El Tamarindo Gets Oudoor Seating, Will Folks Use it?

El Tamarindo finally got their outdoor seating at 1785 Florida Ave, NW.

When I first wrote about them applying some thought they’d get denied or it’s just a poor place for outdoor seating. Do you still think this will not be a pleasant space to eat outside?

And it got me thinking about Churchkey/Birch & Barley’s outdoor seating at 1337 14th St, NW. Do you think this is a pleasant space to eat outside?

27 Comment

  • not a terribly pleasant place to sit outside because of the busy intersection, but man oh man do they make great tamales!

    maybe they could enclose it just a bit with some bamboo blinds or something to give it a little privacy and separate from the street. the potted plants just don’t cut it by themselves.

  • Just sat outside at Birch & Barley. I was concerned that it would be too noisy, but it was really pleasant.

  • ah

    Not in this heat!

  • I’ve never been there, mostly because I don’t go by that intersection a lot and I’ve never noticed. I’d try it, though!

    I feel like the Birch&Barley seating takes up an awful lot of the sidewalk, but maybe it looks different in person.

  • I’ve eaten outside at Locolat which is right next door… I would probably eat outside at Tamarindo.

  • Do they allow that much hype on public sidewalks?

    • that’d be funny if you said that about places that werent good.
      you should have saved that one.

  • To me, unless it’s a fast food place or deli, “outdoor seating” is a courtyard or enclosed patio, not a bunch of tables on an open sidewalk where you are eating and drinking within spitting distance (literally) of pedestrians. These types of arrangements are not about providing a pleasant outdoor dining experience, they are about maxmizing revenues by throwing a few tables in the front of the restaurant. I don’t begrudge any business person from doing this, it just amazes me what people will settle for in the name of “outdoor seating.”

    • And quick note, I am a fan of El Tamarindo. And although I have not been to Churchkey, I have heard nothing but good things about it and plan to go. It’s just that I would never sit in either of these “outdoor” areas.

    • “This” is how “people” eat “outdoors” all over the “world.”

      you have a “bizarre” amount of “vitriol” for an “option” on “where” to “sit” while “eating” at one of these “restaurants.” no one is “forcing” you to “eat” “outdoors.”


  • I ate outside at B&B for brunch last weekend. It was very nice, though the hostess said the sun would eventually be in our eyes, probably sometime around noon. I don’t think the sidewalk width was an issue; maybe because it was Saturday brunch, not Tuesday rush hour?

  • eating outside at locolat is great, and that’s just next door.

    • I second that! The last time we were there, we had some fantastic beer, panini and chocolates, saw a pizza delivery car get rear-ended, plus an ambulance and firetruck arrive at El Tamarindo after a girl fainted. Granted, it was Cinco de Mayo.

      No one was hurt, so most entertaining and delicious. 🙂

  • I think it will be pleasant enough. Most of us who live in the immediately surrounding area don’t have any outdoor space, so we take what we can get.

  • Can’t quite tell if you’re taking the piss here. . . You do know there is a difference between seating 8 people and 2 right?

  • Birch & Barley’s patio is great, but the food and beer pairings are stellar.

    While I am ranting about B&B – Beer Director Greg Engert does a tasting menu of food and beer that is both a pleasure and an education. Dude was rated one of sommeliers in the world by Food and Wine Mag and the only one ever for beer….

    Greg is like the wikipedia of beer. His knowledge alone makes the deal worth it…

  • That intersection of Florida Avenue, U Street, 18th Street, and Vernon Street is a very dangerous intersection to traverse in a car and most especially for pedestrians.

    There are no traffic calming measures at this heavily used and complicated intersection.

    Why would El Tamarindo want to privately put their diners out there in such a dangerous space,

    and why would our city’s public sector regulators approve of such a dangerous place for seated diners in harms way ?

    It might take the restaurant’s insurance company safety engineer inspector to say no to this folly in the name of public safety.

    • Welcome to the city, Henny Penny. There are many “complicated” circles and odd intersections here. You’ll find normal adults traverse this intersection with ease, albeit slowly certain times of day. The trick is to wait for the white blinky guy or a green circle to appear.

      I love El Tam. They have WiFi, which makes it a great place to get coffee and perhaps a chalupa. I think of them as an under-discovered gem, which is fine with me. Let the others line up at Lauriol for shoddily made Margharitas. Or bump elbows at Tryst, which is a nice place but impotent in it’s burrito making skills.

      • el tamarindo is an “undiscovered gem”? wtf? who has to go to a place for it to be “discovered”? it’s been there for year, and maybe its popularity has waned but people certainly know about this place.

  • Yeah, one of their AC units did break down, but they were telling everyone in advance who decided to sit in that section (including my group of both black and white people), and it’s since been fixed.

    Victoria is right – it takes way longer to seat 8 people than two, especially if one or two of the 2-tops is already reserved and they can’t just push together 4 small tables for you. Sorry you hated the place so much, but even by DC standards I’d have a hard time accusing them of being racist.

  • El Tammy’s has WIFI??? What time do they open in the morning? I have loved their food forever–especially the fish, the pupusas, the tamales plus the margaritas, sangria, on and on….

    and i adore that they have had parking! many’s the lunch hour when my coworkers and i went to El Tammy’s despite the longish drive because we could take 3 cars and park them next to the building. (i’m thus relieved that the outdoor dining space is NOT the parking lot!!)

    Viva El Tamarindo!!

    (outdoor dining? in September-April, right?)

  • I’m surprised no one has mentioned why some marginal sidewalk space is attractive – smoking. It is a very nice option since there is no longer indoor smoking allowed. Although I am not a regular smoker, I find it enjoyable to smoke and drink with smoking friends at these outdoor seating places.

  • If you like blistering sun and douches side by side then Churchkey is for you.

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