New Diner Coming to the Old Murrell Building at Georgia and Upshur to be called Slim’s Diner; Pop Up Art in the Interim

Georgia and Upshur St, NW

I’ve getting a number of emails about the Murrell Building at 4201 Georgia Ave, NW:

“I saw folks working on the 1st floor of the Murrell Building on Upshur last night and was curious what the future held in store for the space. I think there was talk about the building on the PoP site a couple of years ago but haven’t found any more about what’s happening.”

In March we learned that owner of nearby Petworth Citizen, Upshur Street Books and Crane & Turtle (and of course Room 11), Paul Ruppert, planned on opening a diner here. Though details remain slim, CityPaper reported the name will be Slim’s Diner. And it looks like there’s an interesting interim use too. Thanks to @Petworthnewvie for tweeting us the info yesterday:

“@PoPville Murrell Building pop up art exhibit”


64 Comment

  • I hope that rather than being high concept, it is just a solid, place to get a nice meal.

  • Cheers to Paul Ruppert! I’ve heard that Petworth Citizen and Crane & Turtle have been extremely successful which spurred him to move quickly on his next concepts – Upshur St Books & Slim’s Diner. Thanks for investing in our neighborhood!

  • Game On Petworth. This sounds exactly like what the neighborhood as been asking for – casual, family friendly restaurant. Dare I say bakery??? Tons of opportunity in Petworth for restaurants and retail.

  • How awesome would an ice cream shop or deli be in that old beauty parlor next door? Any business would do well just from spillover alone from Slim’s Diner. I bet this jump starts development on the road behind it too – next to Torogonez and the Post Office. Yay Petworth!

    • The inside isn’t too special, but you should try El Torogoz’s patio.. it’s one of my favorite summertime Petworth things. The food is great, atmosphere is casual.

      • Truth. I like El Torogoz’s food but I love eating on the patio during nice weather. As I went by there today on my way home, I mourned that I didn’t get there much this year.

    • There was an ice cream shop on that block, but it closed due to lack of business. Keep it real folks.

      • Are you talking about the ice cream shop that was located where Cuzzzin’s is now? If so, I don’t think that is exactly a great example of whether an ice cream shop would or not work on Upshur. I am not convinced there is enough traffic to sustain one either, especially, with the increase in rents but that was hardly what I would call a well run place.

      • Let me re-phrase. A QUALITY ice cream shoppe. Cuzzins or whatever it was called didn’t really appeal to me… Did they even serve ice cream? It looked run down, dirty and like a hole in the wall. Hardly a place I’d bring my kids. There was a reason it went out of business. No offense intended. Just “keeping it real”

        • Cuzzins is still in business. I believe the above poster is talking about the business that was there before Cuzzins. That place just served ice cream and it didn’t last long.

          • That place had terrible ice-cream and it look terrible. A place like Dolcezza that serves both quality ice cream and coffee would be great on that block.

  • binpetworth

    A diner in the style of The Coupe or The Diner would be most welcome here! I popped into Upshur St Books this past weekend and was pleasantly surprised; so happy this stretch is transforming.

    • Don’t forget Ted’s Bulletin. They do this concept better than anyone in the city.

      • Anything like any of the three places mentioned would be amazing. I’m also hoping it can sustain long hours – the more traffic/business there is into the night around Petworth, the better.

    • Except neither of those are like an actual diner. An diner, with a simple and large menu, is something that is lacking in the area. If it’s anything like The Coupe (service, quality, price) I think many people would be extremely disappointed.

  • Paul Ruppert is going to eat everyone’s lunch by getting in on the (relatively) low rents in this area– pretty soon he’ll be the only player on the block. Congratulations to Ruppert, and I support what he’s doing, but let’s get some diversity of business ownership!

    • Completely agree. Petworth Citizen has been packed every time I’ve gone in lately, and Crane & Turtle is always slammed – it was full at 10pm on a Sunday night when I walked past. Between DC Reynolds, Looking Glass, Petworth Citizen, Chez Billy, etc. I honestly think Petworth has better choices than Columbia Heights right now.

    • Yeah, it makes me a little nervous that so much of the new development is under one owner.

      • Look what is happening on the Hill with was was Javier Cervera’s empire. Hopefully they get out of bankruptcy and all the places stay open because if not, there is going to be a lot of empty eateries.

    • Why did he need a kickstarter for the books store then? That’s my beef with him. I’m happy to hear about a diner type place going in though. If it’s like the Coop at all I’m super psyched. Also there has been scuttlebut about the owner of Hank’s looking in to buying the church next to Domku that is for sale (or rent?) That would also be a welcome addition I think.

  • Been anxiously awaiting the announcement of these plans for a while now. While details are still slim, the name has me imagining a throwback to traditional greasy spoon diners I remember from my childhood. Simply eggs, toast, homefries, omelets, etc at breakfast, burgers/sandwiches at lunch, some simple entrees for dinner at reasonable price points. Throw in some of those 25 cent plastic toy/bouncy ball/chewing gum dispensers and jukeboxes at every table. Closest DC equivalent is American City Diner in Chevy Chase. Man, that would be awesome.

    • Ha. The only thing I’m not crazy about is the name. Slim’s Diner? Ruppert’s reputation is the draw for me, but seeing the name without knowing the owner, not sure it’d attract me.

    • check out murray and pauls in brookland, greasy spoon diner at it’s best

  • I’m so excited!!! Thank you Paul for making such a large investment in the neighborhood!

  • This was definitely needed in the area. We came back at 10 pm on Monday from a movie w/o eating a real dinner and unless you want to go to Wendy’s, there was no semi-quick place to go to get food as Sala Thai and Subway close at 10 north of the Petworth metro station. Hopefully, the diner will be open relatively late.

  • Can we get a patty melt on the menu plz?

  • Please please be a normal diner. With high chairs! thats a great corner space and a decent, casual sit down place will do gangbusters in Petwroth. especially if they have high chairs. Ope City, The Diner, etc…good models (I still the coupe kind of sucks).

  • Love to hear this and agree — regular diner rather than “high concept” would be a perfect fit. Pup-friendly, patio dining would be a major plus!

  • Is this in downtown Petworth?

    • “Downtown Petworth” doesn’t really exist, but at the rate it’s going, the Upshur Street corridor could become a sort of downtown. It’s got the library, a bunch of restaurants, a yoga studio, a post office, a farmer’s market, a dry cleaners, a hardware store, and a few boutique shops. Another locus of restaurant activity is 11th Street, south of the metro station, but that’s not technically Petworth at all.

      • Perhaps it should be marketed as such. Downtown Petworth, Upshur St corridor, Petworth Center, Petworth Plaza, Popville USA.

        • Absolutely Petworth needs to do a better job marketing itself. Brookland and NoMa have done a fantastic job. Not sure anyone is pushing this though…

          • *****HATE***** the idea of Petworth marketing or branding itself.

            I don’t need the neighborhood to draw in shoppers and diners from somewhere else to feel like it’s a cool place to live. And I can’t believe Paul Ruppert is aiming for that either.

            Whatever we do to enhance our neighborhood, making it cleaner, safer, with more varied activities and facilities and having a wider range of goods and services available–all that is well and good, but let Petworth be Petworth!

            What was that insulting adjective the New York Times used about Upshur St. recently? “Scrubby”? Stay scrubby, Petworth!

        • I believe calling it a “corridor” or a “plaza” is a bit ambitious given it only has about 3 restaurants and a bookstore. The area has done well but isn’t there yet.

          • There are also 2 clothing stores (consignment and new), yoga studio, pet store, hardware store, crossfit, library, post office, grocery store, sandwich place… all in what I could call the “Upshur Street Corridor”. 800-1200 block of Upshur plus Georgia south to Taylor and North to Varnum.

            For such a small area, there really is a lot packed in there…

          • How about Petworth Hamlet?

      • Upshur Street would be midtown Petworth, I think. Downtown is where the metro station is, and uptown is the more residential parts, maybe north of Allison. Not that I feel the need to break up areas into smaller areas, but that’s what I would go with.

  • If this is going to be a diner, I hope they can figure out a familiar and welcoming menu (price point and offerings-wise). I *definitely* appreciate that Ruppert is investing in the neighborhood, but Upshur is becoming a street of “you’ll have no preferences; you will eat what we give you.” Citizen is a great drinking place, but the food other than the burger is not particularly noteworthy. C&T is great if you have $100 to blow for dinner and are in the mood for something you would never make at home (which is ok sometimes, but doesn’t exactly scream “neighborhood”), and Domku’s menu is interesting and good (most of the time), but not normally full of familiar meals.

    Can’t a girl just get a delicious cheese sandwich somewhere in walking distance? This is why I normally end up at Chez Billy — but of course Chef Brendan has deserted us for the new Georgetown location, and the food (steak in particular) is not the same. I guess I’ll just have to move to Virginia . . . (not)

    • While I get what you’re saying, I think the bigger issue is that the menus are on the smaller side. I think the food is very different from one to place to another and while Citizen’s menu is small, everything they have with chorizo on their menu is excellent. Domku’s issue is that they always run out of things and always look empty. Crane and Turtle is just difficult to get a table since it’s in demand and so small. And you mentioned Chez Billy, to me that is the most overpriced of the group for what it is, not amazing by any means, good, but a bit pricey for what it is compared to the others. I’m excited for the diner and hope it provides a lot of variety at a reasonable price (which it should since it’s a diner) and stay open late. Also gives the area a good brunch spot too.

      • Bottom Line: There is a huge demand for more quality, family friendly restaurant/food options in Petworth. This helps the cause and hopefully Ruppert’s investment will attract more development, however, there is still plenty of more room to grow. I’m personally more excited about the potential of a Hank’s Oyster Bar. If Slim’s is closer to a Ted’s Bulletin-style of diner, my friends and our families would be much more excited.

  • This is great news. And here’s another vote for a simple diner (but with better food than the Coupe).
    Was Ruppert able to buy the properties behind the red Murrell building as well? The footprint of the Murrell building is pretty small once you get a commercial kitchen and bathrooms in there. Maybe they will have seating on all 3 floors?
    I hope his group will poll the neighborhood on the wants and desires so that he has numerous regular neighborhood customers. (or just read Popville comments regularly!)

    • He has the whole building. I heard he is putting his offices above but I’m not sure how much space the offices will take from the restaurant. The sitting capacity he applied for is for 40 sits. If he applies for sidewalk sitting he could get a lot more tables. That sidewalk is pretty wide.

  • Enough with Upshur already! Kennedy St (first 3 blocks ) have NOTHING but vacant storefronts!!!

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