Paul Ruppert from Room 11 Planning on Opening Two Spots on Upshur Street in Petworth

828 Upshur St, NW

Back in Jan. we noted that 828 Upshur St, NW was for lease for a very reasonable $1500 per month. It got snapped up quick. The lease was signed by Paul Ruppert who many know as a partner in Columbia Heights’ Room 11. Ruppert is no stranger to Upshur Street as in the past he looked into leasing what is now Open Kitchen Diner. On Monday Ruppert told me vial email that 828 Upshur needs a lot of work. So it’s not likely to turn around anytime soon.

And if that’s not potentially exciting enough, Ruppert, has also leased the former Island Cafe space across the street (also noted by CityPaper.) Same deal, space needs a lot of work and he isn’t yet sure what exactly he wants to do with these spaces. But given Ruppert’s track record – it’s likely to be something good. As my fellow Petworthians know – this section of Upshur Street is ripe for something cool to complement the recently opened Willow. Let’s hope Ruppert can make it happen. Stay tuned.

829 Upshur St, NW

49 Comment

  • Amazing! Will be watching this closely!


  • $1500? that is a freggin steal…..I hope they locked in a 10yr lease.

  • excellent news

  • bfinpetworth

    Upshur is the new 11th St.. Very very good news. I suspect that in about 5 years the entire stretch between Rock Creek Church Pkwy and Georgia Ave is going to be a really sweet mix of retail, restaurants, and residential. All shaping up so nicely. We are thinking about putting our house on the market this spring and this kind of news makes me happpppyyyyy.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Why are you gonna sell when it’s just about to get good? 🙂

    • You’re probably getting out at the right time. After Upshur becomes 11th Street North, street parking in the area will become scarce, and you’ll have people complaining about trash, noise, etc.

      • Um, Mr. Grumpy, let’s see… when I moved to Petworth in 2005 I had plenty of noise (police checkpoints on my corner several times a week, sirens all the time, fights, drug dealers, gunshots, police running generators to spotlight my street all the time) and ridiculous amount of trash everywhere, and no one would walk down my street unless they were there to buy drugs. Now that all that is gone and replaced by moms pushing strollers or walking their dogs, I seriously will welcome all restaurant-goers with open arms!!

        • AMEN. I welcome new businesses with OPEN ARMS and so should all of you Petworth residents that want to complain about no parking instead of supporting local business owners who want to revitalize our neighborhood! Would you prefer a closed shop with broken windows???

      • Heh, right. That’s hilarious. Are you familiar with what 11th Street was like before all the restaurants and cafes moved in? As someone who lives near the Upshur corridor, has a house with two parking spaces in back, and doesn’t own a car, street parking is about the last thing that I’m worried about.

        • I remember what 11th St was like before the developments and I also remember a lot of concern/opposition from people who lived in the area about what the new businesses would do to their quality of life. As someone who lives within walking distance of this stretch of Upshur, I am happy to see new businesses come. But it’s easy for me to say this because I don’t live close enough to have to deal with the externalities these businesses will generate – more cars, more people, more noise, more trash, etc. That’s not to say that these concerns should stop development. But they shouldn’t be ignored.

          • There are also a lot of very positive externalities as well. The first one that comes to mind is getting rid of the Island Cafe.

            In May 2007 a fight broke out at the Island Cafe and a man, who ran back to Taylor Street, was gunned down a half block from me. I had a friend visiting me from out of town and we ran up the stairs as we heard 8 gunshots blasting away from right outside my window. The next day a fire truck came to hose down the blood out of the alley.

            I’m looking forward to less noise, less trash, and most of all, less crime as a result of losing the Island Cafe!

            Let’s not forget that these new businesses are replacing other businesses. Also, when I bought in Petworth in 2005 I was well aware I was buying near 2 major business areas (Georgia Ave and Upshur St) and that was intentional. I WANT to walk to stores and restaurants and I’m very excited to see some positive new development happening in the neighborhood.

  • YESSSSSS!!! One block away. I knew this section of Upshur had huge potential but didn’t know how long it would take to get moving on it. I couldn’t be happier. Love Domku but man have I worn out that menu already.

  • So excited! Can’t wait to hear more about this as the project moves forward! Such great news for this part of Petworth!

  • I love every second of this! Can’t wait for them to open!!!

  • This is amazing!

  • This is great news! Upshur really needs a good pub / restaurant, some place to grab a beer, some food and be able to chat with friends, etc. Happy to see Island Cafe go away and something useful to the local community take its place.

  • Could at least one of these places be somewhere with a good vibe where I can both bring my kid and get a drink in the middle of the day?

    • you are describing Domku

      • 3 out of 7 days, anyway.

        Mon: closed
        Tues-Thurs: 6pm-11pm
        Fri: 12pm-12am
        Sat: 10am-12am

        • Yes, but Domku rubs me the wrong way half of the time I’m there. I went a few weeks ago on a Saturday at 5 pm and they won’t serve you food until 6. I guess I should have said that I want somewhere that I can get a drink and a snack with my kid.

          • Oh, I hear you. I was pointing out that it’s not really an option for that.

          • I feel like no one gets Domku – it’s supposed to be like a Dick’s Last Resort experience where the employees are so rude that it’s funny. Does no one else think this is the model Domku has always been going for?

          • Totally agree about Domku. Got tired of never being quite sure when it would be open, overpriced beers, and getting the stink eye from the owner for having the temerity to come in, sit down and spend money.

  • What great news! It may be a wait, but guessing it’ll be well worth it knowing Paul and the work he’s done in the past.

  • Good for Petworth! The good news keeps coming.

  • Any info on what will open in these spots or who the other partners are? Very curious if Dan Searing is involved or if there’s any other info.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Great questions. And the answer is why we need to be patient. At the moment there are no official partners and no specific plans for a concept. I agree that Dan Searing would be a phenomenal addition. And for that matter – former Room 11 chef Ben Gilligan would be a great fit too!

  • fandabbydozy! Good luck to Mr Ruppert. I promise to become one of your favorite regulars.

  • Sweet, can’t wait for these to open!

  • andy

    time for some SMALL PLATES!!!

    how about some AUTHENTIC CASUAL ITALIAN!!!

  • When I first read the headline I thought it said “RuPaul from Room 11……”

  • Such a relief to hear! DC is such a “let them come, then build it” type of city. That stretch of Upshur is so under used/developed, but I’m sure we’ll all come crawling out of the woodwork for this. I absolutely love Room 11. Domku just isn’t enough. I avoid it all costs as I’ve been humiliated/demeaned there one too many times (the last being when the server enthusiastically announced to the entire restaurant that my credit card had been declined…)

  • My first reaction was OMG OMG. Then ‘Watch out H Street, here we come.’ I had two totally different couples last week tell me what a great meal they’d just had at Room 11. YAY!
    P.S. Paul please have a kid’s menu, not just quail and tapas type stuff. Many long time and well as recent transplants moved to Petworth looking for more room for their growing families. Many formerly hip parents are looking for a place to go besides Looking Glass, DC Reynolds, Chez Billy etc.

  • Coffee house! Coffee house!

  • No matter what, these restaurants will never be as good as Chez Billy! This is particularly true of the magnificent bartending staff at Chez Billy! Jewel and Sheik are the best! Loving the neighborhood and welcoming some great competition, fail though it will…;-)

  • very exciting news!

  • So glad that there will be more restaurants, and an alternative to Domku. And nightlife!

  • I’m totally pumped! I’m crossing my fingers for Mediterranean food (Greek, Italian) or anything different than the usual fare in the neighborhood.

Comments are closed.