Sixth Engine opens in Mt. Vernon Square


Photo courtesy Sixth Engine

Last week, a reader noted some serious progress on the space and snapped some photos. You can see some photos from their menu here.

From a press release:

Douglas Development is pleased to welcome Sixth Engine, a firehouse inspired American bistro, as the newest addition to Washington, DC’s Mount Vernon Square neighborhood. The restaurant will open its doors Friday in the Douglas Development-owned historic Engine 6 firehouse at 438 Massachusetts Ave, NW. Sixth Engine leased the 3,600 square foot property from Douglas Development in March 2011.

The restaurant is owned and operated by Gavin Coleman, Jeremy Carman, Paul Holder, Paul Madrid and Tim Walsh. These seasoned restaurateurs are also behind the Capitol Hill staple The Dubliner and the Glover Park restaurant and bar Town Hall. The team’s interest in finding a property in a vibrant neighborhood with outdoor seating led them to the old firehouse; once they realized the building’s unique history, they were sold.

“I think it’s incredible what the Sixth Engine team has done with the property, and I’m really pleased with their interest maintaining the building’s history while transforming it into what I’m sure will be a great restaurant,” says Norman Jemal, Principal of Douglas Development. “Sixth Engine is exactly what Mt. Vernon Square and Downtown DC needs. The area continues to grow with an influx of new residents, and those new residents need a signature neighborhood spot to call their own.”

To reflect the restaurant’s commitment to preserving the historic building, elements from the original Engine 6 firehouse are integrated throughout the restaurant’s interior space. In addition to the firehouse’s original shield displayed outside the entrance of the restaurant, Sixth Engine features giant murals including depictions of a faded ladder company logo and a Norman Rockwell-inspired illustration of a fireman, boy and dog rushing off to a fire. Sixth Engine also boasts an authentic fire pole connecting the two-level restaurant.

The Engine 6 firehouse is the oldest firehouse in Washington, DC. Built in 1855 for the Metropolitan Hook and Ladder Company (MHL), the firehouse still retains the original “MHL” insignia above the entrance. Douglas Jemal recognized Mount Vernon’s potential long before other developers and retailers, which is what led him to purchase the firehouse from the city in 2005. Today, the neighborhood is one of the most sought after addresses in the District and continues to attract top restaurants and retailers like Sixth Engine.

8 Comment

  • Can’t wait to try it! Paint those two red doors black! :)

  • I loathe how they “preserved” this building while framining every surrounding inch of space with an incompatible design. Firehouse buildings are cool, but this one has lost any form or context that made it genuinely interesting. It looks like a square peg annexation of the surrounding building, which does little to incorporate the firehouse design anywhere into the larger surrounding development.

    I’m agnostic on the reuse or this particular restaurant group. From an aesthetic standpoint I find this building fall short of what it could have been. the North Cap firehouse looks like it has WAY more potential.

    • Way more potential, yes.

      Food and drink, not so much.

    • The surrounding building is over 7 years old. What exactly is the restaurant supposed to do about it? Sheesh.

    • Seems as if you should be voicing your complaints about the apartment building somewhere other than a blog posting about a restaurant caught in between. “From an aesthetic standpoint” the facade has been restored to its original glory. Perhaps you could stand in the apartment lobby and tell residents how you dislike their building or you could even buy a Ouiji board and summon the deceased architect who designed the fire station in the mid-19th century. Geez Louise, settle down. Go crank one out or something..

  • MVTriangleBlog has a lot of great pics of the space http://www.mvtriangleblog.com/?p=3842. I’m really looking forward to it – finally some nightlife in that immediate area.

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