th and T, whereas others (a majority, I suspect) are likely lamenting a missed opportunity.

At any rate, the announcement by Stavropolous seems to solidfy 11th Street as one of the city's new premier restaurant/lounge corridors, and offers a sufficient rebuttal for those who think Columbia Heights is simply an extended suburban strip mall.


Anonymous said...

I am glad we never got an affordable diner on 14th Street. After all, I buy a new sofa every weekend, but only eat breakfast out every 7 years. NO affordable food for me, thank you very much!

IMGoph said...

if you wanted a nice urban environment, why don't you move to manhattan, london, paris, or tokyo.

we don't want that stuff here.

back to columbus with you, carpetbagger!


Mr. Other Upper NW said...

You know, the Short North neighborhood in Columbus actually DOES have a 24 hour diner, so you may be onto something, fellow carpetbagger...

IMGoph said...

and i'm sure it's a hellish, terrible place where no one wants to live.

display name said...

why the hell would anyone oppose a 24 hour eatery? i mean seriously, WHO is that hurting? people need to friggin chill out and stop inhibiting growth of new businesses/job opportunities. sheesh

Lauren McK said...

Constantine presented at the ANC 1A meeting last night. Generally there was a good feeling from the crowd (most of whom was there to support the venture), but there were a few grumbles about it being 24 hours. He indicated that he hopes to have it opened by September, and will be doing much of the construction himself. I'd encourage anyone who might frequent the establishment to follow the ANC agendas, and voice your support (or not) with Sheldon Scott, chair of the ABC Committee in 1A. Community input is important.

logan said...

I agree with Laura McK. It's important that those who support this venture attend the ANC meetings and let their voices be heard. A friend of mine who lives near the planned restaurant has already been confronted by a NIMBY walking her dog. She told him that patrons of the restaurant will be drunk and vomiting in neighbors yards at all hours of the night and have been known to throw trash and glass bottles at windows.

Anonymous said...

"drunk and vomiting in neighbors yards at all hours of the night and have been known to throw trash and glass bottles at windows"

Did she mean what happened in her 'hood in the 80s, or an overblown fear of what will happen with a new restaurant nearby?

Oh, I get it, NIMBY just wants everything to be like it is right now, forever and ever, that happy place in the path to gentrification between "almost normal" and "vibrant."

Make the city stop, please, I'd like our neighborhood to get off right here!