Toyland Closes on H St, NE – ‘The Big Board’ Coming Soon Featuring Gourmet Burgers

Thanks to all who sent in word about Toyland’s closing at 421 H St NE. Walking by this weekend – there are already signs up on the windows for the replacement – ‘The Big Board’ featuring Gourmet Burgers coming soon.

Were there any fans of Toyland? I’ll be sure to revisit when they open to see about these burgers.

33 Comment

  • Finally, somewhere to get a burger in this town. Until now, I thought ground beef had been outlawed.

    • But these are GOURMET burgers, so they’re unlikely to use plain ground beef. Instead, they’ll be made with exotic ingredients like seared ahi tuna, fois gras, prawn cocktails, imported Italians, cave aged sumac, artisinal something, recycled newsprint, and this stuff they found on a shelf.

  • Gourmet…why always gourmet? I walked by a burrito place today “Gourmet Burritos” So wrong.

  • Direct quote from their logo design contest:

    “We want to give the idea of a nice restaurant, but we are in a dive neighborhood. We don’t want the impression that we are too uptight.”


    “We serve gormet[sic] hamburgers and alcohol with prices that adjust to the minute with the customer demand, like the stock market.”

    They won’t last a year.

  • “Great Good, Great Service” – this place sounds like an absolute front for something else…

  • That’s what I thought, too. Great service in DC? I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • This space is cursed. It was a bookstore not that long ago, and it’s been at least two bars since then…

  • That idea of flucuating prices has been around for awhile – but I’ve only ever seen it in a bar setting, not for food.

    I visited a similar bar in Barcelona in 2007 called Dow Jones – which is fun for a little while, but watching the board gets a little old.

    • How much adjustment are we talking? A few cents or dollars? It would irritate me to no end if someone in front of me in line paid a buck or more less for the same burger because he was there 30 seconds before me. It sounds kind of stressful.

  • this is silly. who wants to gamble on a damn burger? no one. it’s not funny, especially in this economy.

  • I feel like that is a cursed location. Isn’t this the third bar to shut down there in three years? One day it will be better but right now its too disconnected from the rest of the strip. I did like toyland cocktails though…

    • A cursed landlord. Well, a terrible landlord.

      He took partners in for Toyland, had them build up a neighborhood bar vibe, then cut them out with no warning. Let’s assume for the sake of argument, that the faces of your bar ARE doing a bad job running it. You need to find a diplomatic exit in that case. As it is, he pissed off the locals who were spending money there, and Toyland’s business never recovered.

      The location is great, the building is set up for a wonderful bar downstairs for older regulars and a club upstairs to entertain the 20-somethings in the apartments nearby (and the apartments slated to open) on the weekend — being close to Intern housing will help too.

      Instead, the landlord continues on making dubious decisions, making it have the distinction of being a cursed location before the sreetcar even starts tunning (since the stop is RIGHT IN FRONT of the doorto the location.)

      It is almost like he took a community college class in how not to run a business, and is experimenting to see if what he learned really works.

      • Agreed on the shitty landlord – but Toyland was actually pretty packed on any random night of the week the past few months. And to be honest, the bar staff was a lot friendlier after the change.

  • Meh. As a neighbor, I was hoping for something unique and laid back. Somewhere I could spend some quality time with a few pints. That logo is straight-up clip art, and DC needs another burger place like I need another pair of chunky plastic glasses frames. Hopefully, the other new projects on the West-end of H (Boundary Rd, Le Grenier) will pull through.

  • Sir, you can’t let him in here. He’ll see everything. He’ll see the Big Board!

  • It’s too bad to see Toyland close. The bartenders were friendly and I could always count on getting a bar seat. I guess that was a telling sign of what was to come…

  • Why do the restaurants in this spot always have horrendous names…Toyland? I mean why don’t you just call it, “come here little children so I can molest you!” Big Board isn’t much better. I don’t get it. What do boards have to do with burgers? Unless they are going to serve them on a cutting board like some trendy places do, in which case, ok. And that logo is stupid. It def is clip art and what city is that? Uhhhhh. ok Im done.

  • That space is not cursed in the sense that otherwise decent businesses keep failing there.

    I lived on that block from 2006-2010. The 2 bars in that space that preceded Toyland did not have their sh*t together (examples: walk in, and no one is tending bar, try to order food and they’re out of 90% of the items on the menu, nor did they advertise. Toyland made the space look nice and interesting, but once again that extra effort that is required to build a regular customer base and be successful just wasn’t there.

    I agree that the burger thing was over before it even started, however if these people actually make an effort to run a solid operation i would not be surprised if they broke the “curse” on this location.

    Sidamo and citi pizza both seem to be doing just fine at that corner. (then again those business treat their customers well, consistently deliver the expected product, and keep their hours)

  • Are they banking on the Fact the SEC is by it. is that why they are using the stockmarket as a theme?

  • Basically what I posted on another blog:

    1.ALL will be welcome at The Big Board.

    2. [calling it a Dive neighborhood] wasn’t the smartest way of describing it in retrospect. Two of us live and own in the neighborhood and love H St – there was no malice or intent to offend anyone – we’re sorry. All of us spend a lot of time in and around the neighborhood with friends frequenting the restaurants and bars.

    3. The Big Board is slangy way to refer to the stock market and we are going try something a little different as it relates to beer prices. The difference is that the prices will only go down from their set menu price and will be based on what people are ordering. We have never planned on that extending to the kitchen. We see it as fun way to get customers involved and have them decide what our specials are based on what they are ordering. As with Wall Street, there is always the risk of a “market crash” where the original prices will reset. 😉

    We don’t have much additional information beyond what you’ve read here and elsewhere. We are 100% committed to making sure that we become a successful restaurant that supports the community.

    As some of you may have noticed, we are also working through some technical issues (including learning how to spell / use spellcheck) but hope to have our Website and Facebook page up soon. Although, this might take a little longer than expected since after reading a few of the posts here, we are no longer sure whether or not we are qualified to write our own copy.

    Hope to see you out on H Street and that you’ll give us a chance to earn your business when we do open our doors!

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