Judging Restaurants – Marx Cafe


Marx Cafe is located at 3203 Mount Pleasant St, NW. I know folks feel very strongly about this place. I can’t believe it but I still haven’t been yet. Are there any fans out there? Would you recommend brunch or dinner? Or would you not recommend it at all?

Update: Not to get off topic but I suppose this would be a good spot to add the Washington Post’s Paul Schwartzman’s piece on Mount Pleasant’s struggles. A resident is quoted:

“We’re in a downward spiral,” said Terry Lynch, a Mount Pleasant resident for more than 25 years. He motioned toward a ravaged apartment building and a vacant storefront. “This says, ‘Don’t bring your business to Mount Pleasant. Go to another neighborhood.’ “

Just thought I’d add this in case anyone missed it. Personally, I think folks are always overreacting when they mention Mount Pleasant’s demise…

31 Comment

  • I have had pretty good experiences there and LOVE their pita and hummus. The waitstaff is pretty nice too…

  • Not bad, but pretty expensive for the offerings. Of course, some would argue that this just means the name fits well….

  • I have only had creepy experiences there (wierd clientele, chunks of dirt falling from the ceiling into my food, bugs in my cocktails) so I don’t recommend it. I’d rather go to Tonic or the Raven.

  • The one time I went there to eat, I wasn’t impressed. Bland, Cysco-style food, and not well prepared (my turkey burger, which obviously was processed in a factory and frozen, was still frozen when it got to me). I also would rather go to Tonic if I had to choose between restaurants on that strip.

  • One of my favorite places in Mt. Pleasant — love the interior pub feel, the windows that open up onto the sidewalk on nice days, and TVs showing footie.

    Agreed that the food is average. Beer selection is pretty good, though.

    Overall – 3.5/5

  • 1. Do not miss the garlic soup. It is phenomenal. Check the soup of the day posting, and make sure you go when there is garlic soup. Yum!

    2. Excellent selection of beers on tap – it’s not to the level of Big Hunt, but the beers they do have are good.

    3. The tapas are really good. A couple of tapas are a meal. The Sortidos de Setas are my favorite.

  • Who cares about the food…
    Go for the mega-trifecta of DJ nights: Soundclash / Taking the Piss / Champion Superior Soundsystem.

    That’s an official Intangible Arts endorsement, and those don’t come easy.
    http://www.dcsoundclash.com/ for more info. I have spoken, y’all.

  • Quincy St Neighbor

    One of DC’s first bars to carry belgian beers on tap, Marx cafe serves the BEST HUMMUS in town. I also like their eggplant dish too.

  • Is a neighbot just a fembot who lives nearby?

  • Only had brunch or drinks there, quite a while ago. Really enjoyed it – was chill.
    But that weirds me out that A has had such a bad experience, preferring the cleanliness of the Raven. Yikes.

  • saf

    Hate the place. Really, truly, dislike the place.

    I’m more of a Raven girl.

  • its the best thing going on MTP street. unfortunatly thats not saying much. everyone knows why this is.
    A certain lady who doesnt even reside in MTP but cleveland park and others in the MPNA who actually live in columbia heights scare off would be investors.
    you may ask. why do people who dont live here seek to stall development and why do they have a say?
    well if there are any lawyers out there that would like to audit the MPNA for being in violation of its own by laws and controlled by people who do not live in MTP. let me know and ill be happy to help.
    The overwhelming sentiment of MOUNT PLEASANT RESIDENTS. like myself. is that MTP is in need of help and ammenities. and the city should remove the MPNA criminals from any and all MTP neighborhood functions and the bullied businesses of MTP street should be allowed to rip up the “voluntary” agreements. In short the neighborhood has been hijacked by people in need of psychiatric help. MTP st is great and has a lot of potential but that charm will be lost if vacant store fronts are filled with fast food chains as local investers who would bring shops, pubs, and coffee are scared off.

  • I’ve talked to former friends of that lady and they were the ones that tipped me off that she had a personal issue of some kind and her family asked her not to live in Mount Pleasant anymore. I don’t want to defame someone, so please read between the lines. She can’t live in her house any more.

  • Marx is worth trying. the interior is nice and cozy. the beer selection isnt huge but its great. soon they should have a roof deck. provided the retarded neighborhood group doesnt somehow ruin that too. if something doesnt change this is my prediction for Mount Pleasants corridor. because the demographics are changing in Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights. And anyone who walks their dog on the tree lined streets of Mount Pleasant knows the demographics of MTPs townhomes may as well be west of the park… So if said group doesnt take a hike and more and more of the crappy businesses there fold. the storefronts will stay vacant until chains such as starbucks, panera bread, and other crappy generic places will evnetually be the only ones to afford the high rents. What could have been a bustling eclectic neighborhood street lined with local busniesses and restaurants will look more like clarendon. Thats the irony here. these nagging non neighbors of the MPNA are trying to prevent change but in the end change is going to happen. and thanks to them. itll likely be for the worse

  • Ill read between the lines for them as i too know the details. Her husband divorced her due to the fact that she is a head case and she moved to Cleveland Park. She could have stayed in MTP but did not. she left for the shop lined strip of Cleveland Park. home to some great bars. a movie theater. an organic market. excellent restaurants. once there she did not join the celeveland park neighborhood alliance. She did not try to stop the irish bars there from playing music. but maintained controll of the mount pleasant neighborhood alliance. made up only partially of people who actually live there. the rest from other neighborhoods all together. They force all the bars and rastuarants to sign into agreements to not have live music or dance and otherwise just act as a thorn in the side of MTP establishments. this is how they treat the few businesses that are nice enough to put up with them and provide a service to the neighborhood. And this is what has scared off all types of people from opening up shop on MTP street throughout the past decade that has seen adams morgan and columbia heights and u street and petworth grow so dramatically.

  • Its also worth pointing out that she RUNS THE MOUNT PLEASANT ONLINE FORUM!!! I mean how much more corrupt can you get!

  • I’ve been there a couple of times with friends and have a great experience. With the exception of Election Night, I’ve never seen it very crowded, so it makes for a nice place to be able to get a seat and actually hear the person you’re talking to while still in a bar setting.

    Can’t really comment on the food too much. All I’ve had is the calamari (which was decent) and the hummus (which was great!)

    They do have some nice specials though…half price wine, sangria, etc.

  • Good bar, horrible food. The veggie burger I had was vile.

  • Horrible, horrible food.

  • Really good lobster bisque soup! Actual chunks of lobster and very rich. I second the point about tapas, it’s pretty good if you go with friends and share a couple like the calamari, grilled meats, hummus etc. Only place I know of around here that has de koninck on tap and it’s part of the happy hour specials to boot…

  • Good beer, mediocre food (there are better dining options on the street). Last month we were chased out by a 60s-era radical conspiracy theorist (is that all redundant?) who was convinced that, by this time next year, no one will be allowed in retail stores anymore if their credit rating is too low. At some point, that kind of blather ceases to be amusing and starts becoming annoying, esp. after he ignored the hint that he’d overstayed his welcome in our conversation.

  • I second what stavos had to say, as i remember my vile veggie burger looked more like a veggie ball.

    good dj nights though.

  • I have been told they brought in a new chef this year, is that true?

  • Same guy that owns this place is my landlord, “Mark.” Super cheap, cuts corners on all his properties, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he cut corners on this place too. Just sayin’.

  • This place kinda started the gentrification process in or aound ColuHeights.

  • i think the brunch there is good, although the mimosas are way too small. The one time I had dinner there though, it was horrid.

  • I have to say that I’m a little shocked at all of the negative comments on the food. I’ve never tried any of the entrees, but between my girlfriend, I, and our friends, I believe we’ve had all the tapas several times over. We’ve brought many visitors to the place for brunch or drinks and appetizers during the week, and I don’t think anyone’s ever failed to love it.

    Are we all talking about the same Marx?

  • great neighborhood joint to grab a ddrink, but bad, bad overpriced food.

  • Agree that the food is poor. I never had a terrible dining experience there, but I think I got lucky. It just seemed like a health code violation waiting to happen.

    I like the theme, I like the decor. I like the location… it just never seemed to come together. When I lived in MtP I would have loved for this to be my local hangout, my Cheers, if you will. But it was always deserted in the early evening, and the owner is a total whackjob. I’m from the same country of origin as he is, and I think I got extra servings of craziness because of it.

  • Hi WDC:

    I’m pretty sure the whackjob owner you refer to is no longer the owner. That was Mark, and he was indeed a pretty colorful character. But the current owner, Aleks, is a very nice mellow guy.

  • I once met the owner of this place. He has a house on Taylor with a truck or pick up parked in front with a bunch of strange bumper stickers plus a huge Iranian flag flying. He later got an American flag too; guess the neighbors complained. His strangeness has nothing to do with his country of origin, btw. But I don’t choose to give him my business.

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