Judging Restaurants – Island Jim’s

Island Jim’s is located next to Colonel Brooks at 901 Monroe St NE in Brookland. I was surprised to see them open last Friday (I think they close during the winter). Is this a fun place to eat crabs? Any fans?

38 Comment

  • I think Island Jim’s is closed permanently. It’s owned by the same guy who owns Colonel Brooks, and they just let people order at CB’s and sit outside at Island Jim’s since CB’s has no outdoor seating.

  • It doesn’t “exist” in the way any normal restaurant exists (it doesn’t serve food). From what I have experienced, it is used as “spill-over” for Colonel Brooks (the two are connected from the inside). In other words, there is no Island Jim’s. Island Jim’s is Colonel Brooks and Colonel Brooks is Island Jim’s. You order food and drink from the Colonels Brooks menu but can sit in a “tropical bbq” environment all while enjoying the bustling Brookland Metro lot across the street.

  • “Wong Wu’s? I thought that place closed years ago”

  • It has always been owned by the same folks, but used to exist on its own, with it’s own islandy menu, etc. It was lovely, and you could sit in chairs in the sand and drink islandy drinks.
    I felt like it was always busy, but that was years ago, so I must be wrong, because they essentially closed it down.

  • Used to love Island Jims when they had the “beach” set up, but that was probably five years ago. the food was ok, but it was always the first outside happy hour my friends would do when we finally got that first spring day in April. Love Col Brooks too.

    • It was a blast back then. And they frequently had live music on Friday nights, which is when we’d go. The little fruity island drinks were fun. We had some fun times there. Even in the winter, I think they zippered in the main dining room, and they would have a singer/guitar player.

      Anyone remember the Federal District (I think that was the name of the jazz combo that played on Tuesday nights) at Colonel Brooks? They were great!

    • Yeah, I remember going there about five years ago. I saw The Nighthaks play there once, I think on the Island Jim’s side.

  • The other commenters are correct its basically closed now. It does have spill over from Colonel Brooks and you an reserve it for special events.

    I used to go there when it was officially open and it was great It was the first place I went when I was house hunting in Brookland in 2002. The beach chair’s sand etc were great. It changed to a BBQ joint for a little while before it went the spill over route. It’s demise probably had a lot to do with the triple homicide at Colonel Brooks in 2003.

    Now both Colonel Brooks and the spillover Island Jims are not long for the world as the 901 Monroe development project moved forward it will replace the restaurants with a mix-use building with retail on the ground floor and apartments above. The PUD has been sent down for the development and will likely have a public meeting late this fall( I would guess November) if that get approves I don’t see Colonel Brooks lasting more than 6 months or so after that.

  • You know, I have heard that a homicide happened there. Do you know the story?

    Brookland so needs more restaurants. By the way, has anyone discovered the chicken joint on 12th street yet? You should check it out. Their chicken and papusas are delicious

  • I don’t understand Brookland. Given that Catholic University is there, how come there isn’t a small downtown that serves the student population? In most college towns, there are restaurants, places to buy school crap, bars, etc. How come that hasn’t happened there?

    • Poor urban planning and conflicts of interest
      I have spoken with a lot of long time residents of Brookland and they don’t want to see any sort of change that would make a student/younger urban dweller happy and vice versa. This is because they have two different visions of what Brookland is and should become. At face value, Brookland is kind of like a retirement community with college students (who are only there part time) with a few young urbanites sprinkled in.

      • Wait. I thought all the old nimbys lived in Cleveland Park. WTF?

        Seriously, if you live in a city and don’t like dense development or change, you should really consider retiring someplace else.

        • Seriously, if you move to a city that doesn’t want dense development, you should really consider moving to a different city.

          • Too bad I have one of those pesky job-things…

          • Too bad some folks in Brookland have lived here longer than then many of us have been alive. So of course they should have looked into their crystal balls and care what we think some 30+ years later. geez

            I’m sorry the whole argument made to residents of a community that they should leave is silly and lazy. Moreso if it is made by others who don’t live in said neighborhood/city/etc.

            Not all neighborhoods need to be the same. Does Brookland need more density, yep sure does. but does telling people to move rather than have a conversion help things, nope sure doesn’t.

          • I agree with Brooklandavenue, the old guard doesn’t need to leave. But they do need to shut up and accept that fact that with time comes change. This isn’t their neighborhood any more than it is mine. Not every neighborhood needs to be the same, but a neighborhood should look towards making itself better for the residents who are going to be part of its future, and that would be those urbanites like me. The changes will happen, it’s just a matter of whether you plan on bitching your way through them.

        • I would like to see some more restaurants and activity in Brookland, especially around the 12th St/Monroe St area. Maybe something like what they have around the Cleveland Park metro stop. Just some nice neighborhood serving places.

          But I also like how quiet it is. Might be boring to some, but I can jump on my bike and be in Adams Morgan/Col Hts in about 5 minutes and come home and not have to put up with the undesirable attributes of those areas (car break-ins, fights, drunk people, etc). And I can have a 2000 sq ft home with a small yard for the price of a condo over there.

      • Urban planning and conflicts of interests are part of it. Landlord requiring over market rent for what a business can survive on is another part of it. Look at the 10th street shopping center. Some great space in there is vacant like the old Cardinal Nest space, why? Heard the landlord only wants month to month right now, maybe wants to sell the spaces.

        I do think think your quote about Brookland being a retire community w/ Students is bit disingenuous. Brookland is indeed a lot more. Lots of different types of professional s, long term residents from 40-70+ years old, students, etc. A good deal of young families have been moving here in the 9 years that I have been here for the big house/yards and more affordable prices when compared to other parts of the city. Last few years I have seen more younger professionals after college moving in, so that pattern is a bit. But Brookland is so much more than just retires and college students.

        • Agreed! My husband and I are young professionals. We moved here for the affordable house rather than condo. We would love to see more local restaurants and retail.

    • The question really should be framed as “why isn’t it still there?”.

      Though the ADBO development at the CUA south campus will likely serve some of this function once its complete.

  • Went to CUA in the 90’s. Brooks was always pretty crowded but there was never a clamor for more restaurants. Students are more interested in drinking than eating.

  • In describing Brookland I did say “at face value”, meaning apparent value and not real value. Brookland has a many qualities and distinctions that make the neighborhood great (the recreation area north of Michigan; the middle finger sign symbol; CUA; the brookland bridge; the GBYS; and the year round, never ending yard sale). However, those spaces that the Cardinal’s Nest used to be in is what turns urban neighborhoods into suburban-like wastelands. At the moment, there is a proposal trying to add a spark to a neighborhood that has been struggling with an identity for some time. I have never heard a single proponent of the development say once that their goal is to kick anyone out of the neighborhood, and i don’t think anyone honestly wants that. It is simply that these opponents (a lot of them older residents) are too stubborn when it comes to change. They are more interested in having a car centered neighborhood than any sort of walkabale area…..and… well….hell..i lost my argument. For the record, I have nothing against old people.

    • I don’t have anything against old people either, but I don’t think they should get to decide everything, considering they’ll be dead soon anyway.

    • I guess my point is that the apparent value is more than just retirees and students even. I think you are right there is an apparent value, but I with with just a cursory glance one will see more. But really we are probably splitting hairs.

      I assume you are discussing the 901 Monroe development coming to replace colonel brooks and island jims. Yep there are some folks hot happy about it including the 5A07 commissioner and nearby residents. There are questions on some of the plan how it fits in the comprehensive and SAP plans and with nearby buildings. And then being a PUD it will require amenities. So there are discussions around that. But most folks I talk to want this development to come as most see it as a good thing for the neighborhood. That being said there are logistics that need to be worked out.

      The concerns of the folks right next to the development are not that they will be kicked out it that they’re quality of life will be impacted. And it will no doubt about it. The question is how to mitigate that within reason.

      I also would be careful to not group all old(er) people with the same view of new development, a good deal are for it.

      Brookland won’t be a stop having a car culture overnight thats just not going to happen. it will be eventually weened off some, but it won’t be a Ward 1 neighborhood. partly b/c of elderly residents, partly because of families that need a way to transport their kids to different things. I think the trick I think is to have it so folks here have to use their cars less and move a model where a car is second or third option. Turn two cars households in one car households etc. Also figure a way to encourage CUA students to not use their cars for everything. I dont know how many large out of state gas guzzling suvs are used and take up parking.

      There are ways to be involved especially if one is are for development like 901 Monroe. Go to your ANC meetings and the Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association and make sure you opinions are heard.

      I’ll get off my soapbox now.

    • I think the area centered around Monroe and 12th and the metro should definitely evolve into a more urban, walkable area. Sort of like the “downtown” of Brookland. I think the area east of 12th should stay like it is, nice craftsman bungalows, etc.

      More apartments and the like around the metro will bring more people to the neighborhood to support better restaurants, and bring more activity to the neighborhood. What they’re proposing at the Col Brooks site, I’m all for it, 100%, even the original plan before they modified it to appease the NIMBYs. But then again, I live over on 18th St, so what happens at the metro won’t really impact me.

  • I don’t want people to think Island Jim’s closed because of the murders, Col Brooks is not getting large crowds for other reason’s as in prices, food and service. I believe the owner didn’t have a license to run two different bars. So all drinks for Island Jim’s had to come from Brooks. Slowing down business. Living in Brookland myself, I wish Brooks was better. Instead I go to San Antonio’s and I think others feel the same way

  • The service was the killer for me. A number of times I swore off the Colonel b/c of the service after some really bad incidents. The worst being with family from out of town. Though I have a few times this year service and food have seemed to be somewhat better, though def not perfect. I think what I have heard is that the bad food/service etc was blamed on the murders and too some time to recover from that. Take it if yo like.

    San Antonio is good, though pricey on some dishes and service can be up or down. Would be great if they had a good beer selection.

    Silvestre cafe on 12th and Hamlin is great too, check it out if you haven’t.

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