- This recently renovated building will house a restaurant, lounge and nightclub. (Photo: TBD Staff)
At long last, the beautiful three-story building at the northeast corner of 14th and U streets NW, recently renovated after years of vacancy and neglect, appears set to come back to life.
So what will fill this prime piece of real estate? A sizable restaurant, lounge and nightclub combo from the same team behind Local 16.
Melissa McCart reported word of a planned late January restaurant opening on Thursday, and Local 16 spokeswoman Stacey Price has since confirmed the date for us. The separate, bottom-level nightclub would follow in March. Price declined to reveal the names of all the partners in the project, but Local 16's Aman Ayoubi is one of them, as is attorney Doug Whipple, also of heirloom tomato supplier Whipple Farms.
Price was pretty tight lipped for a project that's been on the radar for at least a year, saying she couldn't even confirm the names or concepts of the two planned businesses. But a January ANC 1B meeting transcript shows that Whipple described the restaurant/lounge (working name Café Society), which will occupy the top two floors, as "a very relaxed steak house, one that people could afford to go to and had very good food: good burgers, good steaks, good sides. ... They are planning for 139 seats. There will be a small summer garden on the third floor with a roof that can be opened over it." It's always possible that concept has changed in the last year, but there you go.
The nightclub (working name Music & Arts Club) would take up all of the bottom floor, and be "very similar to Eighteenth Street Lounge," Ayoubi told McCart.
It would be wise to be cautious about how firm these opening dates are, however, since like most projects of this size, it's already fallen behind its original schedule. Plus, recall that this is the same Local 16-affiliated team that announced in the summer 2009 they were planning to open two additional restaurants, one called Barrio in Columbia Heights, and one called Table 14 on 14th Street. To date, neither of those restaurants have opened, despite initially predicting spring 2010 for both. Word on local foodie message board DonRockwell.com is that Barrio is kaput, and Table 14's status remains a mystery. So this group doesn't exactly have the best track record when it comes to predicting openings.