Barrio No Longer Coming to 11th St, NW in Columbia Heights

It has been almost a year to the day since we last spoke about the new restaurant, Barrio, that was supposed to come to 3418 11th St, NW (next to Columbia Heights Coffee). While the name was a bit controversial, it is unfortunate that this space will remain vacant.

A reader sent the heads up from Don Rockwell that they will not be opening. The restaurant was going to be opened by the owners of Local 16. It doesn’t seem like there has been any progress at their other new proposed location, 1832 14th St. NW, either. I’ll post more details as they become available.

Maybe this will give Columbia Heights Coffee another opportunity to expand?

37 Comment

  • Thanks for the update. Yeah, no huge shock there, considering nothing seems to ever happen to that space, despite all kinds of big plans / announcements (just like the equally frustrating building next to Arthur’s on 11th).

    I’d LOVE to see CH Coffee expand their menu, hours and seating and take over this space. I can’t understand how it has remained vacant for so long. From what I understand the rent is extremely cheap, and the location is great, and getting better all the time, with Meridian Pint packing ’em in and the forthcoming new condos and renovated park soon to occupy that block. Yes, the space is small, but for either CH Coffee to expand, or a small sushi place to go, or a small sandwish / take out space, or maybe a cool thrift / second hand store, it would be perfect.

  • That’s too bad, but I’m not surprised. These Local 16 guys must be overextending themselves — this place isn’t opening, and there’s no movement on their place at 9th and U either.

  • Agreement with NoLongerNew2CH. I could see it making sense for CH Coffee to expand for sure: make an investment now, reap the rewards of increased traffic and capacity to match it as 11th St comes on up.

    And I’ll keep chiming in for a doctor’s office or really any non restaurant/bar option as well.

    Anyone hear word on what might be moving in to the ground floor retail for the place across the street, the big lonely, empty red building? Or what is up with the sand-colored building on NE corner of 11th and Park? It looked like folks were getting shown the building in early spring, but the continued lack of stairs up to the backdoor makes me think things aren’t moving.

  • I talked to the CH Coffee guy about it once. He said they tried to expand next door and worked for about a year to get the approvals from the DC Gov’t (no wonder no one wants to do business here) and after paying a lot of money to hold that spot for a year, and on architects and such, they gave up.

    • I talked to him and he said the same thing to me. I don’t understand why there are so many barriers. Especially when they are already running a successful, legit business right next door.

  • there goes the barrio

  • CH Coffee could really use the space.

  • That CH Coffee was preventd from expanding by gov’t red tape is just awful. Why it would be difficult to get approval to expand an existing non-alcoholic business into a tiny, vacant adjacent space is beyond me, it should literally take a week. In this economy, small businesses need incentives, not obstacles, to expand their operations. Is there someone in city gov’t who can or does help shepherd local businesses through the red tape and get expedited approvals?

    BTW Adams Express 2 would be ammmaaaazzzing. But I think it’s really just one guy who is the chef, so I don’t see that happening, alas.

  • We have an election for mayor & council chair coming up. Votes = power to change. Let’s demand that the next mayor pledge to have, instead of multi-layer obfuscatory bureaucracies for approval of new businesses, a system where one single individual is assigned to shepard each new business application through the entire process. And their salary is based on results.

    One govt. official is assigned to navigate and expedite each new business – and paid based on their success rate.

    An office of say – 10 people, with a reasonable caseload of 10 applications each at a time – and requiring a total processing time of 6 months for each business application (which could probably be streamlined and shortened once the paradigm changes)would give us us least 200 new businesses each year!

    Hello Fenty? Anyone? Aren’t the days of Marion Barry sinecure supposedly over? Can we actually get things going here?

    • Although thinking about it a bit more, paying based on results might create some perverse incentives (certain bad business practices could well be overlooked under that regime). But I do LOVE the idea of one person assigned as a point person for each business, who would help coordinate all the various inspections and license applications …

      • There are people like that. They’re called expeditors, they work on contract for the businesses themselves. Every city in the country has them.

        • Yes, but they are private contractors – so an additional expense or de facto “tax” on the business owner. Which actually, most business owners may not object to – but it is better to have that as a fee on the table from the beginning.

          When I built a (legal, permitted) basement apt. in my house, each month of delayed inspections etc. cost me $1,500.00 in lost rent. So DC govt. failure (inspectors not showing up etc.) cost me $3000.00 I would much rather have paid an extra $1,000.00 in upfront fees/tax.

          • I don’t see how your proposition would have made the inspectors come any faster. Would this liaison (for lack of a better term) be empowered to order inspectors to building sites faster?

          • So your theory is: government doesn’t work, let’s add more government?

      • That is a shame. Where is the ANC and Jim Graham. Why a good business gets turned down and trash like Accario the house of badness stayes open I do not know. This place has 6 to 7 girls working it outside the establishment on a saturday night.
        It might have been the kind of Lic applird for. And our ANC representative who clearly veers toward the minority no matter what the constuancy says.

  • Not faster – just on time. Inspector failed to show up for appointment – before a weekend, then a holiday – then they had other “appointments” for the next week. So we couldn’t proceed with drywall over plumbing/electric, so had to postpone the finishes etc. and the contractor was committed to starting other jobs.

    It is reasonable for the most flexible contractor to still have a fairly reliable timeline. You can’t keep a crew of workers idle for a week.

    I think if the DC inspector had been working on a dedicated project and for performance pay – (show up as scheduled or no pay) s/he would have made time, or even come on Saturday.

  • simplest solution is to to have a license (or permit) automatically approve after a set time period (e.g., 4 months) unless a challenge is issued and a hearing commenced. This will force the city to focus on the questionable licenses/permits and allow everyone to essentially move forward. Federal agencies approve rules this way all the time. Rather than needing approval, they merely need to wait for a notice of challenge or the time period to run. This would make our government more efficient and allow businesses and residents to move forward without all the redtape they currently deal with.

  • No offense but CH coffee couldn’t handle the additional size even if they got it. I love them but their service is slower than Tryst. A bicycle shop would be nice.

    • Seriously… I tried to support CH coffee but I just gave up and it sounds like nothing’s changed… they should focus on stepping it up in their current space.

      •’s faster to walk to Giant, buy a bagel, walk home, and make a pot of coffee than wait for service at CH Coffee. It’s maddening.

  • The District was recently ranked as the worst place in the United States for starting a business.

  • smallest. apple store. ever.

  • Would not work. Those POS iPhones would not get coverage there.

  • According to the article, it’s bottom of the list for personal taxes and crime…not red tape.

  • Another problem with CH Coffee: they’re often not open during their stated business hours. Try going there at 8AM on a weekend. Happened to me twice they were closed…grrr…so, of course, I walked to starbucks.

    • That is one of the worst things a business can do even if they miss their hours by a few minutes… if that happens more than once or twice, a customer is likely to never come back.

  • Columbia Heights Coffee is the worst. They are consistently out of food and ice and have the slowest service. Don’t apologize for the fact that the food is taking so long because you’re the only person working, hire someone else already. They obviously need to expand beyond just the two of them.

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