DINO Will Stay Open in Cleveland Park through Feb. 23rd Before Moving to 9th and U St, NW – Lavandou French Restaurant Also Closing on the Strip?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Beau Finley

Is this the curse of the service lane?

“Dear PoPville,

There was a fire of some sort at Dino’s Friday night. There were a bunch of firemen milling around. The owner was out there, too. Also, word on the street is that they might try to keep Dino open for another month while getting his ducks in line for the new Shaw place.”

UPDATE from the owner:

“There was no fire at Dino last Friday night. THe kitchen crew noticed a white vapor and funny smell from back by the water heater. The bar manager cleared the restaurant and called 911. Since they couldn’t
figure out what happened, hazmat was called and they gave the allclear. It could have been from the water heater {steam} or something, but all our equipment checks out.

And we are coming to Shaw, hopefully around April 1 give or take.”

From a press release:

“Chef Owner Dean Gold of DINO Restaurant and Enoteca in DC’s Cleveland Park neighborhood has reached an agreement with his current landlord. Instead of closing this coming Sunday January 12th as was originally announced, DINO will now remain open at its current location at the SE corner of Connecticut Ave and Ordway St. NW through Sunday night, February 23.

A long standing favorite and much acclaimed rustic Italian restaurant in Washington, DINO will move across town this spring to the Shaw neighborhood in the vicinity of 9th and U Sts NW. Because the current location is not quite ready for renovation/occupation, Gold negotiated to extend his current lease to stay open for an additional 6 more weeks.”

3321 Connecticut Ave, NW

From the Cleveland Park Listserv:

“Our server tonight informed us Lavandou is closing next week after over 20 years because they failed to come to terms with their landlord.”

Lavandou is located in the same strip as DINO at 3321 Connecticut Ave, NW. They are hosting their own restaurant week this week:

“Lavandou’s own Restaurant Week”
From January 13th to 19th
25% off any course from regular menu.

Whisk yourself away to the heart of Provence by dining with us.

For over 20 years, Lavandou has been providing a taste of authentic Provençal cuisine in Washington D.C.’s Cleveland Park neighborhood. Tucked in amongst charming storefronts on Connecticut Avenue, Lavandou’s cozy glow lures its guests inside where they can enjoy familiar french specialities in a relaxed atmosphere.

The cuisine at Lavandou is based on the essences of Provence, a sunny region on the French Riviera which is famous for using only the most natural ingredients. Many of our dishes are created with farm-fresh favorites such as heirloom tomatoes, roasted peppers, eggplants and olives and are seasoned with fragrant garlic, rosemary, and thyme. These flavorful traditional dishes, prepared at length and with healthy, fresh ingredients are truly reflective of the Mediterranean style of “savoir vivre.”

We judged Lavandou back in 2011. You can see their menus here.

18 Comment

  • Hey Lavandou… you should come to Shaw as well! LOVE YOUR FOOD.

  • Is Lavandou any good? I’ve probably walked by a million times and never gone in.

  • Does anyone know what the landlord has planned for Dino’s old space? I’m guessing it’ll sit empty for a few years first 🙁

  • Are the commercial landlords in Cleveland Park incompetent? Cleveland Park isn’t a booming neighborhood like Shaw or Petworth, but the landlords seem to think so. Before Pulpo, Tackle Box. Before Tackle Box, the space sat empty for 7 years or so. Now, what’s happening with Dino? Lavandou?

    Is it a height restriction issue? historic district? Simply not enough population density?

    • definitely a height issue. for sure. (I’m guessing the landlords are just greedy little shits who want to milk the locals for all they’re worth. Which, to be fair, is quite a lot.)

    • It’s not booming? Sure, it isn’t shooting up in popularity like those areas, but it is already established and has a lot of wealthy residents…

      Not saying you’re wrong in calling out the landlords, but it is valuable property…

  • Cleveland Park commercial district is subject to a zoning overlay that restricts the number of food/beverage establishments. If they are at their limit and more spaces are empty, they will continue to stay empty if the limit has been reached. Most landlords are holding out for a restaurant because they get more in rent than say somethign like a “wake up little susie” (is that place still open?). Cleveland Park is beautiful and prbably a great place for kids with the good schools etc. But for restaurants its a tougher sell as there are now so many other moer high trafficked. more exciting places to locate. And FWIW, the overlay restriction was demanded by the residents years and years ago when CP was one of the only viable commercial corridors in town. You know they didnt wnat to become Adams Morgan. But its outlived is usefulness but the old timers cant believe that Shaw, Bloomingdale, 14th street, U street, H Street NE (gasp!), Navy Yard, Penn Quarter, NoMA are all much better bets for a restaurant.

    • Thanks. Compared to some of the fogeys on the CP listserv and the Cleveland Park Neighborhood or Historical Association, I’m a relative newcomer (living or working in CP since 1998). I know they had whined a lot about the Giant or Safeway over on Wisconsin and that their stock position for any change is “NO!”

      Wake Up Little Susie is still open.

  • Sure, businesses may be moving for other parts of the city but at least the service lane is still there.

  • I suspect the problem with Dino and Lavandou (and probably a few others) is that they haven’t been able to keep up with the growth taking place in the DC restaurant scene whereas their landlords have probably been adjusting their rents on par with other commercial restaurant strips in the city. Cleveland Park just doesn’t have the volume of trendier neighborhoods…The limited supply of apartments, zoning overlay and community opposition to pedestrian-friendly growth haven’t helped.

  • I suspect the problem is related to the aging population in that area. Old people in the homes and apartments, young hipsters are all moving east of Columbia Heights. Also parking is always a problem. Love Cleveland Park but except for takeout from Nam Viet, or playdates (library, pet store, Firehook Bakery & Macomb playground) we hardly ever go over there anymore.

    • THIS. While there’s plenty of money in CP, the density just isn’t there. I suspect the locals’ propensity for going out is also dwindling as people age.

    • Parking usually isn’t that hard to find, actually. Unlike the Logan Circle neighborhood, where you might spend hours searching for a space.

  • What a great institution Lavandou has been. Amazing food, it certainly will be missed.

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