Diego, Tex-Mex, Restaurant and Bar closes at 14th and V Street, NW

2100 14th Street, NW

“Dear PoPville,

The last two night walking up 14th on the way home from work around 6:15/6:30 I noticed Diego is closed. Inside visible from street but only by emergency lights and all the chairs are turned up on the tabletops. No sign in door. Interestingly enough the lounge upstairs IS open. Have you heard anything?? Two nights in row sounds odd. Not sure about last weekend as my outings did not take by there.”

They closed this weekend – they shared the news on Friday:

“It is with our most sincere apologies that DIEGO will be closing after this weekend. Please join us one last time for our freshly made guacamole and margaritas.

Diego will be open for brunch and Dinner ALL WEEKEND! We will see you soon and thank you for the many memories!”

Diego opened up at 14th and V St, NW in the former AM PM Carryout space back in July 2013.  They had a troubled start closing shortly after opening only to open a few weeks later with a new chef. Were there any fans?

Flashback to 2010:


65 Comment

  • 14th Street is ultra-competitive-if you aren’t established, have a unique concept or have a celebrity chef (E.g Kapnos, Tico) you’re not going to make it much longer.

    • Does decent food count as a “unique concept”? Also, wasn’t this the place whose menu rather infamously said “Los Drinks”?

  • Not surprising. Food was not very good when I went a few months ago. Seemed that new management was interested in making it better, but looks like the damage was done by then. Can we please get a decent Indian restaurant here now?

    • +10000000000000000

      • Le Mirch on Connecticut in Dupont is good classic Indian (if you don’t want to do Bombay Club or Rasika). Great spicy vindaloo and chicken tikka. Half priced bottles of wine on Mondays.

        • True, that’s good (so is India Gate at 21/P) but there aren’t any Indian restaurants in 14th Street/U Street/Logan Circle area as far as I can tell. I think any not-even-decent spot would do very well.

  • Food was alright but service was really bad, the waiter just ignored us and a bunch of other tables the entire night, to be fair it was quite busy but still, didn’t return because there were better restaurants with better service in the area

  • Never went. I’d rather have Peruvian than tex-mex and Judy is only a few doors up the street and is really good and very reasonably priced.

  • A beautiful location for a stand-out restaurant, which Diego was not. I would love to see a top-caliber chef in a space like this – think Red Hen. The outdoor space is prime, and though the long/narrow layout is somewhat awkward, it can be worked around. Good riddance to a middling restaurant, good luck to all those employees (may they find quick re-employment) and good fortune for those hoping for a better replacement.

  • I liked this place!!! 🙁

  • Needs moar small plates. They should rename it Poquito Diego and shrink the Tex-Mex portion sizes to tapas-style. Think: mini enchiladas, a micro wet burrito, finger-sized taquitos, etc. Throw in some pork belly and Tex-Mex bahn mi’s just because.
    I bet it would be jam packed at opening.

  • Mug of Glop

    I ran by here just last night at about 7:30 and was puzzled at all the chairs flipped on the tables. There were maybe a dozen people at tables in the back room (down V Street) that looked to be eating and whatnot, so I figured they were just closed for a staff event or something.

  • My problem with Diego is that El Centro is way better, a little bit cheaper, and only two blocks away.

  • I really enjoyed the food, drinks and good service they provided, it wasn’t a hit every time i went, but they seemed to get it right most of the time.

  • Is this just the inevitable bubble-bursting of the 14th Street restaurant scene or just the result of too many places serving up the same stuff? You can get 10-12 dollar tacos at a dozen spots with a ten block radius of 14th and U these days. Indian in that location would be awesome as would a good casual pizza spot (Pete’s) or some competition for Ted’s Bulletin.

    • Piola up the street isn’t casual enough?

      • Good suggestion. I’ve actually never tried it assuming it was more along the lines of Etto or Two Amy’s vs. a two-slices and a beer joint.

      • Or Matchbox just down the street?

      • Piola is awesome and has great service. The manager and servers always go above and beyond whenever you need something. I hope they stay afloat. I mentioned my favorite dish got taken off the menu, and they made it for me anyway. I’ve gotten loads of free drinks, etc. there. I think they are really trying to keep people coming back.

        • I would agree with all of this. They also have a great happy hour.
          The pizza I ate was wonderful. I like it better than Matchbox and &Pizza (and the insane wait at those places during dinner hours).
          PS – CustomFuel makes a great pizza. I ordered delivery this weekend from the one located at Howard and it was really good. The delivery guy told me that they deliver pizzas and HOT COOKIES until 3am on the weekends. That is really good to know 😀

        • Agreed- Piola is great and I hope they can get enough of a following to last. Fantastic service (which sometimes makes me overlook less than awesome food; so foodie!) good prices, and I actually really like everything I’ve had.

      • Pizza seems covered w/ Matchbox (casual) or & Pizza (fast casual) Petes’s is not a long walk, imo

        As Petworth (Upshur) and Brookland (Monroe Street Market / 12th Street) heat up maybe there are less restaraunt dollars to go around. I went to Diego once on the day of the Funk Parade last year and it was not packed even with all of those people on U street. It was OK but I never went back. I live in Brookland I don’t have to trek over to 14th Street anymore to dine when I do I go to El Ray or Ted’s (My kids LOVE Ted’s)

  • I always feel sad for restaurants that don’t work out, but I am thrilled that they at least got that building restored, and that whoever comes in moving forward is starting with such a nice exterior.
    North of U Street, these places just seem to have problems. Didn’t Mova close on that same block a few months back? The foot traffic just kinda goes dead once you get north of the Reeves building.

    • Kapnos is doing well. Piola is doing all right. Eatonville has been there over 5 years. Foot traffic does decrease as you go up 14th, but there is a fair amount up until about Florida Ave.

    • Anonynon

      Mova is still open, this part of town is still growing theres a new building on 14th and florida and another condo going right up across from fast gourmet. I never went to diegos because lets face it theres so many other good mexican options that are more “fun” (?). El Chucho, El Rays, El Centro. Hopefully they just make this into a nice sports bar, the spot next to piola is suppose to become a “tavern” but haven’t heard anything about that recently. theres not many good spots to watch games and have a beer 🙂 please someone open a nice casual bar instead of forcing a restraunt

    • There’s also Marvin and the always packed Busboys & Poets. North of U not a death sentence.

  • It was a fun place for Sunday afternoon margs and guacamole. Took over from Loriol as our casual Sunday Mexican fix. Food was fine so was price.

  • Maybe they should have invested in a better sign? It looks like it was made at fedex/kinkos.

  • Wasn’t the BEST food ever, and the service could be crap sometimes… But they had an awesome steak quesadilla. Their house made, delicious and HOT green sauce was the best too. Gonna miss this place.

    • Judy’s has an amazing green, house-made hot sauce. Use sparingly, or liberally with caution! So much love for Judy’s… I miss living just up the street.

  • I hope a quality restaurant moves into this space. The renovations was super nice, but the service and food wasn’t up to the standards that went along with the prices. I don’t mind paying, but it price needs to match quality.

  • Sorry to see any business close but we went one time and never returned. The service was horrible. In fact, we’ve never had it worse anywhere. Just as we were about to walk out after nearly an hour of waiting for our order and repeatedly flagging down our absent waiter to learn what was taking so long it showed up. No explanation or apology. Unfortunately the food was not at all worth the wait. We saw others walk out after being ignored for too long after they were seated. So while it’s too bad they didn’t make it , I’d say they have only themselves to blame.

  • I went there once. The food was okay. You need to stick it out a little longer if you want to establish yourself. Sorry to see it go, but let’s face it: there are hundreds of so-so Tex-Mex-adoran places around here.

  • jim_ed

    DC (and hell, nearly the entire DC area for that matter) still wants for a reliablly good, reasonably priced americanized mexican restaurant. The closest I can think of is El Paso in Springfield. I for the most part love our city’s variety of ethnic restaurants, but I’d kill to have something like Lauriol Plaza except without terrible food close by.

    • The El Paso in Arlington is also quite good–not sure if they’re the same owner.

    • justinbc

      Oh how I would love to have Nopalito here.

      • jim_ed

        Nopalito might be a great restaurant, but literally the last thing I want more of is yuppie upscaling of ethnic foods. We’ve got those bases covered, in spades. We’re all set on bare bones taquerias selling tasty meats wrapped in fresh tortillas. I just want something in the middle that serves passable mexican food. Even if its in the suburbs, where these restaurants tend to thrive, but I’m hard pressed to think of a good one within the beltway.

        • La Lomita and Las Placitas will fill you up if you can keep it down. The latter uses brisket instead of chuck in their steak burrito.

  • Not surprised tried it right when it opened and had the worst nachos every (maybe ten chips) and then again a few times after its reboot. Its a nice space, but they just couldn’t make it work.

  • justinbc

    Hell I thought this had been closed. I can’t imagine too many people are surprised by this.

  • Oddly, I went there for the first time Saturday. Had no idea they were closing. Food was decent but it was very, very, very loud. Horrible acoustics.

  • Good. From the terrible, cheap-looking sign to the slow service (and for overpriced, cold food!), Diego was always a depressing last resort for when all the other U St. options were too crowded. Acoustics were also terrible. Even filled to half capacity, the restaurant was unbearably loud… like being in one, big tiled bathroom with 10 other people.

    Hoping something decent comes in!

  • I really liked Diego for happy hour. Cheap drinks and delicious guac, what else can you want?

  • I enjoyed it for sitting outside with margaritas and guacamole, but that’s about it. There is definitely potential for something better to take over.

  • I’d really like to see commercial offerings in some of the developing neighborhoods more diversified. 14th Street especially seems saturated with restaurants. Trader Joe’s and West Elm a move in the right direction but I think the area could support a lot more retail offerings. Petworth has similar issues.

  • Food was OK. Service was abysmal. We were thrown into an empty, huge, upstairs room where we sat for 30 minutes before any of the waiters, who were concentrating on the upstairs bar tables, even noticed us. We never went back.

  • hispanicandproud

    The place had potential but lack of quality food and poor service made it impossible. Before it closed the first time the nachos seemed more like flautas but at least the company was great at the time. Flash forward to a few weeks ago I went with a group of people and we left after being seated because of lack of service.

  • Diego was nothing special. But for DC, it was definitely above average. Given the monotonous culture of the city, successful resturants in DC must follow a very specific and standard formula, which by the way has nothing to do with serving good food. Any deviation from this standard is not accepted. That’s why most resturants on 14th, and in DC for that matter, look and feel the same. Hopefully this won’t end up being another Italian fare but I’m giving up on finding good resturants in a city that gets excited about a new Giant Foods opening in the neighborhood!

    • You clearly need to go to more restaurants if you think Diego was “above average” for DC. 14th Street restaurants may be cut from similar cloth in terms of appearance (though they do have a decent ethnic variety) but they’re also, for the most part, uniformly good. That’s why they’re all packed and Diego closed. Diego was, far and away, the worst restaurant on 14th Street. Food was mediocre (not above average for anywhere, let alone DC), service was lousy, and even the drinks we had were rancid.

      DC, meanwhile, has a ton of good restaurants. Rose’s Luxury was just ranked the best new restaurant in America. Daikaya, Rural Society, Red Hen, Dukem, Tacos El Chilango. Not saying DC doesn’t have its share of mediocre restaurants, but there’s more than enough great places if you know where to look.

      • I agree that the resturants you mentioned are among the best in DC and pretty good. But there are a lot of crappy resturants in this city and the average quality is quite low. Diego was inconsistent and nothing special but definitely above average for DC.

  • Diego was an OK restaurant when they opened, but not noteworthy. Then, with chef #2, it was a standout. Unfortunately, that lasted only two weeks. After that, back to just OK. My most recent visit was a major disappointment.
    I’m looking forward to someone else bringing a new restaurant there.

  • glad it’s closed. That place gave me the worst heartburn and the margaritas were no good.

  • I knew it would close. Owned by the people from Dupont Italian Kitchen on 17th St. They serve subpar italian food, so not sure why people had high expectations for Diego??

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