Woodley Park Retail Shake Up on Connecticut Ave

2631 Connecticut Ave, NW

A couple of prime retail spaces are about to open up in Woodley Park – first I was surprised to see the Bank of America had already closed:


And a bit further south Azad Oriental Rug is closing at 2625 Connecticut Ave ,NW.


59 Comment

  • PDleftMtP

    Don’t forget Dino. That strip generally seems to have surprisingly high vacancy and turnover rates.

  • Woodley is such an underwhelming retail strip. The restaurants are meh. That “Manhattan market” place is so far from a robust market it makes my brain hurt (it’s a glorified convenience store, nothing fresh to be found). A good market here would be great. Another coffee shop, too. Also seems like a good bar (think: All Souls, Boundary Stone, Chez B.) would do well here.

    • A gastropub type place (along the lines of Chez Billy) with good quality, higher end American food would do well with the neighborhood while also appealing to hotel guests looking for a nicer meal that can accommodate a wide range of palates.

      • It’s the hotel guests that kill that strip.

      • Should give District Kitchen a try….or maybe New Heights? Italian Pizza Kitchen is also pretty legit….good sammies.

        • Haven’t tried District Kitchen, since they’re not open during the day and I get out of this neighborhood as soon as I can each day. And it’s been years since I was at New Heights. However, I would dispute your characterization of Italian Pizza Kitchen as legit. My business partner and I have tried it twice and both times the sandwiches were expensive and bad.

          • District Kitchen looks good, but it’s kind of a high end price range, I think. It’s fine for business hotel guests who can expense and neighborhood people looking for a fancier meal. But I think a more mid-range price place would do great here, both with hotel guests, tourists coming to the zoo, and neighborhood residents.

        • Afghan Grill also is good. It’s too bad, though, that one of the nicest neighborhoods in the city has, with a few exceptions, a very mediocre restaurant lineup.

    • My suspicion is that the presence of the two massive hotels (and their tourists) limit this stretch’s appeal as a destination. I made the mistake of going out to eat a few times around there (Open City) and being repulsed by the wretched hordes clad in fanny packs, mom jeans, and cowboy gear. It was really unnerving, so I stopped going. Shame, too, because I like Open City.

      • lovefifteen

        Wretched hordes? That’s a little over-the-top.

      • Wow. Way to support that DC stereotype.

        • Open City draws lots of locals, as does Chipotle. The crappy ethnic restaurants on Connecticut are the real problem. This area should be able to capitalize on Metro access and the immediate neighborhood, but it hasn’t. I’m surprised Starbucks isn’t here.

          • Agreed on surprise at no Starbucks, but not disappointed, exactly. I think a specialty coffee shop with a nice patio would kill it in Woodley. Peregrine, etc.

          • Last I knew, there’s a Starbucks in the Wardman Park (aka Sheraton). If you tell them you’re a local they won’t charge you the exorbitant tourist tax.

      • I’ve worked in the neighborhood for 5 years, and I think you’re partially correct. IMHO, it’s not necessarily that decent restaurateurs are turned off by the tourists, it’s that those who are here don’t rely on repeat business so they’re lazy. The tourists are one-and-done at these places so none of them invests in quality products or service.

        • On the other hand, during the week a lot of the hotel guests are business people who are in Dc week after week after week. They have money to spend, have to eat out, and do not go back to bad places. One of my friends and his colleagues who stayed in the Omni every week just stopped eating in that neighborhood except for an occasional dinner at Open City.

          • I’m sure there are some people with taste and standards who go elsewhere to eat, but they don’t appear to be enough to drive the market in this neighborhood. The 2 hotels here host a lot of conferences in which people only have an hour or so to get lunch and then just hang around the neighborhood for dinner. I see it nearly every day.

      • So you’re “repulsed” by coming into contact with any of the 18.5 million annual visitors to DC, who contribute over $6 billion to the local economy every year? Since you find it so “unnerving” to encounter people from other places, maybe you should consider living somewhere that no one would ever want to visit. Plenty of us would rather mix with the tourists than smug, judgemental jerks.

        • I’m sure Anonymous 11:05 would be the first to be outraged if my uncle the farmer from rural PA was to talk about being unnerved by the miserable hordes of tourists from the Big City in their impractical shoes and overly large sunglasses and overpriced handbags full of unnecessary electronics descending on the restaurants in his town so they could go skiing.
          [He wouldn’t say that, by the way, because he has class.]

        • +1 billion

          It is so frustrating that some DC residents find it necessary to be condescending and rude to tourists in our city, who are supporting our local economy. Never forget, this is the Nation’s Capital, paid for by every United States citizen. You should be thanking them… or moving.

          • Unless they stand on the right in the Metro, then you should be able to kill them.

          • I am guessing you have never lived or worked in Woodley Park.

          • Agree with this. Pleas go out of your way to be friendly to tourists. 1) it’s the decent thing to do 2) they provide a huge boost to our local economy and 3) when I travel internationally (more and more of out tourists are from overseas) one of the biggest factors in how much I enjoyed the trip is how warm the interactions with locals was.

          • “Never forget, this is the Nation’s Capital, paid for by every United States citizen”


            You maybe could claim that for the Mall or other Federal land but not DC as a whole. In general we have been short-changed by the federal government mostly because we do not have anyone elected there to send money here.

          • “…paid for by every United States citizen. You should be thanking them…” Darling, MY taxes that I pay as a DC resident without representation in Congress/Senate pays for our lovely city. Your snobbery to the DC tax payers isn’t appealing.

      • Wow. Someone thinks a lot of themselves. Tourists might inconvenience the locals, but hyperbole like that screed just reinforces a lot of widely-held but overblown stereotypes about DC residents.

      • This is one of those posts that makes me wonder if you’re a third or seventh generation Washingtonian — or if you’ve been here a few years, and now decided that your august presence and accomplishments warrant looking down on “tourists” — who not only provide a significant chunk of change to the city’s coffers, but may “own” and thus belong in the nation’s capital at least as much as you do. Sheesh.

      • Do you see individual people wearing fanny packs, mom jeans, and cowboy gear at the same time?
        Because I’ve never seen a cowboy in mom jeans. Or by cowboy gear do you mean the Dallas Cowboys? Because I could see wearing mom jeans with a Cowboys jersey, but definitely can’t see mom jeans with cowboy boots with spurs and a ten gallon hat. I can see how that would be unnerving. But the fanny pack would be a good place for a cowboy to keep his chewing tobacco or beef jerky.

  • open shity

    • The only place in DC that can have 50% open tables on a mid-week afternoon at 3pm and proceed to put you on a 20 minute wait list…. Idiots.

    • I could not agree any more. We were having brunch in the side part one day last February. It was absolutely freezing in there. I asked the waiter if they could turn on the heat and he said “we don’t turn the heat on because the servers get too hot.”

      There are no words to describe the look I gave him and I’ve never been back.

      • That’s hilarious, and I’m not surprised one bit. I live in the neighborhood and would be there all the time if they 1) treated their customers better, 2) figured out a logical way to fill tables that does not result in exorbiant waits, and 3) served food faster. These days I just don’t even bother trying to go there, it’s not worth the stress and headache.

        • maybe the fact that there’s a physical table available doesn’t mean that there’s staff available to serve that table?

  • For all of its attractions as a residential neighborhhood, as others have mentioned Woodley Park is a poor restaurant destination. I lived there from 1998-2005, and even before the “boom” further east the restaurants were crappy. As second-rate as the resturants are, anytime you actually want to patronize them they are usually jammed with tourists from the hotels and the nearby Zoo. So like the guy who complains about the lousy food –and such small portions! — I just tended to avoid that strip completely.

    I do feel a slight twinge of nostalgia for that Bank of America branch. As much as I have come to hate Bank of America through the years, I opened my first DC checking account there and remember feeling that I had actually “arrived” in DC. Woodley Park BOA: Ave Atque Vale.

  • How do oriental rug places stay in business. There are so many and I have known a single person in 20 years in DC who has ever bought from one of these places. I always assumed they are fronts for something else.

  • Man those Indian restaurants around Woodley are just vile. The crayfish place is fine enough if like that; Open City and New Heights are decent.

  • Anonynon

    This strip is slacking, my friend lives in this area and its always like eh i guess ill get chipolte. The row of ‘non-chain’ restraunts on the other side of conn avenue are kinda sketch looking. I went to the Sushi place – it was actually pretty good but the space was just tacky and not a fun environment. I probably wouldnt be back. I feel like this strip eventually will be two massive apt buildings. Its such a great location and it could use some additional density (right around the metro).

    • Then you would have a neighborhood with no restaurants/retail….how does that make any sense?

      • Anonynon

        obviously there would be ground floor retail. Isnt that a given these days? Cant recall the last large size apt without it.

    • Agreed. I’ve always been surprised that the area directly across from the metro has survived as a strip mall. It’s the perfect place for 10/12 storey apartment complex with retail on the ground level. And maybe, just maybe, it could actually be affordable.

      • Anonynon

        doubtful on affordability. Rents in that area are EXTREAMLY high. In an old class B building (3 bed room one which was converted) my friends still pay more than i do for a (2br 1 bath ) in columbia heights (which i will go ahead and say has a lot more ammenities then woodley)

  • Has anyone tried the relatively new (a year or so) Sorriso Cafe on Calvert just around the corner? I keep meaning to, but just haven’t stopped in. Seems like that might fill some of the desires people have talked about.

    • I love Cafe Sorriso. I agree that it’s just the type of place everyone says has been missing. The tiramisu is tasty and I’ve really enjoyed the meals I’ve had there. Very fresh. You definitely have to know its there tho. I’ve been hoping more locals would become fans. Like to see it stay.

      District Kitchen is good. Like that they don’t have the same old tired menu items.

      And Chipotle. For fast stuff.

      The rest of the strip I could do without.

    • I live on Calvert Street. Cafe Sorriso’s food is good and it could be a huge success if it kept regular hours. I walk by it every day on my way to/from the Metro, and it does not seem to follow any logical store hour schedule (similar to how the Snap on 18th St. opened seemingly randomly throughout the week). This prevents it from being a reliable neighborhood place to eat.

  • I’ve lived in Woodley for 6 years, and those of us who actually live on this street are generally pretty unsatisfied with the options. The only places I go with any frequency is Tono Sushi (great sushi by the way), Noodles, Chipotle, and Open City. The rest of the food is very mediocre (although granted, I haven’t been to District Kitchen or New Heights). I am going to seriously miss Bank of America and the convenient ATM, but I hope they put some good food in there. A market with real produce would be nice too for one of those spaces. Also I miss thai food since it moved out like 4 years ago from the spaces that are now the pizza place and District Kitchen. It would be nice to have another bar or good restaurant on the block though.

    • Wouldn’t a Yes or MOM do well here?

    • Jandara was quite literally the worst Thai place in DC if not in all creation. DK, which replaced it, is a big improvement even though I generally prefer Thai to any other type of food. You should add Cafe Sorriso, the Afghan place, and Lebanese Taverna to the list of solid options.

  • I’ve lived in WP on and off for almost 30 years. It’s fantastic to live here, everything is in walking distance! Metro gets you anywhere, the tourists are very fun to watch, from the Young Republicans”to the Anime set, to the docs and the Plumbers. And really, they’re tourists! so they’re usually in a good mood. there’s lots of pretty foot traffic over to Adams Morgan, lots of lost families trying to get to the zoo. the resturants are, indeed, pretty mediocre, but improving with District Kitchen, Cafe Sorriso, Lebanese Taverna, Italian Pizza, Noodles, even Dnkin donuts! and very good old stars like New Heights and its Gin Joint (super martinis!) Tono Sushi, Medaterra–again super Martinis @5$!) Also Petit Plat and a few more. A few to stay away from, too, like both indian joints and the cafe between them. Enjoy!! Its a city neighborhood–lots of life.

  • I hope Umi doesn’t shutter. My favorite delivery sushi option in the city by far.

  • Try Lillie’s just a block up Connecticut, toward the Zoo. Delicious lunch, happy hour and dinner offerings. Neighbors love this restsurant.

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