Cafe Salsa Abruptly Closes on 14th St, NW in Logan

Cafe Salsa was open for just over a year at 1712 14th Street, NW (near Cork Wine Bar). Thanks to a reader for the heads up on this one. The few times I ate here I thought the food was quite good. So when I went to follow up on the tip I was surprised to see all these signs saying “restaurant closed”:

At first it was unclear if this was just a temporary thing but when I looked in the window:

Well the restaurant is definitely closed. So for the Friday Question of the Day: Why do you think Cafe Salsa closed? Is this an indication that the economy is still pretty rough or a problem with this particular location or a problem with the restaurant itself?

31 Comment

  • Cafe Salsa was plagued with problems from the start. It took them way too long to open (over 1 yr) and by the time they did they had a lot of competition. I’m sure they had way too much invested and made the smart choice to close down. Most restaurants fail within the first five years thats why the get such good tax breaks in the those years.
    As for the my thoughts on the ecomomy effects on our daily lives, I think the D.C. metro area blew up way too much in the past 10 years. Although the economy is poor now, those of us who are from this area could see the cash cow eventually drying up as the Republicans fled the city starting in late 2007/early 2008.
    Anyway, I hate talking about politics and the economy and wont really miss Cafe Salsa. They had horrible service and forgetful food anyway.

    • “Although the economy is poor now, those of us who are from this area could see the cash cow eventually drying up as the Republicans fled the city starting in late 2007/early 2008.”


      First, many Republicans who moved here with the GWB administration never lived in DC. They lived in McLean, Fairfax, Chantilly, etc.

      Second, the Republicans who moved out of such GOP-heavy enclaves as Glover Park were replaced, twofold, by people with Obama fever.

      Your comment was one of the more nonsensical ones ever on this site, and that’s saying a lot knowing this crowd.

    • Matt – I don’t think he means incentives, I think he means depreciation, so you can shelter other earnings from other ventures with the tax losses… this of course is a poor understanding of the tax code and basic economics… why would you pay money to lose money, when you can just pay the tax. Restaurants close because people don’t know how to make money, not because of tax strategies.

  • As with many restaurants/bars that have had a hard time recovering with both the rough economy plus the harsh winter another place fades away.

    Danish , What tax breaks do speak of for restaurants? Ive never heard of such that exists.

  • It didn’t help that it’s pretty far down from the U Street strip. A few years from now it might have made it.

  • Must have been one helluva Cinco de mayo party

  • I thought the food was pretty mediocre. If I go out I want the food and experience to be something different from what I could make myself at home. The food and drinks were all pretty sub par, so after trying it twice we never saw any reason to go back.

  • extra weird becuase borderstan just did a profile of them

  • Have to say, I never even went there.

  • I live near this place so I walked by it quite a bit but I rarely saw any customers there. I checked out the menu a few times but none of the items appealed to me.

  • I went there with a large group of friends several months ago and we were all extremely underwhelmed. One of D.C.’s many mediocre restaurants that didn’t deserve to stay open.

  • Agree that service was abysmal and food was so-so. Their happy hour was decent, but a place like that can’t survive on a good 4-7 bargain alone. Also, it was NEVER crowded, save for the first week they were open. It’s a shame, though. We definitely need more good mexican food in the hood. A great place that’s right across from my building just opened – Pica Taco. It’s as authentic as it gets and where I’ll be getting my Tex-Mex fix for the immediate future I guess…

  • My office mate was there on Tuesday afternoon for dinner with his wife. They had gotten an appetizer and drinks, then some guy in a suit comes up and says “I’m sorry to do this, but I’m gonna have to ask you to leave. The restaurant’s been repossessed.” So they had to leave! We are curious if that guy was from the bank, or the owner or what. They were the last people to be served. Weird.

  • When I went, once after they opened – I wasn’t impressed, the food wasn’t good, they messed up my order. I really had no desire to come back because there are SO MANY BETTER PLACES in the area – why go there when you could go to Bar Pilar, Cork, Masa 14, Birch & Barley…etc etc. I think their problem was they opened a nondescript Mexican place where it couldn’t compete with better choices. I am surprised they closed after Cinco de Mayo – think that would have helped out their cause. Well, RIP Cafe Salsa, I barely knew thee.

  • I held several events in their upstairs rooms & although the food was decent the management was a mess. I’d gone over my reservations quite carefully but the rooms were never properly prepared for us. The chain of command was chaotic & the person in charge of the shift never seemed to be there. But there was a group of guys hanging out in the office upstairs. When I saw that, and the disconnect between the manager & the people actually doing the work it seemed inevitable that they would close. Attention to detail matters.

  • I LOVE Cafe Salsa. I go to the one here in Old Town all the time. Once I took a business meeting at the 14th St one, but didn’t feel the need otherwise. In my opinion there aren’t too many places better than that around there.

  • I never like to see businesses close in the neighborhood, but I am not at all surprised by this. I’ll echo many of the previous commenters and simply say that the food was mediocre at best.

  • I cant believe they stayed open that long. The food was OK but it was really expensive for Mexican food, and wasn’t interesting at all. THere was no reason whatsoever to go there instead of any of the other Mex restaurants within a 5-block radius. TOo pricey for average food.

    • I don’t recall it being Mexican food. There can be some pretty significant variety between Latin cuisines…

  • delicious and not THAT expensive and not Mexican food. i am sad to see it go.

  • Maybe it would have helped if the name of the place wasn’t so boring and generic. Cafe Salsa? really?

  • Actually, they’re cubano panini was probably the best I’ve had in D.C. Can’t vouch for their other food, but I will miss it just for that.

  • I have to say that Cafe Salsa was always a great happy hour for the half priced mojitos alone! I went a couple times a month with friends and we could always get a good seat at the (empty) bar and good service from the bartender. It definitely never managed to cultivate the “hip” feel of other u street destinations leaving it underfrequented — which is probably why i liked it so much. and why they never did very well.

  • Went there once for a party. We were joking on the way there that, at the very least, they should have good salsa. When we were served an olive temp instead of “salsa”, you should have seen the look on my boyfriend’s face. Olives are his kryptonite. When he asked if they had tomato salsa, they brought him a cup of catsup. He he. Oh, and the service was total crap.

  • I used to go to the one in Old Town Alexandria a lot after work, and I was told by one of the staff members that the DC store had been having financial problems for a while. I am wondering if these problems were already there to start with upon opening it up, in which case, it may have been already doomed.

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