Dear PoP – What’s Going on by New Mexico Ave. Chef Geoff’s?


“Dear PoP,

I was over in Wesley Heights recently and noticed some construction going on in front of the New Mexico Ave Chef Geoffs. In the same complex there used to be a market. I can’t recall the name now but it was a chain and a few area locations closed. I’ve heard a couple rumors that space will become a Trader Joes but can’t find any mention of it anywhere. Wondering if its true a trader joes is going in there, and what the construction going on is, and if it’s related. It looks like the outdoor seating in front of chef geoffs is getting dug out.”

I stopped by Chef Geoff’s at 3201 New Mexico Ave., NW on Sunday, by the by they had some great live music going on, to ask if they had heard anything. They told me they had heard a number of rumors that a bookstore was coming or possibly American University administrative offices. They never heard anything about a Trader Joes going in. I’ll inquire with Trade Joes but I’ve found grocery stores never confirm rumors even if they are true. Seeing it in person though, I doubt there’d be enough parking for a Trader Joes. If I were a betting man, I’d think AU admin offices would be a much more likely tenant. I’ll be sure to update as more info becomes available. Chef Geoff’s did however say that they will continue to have outdoor seating, which is seasonal, out front. They expect all the construction to be completed by the spring.

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16 Comment

  • The Market was a Dean and Duluca wasn’t it? It was the chains decision to close a few stores. That one always seemed to be doing well but it closed anyway. It was the only walkable option for groceries in that area. Which has a lot of condos. It would be a shame if that retail space became offices. Not a lot of retail to go around in that residential neck of the woods. I believe there is a parking lot in back of this complex. But maybe not enough to satisfy Trader Joes odd parking demands. Eitherway I suspect a location there would do amazing between the AU students, condo dwellers and wealthy familys in the area. I don’t get there that often but I occasionaly stop by CG for a big beer. would be nice to get some groceries while im there

  • no – it wasn’t Dean and Deluca. the market was a Balducci’s and it closed in the last year. I used to shop there every once in a while on the way home from work when I wasn’t the downtown urban denizen I am now. frankly, my favorite market in that neck of DC is the Super Fresh (formerly the A & P) at 48th and Yuma because it’s a small store that has all that I needed. the wine buyer at Super Fresh gets some good deals too.

  • I find it odd with all the construction AU has been doing and with all the land they own. (There is a big parking lot a block up new mexico they own. ) That they would need to lease office space here. But I guess its possible. I would think the near by residents wouldnt be too happy about it. But then they are all rich and probably don’t care what’s going on in the neighborhood. Do they even have a listserv. I looked but turned up nothing.

  • AU actually owns the building and it is highly unlikely that they will occupy the space. They have retained Summit RE to market it. Look for it to become retail again (I’ve heard Trader Joe’s as well — though sadly I wouldn’t rule out CVS or Walgreens).

  • I’ve spoken to a couple who live in the immediate area who are under the impression it’s becoming a trader joes as well. They should lobby for it if it’s not already in the works. A cvs or walgreens would be redundant with the Rite Aid 20 feet up the street by the starbucks. The Balduccis was ok and did ok but a Trader Joes would clean up and draw people in who otherwise are making the trip to glover park for the Whole Foods or the super fresh in spring valley as another commenter noted.

  • its going to be a trader joes. and there is ample parking behind the building that’s shared with the other stores.

  • 10 years ago I spoke to someone from trader joes who wanted to put one near the whole foods on wisconsin, so this doesn’t sound completely insane.

  • Trader Joe’s blocks from my house!
    I am super excited – this is the best rumor I have heard in a long time – besides the one about my boss quitting.

  • @ro ,

    Are you sure it’s gonna be a Trader Joe’s? I live down the street and would love to know what is going on there.

  • ah

    There was a neighborhood rumor that it would be a Trader Joe’s, but apparently the discussions between TJ’s and American resulted in no deal. It was Dean and Delucca until Balducci’s took over the lease (or did they buy D&D?). My own take is it’s not well suited to TJ’s since that’s a bit of a niche market, and parking is not terribly convenient. Plus, a grocery store just failed there (for a reason–too small, with too high prices), so another one seems unlikely.

    CVS seems unlikely since there’s a Rite-Aid next door. And AU office space makes little sense for a first floor retail area.

  • No, it was a Sutton Place Gourmet before it was Balduccis. Sutton Place bought the original Balduccis in NY and renamed all of their stores. The condo complex next door is called Sutton Place. I never knew if the condos were named after the store or vice versa.

  • My dentist office is in the adjoining building. I asked them what was happening out there and they said they were just redoing the square out there.

  • It really was a shame that Balducci’s closed that location. I only made it over there maybe twice a year, but that was a heck of a store.

    Other points:

    1. There is a decent sized parking lot connected to that building in the back. Not huge, but it was big enough for Balducci’s.

    2. AU already has administrative offices in that building. A significant number of their senior leadership (other than the President) work there already.

  • ah

    ss-that’s right, thanks. Maybe they’re both named after swanky Sutton Place in NYC?

    Markus–you’ve highlighted the problem. Great store, but not enough people went more than a couple times a year. And that’s why the small parking lot was big enough for Balducci’s.

  • Sounds like all anyone has are rumors at this point. I for one hope it happens. There is plenty of parking out back. I park there when I go to chef geoffs and there are always a ton of empty spaces. Second, from what I understand Balduccis didn’t “fail”. It did fine but not outstanding and the chain made a decision to close a handful of area stores. So It closed because it underperformed compared to other locations. However a trader joes would do much better here because. quite simply. people like trader joes a lot more. There are a lot of apartments within walking distance and a TON of single family homes near by. As it is they all go somewhere else. But a trader joes would capture all the balduccis business and a ton more. As for size. having been in the balduccis a couple times its not much smaller if at all than the Trader Joes down town.

  • Ah, the good old days when the Chef Geoff’s spot was Quigley’s, and AU students could drink there unhampered by the man. I think that was 1994, before ABC started cracking down.

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