Zeke’s DC Donutz Closed in Dupont

Zeke’s Grand Opening Feb. 21st at 2029 P Street, NW via Facebook

Yesterday ANC rep @KevDC tweeted:

“Shocked to learn Zeke’s DC donutz at 2029 P St NW is already closed !! #ANC2B”

On their facebook page the last entry was May 10th though fans write: “How long are you closed??” and “Miss you already, friends! Hope you can come back in another incarnation soon!”

2029 P Street, NW has had a bit of a rough patch over the last few years – it has housed a Tangy Sweet (closed July 2011), Tasti D-Lite (closed Aug. 2012), a tease/joke of Meatsicles coming soon (Jan. 2013), and briefly Cool Disco Donuts before changing to Zeke’s DC Donutz.

52 Comment

  • On Friday I saw a sign on the door saying they were closed “for further construction”.

    • No doubt, being a small business owner has many challenges…I am not one, but even I know that if you want a chance of success, you really need to step it up as far as keeping your customers engaged. An update or clarification on their Facebook page about whether they’re closed permanently or just closed for constructionon would be a good start. (Especially since a couple of customers have already posted messages lamenting the closing–those are the people you want to keep happy and loyal in case you’re reopening post-construction or potentially opening a new business elsewhere). Posting a Facebook status takes 2 minutes, and it’s free. Judging from some of the other comments here, regular, posted hours would be helpful, too.

    • When I walked by yesterday that same sign was there.

  • Not surprised. Krispy Kreme is two blocks away and the shop itself is set back from the street, it’s hard to tell what’s in there. Also, the donuts were pricey (but tasty) and they had the weirdest hours – sometimes they’d be closed at 4pm but the next day, they’d be open til 7pm.

  • justinbc

    They should have been closed even sooner for calling them “donutz”. That is unless they were purposely appealing to teenage girls and World of Warcraft players.

    • Laughed out loud. But seriously, the “surprise meter” didn’t even register a reading with this story. Super trendy places like this (I’m waiting for Chuck Brown’s Cicada Cafe) will all be short-lived.

  • Sad. I’ve never had their doughnuts, but I heard they were pretty awesome. I doubt it had much to do with Krispy Kreme being around the corner, as I attempted to get doughnuts at Zeke’s quite a few times, but they were always sold out. They should open up again on 14th St (for purely selfish reasons).

  • ledroittiger

    GBD Fried Chicken and Doughnuts in Dupont isn’t bad if you need a gourmet doughnut fix. Chicken is pretty tasty too.

    • I think GBD will end up working in the long run because they have a very diversified revenue stream. They have the donuts for the mornings and weekends. Then they offer fried chicken and a few other choice comfort foods for the afternoon and evening hours. With their liquor license, they also have a lively happy hour scene with drinks focused on Belgian beers at night.

      For being a “chicken and donuts” place, they manage to appeal to a bunch of different tastes while still hitting a decently affordable, but not cheap, price point. That’s the smart business, IMO.

      • justinbc

        GBD is actually quite affordable compared to many other places. Their donuts range from $2-3, not bad at all, especially considering the size. For lunch you can get a whole meal box for $8, less than most food trucks these days. Plus they’ve got a great draft list that really only has to compete with Big Hunt in that stretch on Connecticut (and to a lesser extent Paradiso and Scion further over on P).

  • It’s not surprising given the rise in doughnut shops in that area. The same thing will occur with Italian restaurants on 14th st. Only the strong survive….

  • That place was great. No way they will close. There were always people in there.

  • The donuts were actually the best of the “new” donut places. They just weren’t open enough (5-7 hours per day and NOT in the morning)

    • My friend and I tried to go twice in March and April and they were closed both times — like 6pm on a weekday and 2pm on a Sunday…. I don’t understand their hours.

    • justinbc

      I actually thought it was the worst of the 3, but I guess that’s why there is more than one option in the city.

  • How is that even possible? Not even open 3 months? Either he wrote the worlds worst forecast/business plan, or his heart just wasn’t in it.

  • thebear

    As I have said a number of times, as long as whatever occupies that space insists on keeping it dark and cavernous, it will be a failure as dismal as the decor. And, for crying out loud, enough with these “uber trendy hipster” concept places. Dupont is NOT a hipster destination…meaning what might be off the hook over in NoMa or Atlas is doomed here. Dupont’s more laid back and mellow, with a solidly-entrenched, classic, upscale neighborhood vibe. And expensive for the sake of being expensive DOES NOT equal upscale.

    Some sustainability advice to whomever tries to set up shop there next:

    1) The interior MUST be bright enough to be inviting, and clearly visible from the sidewalk, but not so bright you need sunglasses and sunblock.

    2) No fads. Pick something that appeals across age brackets, not just 20-somethings; and, that will be as in-demand 5 years from now as it is today.

    3) People in Dupont expect and demand good service and good quality. Your staff WILL NOT put their indifference or cell phones ahead of making sure customers are being taken care of and satisfied. And your offerings need to actually stand out, not more overpriced “me, too!” crap.

    4) No blaring, in-your-face, angry music. People spend more and are far more likely to return if the atmosphere is pleasant and relaxing.

    5) No, we do not need another valet, yoga spa, coffee shop, burger joint, taquiera, organic eatery, mini-mart, or hair salon in this stretch. How about a *real* old fashioned bakery, not the high-priced, ho-hum places Firehook and Marvelous Market have turned into?

    • I’d love to see a real old fashioned bakery there, but those places can’t afford the rent without charging obscene, non-old-fashioned prices, unless they own the building.

      • thebear

        They don’t have to be selling bread for a nickel a loaf. But $6.50 for a small loaf of white or sourdough is absurd. They also don’t have to sell every kind of bread known to mankind. Pick a few that everyone will buy, maybe a few specialties (perhaps on a regularly rotating schedule so people know when a particular favorite will be there), and for goodness sake, *KAISER ROLLS THAT AREN’T SOFTER THAN KLEENEX!* A variety of pastries, but not extravagant ones. Half moon cookies that aren’t institutional frosting dumped on styrofoam would be awesome. They don’t even have to bake it all on the premises…just have stuff there fresh in the morning and afternoon. Other than cakes, nothing should cost more than $5. They would make a killing if their stuff is good.

    • justinbc

      What do donuts have to do with hipsters?

      • thebear

        It’s the concept of the place, not donuts. Zeke’s and the previous flops in that space were completely out-of-sync with the demographics of the neighborhood. If you can’t build a strong, loyal following in the immediate vicinity, you absolutely will fail. That is the reality here in Dupont as it is everywhere else.

        • justinbc

          But according to your rule “No fads. Pick something that appeals across age brackets, not just 20-somethings; and, that will be as in-demand 5 years from now as it is today.” it would seem like donuts are the perfect thing. I’ve been eating them since I was a kid, love them even more now, and will do so until my teeth fall out (and probably still after, once I soften them up with some milk and go to town gumming them).

          • thebear

            Donuts, fine. But not only ones that cost $5 a piece and are flavors that only appeal to a very narrow segment of palates. Feature or specialty them, but have other things that are guaranteed, dependable sellers. And be open and ready to sell *when your potential customers are around*; not tell them they aren’t cool enough for your product because they’re hours too early or late for you.

          • justinbc

            Oh I totally agree with you in that regard. The two times I went they had less than 50% of the flavors available, and the ones that were available sounded like awful creations from the mind of a crackhead. Like many other posters I never got to spend a dime here because Zeke’s made it too inconvenient to take my money.

    • Is Dupont the new Georgetown?

    • I would love a good coffee shop on this side of the Circle. Soho has pathetic coffee and a horrible ambience, and Starbucks is Starbucks. And the nearest decent taqueria is nowhere near Dupont (Pica Taco, I guess).

  • orderedchaos

    Would love to see a good donut shop open up in Petworth… perhaps along the stretch near Qualia/Chez Billy. Or how about in that frustratingly-vacant spot on the corner of Georgia & Quincy in the high-rise? Rent would certainly be cheaper than Dupont… and if they were actually open for the morning rush of people hitting the metro & buses they could do well.

    • thebear

      The weird hours were another nail in the coffin. In this neighborhood, if something like a donut shop is not open early, it’s automatically losing at least 50% of its potential customers. A few years back, Fractured Prune learned that same lesson. It’s one thing to charge $2-$5 for a single donut; it’s another entirely to try making it by only being open after the morning rush has passed, and closing just as people arrive home from work. Meanwhile, the bagel shop…completely unassuming, unhip, no frills, no gimmicks, has been doing a thriving business since before I moved here in 1992.

  • I like Dunkin Donuts. There’s one near me on the corner of Rhode Island and Florida.

    • thebear

      +1 Dunkies Rules! They beat the pants off KK, and their coffee gives Starbucks atomic wedgies. If only the franchisee that had the old 17th Street location hadn’t hired total morons that destroyed it. I hope the new one opening down at 17th & K learned that lesson and doesn’t hire Bon Qui Qui Bots.

  • Maybe the universe of people willing to pay premium prices for a donut is smaller than these merchants think it is. I work a couple of blocks from the designer donut and fried chicken place that opened on G St downtown. Other than the first day when they were giving donuts away, I never see anybody in there.
    And I agree with the suggestion of a donut shop in Petworth. But if it’s not Dunkin’ Donuts, it won’t be getting much of my business. I have no problem paying a premium for some foods. But donuts and cupcakes are not on that list.

    • thebear

      Denial of the economics has much to do with fastflop establishments. Too many delude themselves into believing all they have to do is open their doors and they’ll be beating-back customers. They also, foolishly, believe that customers don’t give a crap about service, or whether they’re getting their money’s worth. $5 for a donut or cupcake or single scoop of froyo? Really?

      The reality that so many startups these days deliberately ignore is that you cannot open a trendy, pricey place in the middle of a neighborhood that will not support and sustain it. If you can’t win the hearts and wallets of the locals, you are guaranteed failure. If these entrepreneurs would stop kidding themselves and actually do some market research, they might not find themselves wearing “Epic Fail” stamps on their foreheads as often.

  • Tried to eat there once. It being a donut shop I stupidly though they would be open at 10am on the weekend. What an idiot I was. Clearly hipster ‘donutz’ are a lunch / dinner time option. Went to KKs instead and got 6 donuts for the same price as 1 of theirs. Checked later and on weekdays they open at 9am. Maybe the owners are cooler than the rest of us, but if you can’t open a donut store before most people have to be in to work you need to reconsider your sleep habits and possibly career choice. I used to work at a real donut shop and they opened at 5am every day.

  • I like Zeke’s a lot. Their donuts are way better and more creative than GBD’s. But that location doesn’t seem to have a lot of foot traffic. And they don’t really help their case by making it so hard to find what hours they are open or what flavors they have available. You can’t find that information listed on their strange and uninformative website, you have to check Facebook to see if they’ve made an announcement that day. And I agree that not opening until 9 loses them a lot of business. I hope they get it together.

    • thebear

      There is absolutely no shortage of foot traffic on either side of P from the circle to 22nd on any given day or time. The problem with that space since Rock Creek left has been every attempt involved it being a dark cave that it’s impossible to see what is inside, much less whether it’s open, unless you press your nose against the glass. That is simply not the nature of passers-by. If the proprietors can’t figure out something that’s so fundamental to retailing, they deserve to fall down go boom.

      • I can’t put my finger on what is different, but Panas empanadas next door has exactly the same entrance issues but feels a lot less like walking into an unknown dark space. Whoever takes over the now-available space should take a look next door for some ideas.

        • thebear

          Just look at Panas and Zeke’s from the middle of the sidewalk. That’s your answer. Panas is bright, cheerful, inviting. Zeke’s looks like it’s something shady and possibly dangerous to enter if you’re not the right kind of person.

    • justinbc

      I would rather have a donut that I know consistently tastes good (GBD) than something that has an unlimited variety of “creative” toppings that in reality don’t work (Zeke’s).

  • I totally forgot that place is down there and I go to P St. restaurants a handful of times a month. Just to add to the short-lived attempts on that lower level. Submarina California Subs was down there (next building over) and I don’t think they made it three months. I tried going there a second time and it was already closed.

  • Honestly, this place sounds like a money laundering front. Who has a donut shop and doesn’t open before 9 or even 10am?!?

    That’s just insanity and a recipe for failure.

  • I liked the donuts here, but my problem is that they were never open. So I just stopped trying to go there. I eventually just forgot about it.

  • Donuts are dead. Long live cronuts!

  • Obviously–the building is haunted.

  • The fact that this article elicited so many comments—and not just smart ass retorts, but long-form deconstructions—is pure insanity.

Comments are closed.