The Coupe Looking to Add Sidewalk Cafe with 50 seats in Columbia Heights

3415 11th Street, NW

11th Street is about to get some more outdoor dining options. The Coupe at the corner of 11th and Monroe St, NW is looking to add a 50 sidewalk cafe according to a liquor license amendment. Though The Coupe is open 24 hours a day the sidewalk cafe could only be open:

Sunday through Thursday 10 am – 11 pm and Friday and Saturday 10 am -1 am.

11th Street looking south towards Park Road

61 Comment

  • I presume those are condos or apartments above the coupe. Anybody on the board live there.?

    What will it be like living with all the noise going on till midnight or 2 in the morning??

    • No outdoor space in DC is allowed to be open that late and I assume they will make them close it before then–most places it’s 11pm, I think. Also, the whole building was redone so no one lived there before the Coupe opened so I would assume that if you rent/bought there you would expect a certain level of noise from the 24 hour diner below you.

      • Actually, the building opened and we all moved in before the Coupe opened. While we knew there was going to be a 24 hour diner before moving in, people did not know about the sidewalk seating – that’s something new.

  • Looks like the sidewalk is fairly narrow. Love the restaurant but the building was built too close to the property line to allow for fair sidewalk space. Look at other n/s streets in Col Hts and you will see only some with ample sidewalk space.

    • Are the sidewalks on the east side of 11th any more narrow than the spaces by Maple and KBC on the west side of the street? Those two places seem to make outdoor seating work fine.

    • Awesome. Let’s make it happen.

    • You love the Coupe? Have things drastically changed since the last time I went there? I ate there 3 times and it got worse every time.

  • Shouldn’t they first figure out how to service the existing tables before expanding?

    • a valid point. I’ve never gotten good service there

      • is this still an issue? I haven’t gone there yet because of these rumors (and it’s a bit out of the way for me to get too)…

        • Its still an issue. Pretty poor service and marginal food.

          • Correct. This place is the worst. They will sit you and then not speak to you for 15 minutes. Send your apps with your meal. And then not think a thing of it. I am a waiter … and its almost an insult how they treat guests. Food is ok.

        • austindc

          I think both the service and food have gotten better. I had three bad experiences when they first opened, but two good/great experiences in the past month (all visits were for Saturday brunch).

          • The food, service, and prices have all improved markedly since they opened, though there are still the occasional lapses in service. The lapses in service, however, are no worse than comparable restaurants in the area (e.g., Meridian Pint, Red Rocks, The Heights).

    • Still waiting on my drink and some silverware.

  • The food still sucks.

  • Will this improve the food or service? I hope so, because decor and seating adjustments wont bring me back. They really just need to upgrade their Chef!

  • Love the Coupe. Yah, service is so-so. It’s not bad – just unorganized. The food is good though. And the coffee is excellent. I wish they had an expanded “lounge” section which received regular service, but it’s a great neighborhood business. I hope more restaraunts come to the 11th St area!

    • coffee is excellent? I suggest you try some Qualia or a cup of Sankoga down the street. As for Coupe, every time I go I try to like and I just can’t. Too corporate of a feel for a ‘neighborhood’ spot. However, they are in need of solely a coffee shop / sit down place where people can go read a book without getting hustled to buy that next menu item.

      • Qualia coffee, while on par or better than the Coupe coffee, has too small of space (its almost too small to order coffee in an organized manner) to really enjoy. They also have a healthy sense of coffee snobbery and judgment. Not to mention the food (pastry, bagel) options are very poor. Once the Starbucks opens as part of the Safeway, they may need to step up their game. I’d go there more often if they had more space and better food. Until then, consider me a Coupe patron (and I live closer to Qualia!). I think Qualia would be surprised how many people pass on their place because of these issues.

        • epric002

          i second your concerns with qualia. i find their coffee to be just ok, and when faced with the minimal food choices and unwelcoming atmosphere, i too pick the coupe even though it’s farther away.

        • It’s the perfect tone-setting venue for the neighborhood. Also I don’t think they’d be surprised that actively eschewing mass appeal ala Starbucks is costing them mass appeal.

        • Is it totally inconceivable to you that they are running their business exactly how they want to run it and have sufficient clientele to support that? (Disclaimer: I’ve never even been there and probably won’t since it doesn’t sound like my kind of place.)

      • Oh, come ON. Their coffee is not Qualia, but Qualia also doesn’t serve me a plate of brunch food along with it. For actual full-service restaurants in the area, Tryst coffee is quite good.

        Plus, for working purposes, there is ALWAYS space. The Coupe isn’t a place I’d travel across town for, but it is great for the neighborhood.

        • yes! this is it. i live nearby, so it’s a great option to have for early morning breakfast, etc. i certainly wouldn’t get in a car to go there – but the ability to stroll over from my house in a few minutes is key.

  • The food is terrible. I wish it would serve decent burgers, and fries but not even that is good.

  • 50 seats on a sidewalk? That sounds a bit excessive even if the place runs the length of the building.

  • Funny how people hate the food-service but keep going back!

  • epric002

    i don’t understand why the coupe gets so much hate. the only bad service i’ve had their was during brunch (once), and we had a long wait for our food. i’ve never had a terrible meal there, but i’m actually disappointed at the menu options now that they’ve pared it down (that lamb burger was to die for!). i buy coffee beans there at least twice a month (we like counter culture), i love that they have the free dog treats, it’s convenient, they’re always open, i’m pleased with their bar offerings. all in all, i’m a fan, which apparently is not a common opinion.

    • It’s gets a bad rap because it is so unorganized. I routinely have two or more servers in the restaurant section while other parts like the lounge area don’t even have table service. With so many servers, sometimes I don’t even know who to ask for the check. Not being in the business, I can’t quite put my finger on it, it it doesn’t seem to have the best organization chart or operations guidelines. Maybe it tries to be too much? It’s very haphazard and lackadaisical. Not a reason not to go, but it’s very frustrating.

  • Yet they are always packed on Saturday and Sunday.

    • Yeah, all I hear about the place is how bad it is, yet it always seems to be packed. My theory is that there’s so much mediocrity in the area, people have become accustomed to it.

      • Mediocrity is all anyone can afford. Dining out used to be something only the rich could do, or middle class people could expect to do on “special occasions”. People expect to do it all the time now, but there’s not suddenly enough money around to support a bunch of Vidalia’s.

  • I think there should be an additional tax on sidewalk cafes at this point. They externalize their noise, with the externality borne by neighbors, so if it is really so valuable to patrons and operators, make them pay a surcharge. Freakonomicality!

    • Why on earth do you think there ISN’T an additional tax?? Why are you spouting off about something you know nothing about?

      P.S. There is an outdoor seating fee assessed annually by the city, based on the square footage occupied by the service area.

      • That’s a fixed fee, not a usage tax. It is also a nominal fee. I’m sure that the rent paid to the landlord is much higher. A sidewalk cafe pays DC $10/SF per year, or $5/SF per year. A typical restaurant probably pays at least $25/SF per MONTH for the interior. So, the interior seating space costs 30 to 60 times more than what D.C. charges a restaurant for taking over public space.

        D.C. ought to recoup a higher return on its public space by assessing a sales tax on patrons/business done on public space.

        Still mad?

        • If you mean that restaurants with outdoor seating should pay MORE than they do already, then say that. The original statement implied that restaurants pay nothing at all for the outdoor space, but that the neighbors suffer for the restaurant’s profit.
          Stop acting like restaurants are throwing chairs and tables up on the sidewalks willy nilly just to make an extra buck by “externalizing” their noise. There is a process in place with the city, and there is a required ANC step to the process, so that the affected neighbors can be heard. If you want to change the process, don’t start by badmouthing the small businesses. Unless of course you’re just an internet loudmouth who doesn’t want to do any of the actual work dealing with city agencies (that businesses are required to do).

          • You misread a lot into my commentary. I say there should be an additional tax, which acknowledges that there is something currently paid. I wouldn’t want to wish anyone unnecessary regulatory red tape, either. But, clearly you want to fight a straw man, not me, so I’ll let you fantasize about what my aspirations are for being an internet loudmouth out to badmouth those precious and defenseless small businessfolk.

          • Calm down. You missed “additional.” I think the dude knows there’s a nominal, teeny-tiny, bs fee in place that probably used to be reasonable and based on the actual value of the property owned by you and me, until the people who regularly contribute to Jim Graham, or some other piece of trash cm, bitched about it.

  • Their chicken and waffles at 3 am isnt bad at all.

  • Proof that your average person has bad taste. Can’t believe this place continues to do well. There are better options directly across the street, and I’d choose IHOP any day over here for a 2-3 am meal. Food is about the same, but cheaper, and more people watching entertainment there.

    • epric002

      i’ll take the coupe over IHOP-induced gastrointestinal distress any day. i thought i was a food snob, but i must only have bad taste. how disappointing.

    • I’ll take the Coupe at 8:30 on a Saturday morning over just about anywhere else, especially IHOP. The food’s better, the coffee’s better, the service is better, there’s less of a wait for a table, and the setting is nicer.

      • Ha, those are your only two options for a meal at 8:30 on a Saturday in Columbia Heights, at least that I’m aware of. And yes, I grant you the coffee is better. Don’t know about the wait since I haven’t been to either of them in the morning.

    • Well, I will grant you that iHOP is better for the 3am people-watching. I DEFINITELY recommend that to anyone who hasn’t experienced it yet (although not if you don’t have the stomach for seeing other people’s vomit).

      But–honest question–how is The Coupe that different from the Diner, Open City, Tryst, etc? I have found the food and service to be very comparable at all four places (well, not Tryst, but that is because there is nowhere to sit). I don’t understand how those places are considered DC staples (not perfect, but good) while The Coupe gets so much hate. Eating non-five-star food sometimes isn’t the end of the world, especially if you have a large group, etc. And certainly better than IHOP.

      • These things have never happened to me at the other 3:

        1. Waiting 45 minutes for food
        2. Once receiving the food, having one of the orders completely wrong, and having to wait another 15-20 minutes to get it corrected.
        3. An omlet with unmelted cheese inside it along with cold ham. WTF did they do??
        4. serving a half smoke sliced up. That was a new one to me.

        I’ve been to the Diner countless times and Open City half a dozen times or so. The diner has been slow with bringing the bill a couple times, but I’ve never had to wait long to receive my food. Open City? Never any problems.

        Now I admit I haven’t been there since early Spring and maybe now the Coupe finally has its act together, who knows. I was also annoyed by the fact that its milk shake was about the same price as the one at the diner but SO MUCH SMALLER. F that noise.

    • No seriously the chicken and waffles are pretty good at 3 am

  • As somebody who lives nears the Coupe, these hours for an outdoor cafe sound ridiculous. I support the Coupe having an outdoor cafe with the same hours as all the other neighborhood restaurants and bars, but think it shows poor neighborhood relations that they’d even try to have outdoor service going until this late.

    Also, while they’ve improved the food and menu slightly, they started out so horribly that means their food is still mediocre. Service seems to have improved since they opened, but then, I purposefully tried it again during a slow time of day.

    • epric002

      what are the outdoor time restrictions for the other restaurants on 11th?

    • @Coupe Neighbor:
      You feel strongly about it – I hope you go to the hearing when this matter is discussed and make your feelings known. I have no interest in this issue at all but firmly believe people should be involved in neighborhood issues..

  • Yes, the Coupe’s food and service were terrible when they first opened. But, they were very responsive to criticism, and have tried to get better. They’re partway there – more work to do. They are a good neighbor (I live right up the street) and a great presence. I love that they’re open 24-7, and if this sidewalk seating will help their bottom line, I say let them do it. The street is fun, and more life outdoors (within reasonable hours) is all good. I don’t expect diners will be whooping it up at 1am. Drinking, noshing, and chilling al fresco would be a great option on a nice night.

  • I believe the article/post has the hours wrong. The application filed with DDOT proposes opening at 7 am Mon-Fri and at 8 am on weekends. Or am I misreading the information?

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Ah you are right. There are general hours for the outdoor cafe:

      “Sunday 8 am – 11 pm Monday through Thursday 7 am – 11 pm Friday 7 am – 1 am and Saturday 8 am – 1 am”

      And there are hours for serving alcohol:

      Sunday through Thursday 10 am – 11 pm Friday and Saturday 10 am -1 am

  • Hi… I live around the corner and wanted to weigh in… Personally, I’m kind of tired of the hype surrounding the restaurant scene in DC and everything that has seemed to come along with it. Don’t get me wrong about the fact that I enjoy good fresh food, plentiful drink, and friendly service, but I think expectations, prices, and the BS level have gotten a little too high on both sides of the fence with regards to restaurants and customers alike here in Washington, DC.

    The Coupe is a simple, generally friendly, a little strange, and almost always available place… Except Sunday mornings when it’s crammed with people. I’m glad it’s an option and I try not to be too judging, but simply enjoy the place for what it is and hope that it continues to improve as it has since it’s opening day.

    I will complement the place on the Bartender, who works almost daily, he is a true Professional and does his utmost to make every single guest, no matter who they are, feel well-cared for, happy, and content. In my humble opinion I wish DC had more places like the Coupe and more Bartenders like him. Having 5am coffee available isn’t bad either…

  • 50 seats? Isn’t that like – 5% of a thousand?

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