Palena Turning Cafe Space into a Coffee Shop in Cleveland Park

3529 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Big Cleveland Park news from the Washington Post:

“Palena is turning its original, 30-seat cafe space into what chef-owner Frank Ruta is calling a “coffee shop.” Beginning as soon as Oct. 29, customers will be able to sit down for fresh croissants, bagels, scones and coffee beginning daily at 7 a.m.

Palena’s cafe space is located in the former Magruder’s grocery store which opened back in 2010.


11 Comment

  • They should have done this years ago. The “market” concept was always under-utilized, especially when you have Vace just down the street.

  • Ok, after reading the Post article I’m still a little confused. Am I right in saying that it’s primarily the market that is being turned into the coffee shop, while the cafe is mostly remaining intact? Or is the entire cafe and market area being reinvented? I guess ultimately what I’m trying to say is will the Palena cheese burger still be available or has it been replaced by a muffin?

    • “will the Palena cheese burger still be available or has it been replaced by a muffin?”

      +1 :/

    • There’s been construction going on in the space closest to the gas station…so my guess is that part will be the coffee shop, while the market is added to the restaurant.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      The picture below is the former cafe space that is becoming a “coffee shop” I believe the change is more in menu than renovating the space. According to the Post article the small market will remain but:

      “market will carry only ingredients used by the kitchen (olive oil, pasta) or made in-house (pickles, chocolates).”

  • This is definitely confusing. The original space is to the left of the old Magruder’s. If I understand it correctly, the original space stays the same, while the market area in the old Magruder’s is becoming a cafe. Which would be great for Cleveland Park. The other cafe-type options in that area are pretty underwhelming.

  • count me as also confused. I’d appreciate it if someone could scout it out and report back exactly what the change looks like!

  • This is going to be huge. I believe they’re planning on opening next week (as they’ve hit some construction delays) – that’s according to their Twitter feed.

    For locals, it’s common knowledge that their bread, doughnuts and all sorts of backed goods are vastly better than anything nearby or perhaps the city. Seriously, their baguettes and doughnuts are the best I’ve had in DC. Super excited about this development.

    It’s my understanding that the market will remain, the cafe will be converted into a coffeeshop and the dining room will either remain. .

  • The space that will house the coffee/etc is in the older cafe space, *not* the one shown. It’s already constructed and almost finished, actually, and is basically where the bar is in the older cafe space. They rejiggered everything to fit in an espresso machine and new storage, etc and they are training people on the machine now. It was supposed to open today but they still had some stuff to do when I saw it last weekend, so I think it will be a few more days.

    Once that is done they will redo the old market area in the front of the old/Magruder’s space, and then maybe redo the bar that’s in that Magruder’s/cafe space shown in the picture here.

    They have to do it this way because of zoning/licensing… their license doesn’t allow them to sell coffee in the market area as it is, so they had to move things around.

    • All of this seems to be correct. My GF and I spoke to an employee exiting Palena last night. The key is that the space being converted to a coffee shop is the ORIGINAL cafe space, which is toward the front on the LEFT side of the building (from the front, i.e. the side closest to the gas station). The cafe side closest to the parking lot for Sam’s Stop ‘N Shop is not changing.

  • When I first moved to DC (1994) this building was a Kenny Rogers Roasters. After that, it was a Kemp Mill Records (or something similar) for a couple of years.

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