Group that owns Hawk ‘n Dove, Senart’s Oyster House and and The Chesapeake Room Files for Bankruptcy

329 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE

Uh oh or hallelujah depending on your perspective… Thanks to all who sent emails. From the Wall Street Journal:

“Baltimore-based Barrack’s Row Entertainment filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Washington D.C., putting eating spots like Hawk ‘n’ Dove, Senart’s Oyster House and The Chesapeake Room into protection with it. Barrack’s Row, which is owned by a group of investors, said it has between $1 million and $10 million in debt.”

The new Hawk n Dove opened in Jan. 2013. Senart’s Oyster House opened at 520 8th St SE on Barracks Row in 2011 and The Chesapeake Room opened at 501 8th Street, SE also on Barracks Row back in 2010. I believe this group also owns Lola’s, Molly Malone’s Pacifico, and The Box Car Tavern.

43 Comment

  • There must be a good story behind this. None of those establishments are great, but should be profitable enough to survive.

    • My thoughts exactly. While we have plenty of really good ones here, mediocrity truly seems to thrive in DC when it comes to restaurants.

  • They own Park Tavern and the yet-to-open Willie’s Brew & Que in Navy Yard as well.

  • Interchangeable menus are interchangeable.

  • Meh, no loss. Those places have always been middling at best. It also explains the delay in getting Willie’s Brew n’ Que open in Yards Park, since I’m pretty sure that was also one one their restaurants.

  • I hope this isn’t too much trouble for Canal Park; iirc, the restaurant was supposed to supply a good portion of the park’s operating expenses.

  • Wow, the investors the Cevera family sold to are taking a bath! Pumped and dumped. My guess is that the investors start suing. The group was only sold a little over a year ago.

    • Also, I wonder how this will affect The American, which Xavier Cevera is opening in Blagden Alley?
      I hope the Downtown Boxing Club might still live to see another day….

    • Well Cervera sold to… Cervera (his brother). But yeah, other people certainly will be taking a bath. Though the restaurant group has always been kind of shady.

      • He didn’t sell to his brother. The investment group he sold to hired his brother to run the restaurants.

  • I could do without most of those places, but Senart’s was always a nice experience. Bartenders made good drinks and the $1 oyster happy hour was great.

    • Tuesday night prime rib dinner special is also an AWESOME value. Very good.
      I’m supposed to take an out-of-town friend tomorrow night.

    • msmaryedith

      I was just there for happy hour last night. We were there from about 6 to 7:30 and it was EMPTY aside from a couple of people at the bar and one larger table. Which is a shame, because it was pretty good! The bartenders there know their stuff.

  • That could be a lot of open store fronts in Eastern Market

  • Chesapeake Room was an OK substitute when you didn’t want to wait for Ted’s and it was a downright travesty what they did to Hawk n Dove.

    • This is retribution for what they did to Hawk ‘n Dove. As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke…”

      • Hawk n Dove was a dump for years. Now Cervera went way out of bounds with his remodel, but it’s easy to lionize the old place even though it was way past its prime.

  • I really enjoy Lola’s and Molly Malone’s, the rest are pretty meh, with Pacifico Cantina providing horrible service on two out of the three occasions I visited. And as much as I prefer the other bars on Penn, the new Hawk ‘n’ Dove does fill a void for a non-divey bar that can accommodate a big group for happy hour.

  • This smells fishy. A year ago, Xavier Cervera sold his restaurant group to to a Boston equity firm headed by his brother ( and now they are filing for bankruptcy. There has to be more to this story.

    • Definitely not an “arms length” sale. My guess is that whomever provided financing for the transaction is left holding the bag and in deep shit.

  • Dammit. The Chesapeake Room and Boxcar (and Hawk N Dove, actually) are my favorite places in Eastern Market (please don’t tell me there are better places to go – I know and they’re typically very crowded). People say it’s “no loss” but do you live in that area? If these close, that’s a huge loss as far as number of places to go!

  • Park Tavern is awful. Making this worse is that its in a great location but its still not worth it. One meal at Chesapeake and I never felt the need to go back.

    • a nice side effect of it being quite mediocre is that you can easily find space on gameday to get a beer

    • It’s also the best place to go grab a beer outside with the dog- I’ve never had to compete for a table.

      • Yeah… patio is gargantuan. Even if it was a popular place, it’d be hard to fill that thing up every day.

  • I wonder if there is some strategic thinking behind this. Several of those places don’t seem like it is because they aren’t busy – can’t speak to all of them.

    None of them prompt me to say WOW but given the concentration if all/most shut down whenever that might be those will be holes that need to be filled. I guess this is the downside to having one person concentrate their business in one area.

  • This is the problem with permitting such a concentration of space in one owner. If There were a variety of owners/operators running this many bars on the Hill there would be more variety, better service (more competition) and a bankruptcy wouldn’t threaten to harm the business model of the entire neighborhood. DC isn’t a little city anymore. They need to start being more thoughtful about how they work with developers.

    • gotryit

      I’m no devotee of Ayn Rand, but geez – it is a free market. It’s not like they had a monopoly on bars / small restaurants.

      • Yup – and this particular market is finally weaning itself off years of milquetoast mediocrity.

      • I was just looking at pictures of Ayn Rand, and man, was she a gross-looking lady! Literature aside, do you find her attractive at all? I tried really hard but could not find any redeeming qualities. Completely unattractive.

        • Nearly all my friends who worship at the altar of Rand are the children of ex-Soviet emigres. They swung from one extreme to the other.

        • gotryit

          That’s such a strange question. Do you look at male authors in the same light? I find her reasoning unattractive.

          • Hey buddy, if you’re going to force-feed me that extremist rightwing “free market hurr durr” pablum, you better package it in a set of fake tits and bottle-blonde hair.
            How else are you going to hold mouth-breathing Americans’ attention and get their vote?

          • so, I once served dinner to Ann Coulter …

  • It’s because they stopped having my friend’s band play at Molly Malones. They got a jinx on themselves somehow.
    Senart’s was pretty reliable. Hard to believe they are having trouble with all the locations they were running. I wonder what is up with the real estate.

  • Maybe they start selling off each one individually??? I would guess that at least half are quite profitable (no data backing me up just basing on how crowded some are). Some probably are at break even a couple prob are losing money. No real star in the mix IMO.

  • Too bad. I’ve actually had decent to quite good food in the ones I’ve tried, about half of them — very reasonable for the convenience (I live near Eastern Market) though not necessarily worth a special trip from another neighborhood.

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