Has Utopia Closed Permanently on U Street?

1418 U Street NW

Back in April 2012 we learned Utopia would be closing for 14 months due to construction. On the 1400 block of U Street the only business to reopen has been DC Noodles.

[email protected] tweets us:

“Hey @popville, do you know if U-topia has closed for good? Their Facebook page says “permanently closed.” #sayitaintso”

Hmm, I thought I saw some construction going on but their listed phone number and website are no longer working. Anyone else hear anything? Utopia’s website used to say:

“Jamal Sahri Opened Utopia in 1990, establishing its place as a cornerstone in the U-Street community. Offering an ideal local for location for folks to gather, share ideas, music, food, and art. The restaurant has served as a venue for chefs, artists, musicians, community groups to express, relax, share and enjoy the things that make life utopian.”

16 Comment

  • I can see it now : “Applebee’s”…”Cheesecake Factory”…”Shake Shack” coming soon! That area is destined to become the next Chinatown !

    • Nooooooooooo. Heaven help us (or at least me) if that EVER happens. Fortunately that space is much too small for a Cheesecake Factory. Shake Shack is more likely.

  • I suppose Coppi’s isn’t coming back, either.

  • Terrible news! Used to be one of the few places in DC to see good jazz on Friday nights with no cover. Very intimate and fantastic for dates. Will be sorely missed!

  • Honestly, I had some of the most non-sensical food I’ve ever had at this place. I recall a melted brie dish served with yellow bell peppers. That was the complete dish. I never understood this place,.

  • Yes the food was very mediocre but it was one of those authentic places, grassroots where all kinds of people gathered. It had a really cool vibe. I hope it reopens but we still have Twins lounge.

  • Completely agree with some of the comments above, this is so sad. Yes, the food wasn’t incredible (though it wasn’t bad and was one of the few reasonably priced places in the area), but it was such a great spot for dates, small groups, sitting at the bar alone, listening to music, whatever. It was one of the first places I found myself when I moved to DC in 2009, and I hope it opens back up!

    • I agree. But I think this is the explanation for why it’s not coming back. What made the place was the people who appreciated that vibe and it seems they’re all scattered to other areas and venues. I could always count on striking up a conversation with someone completely out of my milieu, because we were all there for something beyond the food (though I always thought the lobster bisque was amazing and really can’t remember anything else on the menu). Loved talking with owner, Jamal, loved Sunday night jazz with the late Pam Bricker.
      I can’t imagine there’s enough critical mass who would enjoy that sort of thing anymore, because U Street is just different now. Probably just as well that it passes with the era it lived in.

  • I was actually shocked when I walked by the other day and the sign out front said Utopia would be reopening, I couldn’t imagine they actually had customers to make that happen. It’s for the best that it’s not reopening. I’ve had some of the worst food and worst service I’ve ever experienced in DC at that restaurant. Hopefully the space will be used for a new and improved concept by different owners!

  • If they are closed for good, lets just hope thet that space will become a small plate restaurant <<>

  • lovefifteen

    I always wanted to like Utopia, but I never liked the food I got there. I hope this space can become an amazing restaurant.

  • This was a great spot back when there wasn’t much of anything along U Street but greasy carryouts with bulletproof glass.

  • I found Utopia in 2002 or 2003, I think. I loved it. Food was hit or miss, but it was a great place to sit at the bar alone, have a couple of drinks, chitchat with folks and hear some seriously above average jazz. I moved away from DC for a handful of years and was so sad that Utopia had closed during the Great Disruption of 14th & U. I actually moved into the neighborhood a year ago with visions of sitting at some close approximation of that bar/chitchatting/jazz. It felt like a real neighborhood spot with great music and interesting art on the walls. Super bummed.

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