5828 Georgia Avenue, NW
Good news for Brightwood residents – a casual neighborhood spot is coming your way. The former Kendejah restaurant and lounge is going to become ‘Simple Bar and Grill’ (next door to Chocolate Crust formerly Washington Deli.) I spoke with owner Wilfredo Guzman (Wil) who says he hopes to have the space open (at least to sample the food) in a month or so. After that they plan on getting their liquor license in hopes of offering a tasty mojito and more.
Since the space was formerly a restaurant, most of the changes going on inside are cosmetic (though the kitchen has been completely reworked.) But right away, for folks who know the area, you’ll notice an improvement because the former cinderblock/bricked front of Kendejah has been replaced by two big open windows. Wil tells me that he plans for the space to be very welcoming. Folks who live in the area can often see Wil cleaning up the area in front of his store (which can be a Sisyphean task on busy Georgia Ave.) not to mention beautifying the tree box and other touches.
Inspired by the many restaurants he has worked at, Wil wants to appeal to everyone’s taste and keep it nice and simple – thus the name. The menu will develop over time but he plans on serving grilled meats and other simple dishes at a very reasonable price. Inside folks will find a small bar in the back and lots of booths and table seating for up to 95 (the space is two storefronts combined and deceivingly large.) There will be tvs as well so folks can watch football during football season and watch other big sporting events as well. Though Wil emphasized that the spot will not be a sports bar and restaurant rather it will be a neighborhood bar and restaurant.
I asked Wil how he decided to open a restaurant while currently owning a tattoo shop and he laughed and said he’s always had two jobs. While Graphic Box is only about 2 1/2 years old and will remain open (5816 Georgia Ave NW) – he’s worked at restaurants for over 16 years. He had to work two jobs to pay his way through the Corcoran School of Art while also supporting a daughter.
I have very high hopes for Simple Bar and Grill to become a casual but comfortable spot. Stay tuned for updates as they get closer to opening.