Dear PoP – What Do Folks Think of the inside of Alero in Columbia Heights

“Dear PoP,

Just checked out the new CH Alero.

Food was what I expected- same as Cleveland Park location and I suppose that’s a good thing.

As for the ambiance….whoa. I’m writing to find out if any other readers, or you,yourself have experienced the mexican cuisine meets Night at the Roxbury atmosphere? It was too much to handle. It turned a leisurely Friday night dinner into a squat and gobble.”

I’m sad to say that I haven’t had a chance to eat at the new Alero located in the Tivoli at 3345 14th St, NW. For those who have checked it out, how’s the atmosphere?

23 Comment

  • I was there a few weeks ago and it was filled with large half naked paintings on the wall. The service was good but the food wasn’t. It was very plain and bland. I won’t be back. I hope others have a better experience–I would hate to see this space vacant in 6 months. Plus, it’ll keep the neighbors away from the authentic el Salvadorian joints in the hood.

  • Sal-va-dor-an.
    Not “el salvadorian” or “salvadorian”

  • I was there Friday with my wife and young son. It was earlyish, but not too loud. My mole wasn’t bad and the staff was great with the kid. There are no longer naked people on the wall, but there is a frightening portrait of Sarah Pailin.

  • I went there one night with a friend for margaritas. The place was nearly empty, but they were still blasting club music so loudly that it was difficult to communicate.

  • What’s a shame was that the interior of Rumbero’s was SO gorgeous — why change a spectacular, unique, creative, artistic space to something so generically ugly? Rumbero’s problem was iffy service, no marketing / promotion, and VERY inconsistent food. It wasn’t the atmosphere or decor or vibe, which were spectacular. There is a huge demand in this area for restaurants that know what they are doing … see Commonwealth, Room 11, Redrocks, the Pho place, etc., all of which are regularly packed. Early signs on Meridian Pint are also very promising based on the decor and attention to detail. The places that fail, have all failed for a reason. For whatever reason, the Tivoli is really good at attracting restaurants tenants who are seriously deficient in food, decor, concept, marketing, or often more than one of the above. It’s a same because the interior spaces are gorgeous.

    • > Rumbero’s problem was iffy service, no marketing / promotion, and VERY inconsistent food.

      you left out totally over-priced… or “under-portioned” if you prefer.

  • Eh — It’s somewhat similar to the U Street location in terms of a jazzed up bar area. The back of the restaurant (like the U Street location) isn’t nearly as bad. Just asked to be seated in the back section if it bothers you.

    Also, as for the art — many of the art is made by local artists and is available for sale. I am not going to complain too loudly when an organization is doing this.

    And for people who are complaining about the food — it’ ALERO, what are you expecting? It’s job is to serve massive quantities of Tex-Mex at a reasonable cost. Mission accomplished at the CH location.

    • Alero is the Chi-Chi’s of DC…you know the food isn’t that great but sometimes you just can’t help yourself or you want to have a few margaritas before heading elsewhere.

  • Alero. Next!

  • I always had excellent food and their service was typical of all local restaurants – okay but usually nothing to talk about. I think all the businesses in Tivoli Square have a hard time making ends meet (except sadly for Ruby Tuesdays) business is down even more now with all the terrible contruction blocking storefronts and making parking and traffic more miserable than ever.

    I find it strange that a few commenters felt Rumbero’s was over-priced and offered small portions. Have these same people dined at The CommonWealth Pub? Unbelievably over-priced for both drinks and food.

    I know two people who worked there. One as a server and the other as a bartender. They were both very good at their jobs. Both left after 5-6 months because the tips just weren’t coming in. They are not as busy as a few people posting would like you to believe.

    Just walk by at lunchtime or in the evening after 8 pm M-F it is quiet…….very quiet. Even on the weekends they are not that busy. I really don’t know what their rent is but think that with the lack of businesses they will have to move to a different location or will have to lower their prices to attract more patrons.

    If you’re ever in the upper northwest section of Wisconsin Ave (just north of the Cathedral) where Oenology, Cafe Deluxe, Cactus Cantina (and others) are located you will almost always see a lot of business at each and every establishment even on slower nights like Sundays and Mondays. In this neighborhood (Cleveland Park/Cathedral) they have actual neighborhood regulars. Something which is more difficult to create and retain in Columbia Heights/Mt. Pleasant.

    Columbia Heights is imploding on itself. I believe two of the “luxury” condos could not make a go of it and had to revert to rental units when they were unable to sell even 25% of their units. I think the same will happen with all the new buildings going up around Florida and 14th Sts NW.

  • Don’t hate on Ruby Tuesdays. After a long day in the sun, it is hard to beat a couple of sliders and their big ole salad bar for under 10 bucks. Friendly and efficient staff . . . and they are staying in business!

  • I have been there 3 times total so far and I like it for what it is. Staff is extremely friendly so that is good for me.

  • My main issue with Alero is that on their menu they call queso “cheese dip.” When my friend ordered “queso” from the very clearly Latino waiter, he clarified, “cheese dip?” Seriously? Are we that gringo?

    • Yes and no.
      The waiter wants to be sure that what you ordered is on the menu. When he brings the cheese dip and you protest that you ordered queso and not cheese dip … well it’s too upsetting to go on.

    • That’s amazing. Same thing happened to a friend and I at the U St Alero a few years ago. We asked for queso and the guy plainly stated that they didn’t have any. He didn’t even suggest that we meant cheese dip.

  • friendly staff, ok drinks, bland food, loud music, conveniently located.

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