Bad News From Up In North Country

IMG_6629, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Thanks to the many readers who sent me this sad news. Meridian Restaurant up in Brightwood has closed. It was a beautiful space so I hope something nice goes in and of course I wish the folks behind Meridian Restaurant the best of luck.

Here’s the note that was sent out:

“To all our patrons and friends,

Last night we closed Meridian Restaurant and Bar. My partners and I have concluded this is not the right restaurant for this location at this time. We are obviously disappointed. We have worked and planned and worked to put Meridian together for years. Clearly, the limping economy is hurting restaurants, especially start-ups. Please know that many people, including the city, are committed to keeping a quality sit down restaurant in Brightwood. We are in negotiations with another local restaurant operator to move into the space with a different concept that, we hope, will be more appealing to the neighborhood. We hope that you support that venture as you supported us. Our target is to have a new restaurant open in Meridian’s space by September.

Thank you for sharing our adventure, however brief.

Rodney English”

17 Comment

  • I have to wonder what happened. I mean, everybody who has ever spent a day in the restaurant business knows that you have to be prepared to hemorrhage money for at least the first year of a new place. Did they not have the reserves? Did something bad happen and scare them off? Were they just not prepared for the hard hard work of running a restaurant?

    Regardless, I’m sorry to see this and hope the space is filled with a good business soon.

  • sorry to see it go, but it seemed the place couldn’t get the kinks worked out in time to build a client base. the food never seemed quite up to par, and they tried to do too much at once.

    i would kill for an Eastern NC Barbeque joint in the neighborhood. there isn’t a moderately close facsimile of one within 100 miles (despite many claims to the contrary). and i bet something like that would catch on among the diverse folks living here in Petworth/Brightwood.

  • Anon – have you tried the NC BBQ at Market Lunch? I like it, but I am not originally from NC, so I can’t swear it’s totally authentic.

  • I don’t know the specifics, but the letter from the owners is so heartfelt, that I can’t bust on them too much.

    I sort of knew people in Hoboken who planned and budgeted for a restaurant and had cash reserves, but the rebuild cost them an extra $15,000 because of repairs they didn’t expect and price quotes that weren’t honored.

    Then when they opened and lost money the first three weeks they were hurting really bad- They overbought food that first week and had to throw it out when it went bad. I remember hearing that one weekday they only had 8 parties for a total of about $300. By 3 months in they had exhausted all their cash reserves and weren’t going to meet their mortgage, so the wife got a day job again so they could keep from getting kicked out of their house. They limped along and from what friends told me they made about $12,000 in 9 months and sold it as soon as they could.

    Cash would come in, but then go out and rent was like $7000 per month. so they’d spend the whole first week trying to scrape rent together, then the next week pay for utilities and salaries, then the third week pay for food and supplies, and then they’d live on whatever they made in the last week.

    Then someone gave them a bad blog review that they thought was phony.

    Restaurants can be brutal.

  • I gotta say that I’m not suprised they had some difficulty staying open. When they opened i thought the demographic of the surrounding neighborhood would be slow to embrace an upscale restaurant in our midst (yes, I live a few blocks away). I also reasoned that the rest of the city’s perception of the local demographic would be a deterrent to a large portion of those who would patronise such a place. The ghost of the Ibex and it’s legacy of crime still loom large here and having a police station a block away is hardly a deterrent to petty criminals.

    There is also the fact that the only other sit-down restaurants in the immediate vicinity (Wonder Chicken, Haydees and the African place next to the thrift store) are hardly upscale and barley have customers except on the weekend.

    They should definately try again, though, with either a menu and prices that would draw in the locals or in a neighborhood where their patrons are less likely to be accosted by the abundance of drunks and crackheads that hang around the Missouri Ave. “stop-and-cop”.

  • Restaurants are the hardest business to open. Yet, more people try it everyday. I remember the Carolina Kitchen that was on 9th & U. I visited the place and they were so short staffed that the bartender actually had to serve the food. That just shows you that running a restuarant is more than just being able to cook good food at home.

    I have looked at the development occuring in NW, particularly CH and Petworth. One thing I have noticed is that of the small restaurants, the Spanish/Latino (Flip-it, Moroni, Rumberos, El Torogoz, and all the others around 14th) are making it so far.

    Yet, as rich in black history as U St. and CH’s are, and with all the new development, there have been few black owned restuarants to either open or make it.

    Draw your own conclusions.

  • Beautiful space, but the food was pretty bad I thought and too expensive to boot. The bad (but accurate) Washington Post review couldn’t have helped. I would have gone back if the food was tasty, if you make quality food, they will come (see Colorado Kitchen which is also far from public transit, etc.). Hope they keep the decor which is great.

  • I think Guy hit the nail on the head.. I understand and applaud their efforts-but a more balanced menu would bring in more folks from the neighborhood (I live right down the street)-as well as those from outside of same.

  • I am not at all surprised. The reviews weren’t too great and the food was way overpriced for the neighborhood. I live in the neighborhood because it’s cheap. It would be nice to have more restaurants that aren’t carry out, but I’m not going to shell out that much money ever.

  • I also am sad to see it go. I live in the neighborhood and was very excited when it opened and have been there a couple of times. It was very pricey and the food was just ok. One night i waited nearly 2 hours to get my meal while everyone around me was served and no one seemed to be able to help me. Unfortunately (or fortunately) there are loads of choices in DC and with scarce resources for going out to dinner one bad experience makes you want to move on.

  • PS – Moroni Bros rocks! I think that they got it exactly right for the neighborhood.

  • so sad 🙁

  • It is sad, and I wish them the best of luck. We tried to go their first weekend, but they weren’t opening until the evening, so we never go to try it. There is room for success in the area around the Red Derby, however. Anybody with the will to open up a good Chinese restaurant with delivery will most certainly succeed, and the many small latin restaurants need only upgrade the quality of their food (and if even one decide to serve good cheap, heavy latin coffee in the mornings, I think they will be well rewarded).

  • A good Chinese restaurant that will deliver? We use a half-decent ghetto Chinese restaurant that delivers, the Hong Kong. They left a menu in our mailbox and we order ungourmet chicken with broccoli, shrimp lo mein when I don’t want to cook. 829-7900 and they’re right on GA Ave.

  • guess i am full of naive questions this week… what is “ghetto chinese”?

  • Sorry to read this Michael. Hope you are doing well and that there is something good around the corner for you.

Comments are closed.