Friday Question of the Day – What Has Been the Biggest Retail/Restaurant Tease?

We obviously talk a lot about rumors and scuttlebutt and we have to take those discussions with a grain of salt. But there is something particularly painful (at least for me) when a liquor license is applied for and we have official word that a new restaurant/retail chain is coming. Then many months later. Nothing. It stings me every time this happens. So when I passed the old Olson’s bookstore at 418 7th St, NW in Penn Quarter, I had to do a double take. Looks like the arrival of Wagamama in 2010 is not to be. From their Web site it looks like their only US location is in Boston. And now a for lease sign has gone up at the Penn Quarter location. Very disappointing.

So for the Friday Question of the Day, and perhaps they eventually will still come but, what retail/restaurant did you think was coming to DC but no longer is – is most heartbreaking? Wagamama? Elwood Thompsons (though there is still a sign up at DCUSA)? REI? A Kite store? H Mart? Walmart? Wegmans? Something else?

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    • I’ve heard that they have been surveying over on the proposed lot and they they may break ground sometime this winter. I know, I know, I’m skeptical, but the project is not dead.

  • Definitely the Kite store. But Vince Gray is a game changer. We may finally get that Kite Store.

  • Sonic. I heard that a Redskins player was going to bring Sonic and Waffle House to the city (both of which did not happen).

  • Diamond District — Barton Seaver’s version of vaporware

  • Yes to Ellwood Thompson, REI and Wagamama. Also, the Whole Foods that was originally supposed to go into DCUSA.

  • Ellwoods. And those five other restaurants that were supposed to open in CH. Royal blue, zinnia, sake club etc.

  • Ellwoods (number one by far, if indeed it never happens — most extended tease ever and is doubly bad for following an equally prolonged Whole Foods tease) and Sake Club. Bummed to hear about Wagamama as well.

  • Ellwood Thompson …. they no longer deserve to come to CH … I hope they stay away … lets find someone new that wants to come and really wants to be a part of our community

  • Wagamama.

    どこ 硬メン くえる か. どこ.

    [where can I eat ramen? where]

  • The Apple Store in Swampoodle.

  • Ellwood Thompson. You know that place will never come to be.

  • In Delaware there’s a sandwich shop called Capriotti’s. They started with one small store in Wilmington and now operate as a franchise with stores in Vegas, Maryland, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and a host of other spots, but not freaking DC. They make a sandwich called The Bobbie that’s simply amazing. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce on a sub roll. Thanksgiving on a bun.

    Every time I make it to a Capriotti’s and beg for a store in DC, the manager tells me a group of investors is looking at a spot on K Street. I’ve been told this with three years. I want a sandwich.

    • I’ve been waiting patiently for a DC Capriotti’s for years! Their meatball sub is divine and it helped me get through finals week while attending the University of Delaware. I would wear the red sauce stains on my t-shirts like a badge of honor! I even named my first daugher Bobbie in honor of their most famous sub.

      The folks at Capriotti’s are truly “sandwich artists” and their sandwiches would be a godsend to the DC Metro food service industry.

      I’m talking to you Joe Biden.

    • I remember Capriotti’s thanksgiving sub. That would be sweet to get a franchise here. Though a little birdie told me that Biden is a fan of PureBread, so we might need Obama’s help on this one.

  • Bloomingdale’s in Georgetown Park Mall.

  • anything in that big corner restaurant space in the Park Plaza building

  • Inn at Little Washington coming to DCUSA.

  • I actually want to believe that Ellwoods can still happen. If what they have said in the past about how close they were to having the money for the build out is true. If it was all lies from the begining then yeah who knows. I find it interesting that they have on their website a note along the lines of “Ellwoods is looking to expand. Tell us where you would like to see an Ellwoods open.” In a sense that is promising too. But. Uh. How bout you open that columbia heights store before you go blue balling other neighborhoods.

  • What’s happening with Billy Simpson’s? I haven’t seen any activity there since February.

    • I was just going to mention that. It’s far from the beaten path for a high-end concept. It’s a weird little building, and the announcement was made so long ago. Thought I’d be hearing some more rumors about it. Nothing but silence.

  • Pick a concept that was supposed to go into the firehouse on North Cap in Bloomindale

  • Ellewood Thompson is driving me crazy. But I would forgive them and shop there if they opened.

    Also, I would cherish a Barnes and Noble in Columbia Heights. Or, better yet, a Krammers Books.

  • Sushi bar that was supposed to be in Logan Circle.

  • Dave and Buster’s coming to the former ESPN Zone. Rocket Bar and H Street Country Club just don’t cut it sometimes.

  • Way back there was going to be a Results gym on Georgia Ave in the Jair Lynch building next to the Wendy’s. It makes me crazy that the only gym is the overcrowded Wash Sports Club. We need another gym and I don’t care if it’s in CH or Petworth…sigh.

  • I was at a small Q&A with Jum Graham a week and a half ago (lead up to primary voter meet and greet type thing), and he essentially said that Elwood’s was dead. As in not ever going to happen, dead. This came up when asked about the open store fronts at DCUSA. Might be worth a check in with Graham, but I don’t think anyone there would argue differently

  • The convention cente hotel. We’ll see if they actually break ground in October (been here before, many times…)

  • Ellwood Thompson: + 10 million.

  • If Ellwoods is in fact dead I think we need to come together and find another organic grocer for that space. Its really the ideal size and locaion for an organic grocer and if DCUSA breaks it up into smaller storefronts we may never have another suitable space for one to open. At this point I would take a huge Yes market if they would be willing to try their hand at a full service place. butcher. seafood etc. Does anyone know of other Organic Chains? The neighborhood lured Ellwoods here and we can lure another if we can organize again.

  • Also if Ellwoods has truely backed out. Can we all get together with Graham and try once more to get whole foods to look at the space? I would think now that Whole Foods knows there is an overabundance of parking at DCUSA they might be less concerned about having dedicated parking. Or perhaps Graham can negotiate designating a portion of the lot for them. Plenty of parking to go around last time I was down there. Currently I’m doing my shopping at the whole foods in Tenley and the lines there at checkout extend down the food isles. I would think it would be easy to demonstrate the need for another store. And in the end Whole Foods always wanted the space they just didnt get their parking. So they agree its a viable location.

    • DCUSA seems much too tacky a location for a Whole Foods.

      • But what about Trader Joe’s?

        • Probably that would work. I’ve seen Trader Joe’s in a complex with a Best Buy and other type stores, but I’ve never seen a Whole Foods in the same space as a Target, Marshall’s, et al.

      • Too Tacky? Have you seen their silver spring strip mall location? bleh. Anyway they were poised to open there before and what was holding them back was only the parking. Not the “Tackyness”

        • Yes, I go to the one in Silver Spring from time to time, it is basically it’s own space shared with a couple smaller stores. Have you ever seen a Whole Foods next to a Target and a Best Buy? I haven’t. I think their target (no pun intended) demographic is completely different from that of those other big discount chains.

          • It’s Tenley location is in an alley. with its main entrance in a parking garage. and… across the street from a Best Buy. You clearly have no clue what you are talking about. I’d spend five minutes googling for what no doubt are endless other examples. But what’s the point. Your argument it moot from the get go considering Whole Foods WAS going to open a store there if they got dedcated parking.

          • @anon Wow! Such an angry reaction to a relatively innocuous comment. I will promise to Google as you suggest, if you promise to take a Valum or a Xanax, or perhaps try some meditation to ease your tortured soul.

          • *Yaaaaawwwn* Sorry I killed a few minuites of my work day putting you in your place. But I assure you I am not angry about it. If anything it was fun. Now back under the bridge with you!

          • Ha ha ha! Woof! Woof! Hiss! Hiss! Insults really are just self-hatred in disguise. Seriously, try meditation.

      • because whole foods is classy?

  • Sorry, but Ellwood’s is never going to happen. Trader Joe’s should open up a location there.

  • Roof deck at the Derby.

  • Yeah Capriotti’s is the best. While I liked the meatball enough to get a custom made t-shirt honoring that sub… the real winner is the Capastrami.

    Let me get a 1, 2, 3 …. whhooooooaa capastrami!

  • I would say the Brixton on 9th and U, but it looks like thereis movement there. I was walking by today and heard construction going on inside. I noticed a more updated permit on the door and it looks like they took the old roof off. Keeping my fingers crossed…

  • That Park Place Cafe that has been “Coming Soon” for about a year now. As of a week ago, the space was entirely empty save for a couple of decrepit doors haphazardly thrown in there.

    • you’d think somebody would want that wheelbarrow back. it’s almost inspiring to lob a brick through the window just to see them do SOMETHING.

  • The McDonalds space in Cleveland Park has had about 20 rumored tenants. But I can report that the last time I walked past it I saw it had finally had the old McDonalds interior gutted. It also looked as though the permit/license applications were gone from the window. Does this mean that Tackle Box has been given the green light?

  • I’ll three millionth the Ellwood Thompson at DCUSA that was supposed to open, what, a year ago? Not sure a Yes! is warranted there, as there’s already one at 14th & V. I would love, love, LOVE a Trader Joe’s there. Another organic store that has yet to make inroads into DC is MOM’s (My Organic Market). There’s also Roots, which has two locations, both way the hell out there in Maryland.

    I suspect the sinking economy put the kibosh on a lot of retail/restaurants that had hoped to open up outlets at DCUSA. Which is sad, because had things gone well, it could have been a vibrant center.

  • Any restaurant/bar in or around Bloomingdale? Sure there’s been a lot of hype about Rustik – but its STILL not open…

  • Anyone else remember Torta Bakery on Upshur?

  • Balducci’s on 7th St. in Penn Quarter. Now that Carmine’s has moved into their space, we’ll have to wait even longer.

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