The Coupe Ending 24 Hour Service Feb. 11th, Bar to Focus on Wines in April

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3415 11th Street, NW

Yesterday I sat down with Maxwell the new General Manager of The Coupe. He was was previously the General Manager of Pizzeria Paradiso in Dupont Circle and officially took over The Coupe at the end of December. Scoring a Presidential visit was a great way to start and there are many more plans for the future. To start – The Coupe will be ending 24 hour service starting Feb. 11th. At that time they will open daily at 6am and from Sunday-Thursday will be open until midnight and on Friday and Saturday will be open until 1am.

Maxwell explains some of the other planned changes as making The Coupe “more specific”. He describes it as taking things out not adding things in. For example the bar tried to cover, craft beers, cocktails and wines. Soon the bar will convert to focusing on wines. They looked at 11th Street and thought that of those three elements (cocktails, beer and wine) the strip would most benefit from an improved wine program. Of course there will still be beer options though the emphasis will soon be on Belgian saison style (though a few “everyday beers” will still be available.) The cocktails will be limited to martinis and champagne based ones. But the real star will be the wine. Maxwell hopes to complete the focus around April.

The menu will also evolve a bit to be a more of “cafe style” rather than “diner style”. Expect to see those changes completed in April as well.

Update:

“The Coupe will continue to serve a full bar with all the standards to our customers after the transition to an expanded wine program. If you love a quality Kentucky Bourbon on the rocks or a rum a diet we will still have you covered! However, we will be focusing on martinis and champagne based cocktails to give our cocktail program focus. ”

Hours of Operation Change
“The Coupe management has decided to move away from the 24 hour cycle for one very basic reason, after a year and half the sales are not there to support our large scale operation late night. We labored over this decision for quite some time and feel it is in the best interest for our company and our customers. We will still be open from early morning to late night to provide each and every guests a wonderful experience.” – Maxwell

97 Comment

  • I’ve never understood all of the negativity against The Coupe. Yes, like many others, I was also disappointed when they first opened, but kept coming back because (well it’s so close to me) and I’ve always been such a fan of their other restaurants, especially Tryst and Open City. Yes, I think The Coupe has struggled, but I have recognized their constant efforts to respond to the concerns of the community. And honestly, over the last few months, I really have seen a world of difference. I’m glad that they are constantly striving to improve. I hope The Coupe is here to stay.

    • “Yes, like many others, I was also disappointed when they first opened, but kept coming back because (well it’s so close to me)”
      .
      That’s the difference between you and everyone else. It’s convenient for you as it seems to be only a few minutes from your place. I live on 11th Street down the hill. I’ve been to The Coupe twice and really see no reason to hike my ass up the hill for it. There are closer places to me. If I lived right next to it, I’d probably keep going back out of sheer laziness. For the Coupe to be successful, it needs to be a “destination” that pulls in people from other neighborhoods. That ain’t gonna happen.

      • Coupe’s kids’ menu is enough to bring me & the family down from northern Petworth–it’s one of the few places where my spouse & I feel good about what we’re eating & drinking, and the kids can get hot dogs. Wine doesn’t really excite me at all, but I’ll still give them another shot post-redo.

        • I can see that, though I feel like the slow service would drive parents and kids crazy. Kids get so antsy.
          .
          It’s funny, I’ll skip the Coupe but I’m more than happy to go over to Open City for a meal despite the distance. It’s just a better menu, service, and atmosphere.

  • Best of luck! I keep going there but it’s still the weakest link (by a long shot) in the Diner, Tryst, Open City, Coupe Chain.

    What does “cafe” vs “diner” imply? I feel like those words are just interchangeable.

  • Bummer. They’ve definitely struggled a bit with service and menu , but i love having a diner style restaurant in the area with easy and affordable breakfast-all-day options. and have always dug their cocktails, especially the amazing bourbon ones. I’ll give it a shot, but not sure i’ll be as interested in going 2 or 3 times a week to a “wine bar and cafe.” And also not sure how this will fix the unpredictable service (though to be fair, i’ve had some great servers there recently).

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Breakfast all day will remain!

    • As per Maxwell, the GM, “The Coupe will continue to serve a full bar with all the standards to our customers after the transition to an expanded wine program. If you love a quality Kentucky Bourbon on the rocks or a rum a diet we will still have you covered! However, we will be focusing on martinis and champagne based cocktails to give our cocktail program focus. ”

  • After visiting a couple times and being thoroughly unimpressed my visit were limited to late night when nothing else was open. I guess I have no reason to visit at all now. Hope they find success with their new direction.

    • +1. Even though I live just down the street, 4 of my last 5 visits have been for late night munchies. So I’m really disappointed to hear that will change. Especially closing so early on Fridays and Saturdays!
      .
      Also, I greatly prefer diner style comfort food, and I’m not sure why they think wine will be more successful.
      .
      So, 3/3 of their proposed changes are not to my liking. Oh well, best of luck to them anyways. Also, I’ve never had a major service complaint; that’s always been fine for me.

    • That’s kind of how I feel too. I go there a lot, and their food is okay, but really the late night option was the only thing that made the rude/slow service tolerable. Would have like to see them fix that before they cut their hours.

  • I was there for brunch on Sunday, and Maxwell sure hasn’t improved the service yet. There was a half hour wait when we arrived, even though there were at least five empty tables. Our waiter disappeared for long periods. Our food took freaking forever to arrive. At least it tasted good. I even commented that the Coupe needs to bring in a new manager to clean house. Maybe the house cleaning has yet to commence.
    .
    My wife will love the emphasis on wine. The emphasis on Belgian beers is needed on 11th, but I hope they don’t limit it to Saisons. A draft tripel would be nice. Room 11 used to have Karmeliet, which was a treat, but they pulled their drafts. Red Rocks has Chimay, which is good, but there are better tripels out there.

    • And by tripel, I mean the real deal, from Belgium, not some American microbrew fake tripel that costs twice as much and tastes half as good.

  • All they need to do to make it successful is make it like a combo of Tryst, which is constantly packed, and the Diner, which has food appropriate for a 24-hour place, since 11th St has no good coffee/hangout place. The area is already inundated with wine-focused restaurants.

    Another poor choice from them.

    • Yes, Tryst + Diner = Win. Why is this so hard for them to figure out?

      • That’s why I like the Coup so much. I think it resembles Tryst + Diner well.

        • To be honest, I haven’t been to the Diner in years, but my memory is that the menu was much more basic than the Coupe’s. It has always seemed that the Coupe is trying to be too high end, with a menu all over the map.

          • Yes, the Diner has a few more gourmet options, but they also have more basic stuff. Also the cocktails at the Diner are much better. I didn’t like Coupe’s pre bottled cocktails. Also,the Diner’s service is much faster. I have probably been to the Diner more times than any restaurant in DC and I love it. I went to the Coupe once and decided never again!

      • Tryst + The Diner = Open City. I’m not sure why they didn’t just replicate that model at The Coupe.

      • Tryst + The Diner = Open City. I’m not sure why they didn’t just replicate this model with The Coupe.

        • I agree that the Coupe needs to find its identity. To me, it leans too much towards the Diner/Open City and could use more Tryst. The small lounge area in between the bar and the restaurant is too small and not even open all the time. It could use a more inspired menu for sure.

          For the people complaining about the wait during brunch… Welcome to DC. Its a brunch city and is like that at most of the popular places. The overall service has been much better lately.

          My final advice: Don’t try to be too much, but do what you do really well. Find a solid identity.

  • Are there any 24 hr places left in the city core outside the Dinner? A few years ago there seemed to be a flurry of them opening in the peak of the Obama-era/”DC is the new NYC” hype. Looks like people have sobered up and realized this is still a mid-sized government town.

  • i went there recently because its close to me and was a good spot to grab some breakfast while the family was visiting, but their service hasn’t improved since when it first opened, which was really disappointing because the food was pretty good and it’s in such a good location. i really hope they can get it together.

  • I’m afraid they lost a lot of potential clientele for taking so long to figure themselves out. I went there twice, once right after they opened, then a few months after that. On both visits, the service was horribly slow and the food only mediocre. I haven’t gone back and probably won’t. I had high hopes for this place and was sorely disappointed.

  • I only liked it because it was a diner rather than a bar or cafe and open super late. Bummer.

  • not impressed at first either, but I think the Coupe has gotten good lately. Been on a couple recent weekends and had great food, service, etc. How many customers was it getting in the middle of the night? I never went there very late. Can’t imagine there’s a big crowd at 3 am on a Tuesday…

  • Focusing on the saison style seems like a weird decision. It’s an extremely specific style of beer that not everybody likes.

  • I have only been two or three times – always for brunch. I actually liked the food fine and the Bloody Marys were acceptable and did the job. The wait was always a pain, but never noticed any other issues really. I’m a little bummed to think they would move away from the diner focus. It was the only reason I went the few times I did.

  • They’ve got a good model: Cheap out on overhead costs, and periodically announce a re-vamp, which will bring a wave of locals who really, really want it to be good. This will keep the coffers full for another few months, til it’s time to announce another re-vamp, which will be just as (in)effective as the last one, and the one before that.

  • I like how comfortable the Coupe is, and like their food, but jesus the service is awful. Last time I was there I waited half an hour for the waiter to come by to ask for the check- which was fine, b/c I had my laptop, but I was keeping my eyes out and the dude literally did not come by once the entire time- until I got up and found him and asked him for it. He then didn’t come by to take my card so I had to get up 15 minutes later and go find him again. How is this place still so far from any kind of professional standard, this long after opening?

    I don’t get the shift to wine, too, given that there are already a few options for that nearby. Oh well.

  • i love how 99% of the comments about coupe-related posts are negative, and yet the place is always packed on the weekends

    • I don’t think that means what you think that means.

      • I think what he or she thinks it means is that notwithstanding the negative tone that gets unleashed in every post about The Coupe, they remain quite popular – apparently more so with people who don’t post on PoP.
        Personally, I have been twice and found it better for drinks than food. It seemed to me that they were trying to do way too much with their menu. Better to do a few things well than a bunch of things in a mediocre way.
        The new focus on wine is not encouraging to me – I am more of a beer drinker. I may give it another shot at some point.

        • Yes, but brunch is very popular in DC., and weekend brunch is the only time I’ve ever seen the place even half full. If the place is really doing well, then why the constant changes to the menu and concept? People aren’t complaining for no reason; it’s because something’s really not working.

    • It’s packed because noone gets there food for 2 hours…so everyone is just sitting there…

  • Saisons? Blurp.

  • epric002

    i also don’t understand all the hate for the coupe. i live within walking distance and my husband and i have only had 1 less than good experience- a long wait at brunch soon after they opened. otherwise, i have no complaints. we get our coffee there b/c they sell counter culture, we love that they have free dog treats, their house wines are always enjoyable, and their lamb burger is outta this world. i really enjoy having them in the neighborhood and hope that these changes work out well. i’m excited about this wine focus too :)

  • I love the breakfast food, not so much the lunch/dinner options. Would have been happy if they had just replicated the menu from the Diner or Open City. I don’t care if they focus on wine or beer, just give me some solid comfort food!

    Oh, the service really is sub-par and while it might be marginally better than when it first opened it’s still not very good. Long waits, inattentiveness, etc. It’s really inexcusable as I don’t think it’s that difficult to provide consistently decent service.

    • I have been twice in the last month and been told there was a 30-45 min wait and each time there were 5-8 tables open, and at least 15 people waiting around to be seated. It was around 3:00pm on a weekend so I couldn’t understand why this is the case. Anyone know?

      • I am going to go ahead and assume that there was not enough waitstaff to allow for people to be seated at the empty tables. You pick your poison – either you make people wait for a table on the front end, or sit people at every table and make them wait to get served.

  • I agree with the comments regarding service in the main dining room, but in terms of the happy hour at the bar, it’s one of the better ones in town. It isn’t anything too crazy, but the sriracha wings and $3 Natty Bohs until 8 pm has kept me coming back…come April, it sounds like we may be out of luck.

    With that said, I was there on Sunday with a party of 7 and it took almost 50 minutes for us to receive our orders. Outlandish to say the least, but we find ourselves at The Coupe for brunch simply out of convenience. Happy hour > any other dining experience at The Coupe.

  • I agree with the comments regarding service in the main dining room, but in terms of the happy hour at the bar, it’s one of the better ones in town. It isn’t anything too crazy, but the sriracha wings and $3 Natty Bohs until 8 pm has kept me coming back…come April, it sounds like we may be out of luck.

    With that said, I was there on Sunday with a party of 7 and it took almost 50 minutes for us to receive our orders. Outlandish to say the least, but we find ourselves at The Coupe for brunch simply out of convenience. Happy hour > any other dining experience at The Coupe.

  • I live like two blocks from the Coupe so go relatively often, but the only reasons I ever go are because the food is pretty decent but not super high-end (as opposed to the rest of the neighborhood), and it’s open super late and super early (sometimes stop for 4am when I need to be at work really early). So, basically, the revamp takes away the only two reasons I like it.

  • “They looked at 11th Street and thought that of those three elements (cocktails, beer and wine) the strip would most benefit from an improved wine program”
    .
    The strip already has a wine bar (Room 11). Why not focus on cocktails if you’re trying to set yourself apart? 11th street doesn’t have a good cocktail bar.

    • Agreed. Also, Maple (right across the dang street from the Coupe) has an amazing wine program.

    • I consider Room 11 a wine and cocktail bar, and really think about it more for cocktails than wine. I’ve had some wonderful and inventice cocktails there.

      • Also, the food at Room 11 is really good, if not a bit pricey for the small portions. I think focusing on wine is a terrible choice for the Coupe. Their cocktails and happy hour are actually decent. I don’t understand why they can’t just keep the diner/tryst concept, but not be so bad at it. Why is that so hard?

  • austindc

    Man, I just need a place I can take my family for breakfast before 10 am on the weekends, so the Coupe will still be the spot for that. This cafe/wine direction seems fancier than I need it to be. I just want a steaming mound of eggs, grits, some pancakes, bacon, and coffee. Maybe a milkshake too. I love saisons, but I do my beer drinking at the Pint.

  • I’ve never been to The Coupe after 12pm, so the loss of 24hr service doesn’t make a big difference to me. Its good to know All Day breakfast will remain. For some reason, I really like their brick-like hashbrowns.

    As for the move to emphasize wine and Belgian beers…doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Their style has always been a bit schizophrenic. It seems to me the value of The Coupe was always its diner-like atmosphere.

    It would mean a lot more if they fixed the awful service.

  • Like everyone else, I see many many problems with this.

    The Coupe’s food is always underseasoned and tastes far worse than you expect it to based upon the description and the ingredients you saw on the menu. I see nothing here that acknowledges that issue at all. They can change the menu items to “cafe style” but rebranding isn’t going to make the preparation of the food any better.

    Wine? That strip needs wine? Has Maxwell walked across the street to Maple or the few blocks to Room 11? Both of those restaurants have a wine bar atmosphere to go with their well-curated wine menus. The Coupe is a zoo – which, if it’s a diner, it should be. That’s what I want in a diner. Throwing better wine on the menu is not going to make the Coupe a wine bar, or a place anyone will ever want to go for a glass of wine.

    The Coupe would be an amazing all night diner. It’s what I was thrilled about when it opened. And my favorite memories of that place, the most fun, the best tasting food, the friendliest service, all happened between midnight and 6 am, coincidentally the exact hours they’re eliminating.

    I wish them all the best. I hate to see businesses in my neighborhood, which I love so much, fail. But absolutely none of this sounds like a positive development.

    • “The Coupe management has decided to move away from the 24 hour cycle for one very basic reason, after a year and half the sales are not there to support our large scale operation late night. We labored over this decision for quite some time and feel it is in the best interest for our company and our customers. We will still be open from early morning to late night to provide each and every guests a wonderful experience.” — Maxwell

      • Hi, Lisa.

        I appreciate that this decision was labored over. I assume all of the rejiggering comes from the fact that the restaurant is having financial problems sustaining those hours. I assume also that they have considered the middle ground of only opening a small part of the restaurant all night instead of closing all together. If it wasn’t, well, the restaurant is in even bigger trouble than anyone has imagined. However, this response and new plan for the coupe neglects to address that the food at the Coupe is not really all that good and there is no wine bar shortage in the area that the Coupe can transform itself to fill.

        My comment was based on the idea that the business would be there for all night service and the Coupe would be making plenty of money if the Coupe did 24 hour diner food and service well. But it doesn’t. It does do late night hours better than any other time of day, but that’s not saying much considering how aggressively mediocre it is in general. This proposal does nothing to inspire confidence that The Coupe is going to do wine or “cafe style” food, whatever that is, better than it does diner style, because it doesn’t acknowledge that there is a quality problem here, not just a messaging problem.

        The Coupe is at a great location and in a great space. I want so badly to like this place. And I keep going back because I keep hoping that it will get it’s act together. This latest identity crisis is not helping.

        • I’m confused as to why you keep going back to eat someplace where you always find the food to be bad. You certainly have a right to your tastes, but it makes no sense to me to keep patronizing a business where you’ve never had a good meal. I would probably not write off a place after one bad or even uninspiring meal. But I would after two such meals. And it would stay written off until I’d heard that the menu and/or kitchen had changed.

      • BEYOND SAD.
        For someone who has seen Columbia Heights changes way before the metro was even there, this news is just sad. you are taking the identity of a neighborhood dining experience to a café. I can go to Georgetown or DuPont for that. I agree that you are trying to save a business, but you will not have a business if you are taking away what people like. There is a reason why you have people waiting in line on weekends. Fine I agree the 24hrs cycle might not bring profit but changing the menu. Good luck! good think Open City is just 15 mins away.
        Maxwell as a manages you should also think of the people you are serving to. We are mostly from the neighborhood, and this move just makes our neighborhood more sterile. the coming of the target and all the crap around the metro and now such a beautiful dining place is changing too. Let’s drink wine really??? IT’S 13 street, read the signs we are beer people don’t be surprise if you get people protesting against this bad move.

    • starkruzr

      Is there anywhere else in the city you can go to work late night with a friend or two and a cup of coffee or a beer?

      I am pretty sure the Coupe is/was it. Hardly anything in DC is open 24 hours, much less with WiFi.

    • Agree with everything.

  • I don’t understand the constant jiggering with the menu, and hours, and focus of this place.

    It’s really freaking simple: Improve the goddamn service. That’s it, plain and simple. I don’t understand why that’s such a complex concept for management, new or old, present or past, of this place to grasp.

      • So let me get this straight. They are cutting back the hours, cutting back the food menu, and cutting back the bar menu, and this is supposed to entice me to come back more often? To me, it just sounds like they are undergoing cost-saving measures under the guise of “redefining themselves.” Like others have noted, they wouldn’t have to keep redefining themselves if they simply provided good food and good service.

        • Yeah I don’t understand it at all. I’m a pragmatic person… I understand I am not getting Le Diplomat cuisine when I’m showing up to a 24/7 diner, regardless how upscale it is. So I have the found the food, as impartial an opinion as I can give right now, to be not bad. It’s not terrible, it’s not awesome, but it’s been OK. But every time I have gone there, the service, either the front/wait service or the kitchen back end is so infuriatingly fucking bad. This is not a new complaint. This has ALWAYS been the complaint about the Coupe.

          How hard is it to improve on that? Is the labor force so shitty in DC that they either can’t get good servers or kitchen staff… or is it they just don’t care?

    • Hit the nail on the head.

  • What is odd is that the place is packed between 2am and 5am on Friday and Saturday nights.

  • starkruzr

    This is terrible news. There is now once again nowhere to work with a cup of coffee or even a beer late night in DC, much less anywhere near me. I’ve grown to love the menu and the staff. This sucks.

    • Some of the 24-hour grocery stores have little cafe sections. It’s not the Coupe, of course, but if you need to not be home it could work. On Friday and Saturday Kramerbooks is open 24 hours.

    • Osman and Joe’s in Tenleytown is open 24 hours, and is an actual diner!

    • It was such a shock to me, coming from a much smaller city where there were lots of places to hang out with a coffee at 4am. DC really has no non-drinking nightlife to speak of.

    • Is the Penn Quarter Starbucks still 24 hours? Or maybe there’s something like a student center near one of the universities?

  • If they get rid of the coupe fries or pancakes, I will stage a coup.

  • It sounds like they’re just trying to mimic Maple or Room 11. Please, just give us an actual diner. That’s what the hype was for when you guys opened, and you stuck out. Just make the menu big and simple enough to get right, and make the prices worth it. There’s plenty of places to get a limited menu of overpriced food on 11th street. Keep the expectations low, and atmosphere high.

    • austindc

      Yeah man! I want some big plates of greasy, hot, delicious food. It doesn’t even have to be cheap, and I wouldn’t mind waiting either. I used to wait in long lines for Centre Street Cafe in Boston, and I didn’t mind. They let you order coffee while you waited, and at the end of it, you knew you were getting a giant, mouth-watering meal.

  • I think Florida Ave Grill should go 24hrs!!! We could have our own “steak n eggs”

    • Oh yeah – if the Coupe could be Florida Ave. Grill (with perhaps a touch less grease in the goodness) and have $5-6.00 basic rail drinks – no fancy mixologists – it would be perfect. Or even more like Tryst. But part of the appeal of Tryst is just the hum of so many people – or actually that used to be the appeal – now the crowd is pretty much in insular laptop land.

      I was excited when I heard it was opening, but 5-6 times I checked it out, alone or with friends in late afternoon or evening, it just felt cold and unwelcoming. Didn’t even get to the food. Wine bar = bad idea.

  • I totally agree that these changes sound odd/bad, but I disagree about the service. Maybe we’ve just been really lucky, but we have had really pleasant experiences and interactions with all the staff there. Even if I am just stopping by for a coffee with my 2-year-old, everyone is so nice and friendly that it actually makes my day better to go by there. I am truly fond of the staff. We have occasionally waited a bit too long for food, and that could be improved, but I always assumed it was more of a kitchen issue than a server issue.
    I hope that a bit of the diner-like feel remains so we can still bring the kiddo into a chilled out atmosphere. I’m curious to see what happens to the menu.
    Coupe staff- not everyone thinks you suck!

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