Vento Closes in Dupont Circle

Thanks to everyone who wrote in and tweeted about Vento Restaurant getting papered over at 2120 P Street, NW. While their website is still active, the phone number listed has been disconnected. Vento replaced Stars Bistro in Aug. 2010. Not sure who is moving into the space but I’ll be sure to update when more info becomes available.

15 Comment

  • thebear

    That sure was fast! They were open Saturday. Vento was pretty much doomed when they tried to morph it into a hip “destination” stealth night spot and ran into the brick wall of the neighborhood’s resistance to Marrakesh Palace doing that. (Now, if only Marrakesh would do the same thing.) West Dupont simply is not a hipster destination. Restaurants hoping to succeed here need to target an up-market, 30+ demo that includes neighborhood residents…not the nighttime party demo. Scion and the other long-lived eateries around here get that. Vento did not.

  • I will miss Vento so much. The food was fabulous and the happy hour even better. Alas, it was almost always empty so not exactly a surprise it closed. Will miss Jack and her amazing cocktails!

  • There are now three empty storefronts on the south side of P between Dupont Circle and Rock Creek. Vento, the former site of Crepes a Go Go, and one of the locations at the ground level of the West Park Condo.

    Is there something wrong with that area, or is it just a fluke? Seems like that section of P isn’t somewhere you are just going to stumble upon. You have to be going there for a purpose,

    • thebear

      This stretch of P is hardly out of the way…it’s only a bit less busy than M. There is heavy foot traffic most days and evenings. On weekends, there is an almost endless stream of people walking to and from Georgetown from the morning until late at night.

      The issue here is coming up with an idea that will last. “Hip night spot” won’t play because it’s a heavily residential area. We do not put up with establishments causing excessive noise, nor do we tolerate valets that illegally take street parking…so that means large enough crowds just won’t materialize to support night clubs. The demographics are rather different from places like U Street, NoMa or H: We want places that are more relaxed, comfortable and welcoming whether it’s just a party of one or 10. Vento was not designed for just unwinding or conversation and tried too hard to be like the places over around Conn & 18th or M Street…and the stealth night club attempt got shot down real fast.

      Lots of neighborhood folks liked Crepes a Go Go but the space just wasn’t right for it to grow enough. Crepes are also one of those in-and-out of trend foods, which means unless they also had a variety of other fare, it was pretty much doomed once the novelty wore off.

      What would work here? For Vento’s space, an old-school Italian restaurant that doesn’t try to reinvent the cuisine and that doesn’t try to establish new levels of “trendy.” Something like a non-corporate version of Macaroni Grill or Carraba’s.

      The Crepes space might be good for a place serving a variety of international “street food” like Jamaican meat pies, knishes, arancini, zeppole, empanadas…not comprehensive or exhaustive just good, satisfying and reasonably priced.

      The P street vacancy at the Westpark should be a neighborhood-oriented service of some kind as opposed to a destination. That space just didn’t work for fast food/takeout, and frankly we don’t need another fast food kind of place. Perhaps a deli selling good-quality cold cuts, cheeses, other fresh and gourmet food items that the Metro Market doesn’t. (The space around the corner on 22nd would work for this as well if it were something along the lines of what Dean & DeLuca was long, long ago before it got all absurdly trendy.)

      • You could try to bring Olive Garden there – heh. Some foodies on the DL might appreciate that – and it’s family friendly as well.

        • thebear

          @c_six: ARE YOU NUCKING FUTS??? 😛

          • To thebear,

            No, I am not nucking futs. I am, however, cheeky. I guess you missed the memo where a woman in the upper midwest ate at the Olive Garden and wrote a food review that sent foodies over the edge and brought the food world to a near-halt.

        • thebear

          @c6: You must not have seen the “sticking my tongue out” thingy…I knew you were being cheeky. What do you think of a Golden Corral? There is a serious lack of chocolate fountains in Dupont.

          • Oh, no, I did see your ‘”sticking your tongue out” thingy’ and thought you were trying to soften your exclamation to me – heh. Glad you knew that I was being cheeky, though. Sometimes that’s the difficulty of technology, especially when you don’t know someone.

            As for the dearth of chocolate fountains in Dupont…why not just run chocolate through the fountain in the circle…seeing kids and dogs jump into that – well, now, that would be a sight to behold. As far as I know, chocolate does not clog pipes or drains.

            By the way, I love your photo icon. Though, are bears really that shy?

  • has there ever been anything good in this space?

    • thebear

      Mimi’s was quite good from when it opened in 2000 until around 2004-5 (when Andy Shallal decided he wanted to make Busboys his pet). After that it went downhill fast. Stars was a waste. Vento would have worked had it gone the route of being a comfortable place to unwind and dine instead of trying to bring U Street or Logan over here.

  • What P St needs is a trendy upscale restaurant. A place that makes you feel like an A-List LA celebrity. There are so many options for this downtown and around 18 and M, but none around P St. Something that is a restaurant but feels more like a night club.

    • thebear

      Night club has been tried, failed, and will not be tolerated in the neighborhood again. We also don’t want places that are so expensive that locals are priced out of being able to eat there regularly. Something with the atmosphere of the old Timberlake’s, or Front Page when the rowdy younger crowd is not there would be most welcome here.

      • How about a Funeral Home or Assisted Living Facility for all the bitter, aging NIMBYs who make Dupont Circle the last place that anyone who wants to feel “hip”, “young”, or “A-List” would be caught dead in?

        • thebear

          How ignorant. There are quite a few younger (under 30) folks in the neighborhood who have weighed in that they like the change of pace from the east side and downtown. A city *needs* neighborhoods with different styles and speeds. Even NYC and LA are not “all hipster, all the time” and embrace them. If *YOU* don’t like it, then stick to the parts of town that do stroke your jones. There is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED to diss other residents and tastes just because you don’t like them. And, if you are lucky enough, you will one day grow to realize what an idiot you were to mouth-off with such an attitude.

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