Judging Cafes


The Argonne Cafe is located at 1629 Columbia Rd NW. It looks like it has a nice little outdoor dining area. Whenever I walk by it doesn’t seem to be particularly crowded so I’m thinking this could be a good breakfast spot when other spots are all smashed. So what’s the scoop? Good breakfast? Lunch?

22 Comment

  • The “No Trespassing/Keep Out” sign out front may have something to do with the emptiness of the place.

  • I think this place is a front for another business. I went there once and it was terrible!

    It was a maliciously muggy day last summer. While walking my dog, I stopped in to get an iced coffee and maybe a snack. There was no food in their display case, so I decided to just get the coffee. I ordered an Iced Chai or something similar. The guy started making a hot coffee. I interrupted his work to reiterate what I had ordered (i.e. not what he was making). Please note: I was the only person in the place, it was not a crowded stressful environment.

    Once he started to make the “correct drink,” he fumbled around with the different jars of powdered mix; I pointed out the jar that had the mix for my ordered drink. He put the powder, milk and ice into the blender. He had to readjust the proportions of each ingrediant several times … and wah-la 15 minutes later I had my drink!

    The drink tasted like watered down milk. I said ‘thank-you’ and went on my way, never to return again!

  • Yes, I live very closer and it is always empty. I went there once to grab a coffee and there was one table with people sitting at it. The all stopped talking immediately when I walked in and stared at me until I left. Coffee was average. A very strange place.

  • Yeah, this place is shady as hell. Someone get the scoop!

  • I went there once, a couple of years ago, and the person was totally friendly but it was weird. But isn’t that building in general sort of a clearing house for drugs?

  • Isn’t the place run by, or in some way affiliated with the Argonne apartment building that it’s attached to?


    The Argonne Apartments probably just doesn’t really care how well it’s run, since their main business is collecting rent checks.

  • and this place is right by that triangle park on 16th/Harvard, which is always full of seriously shady characters. hmmm.

  • Has anyone here been to the little market right next to it?

  • I think more vagrants/homeless would pay attention to that “NO TRESPASSING” sign if it were in Spanish.

    Who am I kidding? Of course they wouldn’t!

  • I was going to guess “front” as well. I’ve never seen anyone in there… at least, no one who looked like an espresso was their top priority.

  • the market next door is a pretty standard convenience store with very friendly staff, doesn’t seem particularly shady.

  • I’ve been to both. The “coffee shop” serves its purpose. No-frills, but a good spot to bring a paper and sit for a while, inside or out, without spending more than the price of a cheap cup of unremarkable (but not disgusting) coffee. It does give off that walking-into-the-old-western-bar-and-the-music-stops kinda vibe. I dont know what it is though, I like places like this for some reason. So, how about that for a ringing endorsement?

    The market actually has a decent beer selection (though at higher convenient store prices). They actually carry Quilmes (or did when I went), which is basically Argentine Budweiser, something I buy because I am a sucker for nostalgia. It is pretty clean and well kept. Nice variety of the random sort of things you might be in search of at such a place. Wouldn’t go out of my way to check it out, but if I need something quick it works.

  • That building has a ton of residents. You’d think the coffee shop would be packed all the time. But it does give off a shady vibe. The one time I stopped there for a regular coffee, they only had mini moos, no half & half. What legit coffee shop doesn’t have a carafe of half & half or the option of milk?

    The market, on the other hand, is great! They even carry some inexpensive sparkling wine options that held their own at a gathering I attended in the building when our supply ran low.

  • I live in the Argonne and am totally entertained that someone thinks my apartment building is a “clearing house for drugs.” As far as I know, it’s not, but I’m also not too perceptive, so who knows???

    I have patronized (what a fun word!) both establishments. I’ve never gotten coffee at the Cafe, but they do make a pretty decent deli sandwich. As for the Market, it’s quite convenient when I need a can of cat food or the hubby and I decide to drink and we need mixers to go with the booze. They even have limes, which is quite nice if you’re looking to make a gin and tonic.

  • I feel like with that sign out front, all they need is some pit bulls behind the gate to really keep people from patronizing them

  • I agree with Anonymous 5PM and dont know about the drug part. Been to the coffee place once and it was OK. The market is very convenient but its at $10 minumum charge for credit/debit and a carton of eggs is $5.

  • I also live in the building, and there is barely foot traffic in the halls let alone drug traffic!

    In defense of the old guy who runs the place- he’s super nice, and basically sits there alone all day. Part of the reason I go there for coffee is because I feel like my $2 a day could make or break his retirement account. I’ve never gotten food, but Johnny D is right- it’s good for a non-disgusting cup of coffee.

    As for the cafe- it’s crazy overpriced, but good in a pinch- I’ve even found a few items there that HT, Safeway AND Giant were all lacking.

  • The coffee shop has changed management a number of times over the past few years. At one point they made a strange choice to install a flat screen that is visible from no seats in the cafe.

    A few folks I know patronize the place before or after a meeting or services at All Souls church across the street. I wish it had more substantial offerings and more regular hours so that I could run over there when I’m at church for a bite.

  • Oh – and the little store is good. When the cafe’s not open I’ll go in there and get a bit of food (banana, crackers) to tide me over in a pinch.

  • Also, I think the sign’s there so that people don’t hang out on the patio when the place isn’t open. Which is often.

  • I was in the market today and peeked into the coffee shop. The aforementioned flat screen television was tuned to an episode of Little House on the the Prairie, which kind of cracked me up.

  • I needed laundry detergent once and went to the market to buy some. I picked up an average size bottle of Tide or whatever and went to the counter to pay. I wasn’t really paying attention, but when the lady gave me my change, I will appalled at how expensive it was. I paid with a twenty and got less then 5 bucks back.

    The cafe is strange, I’m not sure why, but it is.

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