Matchbox Coming to 14th and T St, NW

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From a press release:

The matchbox food Group is fired up to announce their latest expansion plans! Diners will soon be able to enjoy the group’s first and most successful concept to date, matchbox, at the corner of 14th Street and T Street NW. The group, whose history dictates its expertise in finding the next hottest neighborhoods in the district, has just signed a lease with real estate developer JBG. With the approval of all necessary licenses, this will mark the 3rd matchbox location in DC and the 5th nationwide.

“We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to expand into the growing 14th Street Corridor,” said Ty Neal, principal partner of the matchbox food Group. “Washington, DC has been our home since 2003 with our first location in Chinatown, then Capitol Hill, followed by Rockville. In 2012, our sights are set on the Logan Circle area and Merrifield, Virginia. We are so grateful for the people of greater Washington and how they have embraced us, our food, and our restaurants. ”

The group has plans to renovate the building that has had a rich history of former occupants. The turn of the century construct has housed a bowling alley, jazz club, and most recently has been home to Arena Stage’s rehearsal hall. Signature design features that diners will be sure to see in the restaurant will be multiple levels, rustic barn wood, architectural staircases and of course the “matchbox” a seating area that first appeared in the Capitol Hill location. This wooden box can seat 6-8 people and has become a highly requested table for those who want to see and be seen!

41 Comment

  • omg omg omg!!! i have dreams about the fire and smoke pizza. omg omg omg!!!

    • the fire and smoke pizza is just about the only thing i’ve had there. it’s the reason i go there. so fucking good. everything else has struck me as average.

  • Does anyone know what corner it will be going on?

    I’m guessing it will be the rehabbed place next to Policy.

  • Who knew that Logan Circle is one of the “next hottest neighborhoods” in the District? I’m going to call my real estate agent and see about getting in on the ground floor.

    • Totally, these guys are so cutting edge, they hit neighborhoods just in time to capitalize on the hordes of fanny pack tourists.


  • I actually laughed out loud at their pitiful attempt to set themselves up to take credit for 14th street’s hotness. That’s the lamest thing I’ve read since Rogue 24’s press release!

  • I just can’t believe they mentioned Logan and Merrifield in the same press release.


    Not that it is my fave pizza but it is a consistent, nice and casual experience that I love. Especially for brunch!


  • Does anybody else find it hard to get overly excited about a restaurant that already has expanded to the Rockville Pike opening another outlet??

    • c’mon — it’s a perfectly good crowdpleaser for visiting out of town family.

      • And I like it, too. I’m just saying that it’s not as if it’s ground-shattering news that another Matchbox is coming. I respect that a consistent and accessible restaurant is way better than a lot of alternatives, including having nothing in that space, but once you’ve hit the Pike … I dunno, it’s kind of like hooking up with the girl who everybody hooked up with in high school, but at your 5-year reunion.

      • YES! I just took a disparate group of out-of-towners to the 8th Street location and everyone loved it.

    • homegrown is homegrown, regardless of where else it goes. i remember when they opened in chinatown when chinatown was absolutely dead dead dead on the weekends and even week nights was easy to get a table, and lunch was pretty much dead too, even though it was just about the only non chinese restaurant around.
      but they kept churning out consistency and a great beer selection.

      i say congratulations to them for their success.

      oh, and they moved to capitol hill was 8th street was just starting to find itself.
      so they inflated and exaggerated their sense of self. whatever. it’s a solid place.

  • There goes the few remaining parking spaces…

  • Good to know so many members of the PoP commentariat are too cool for this place. That should make it easier to get into. The Chinatown location is always bogged down with tourists, and I love me some mini burgers.

    • Nikki,
      I’m definitely not too cool for Matchbox. I just thought it was funny for a company to bill itself as being in the forefront of identifying the “next hottest” hoods for their restaurants, and then say that the next moves are to 14th and U and Logan Circle. Both “arrived” quite awhile ago. I guarantee their not getting any bargain rents in either area.
      I’m just jealous they are not moving to the development at the Ga. Ave/Petworth Metro – which, incidentally, would have been a brilliant move to a truly up and coming ‘hood.

      • This restaurant’s business model really only works with HUGE amounts of foot traffic in already “hot” areas, so it makes it even stranger that they would bill themselves this way. Matchbox would likely fail in Petworth or Bloomingdale. It’s a chain, it thrives where any chain would, local or not.

        • I’m not so sure that it would fail someplace without huge foot traffic. Pete’s Apizza started with a small store at Columbia Heights. Their second DC store is in a residential neighborhood north of AU with not a lot of foot traffic. Yet it does great business as far as I can see – packed on Fridays and Saturdays – because it’s the only dining option of its kind in that area. Granted that area is not “up and coming” in the traditional sense. But it’s certainly not an area where groups of people go to hang out. You go to Pete’s then you go home. I think that kind of “destination” restaurant could work at the Ga Ave/Petworth intersection. It doesn’t need to be surrounded by bars or other restaurants.

        • when they first opened there was not much foot traffic on h street in chinatown.
          not at all.

      • “coming” being the key word in “up and coming” re: Georgia Ave

  • what seems to be missed on this thread is that the arrival of Matchbox (another strong 14th street dining/bar option)will help thin out some of your other favorite haunts that are currently…well…simply overcrowded. Bring in Matchbox and maybe I can finally get some breathing room at Bar Pilar, Saint-Ex, Churchkey, etc.

  • Most over-rated restaurant in DC?


    Most over-rated restaurant ever?

    • No way. That award goes to Lauriol Plaza.

      • I wouldn’t say Lauriol Plaza is overrated (I have yet to meet someone who has raved about it), but it certainly is more popular than its food and drinks warrant it to be.

    • it’s better than my restaurant. probably yours too.

      • What does that even mean?

        Even the worst surgeon to ever graduate medical school is a better surgeon than I am, but I still don’t want him taking out my appendix.

        • it means, if you have something qualitative to say, by all means speak up, but if you’re just a hater looking to bitch, stfu. i mean really” Most over-rated restaurant ever?”. come on, thats some uptight bullshit asshole talking.

          sorry i was vague.

  • According to the following article, they want to open another Ted’s Bulletin at 14th and S:

  • Reasonable Person: “I don’t enjoy restaurants that serve food that I don’t think tastes good regardless of their reputation.”

  • It’s a shitty company to work for.

  • I realize PoP posted on this a short while ago, but I just can’t get behind 8th St being Capitol Hill. It’s Eastern Market. Why do we need to call it Capitol Hill? Why would we disparage such a lovely area with that phrase?

    Same for 14th and T St…that’s the U Street Corridor. Logan Circle is, in my mind at least, a separate entity.

    I have nothing against Matchbox–it is what it is and it’s great at that–but I can’t stand this neighborhood-posing. It’s unnecessary.

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