It’s Confirmed! The Folks behind Marvin Coming to 3815 Georgia Ave!

DSCN1406, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Continuing with our good news trend for Monday morning – I’ve received confirmation from Chris Donatelli of Donatelli Development that the deal has been signed for the folks behind Marvin and Gibson (on 14th St. just north of U) to come to Petworth on Georgia Ave. They will be coming to the space that formerly housed the historic Billy Simpson’s House of Seafood. We first learned about this possibility back in February but given the way the economy has been going I’m super psyched that this deal has been finalized. I think it says a lot about the future of Georgia Ave.

So more about the spot – Construction should begin immediately and the spot to be named later hopes to open in 6 months. The eventual name and theme of the space will pay homage to Billy Simpson’s and its historic significance. There will be outdoor seating by way of a patio in the rear according to Donatelli. This is a joint venture between Donatelli and Mosiac Urban Partners.

64 Comment

  • Objectively, Marvin is probably the worst bar in DC.

  • Marvin is more than a bar – it’s a restaurant!

    The fact that they are opening here is HUGE

  • Rob: Not a huge fan of Marvin either, but I have to save that distinction for Local 16.

    On a positive note: More drinking & dining options in the neighborhood; yay!

  • This is great news that it’s confirmed!!

    Marvin is wildly popular and has a great feel to it. The employees are cool too. This will be good for employment options in the neighborhood.

  • Wonderful news! Marvin’s a great restaurant. I look forward to seeing what the proprietors pick as a theme for this new place — will it be steak and seafood?

  • Really hoping things move down GA Ave from Petworth, too.

  • So are they going to be developing the bakery/wine bar and this at the same time?

  • Prince Of Petworth

    @Emily Yes plus they’ll also be developing Patty Boom Boom on U Street around the corner from Marvin as well!

  • Great news…any non-liquor store/non-“Chinese” take out development is a plus.

  • Great news. I’d be willing to bet a pair of dirty socks though that it won’t be open within 6 months. 😀

  • I don’t know whether to be happy or annoyed. I think I am happy that something, lets say new and exciting for some, is coming to Petworth.

  • Great news, period. Very stoked.

  • I don’t understand the appeal of Marvin, but then again, I don’t usually pay $15 for a hamburger. And I stopped going to their bar after Gibson opened next door. At least those guys don’t treat you like an idiot.

  • It will be a shame if they don’t call it Billy Simpson’s House of Seafood

  • Why does the internet make everyone want to bitch?

  • I’m pretty sure they own Gibson, too. Anyway, its excellent, excellent news. It was always going to take experienced hands to open a business in that strip. Across from a Safeway parking lot, next to a beat-up pre-construction site and the 7-Round…they’re going to be on their own for awhile. At least these guys have the financial fortitude to build now and wait it out as more housing and business comes online, the Safeway is renovated, etc. And, this development will no doubt encourage other local operators to take a new look at the neighborhood.

  • Didn’t mean to sound like I am bitching….Marvin is not my cup o’ tea with its crowds, but a well financed joint at that location will be good for the ol’ hood.

  • The transformation of GA Ave has officially begun. I can’t wait to see this diamond in the “extreme” rough in 5-10 years!

  • Marvin’s deck is nice. Wonder if they will have outdoor space on Georgia Ave?

  • Great news! I’m not a fan of the Marvin scene, but I welcome any new eateries to the neighborhood.

  • Let me see, a spot like Marvin or a boarded up store front…I think I will take a spot like Marvin.

  • Please don’t be anything like Marvin. I would have been really excited for this place if I didn’t know it was being opened by the same people.

    Like others have said.. the $15 hamburgers.. the crowds.. the prices.. the “vibe”.. etc.

  • i totally dig marvin and am psyched for this joint to open up! thanks for the heads up on the development, as always.

  • I have to echo MikeD… I welcome an establishment from the Marvin owners over the unoccupied dilapidated building.

  • Good news…..

  • I am extremely Excited!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I think it is also safe to assume that the idea is not _necessarily_ to open “Marvin II” at this spot. I would imagine they tailor each restaurant (including the menu and pricing) to its concept and also its location…

  • The copious burger (served with housemade French Fries, bacon, mushrooms and cheese) is $14, not $15 With the same additions it is comparable, even cheaper in price to that of St. Ex down the street. Please include a list of establishments that serve a cheaper burger. Discriminating socialites shouldn’t be eating pedestrian lowbrow burgers anyway, lest their palates be cheap and boorish.

    The bitter cynics with no tangible grasp of restauration are cute, but the reality of an uncrowded place with cheap prices is elusive and a failure. Of course you can always try the burger at Nanny O’briens. No crowds there.

  • I think this is great. Petworth needs some more places to eat and drink/hangout. I’ve never eaten

  • Naomi, that’s not healthy.

  • Whoops… never eaten at Marvin so can’t comment on the food. The beer selection is really good, wine selection is okay but could be better. I’ve always had a good time when I go there and I think it will be a great addition.

  • Awesome news! Georgia Avenue definitely needs more food and beverage options. I remember when Bill Clinton first got into the White House and he went up to Georgia Avenue a lot of folks thought the street was about to make a come-back. Maybe its finally started (17 years later).
    I DJ at Marvin on weekends and can understand some folks unhappiness with the place (more the crowd actually). That said, I think all the haters should pop in there on a Sunday or Monday night and see what a great neighborhood bar it is during the week. I use to work at State of the Union when it first opened and it has the same kind of vibe. Really.

  • Better than nothing. Hell better than a lot of other things like another barbershop or beauty shop or fake hair place or carryout or cell phone shop. I can actually think of nothing negative about these guys opening this place. More power to them.

  • Oh and we don’t need a place in our neighborhood that will turn people away at the door if they’re not wearing nice enough shoes. I would only go into this place if it’s nothing like Marvin in any way.

  • Shawn, flip-flops and sweat pants are welcomed at Adams Mill and other 18th st eyesores. Go there instead and give up your spot in line for those who have enough social graces to dress with fundamental self worth and taste. And for a place you loathe so much, you seem to have been often (likely on weekends when all the other saps go out).

    Or are you goofing on the place based on hearsay. Marvin’s success is a well deserved if suckers line up.

  • I went inside one time when there was no line when I was with someone who wanted to see what it was like; I saw that the least expensive beer was $6 so I didn’t order anything and I left. I don’t need to try the food when tells me a meal for two can cost $100. I can think of at least a few better ways to spend a hundred dollars. Now I just walk by it and see douchey people standing in line.

    I have no use for a place whose primary products are prestige and exclusivity. It is basically just an enclave of upper middle class (primarily) white people in an otherwise interesting, diverse and down to earth neighborhood.

    Did you seriously just use “social graces” in a sentence? I can’t tell if you are a real person.

  • $100? Wow, that is not representative, certainly. Two entrees around 40 bucks, an appetizer for say 10, two drinks for say 15, that is 65, plus tax and tip, 80, but that is with drinks and an appetizer, you can certainly spend less. It is hard to get a quality sit-down meal, with alcohol, for materially less in a nice neighborhood in D.C. I ate there recently and didn’t feel out of place, so I guess in your book I am a “douchey” person.

    What better ways on Georgia Ave. do you have to spend 100 (or more accurately, 65-80)bucks right now, by the way? Maybe at The House? Just curious … also, I am guessing as others have speculated that this space will draw a slightly different crowd and probably be slightly cheaper than a place on U and 14th, which almost assuredly has substantially higher rent and can attract a wealthier demographic to support that rent.

  • Hey, I’d celebrate a friggin’ Denny’s coming to Georgia Ave. But then I’m pretty douchey.

  • Define “nice neighborhood”. Classist.

  • This is phenomenal news! I love that there will soon be multiple options for grabbing a drink or meal on that Georgia Avenue strip. Any more details on the owners’ current vision beyond the homage to Billy Simpson’s?

  • Any place that checks shoes can go to hell.

    With that said, I welcome them bringing their uppity bullshit to GA Ave., which hopefully will help pave the way for businesses run by people who are less self-important.

    I put this in the plus column despite the fact that the people who work at Marvins are assholes.

  • Wow. The complaining is truly astonishing. Some folks seem determined to look at a miracle and find a way to bitch and moan. I’m beginning to think people just like to be provocative, like the first commenter.

  • I’m confused, it seems like the storefronts to the left and right of Billy Simpson’s are vacant.

    Funny to lease just one interior storefront to a restaurant… or is there some grandiose plan to build around it like the LeDo pizzaria around Mass Ave NW? (around 4th)

  • What is up with negative comments? what does it take to make people happy? these are local folks with a proven record of success. their establishments all have a particular flavor and style, and im sure this one will too. i welcome this addition to Ga Ave. and for the people complaining about Marvin, you need to leave the basement more regularly. the folks who work there are top notch, and the vibe is the best in the city DURING THE WEEK, WHEN REG LOCALS GO OUT. friday and sat are the same as any other place in the dc, overrun. this is no surprise. amazing what people will complain about. what would you prefer another ruby tuesdays? an 6 bux for tasty belgian beer is standard.

  • I heard originally that this will be combining more than one storefront, but if that’s still the case I’m not sure which two…

  • Heh-heh…someone made up their mind based on Yelp!?

    That’s some selective reading too since the average rating is 3.5/5 stars based on 250 reviews.

  • I want to add I went out and had the Marvin burger tonight and it was huge, tasty, cooked perfect, and came with more fries than I could eat. The crowd was mellow, diverse, and unpretentious.

    Animal Mother, maybe you had some kind of bad flip-flop experience there, but you’ve got no business calling the Marvin owners assholes. They are friends and standup people and have done more for the quality of the DC bar/restaurant landscape than just about anyone. If you’ve got better ideas, saddle up buddy.

  • I mean, really…. If a cell phone store opened there, no none would say anything, other than, “oh well.” The fact that a place is opening that might be great, another potential neighborhood builder, should be applauded, even if it isn’t what everyone might hope for. Choices are better than no choices. I choose not to go to the Wendy’s that is across the street…

  • Just to clarify – the new establishment will consist of 2 storefronts: one shown in the photo in the foreground (with the herring-bone brick patterned facade) and another storefront just to the south (not pictured). The addresses are 3813-3815 (I think). They will connect on the inside to make one establishment (in fact, they connect now on the inside).

  • I actually don’t see all of the negative comments that people are referring to. Some people said they don’t like Marvin, but agreed that the Marvin owners opening a restaurant in Petworth was a good thing. That seems pretty balanced and reasonable to me.

  • You are so wrong, L. Anyone who hasn’t had an orgasmic experience at Marvin is either a liar, an idiot, or both.

    Also, ANYTHING is better than vacant properties. Even a Hitler-themed restaurant.

  • I’m excited about new dining options replacing boarded up buildings on Georgia Ave just like everyone else, but I will choose to not spend it on places with a philosophy of exclusivity like Marvin. New2CH, you are right that this place should be a different crowd and cheaper; hopefully it will be much, much different.

    (I don’t know how much shoe checking goes on during the week, but there are enough options in the city that I don’t need to go to a place on Sun-Thurs whose principles on Friday and Saturday disgust me.)

    The building that the bar/restaurant will go in is historically significant because of the role Billy Simpson’s restaurant played in the social and political culture of the DC’s African American community and because Billy Simpson himself was a civil rights activist and was known as an unelected political leader of the city.

    Thanks to the proprietors of Marvin, we as a city may once again be able to pay homage to a historical member of Washington DC’s African American Community by giving affluent white people (with nice enough shoes) a place to drink fancy beers.

    I really, really want this new place to be successful, but it would just be intolerable if it became just one more exclusive, uninviting, unwelcoming (dress code, no sign, etc) place for (mostly) white people to spend lots of money. In a building that is historically important to the African American community, the symbolism of an isolated, affluent, racially homogeneous enclave next to barbershops and community retail .. full of people who would never be seen in any other establishments in the area and missing the people who go to the places next door.. would just be too much…

    Until they give me reason to think otherwise, that is the type of place that I will assume will come from this ownership group – that is the brand they have created. Hopefully they can adapt to the character of this neighborhood and especially to this historical building to produce a reasonably priced and universally welcoming establishment; I’m hoping that the Donatelli Group will push them to adopt these principles. (Maybe Chris is reading this). If they hold to these principles and abandon the Marvin philosophy, I will welcome them to the neighborhood, happily spend my money there and be proud to take my friends to the place too.

  • I sooo look forward to drinking some $7 Hennepins while you look on, disgusted.

    “whose principles…disgust me…by giving affluent white people (with nice enough shoes) a place…In a building that is historically important…the symbolism of an isolated, affluent, racially homogeneous enclave next to barbershops and community retail…would just be too much…”

    Wait, wait, are we talking about a bar? And a long-derelict building? Oh, okay. Bwwaahahahaaa!

  • great, right next seven rounds.!

  • yaaay!

  • Shawn

    I don’t want to get into an ongoing back and forth with you and I respect your opinions, but I think you need to make another trip to Marvin.

    Your assertion that it is somehow exclusive or even predominantly “white” is just dead wrong. If you take a peak into the dining room on any given night, I think you will see that it is the type of place that I, a 37 year lifelong resident of Washington DC, wants to see: a thorough melting pot of all the wonderful diversity that this town has to offer.

    Now, I can’t speak to their door policies; frankly, I avoid the late night roofdeck crowds on weekend nights, but places have to have dress codes sometimes. In a perfect world, people would understand that they should dress appropriately for any given venue but alas, some people just aren’t that sharp.

    Anyhow, to the owners of Marvin (and the Gibson, 18th Street Lounge and other spots that have put DC on the nightlife map), I say welcome to our little corner of the city.

  • “I sooo look forward to drinking some $7 Hennepins while you look on, disgusted.”

    I know this might be hard for you but just try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes for just a minute. I would like to give you an example to help you expand your self-centered view here. I know a neighbor who commutes by metro and bus over an hour and a half every day to work in a restaurant for a few dollars above minimum age and then does the same hour and a half commute back; he loses an hour of his pay each day for transportation costs alone. Then think about how difficult it is to be on your feet all day working. You would probably want a beer! How nice would it be if you could go to your neighborhood bar, in a welcoming atmosphere and find something affordable to sip on while you chit chat and talk with your friends and everyone else from the neighborhood.

    SCRATCH that:

    Think about how difficult it is to be on your feet all day. You would probably want a beer! You walk by and see this new place opening up in your neighborhood! You are really excited because how nice to grab a beer walking distance from your house. You try to go inside but you are turned away at the door because you don’t have the right shoes on–or let’s say you DO make it past the door and then you go in sit down and you are ready to relax until you realize that you cannot find a beer that will cost you less than a full hour of your after tax pay. You get up and have to leave because you can’t justify spending the money when you have food and other necessary items to buy. So your only option for a beer after work is to go to the liquor store because there’s no bar that welcomes you with its policies or prices. So it’s back to the same old thing.. drinking beer on the porch outside in the heat while you are sipping on your $7 Hennepin surrounded only by people exactly like you.

    Yup, I agree it’s really “bwhahaha” hilarious.

  • Cathy – Marvin on 14th EMPLOYS dozens of people…probably a hundred or more are on the payroll.

    So, while it may not be affordable to everyone on a daily basis as a dining option, it will be to many — and others will find it a great place to earn an income.

    Right now, that location is an eyesore and a liability to the District. I say “yeah” to Donatelli and to Marvin for re-doing it. My guess is that it will be cheaper than Marvin too.

  • Anyone who thinks Marvin is some kind of whitey enclave doesn’t go there very often.

  • I notice some people use words like ‘classist’ and get upset that every new place isn’t affordable to all. What that mentality seems to wish is that DC’s fortunes should always be tethered to the lowest common economic denominator. Instead of aiming high, to a world standard, which raises the quality of city life in DC over time.

    And I mean for all, don’t presume I mean for white people. Busboys and Poets is one of the coolest spots in town and tends to be more black than white customers.

    Yes, some people will get priced out as things change, but that’s just reality. Ideally you find ways to mitigate suffering without dampening healthy city growth. I can’t afford a condo in CH or U Street, but I’m still happy they’re there. I’m a 43-year-old DC native and I’ve never seen the city as diverse and healthy and blossoming as it is now, despite its lingering problems.

    We need to stop being provincial and expect a DC that is on par with other world capitals. That includes helping those who get left behind.

  • Cathy: Offhand, places to get a $3 (in some cases $2) beer within 3 blocks of this new venture: Sweet Mango, Looking Glass, El Torogoz, Acurio, Sissy’s, Carolina, Red Derby. I’m sure there are a lot more, the pool hall at 14th and Quincy for instance, but I haven’t been in every watering hole in the neighborhood. Seems to me that there is PLENTY of space in the ‘hood for something a good bit higher end.

  • ^^^ Don’t forget Island Cafe!

  • By the way, I don’t know about this Marvin policy you are talking about, but I basically wear sneakers everywhere, and I can’t think of any venue I’ve gone in D.C. (granted, I don’t hang at places like The Park and so on) which has ever denied me entrance based on my footware.

    One other local chain I’d love to see have a presence around Georgia Ave. — the BB&P / Eatonville folks. I think Eatonville is gorgeous, has a fairly priced menu with pretty high quality (though nothing spectacular) grub, and would do quite well in, for example, the new Donatelli building. BB&P would also be cool, and no one can claim that doesn’t attract a racially diverse crowd …

  • I hate that every single new business in DC has to be a bar/restaurant. I don’t subscribe to the anything is better than an empty storefront mentality. Developer greed and unwillingness to take risks, and a commercial real estate market overly dominated by development groups has ruined neighborhood business. If someone wants to open up any kind of business right now, they have to already have a boat load of cash because sellers ask for prices only developer groups can afford, and developers by and large only put in businesses that sell alcohol because that’s the best opportunity to make fast dollars. Small business owners don’t stand a chance (see, e.g., the last POP post about the dude with the furniture store plans). The people of CH and Petworth deserve better than a bunch of bars owned by the same ownership groups that set up in every neighborhood in DC. But, because people can’t stand to look at empty storefronts, they beg for and rationalize the slew of the same, almost exactly the same, places. Ugh.

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