Brightwood Bar & Restaurant coming to former Colorado Cleaners space at 14th and Colorado Ave, NW

5501 14th Street, NW

Finally a bit of info on the long anticipated restaurant coming to the former Colorado Cleaners at the corner of 14th, Colorado and Kennedy Streets, NW. Thanks to all who sent emails. A recent liquor license placard posted out front says:

“New Tavern. Serving American Cuisine. Occupancy load is 295. Sidewalk Cafe

Hours of operation are listed as Sunday through Thursday 8 am – 2 am, Friday and Saturday 8 am – 3 am.

This space has huge potential – updates as construction progresses and more info is known.

looking south

60 Comment

  • Take my money, please! This is such a great corner and space.

  • This sounds promising!

  • Exactly what this neighborhood needs!

  • jim_ed

    Glad to see they’re going to take advantage of the significant sidewalk space around there for outdoor seating. The fact that its rehabbing a long-blighted space and doesn’t have some absurdly stupid name and/or concept are two huge plus marks for this place already. We’ll definitely check it out as soon as it opens.

  • Yes! Everytime I pass by that place I think it would be a great place for a diner, but I’ll take a generic bar and restaurant!

  • Yay more brunch!

  • A longtime resident of this neighborhood, I wonder how they will handle a number of factors:

    1. There is absolutely *no* parking for a restaurant (and they’d better not park on Kennedy Street!).
    2. There is nowhere to place a dumpster that isn’t in plain view of the street and all the nearby residents.
    3. Among the friendly fellows with psychological issues who pace the streets during the day and night are some a few deranged individuals who will almost certainly harrass diners.
    4. It can’t rely too heavily on local customers, as we are not CoHi, and do not have a similar density of people who spend lavishly on food services.
    5. Locals will simply not tolerate loudness that extends beyond 10:00 PM on weeknights, and 11:00 on weekends.
    6. There is nothing else to attract people to the neighborhood.

    • I see a bunch of families that would like to get together in a place that can accommodate kids and beers for the adults. Now, I have to go to Petworth Citizen.

    • Well someone’s got to start attracting people to the neighborhood! As a nearby resident, I welcome their coming. Dumpsters can be hidden with fencing and planting, the area is easily reached by all of the 50 and S buses, and honestly, there’s plenty of street parking to be found.

    • Of course, there are challenges, but it sounds like you have your mind made up already. As a longer term resident than you, let’s take these point by point:

      1. There is absolutely *no* parking for a restaurant (and they’d better not park on Kennedy Street!).
      Ever been to a restaurant downtown? Not exactly plentiful. And Kennedy Street, with its parking space, belong to the District of Columbia, and not you or anyone else. So yes, folks can and will park there.

      2. There is nowhere to place a dumpster that isn’t in plain view of the street and all the nearby residents.
      Plenty of dumpsters around the city reside on public space. While not ideal, it is the only option in some cases where alley access does not exist.

      3. Among the friendly fellows with psychological issues who pace the streets during the day and night are some a few deranged individuals who will almost certainly harrass diners.
      Again, been downtown to eat? Georgetown? These folks are everywhere and always will be. Not a great case for not developing a long neglected property and turning it into a neighborhood asset. Matter of fact, bringing some new life to this corner will likely help move these folks along.

      4. It can’t rely too heavily on local customers, as we are not CoHi, and do not have a similar density of people who spend lavishly on food services.
      Does not sound like a lavish restaurant is what we are getting. Economics 101 would tell any developer that expensive food will not survive here. We do have density though and lots of families.

      5. Locals will simply not tolerate loudness that extends beyond 10:00 PM on weeknights, and 11:00 on weekends.
      Welcome to the city, darling. That corner is plenty loud already with all of the bus traffic. Glad to know you’ll be so kind to allow them to make noise til 11 on weekends. Reality is, if you support neighborhood business and want these guys to survive, they will need to be open. Late. Recommend a fan or noise maker for the busy nights.

      6. There is nothing else to attract people to the neighborhood.
      Gotta start somewhere. Also – ever heard of Rock Creek Park?

      • could have written similar concerns about bloomingdale a couple years ago, which now has one of the best concentrations of local restaurants and bars in the city.

    • Ref. #1 – Why had people better not park on Kennedy Street? Is there restricted parking for local zone permits only? Is there no parking allowed for anyone on Kennedy Street?

      Ref. #3 – Is this different than anywhere in DC that has outdoor seating? Additionally, is this is a good reason to not open an establishment? For fear of some incident where an establishment MIGHT need to contact the authorities if a person harasses customers dining outside?

      Ref. #5 – Then the establishment will work a compromise with the ANC, like many neighborhood establishments do.

      You have a very positive outlook on this. Do you have any suggestions on how to remediate these issues, aside from just leaving the building vacant?

    • As a long time resident who fondly remembers Colorado Kitchen, I am glad to see another restaurant coming in to this block. They drew extensively from other neighborhoods (and Brightwood, naturally) because they offered excellent food. Parking was not a problem then, and I don’t see it being a big problem now. As you, say, density isn’t so high that parking is highly competitive.

      I see no reason why another restaurant with a similar quality of product and service could not accomplish the same, naysayers or not.

      • Yes! My family used to come to Colorado Kitchen all the time – from Silver Spring. I still miss that place. (I don’t remember having any problem finding parking.)

    • Just curious as to why patrons shouldn’t park on Kennedy St. Are you suggesting that their cars wouldn’t be safe or that they are likely to be ticketed? Or do you just not want people parking your neighborhood?

    • I recall a similar list of comments when Cafe St X was about to open.

    • Senior Citizens… wish they were young
      Cold hearted orb… that rules the night
      Removes the color… from our sight.
      Red is grey… and yellow, white.
      But WE decide which is right.
      And which is an illusion.

      • Sadly, I got your Moody Blues reference right away. But I’m not sure I get why it’s a comment here.

    • To point #6: Not so. Have you ever seen the fields at Carter Barron on the weekends?! There are like 1,000 yuppie Stoddert Soccer families who would love to walk a block to get lunch after their games. And there are more locals around with some disposable income than you realize. And there’s the International Guest House. And lots of churches. You are just wrong.

      I think the mentally ill folks might be clustering here because it’s so quiet. Just a thought.

      And as someone who lives across the street and looks at the rear ends of Soap City USA and the bodega, I agree – the dumpster thing is tricky.


      • Not to mention that homes in short walking distance to this spot range from $600k to $1M+. I think there is plenty of disposable income with very little competition.

  • Great space. I wish them well.

  • I hope they don’t tear off the architectural feature/cornice like the “Fishers of Men” church did on Georgia Ave who took over that old theater.

  • Is this the same Brightwood Bar & Restaurant that was up in the building at the corner of GA Ave & MO Ave?

  • occupancy of 295 seems like a lot for that space.

  • I foresee a parking problem for some residents living in that area. The old Colorado Kitchen caused a parking problem for many living around that area and residents were glad when they moved. There are large apartment buildings and Condos near this residential location on Colorado and Longfellow Street, NW. Some area residents on 14th & Colorado Avenue, NW may complain about loud noise. Residents living in that area will be impacted the most by parking and noise.

  • We live close by and I know *a lot* of neighbors who will delight in having a central meeting place. No parking needed! This is great news.

    • Yes, we live a couple of blocks away and are delighted at the news! There is a ton of pent up demand from families in the neighborhood and as long as the food is decent, I’m sure it will be packed. I hope they take advantage of the windows and do something along the lines of Le Diplomate and Coupe to open it up for nice days. This corner has so much potential and this is a major step forward.

  • Is the name Brightwood Bar and Restaurant or is that just what Pop used to describe it? Don’t love the name and don’t consider this area Brightwood (pretty decidedly 16th St Heights) but nonetheless I am excited about the news!

  • I echo all the enthusiastic comments about a new dining establishment moving to the ‘hood. As a new homeowner in Brightwood, its nice to have another option than Chocolate Crust (absolutely delicious!) to enjoy a nice meal, and not have to travel downtown to Columbia Heights, 14th St, or Dupont.

    It’s exactly what the neighborhood needs!

  • Dear owner,

    Please hurry!


    An Excited Neighbor

  • Our family was driving by in the minivan and were so excited to see the permit paperwork on the door that I pulled over so one of us could run out and see what was up. An attractive family friendly restaurant with libations for the grownups and outdoor seating would be so great for the neighborhood. We’ve been waiting for this to sooth the mourning we’ve felt ever since Colorado Kitchen left. Issues like noise, hours of operation, trash, and parking are valid and can be addressed, as they have been in similar situations in other parts of town. That property is a central geographic reference point for 16th Street Heights and Brightwood. If tastefully done in a way that respects the neighborhood, this can turn a dormant, blighted storefront into a thriving community gathering place. Bring it on, I say! Anybody know anything about the developer and whether they’ve had prior success stories? I saw some earlier posts speculating but couldn’t find anything conclusive online.

  • looks like you’re outnumbered anonymous crank at 10:27—everyone in the neighborhood wants a restaurant and more business development in the area is a good thing. Maybe you like having trashy abandoned storefronts that decrease home values but most of us don’t.

    • I agree; Cranky 10:55 – you’re outnumbered. This is a welcome addition to a neighborhood desperate and starved for the most basic services. Hopefully it will spur other development and/or inspire the owners of some of the other less than stellar businesses to clean up their acts. After living in the neighborhood for more that 13 years, this development is long overdue. I only hope it lives up to all our expectations.

  • I hear this restaurant is coming from the same owners as the Tabard Inn (rumored). This morning I saw two contractors taking a look at the space. I am excited for a restaurant to come to the neighborhood, but I too am worried about parking. Hopefully, the restaurant patrons will take one of the many buses that stop close to this location (52,54,S2,S4,E2,E3,E4). Or perhaps they can ride their bikes!

    If done right (like Highlands on 14th and Decatur), this place could be amazing. It would be nice to have an affordable and quality place to eat and hang out in the neighborhood. It would also be nice if they were open for breakfast and lunch. It would be great to have a nice place to pick up a pastry / coffee in the morning or meet with friends to catch up.

    I hope this turns out well!

  • It’s always preferable to have occupied rather than vacant buildings. Even better if it’s a family friendly restaurant in the neighborhood! Looking forward to going here with the family!

  • I’m very excited regarding this development. We live two blocks down on 14th; parking isn’t an issue in the neighborhood. The space is relatively small and I imagine many of their future customers are in walking distance. There is a gym around the corner so if they offer breakfast, bagels and coffee, they already have a built-in a.m. crowd!

  • This space will be wonderful if executed properly. That being said, the owner is not versed in this business which can be harsh, but hopefully he has a team and he is only the money man.

    Posters concerns are silly, as every rest. will bring green and blue dumpsters, think of it as St paddy’s day meets Chanukah everyday 🙂

    Parking is always an issue when dining out anywhere in the city for the most part, hello Uber

    His business/liquor license allows those hours, this does not mean he will be open for the allowed entirety.

    Folks, change is good. Sorry you won’t be able to stare at this corner eye sore any more. If this one rest. Is getting your panties in a bunch…. What happens when they revitalize the entire Colorado/14th corner as well as the old bus depot. It’s coming…. Talk to Bowser

  • This is great! I live nearby, and know at least a dozen young professionals/families who would *love* to have a place within walking distance. If it’s anything like the trendy/casual restaurants elsewhere in the city, I would honestly spend money here on a weekly basis. Up that to multiple times weekly if there’s a good beer list on the patio and brunch.

    And to the owners of Highlands – any chance you would consider expanding? I’d go more often if weekends weren’t so packed.

  • While I’m excited about this place opening up, I’m annoyed the owner is naming the place after a neighborhood it’s not in. Brightwood Park and Brightwood are nearby, but the restaurant is situated in Sixteenth Street Heights. Friends always ask the name of my neighborhood when they visit and having a misnamed restaurant nearby will add to the confusion.

    That said, I can’t wait until it opens! This space is perfect for a restaurant, bar, cafe. We’ve been waiting years for this place to be developed. The density comment is wrong–there are plenty of folks in the neighborhood eager to have a place close by they can walk to. And there are lots of apartment buildings (density) right there since the corner is where the old 14th St street car ended. I will be a regular, even if the owner is still learning what neighborhood he’s in.

    • + 1 Agree with everything you said! And no offense to Brightwood, but it doesn’t necessarily have the reputation you would want to brand your restaurant as- especially if you aren’t even in Brightwood. Perhaps its not too late to convince him to change the name?

      • And Brightwood will continue to be labeled as less desirable if people continue to post things like you did above. I agree – the location is probably more accurately labeled as 16th St. Heights – but I’m over the Brightwood bashing. People used to avoid and fear Bloomingdale too and now look at it.

        • Not trying to bash Brightwood- I live just on the border of Brightwood and want to see it improve. I just think its odd to both name the restaurant after a neighborhood the it is not located in and one that doesn’t have as good as a rep as the one it is in. If a restaurant in Logan Circle named itself Bloomingdale Bar and Grill or Petworth Cafe I would have similar comments. FWIW, Brightwood is generally less desirable (as evidenced by home sales) just as 16th St Heights is less desirable than Crestwood or Mt Pleasant. Who knows, in 10 years it may be different, but BIoomingdale isn’t what it is today because people pretended it was as desirable as Dupont.

  • So I guess the NIMBYs on this discussion thread would rather have trashy bodegas and vacant storefronts? Sorry, but this neighborhood is devoid of amenities and that needs to change. These are probably the same people who think Walmart is a blessing.

  • Can’t wait! But please change the name. This is not Brightwood. As a resident of 16 Street Heights I take umbrage.

    • Agreed! Name it something having to do with this intersection. We’re just barely in 16th Street Heights, anyway! Can’t wait.

      • How about Kennedy Bar & Restaurant? There’s no disputing the name of the street. It taps into Kennedy St pride. And it’s an easy reminder of the address. Any chance he’s taking suggestions from the general public? If so, that’s my recommendation.

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