The Pinch Opens in Columbia Heights this Friday at 5pm

Back in Dec. 2011 we learned that The Pinch was going to replace the former El Salvadorena space located at 3548 14th St, NW. I’m happy to report they’ll be opening this Friday.

Upstairs Bar 2012

Upstairs Bar 2011

The owner writes:

This restaurant, bar, and live music venue will feature specialty cocktails, contemporary twists on classic American fare and live music in a comfortable, neighborhood bar setting. The newly refurbished space will feature works by local artists and houses a broad selection of tap, bottled, and canned beer.

Our Grand Opening will be Friday May 4th @ 5PM and we will be open 7 nights a week (opening @ 5PM every evening). Look for us to add weekend brunch soon.

Beer info:
We will have 6 taps, and 30 or more bottles/cans. The list will be mostly American craft brews and will shift and change throughout the year. Our opening list will include- Omegang Hennepin, Flying Dog Raging Bitch, Anderson Valley Summer Solstice, just to name few…

The menu will be contemporary American fare (some highlights):

Appetizers– Pretzel Crusted Fried Pickles, Assorted sliders (Hoisan BBQ Duck, Caprese, Crab cake, Steak),
Burgers– my 2 favorites are the Jerk Turkey, and the Meat Lovers (topped with pulled duck, bacon, cheddar, and fried onions). Vegetarians- Will find a number of items on our menu, my favorite being the Portabello “burger”, a cap with spinach, sun dried tomato, garlic, sauteed onion, mozzarella.
Sandwiches– Walnut Crusted Talapia, and a Flank Steak Sandwich served with Chef Steph’s house made steak sauce

Initially we will be opening with just our main floor bar and dining area. We intend to open the performance lounge in the next couple of weeks.

40 Comment

  • Awesome news 🙂 I met one of the owners of this place a few weeks back, and was wondering when I would hear an update!

  • Not sure how I feel about this. I wish them well but living very near by I would like places that are more restaurant than bar in the area.

  • I walk by this place often and desperately hope for it to succeed. I will definitely check it out. That said, I hope they manage the relationship with the grocery store next door. Too often that side walk is clogged full of street vendors, carts, people waiting to load their groceries, and trucks being unloaded.
    I’m also curious what the latest status is of the beer garden place that is supposed to open on the other side of 14th. I haven’t seen much progress recently (at least on the outside of the building).
    I’ll toast a few Hennepin’s to continued development of upper 14th street.

  • This is great to hear!!!

  • Please have a decent priced menu (the fancy items speak otherwise). I’m tired of all these new places opening in CH and Petworth that price themselves like they’re in U St/Dupont (actually I find cheaper options around there now than I do here). No $14 Panini, no $8 tiny cocktails.

    • Andy – I was at The Pinch’s Friends and Family event last night and had a chance to check out the menu. You will be happy to know that NOTHING on the menu is priced over $10. Also, the fried pickles are amazing.

  • It was El SalvadoreñO, not ‘A”…i used to hang out around there growing up..that area seems to be changing by the month, I don’t even recognize it from a few years ago. In couple years maybe it will be just wine bars, beer gardens, etc. Who would have thought!

    • Not likely. Many of the buildings on that block are owned by the immigrant community. I think that is great but as noted with the super market, I think unfortunately a lot of the third world standards govern these enterprises. I also call BS as front businesses on several of them. How many hair salons can you have in 3 blocks.

      • Seriously, I know we’ve discussed why there are so many funeral homes, but my brain cannot grasp how there can possibly be SO MANY SALONS on this strip! And if there are…can we convince them to start offering decent mani/pedis?

    • As long as Chick Ass never goes out of business! I would be so, so sad if I didn’t have that place to cheer me up when walking up 14th.

  • I’m so tired of mushroom sandwiches.

    • Me too… it’s a shame that whoever dreamt up those delicious-sounding pretzel-crusted fried pickles could be bothered to think of an original vegetarian sandwich.

      Also, caprese sliders? For real? Even vegetarians like their sliders to, well, slide. Bread and fry that mozzarella and maybe it’ll work.

      • I meant “couldn’t,” of course.

        While I’m here, I’ve got some other, a couple of original vegetarian sandwich ideas for the restaurant menu planners and ambitious home cooks of the world:
        – Meatless Chili Burger (like a falafel, but made with kidney beans, tempeh and chili spices)
        – Sesame-Glazed Seared Tofu Sandwich (ginger-soy marinade, sweet sesame glaze)

  • Pretzel-crusted fried pickles? YUM. I am gonna eat that.

  • Great! Can’t wait to visit. Do I remember right that they were also trying to get a permit for outdoor seating? I don’t even know if that would be possible/desirable given the grocery store next door (given the amount of traffic), but it would be great to add to the neighborhoods outdoor options. And it might make the front look more….welcoming? Despite the nice update, the facade still does not scream “restaurant/bar” to me.

  • Hope they take down the shoddy looking bars. Other places along this strip don’t use the bars.

  • I’ll have a meat lovers burger and a Hennepin or three, thank you.

  • I really hope they succeed, and not to be a debbie downer, but I’m not sure I really get the concept of this place, or what type of crowd / atmosphere they are aiming for. Based on the photo, they basically kept the worst parts of the old decor (leaving the ugly floor and ceiling tiles), and the only changes are painting the wall, replacing a funky, interesting bar with a more generic bar and set of bar stools, and adding a few big-screen TV’s. There doesn’t sound like much to distinguish the menu from the other similarly-themed new or newish places on 14th Street (Red Derby, Zeba Grill, and The Getaway), either. Live music could be a draw if it is good, but otherwise, I’m not really sure I understand what will be drawing folks in (sort of like with The Getaway, a concept that always felt a bit half-baked). Also, no website?? IN the end, though, if the food is good and affordable, they’ll do OK, as there is plenty of demand for social / drinking venues in Columbia Heights based on the crazy crowds Meridian Pint seems to draw.

    • You nailed it. This is being done on the cheap so it is hard to get excited about. The reason I like Room 11 and Meridian Pint in part is because they spent money on their places to improve the aesthetic, etc. I feel like I would be drinking in the basement at a frat house with this place, red derby and others. Listen, I know it costs a lot to open a business but I also don’t have to go to the business if it looks and feels like a dump to me.

      • Agree, they did this on the cheap. They just slapped a little lipstick on this pig. It looks like the same brothel is was before except it has a new name and new flat screens. Fail.

  • Grate to here about this place and I wish them success.

  • I don’t mind if a place looks like a dump/dive, as long as it acts and prices itself like one. No more “Wonderland Ballroom” which is probably the most disgusting drinking space I’ve been in since my basement fraternity party years, complete with d-baggery attitude to boot, but with West End DC Hotel bar prices.

  • What I want most in this neighborhood is a place where white people, black people, and Hispanics can drink all drink a $2 PBR together. I don’t want my burger topped with pulled duck either.

    I’m tired of Latino spots simply being replaced with Caucasian spots. It’s really sad in my opinion.

    Now, I don’t know how to create such a place but I hope someone smarter than me gives it a try.

    • +1. To everything.

    • What about El Rinconcito II on Park? That place always has a diverse crowd, is cheap and delicious, and now has outdoor seating which is awesome. The original character of that place definitely survives and they seem to be doing great business.

    • Here is a solution: assuming you are white, get a bunch of your white friends together, and consistently grab drinks at a place that is generally patronized by non-white customers (or if you non-white, do the same at a majority-white establishment). It’s not as if any place is turning away business from any particular demographic group, or have signs announcing which race they are targeting as customers, so if you want a more integrated environment, nothing is stopping you.

      But, people in general tend to like socializing with people who they feel most comfortable with, which, for many, includes people from the same demographic. It’s human nature, and not something that can be solved by opening the Rainbow Coalition Bar or something. And really, there are very few places you will find in the US that are as integrated as Columbia Heights, when you think about it.

  • I live around the corner and am thrilled to have The Pinch join the neighborhood. More businesses and less empty storefronts. Best of luck to you.

    • Looks like they opened it in a “Pinch” and on a “Pinch”. Hope it does well, but seriously it still looks like a shithole. This will not be drawing me onto 14th street, rather walk around the corner to 11th. I have more hopes for the beer garden place that is being TOTALLY GUTTED and renovated across the street from this Pinch.

      • Contrary to what negative people on here say, this place is NOT a shithole. Everything is clean, walls are freshly painted, bathrooms are updated. What more do you want? Oh, and the most important part, the food is awesome.

  • A place called The Pinch should really have meatloaf.

  • Hooray for new business’ in Columbia Heights! Congratulations to the New owners. I can’t wait to check it out.

    Shame on you people who complain about somebody’s hard work before they even open the doors!

  • The hand signal in their logo is considered an offensive gesture in some Latin American countries. I realize that it’s supposed to be someone pinching, but that was not my first thought upon seeing it.

    • My good buddy from El Salvador is the designer of that logo. It is simply a pinch, do not over think it.

  • Any luck the new owners can pinch out the Exxon owner and the grocery store? With both of those places gone the block would really improve!

    Seriously, someone should investigate the Exxon manager/owner for selling parking spaces in his lot. The average gas station should not have 20+ cars parked at all hours. Certainly this is a violation of the franchise agreement they have with Exxon. The Pinch owners would be wise to contact Exxon and have them clamp down on the operator.

  • Went to the soft opening of “The Pinch” and had some great food and drinks. As a soft opening, they were working out some kinks, but the five of us all got different tihngs which were all really well done (ghost wings, mussels, loaded sweet potatoe fries, flank steak sandwhich, meat lovers burger, fried pickels, roasted asparagus). Didn’t try the shrimp skewers but they looked amazing. I’ll be back for those for sure.

  • Went to the soft opening the other night and this place is great!! very relaxed atmosphere – AWESOME bartenders, and delicious food! I like this better than some of the frou frou CH scene and think it will be a welcome neighborhood bar. ESP once they get the live music going and start featuring the art of local artists… I am truly awesomely excited about this the Pinch!! 🙂 🙂

  • Went to Tuesday’s soft opening and had a great time! They have a great relaxed atmosphere that is not at all grungy. Beers start at $4 and they have a ridiculous amount of them to chose from. Split the slider sampler and the loaded sweet potato fries – amazing. Of the sampler the pulled duck slider and the crab cake were by far the best. Will definitely be checking out the opening and trying a new beer and the buffalo shrimp! The owners of this place are great people and Chef Stephanie’s food is out of this world! Do yourself a favor and check it out!

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