New Coffee/Bar/Restaurant, Brookland’s Finest, from Owners of the Pug, Solly’s, and (formerly) Sova Protested by Local ANC

12th and Jackson Street, NE

Following in the footsteps of Bloomingdale’s Big Bear Cafe comes an epic ANC/Neighborhood fight over the proposed liquor license for Brookland’s Finest. This is the new spot from the owners of The Pug (H St, NE), Solly’s (U St, NW) and Sova (formerly of H St, NE). On the Brookland listserv a huge debate has started over the decision of ANC 5B to protest the liquor license for Brookland’s Finest:

An fyi that during last night’s ANC 5B regular monthly meeting, ANC 5B voted in support of a resolution to protest of the alcoholic application of Brookland’s Finest Bar & Kitchen.

Individual persons wishing to formally testify or comment about this alcohol license application may do so at the 4PM August 14, 2013 ABRA Protest Hearing wherein all comments & protestants will be formally heard by the ABC Board.

For those who are unfamiliar their liquor license application, it says:

“Tavern serving American food with a seating capacity of 75 and total occupancy load of 99. Summer garden with 40 seats.”

We looked at their proposed menu here.

A petition has already been started to support the restaurant:

The Brookland neighborhood is sorely underserved with regards to sit-down, family friendly restaurants. The restaurant Brookland’s Finest will fill this need, and take over a blighted property that has been an eye-sore for some time. In addition, the business will create jobs, and serve as a gathering place to further establish a sense of community. Without a liquor license, it will be very difficult for the business to operate profitably.

Brookland’s Finest partner Tony T writes the Brookland listserv:

I’m Tony, one of the proprietors of Brookland’s Finest. I want to first extend a huge thank you to those of you who have reached out with your support and encouragement. For those of you who haven’t seen any of my previous emails, or received a flier from me, I have lived at 1016 Kearny St for over 10 years with my wife, and we now have three children ages 6, 4, and 2. We have done our best to reach out to the immediate neighbors on Kearny, Jackson, Irving, and 12th streets. On all those fliers, I’ve included my phone number and email adress. Except for basic letters of encouragement, I believe I’ve responded to all questions I received. I am more than happy to meet with any individual or group who has concerns.

After the BNCA meeting, at which I addressed many of the questions being posed here, a group of 12th street residents decided to get together to create a concise list of concerns we can respond to. The ANC protest has unfortunately brought lawyers into the equation so now a lot of our communication will have to be sent to the law office. Hopefully next week we will meet with the group from 12th street. We have tried to be as open and available as possible. We did go door to door to those households on 12th, Kearny, Jackson, and Irving and distributed fliers about the BNCA meeting as well as an introductory flier about our business.

I will freely admit that i’m not the most tech savvy person so I sometimes am not sure which list serv my messages come from . If I missed an email from you, my apologies, but please get in touch again and we can arrange a time to sit down and talk.

I want to stress that I am pursuing this business as a fellow resident of Brookland and father of three young kids. I love this neighborhood and would like to bring a nice establishment here where we can eat and socialize with our neighbors. I live one block from the location and understand the concerns many of you have.

Thanks for your time.

Updates as the process moves forward.

Ed. Note: For those who are frustrated – remember, Big Bear ended up getting their liquor license.

22 Comment

  • more proof that Brookland is a long ways off from being the newest “hot” neighborhood.

  • I would assume that by “hot,” anon 12:20 means, “enough new residents to contradict the stupidity of old ones.”

  • ANC carolyn steptoe was also a key figure in the 901 montoe street longstanding mess. Might i suggest people pay attention to anc elections.

  • Tony’s a solid guy. I hope this Brookland’s Finest get legs.

  • I am anxiously looking forward to new eating/drinking establishments opening in Brookland. While there is much emphasis on the harm drunk college kids will cause to the surrounding neighbors (which is a very good point), I am in my 30’s and would LOVE to grab a happy hour in my neighborhood and maybe even stay out till 2 am in Brookland drinking with visiting friends. I can promise I will not be loud, steal your lawn gnomes, or pee in your yard. Perhaps with the right owners (like Tony is presented to be), Brookland can become the home to establishments that can serve liquor, stay open late (or at least late-ish), and still have a good relationship with the community!

    P.S. Our 12th St (“business district”) needs something other than empty store fronts!

  • Sounds like your emotional and intellectual development stopped back in Vanilla Ice’s heyday.

    • Actually I think that this is a succinct and fairly honest distillation of the various concerns voiced by those opposing this development. For many long-time residents, gentrification poses a very real risk of displacement, etc.

      “No country for old men” is a tough pill to swallow.

      • Unfortunately, many of the older residents would prefer empty storefronts over anything new. On the listserv, I’ve heard “if you wanted restaurants, you should have moved to Cleveland Park. You knew what this place was like when you moved here.” But before all of the storefronts emptied out, Brookland had a thriving commercial district. Why do some people want to keep the neighborhood in this state that is far less than the best it’s been?

        • i understand the frustration but don’t mischaracterize those old time neighbors. not wanting bars isn’t the same as preferring empty stores to anything new. i’m sure your question was rhetorical, but if not, i suggest you ask your neighbors what their take is.

  • I would love this.

  • Question: Why would you base your opinion on the menu or, frankly, the owner? I mean, the menu can change if it doesn’t cover the rent, and they could end up offering bud light and soggy nachos and the business would still have the license. And the owners of these small businesses are often prone to move on to some other venture, either by choice or by finances. So, wouldn’t it make more sense to base your decision on it being a generic restaurant bar with a less engaged owner?

    • Some of the objections are on based on the fact that it could be a loud disruptive bar that will negatively impact the families in the area. The fact the owners not only have experience running places that don’t do that, and two of them live with a block of the site with their families, would indicate that they have no interest in such a disruptive business on that site.

  • This fight has more to do with petty tyrant ANC commish Carolyn Steptoe than a mere liquor license. People in Brookland are FED UP with Steptoe’s antics and lack of transparency. Time for a recall.

  • On Google maps that place is an absolute dump. Looking at the picture in this PoPville post shows it’s clear they are putting a new roof on it plus improving the landscaping. Where else are they going to find someone who would put that kind of money into a ruin of a commerical building?

Comments are closed.