Sweet Mango Cafe Closed “until further notice” in Petworth

3701 New Hampshire Ave, NW

From Sweet Mango:

“Sweet mango cafe will be closed until further notice, all questions can be answered at a later time. We ask for your vigilance and prays at this time of hardship. We love you guys and will truly miss serving you. May Jah Bless”

A source tells me the building may have sold in a foreclosure. Updates when more is known.

UPDATE: foreclosure notice from a commenter sold for $2,430,000.

108 Comment

  • Man, that’s a shame. Looks like it sold in a forecliosure auction on March 17 for $2.4M. I really liked their jerk chicken. With them and Rita’s both gone, I’m not sure where to go. Any suggestions?

    • Accountering

      If this is correct, sounds like they are done for good. Hopefully something bigger will come to that space. It doesn’t make any sense that we have low density retail across the street from the metro. That CVS was a HUGE mistake, and if only DC could have waited another couple of years at that corner, they could have gotten mixed use there.

      • That’s a brilliant idea. Let’s bulldoze all the small shops that add character to a neighborhood and replace them with towering apartment buildings with Starbucks and McDonalds on the ground floor. Is the large mixed use building across the street full already?

        • Yeah, nothing says character like check cashing, six Latino markets, real human hair, and surface parking.

          • And Starbucks and McDonalds do? Or do they just fit YOUR definition of neighborhood character? And I’ll give… McDonalds was probably a bit of a stretch… I shoulda wrote CHIPOTLE.

            What’s wrong with small business and local business owners repurposing old space here in DC? Why do we have to put high rise buildings on every street corner surrounding a Metro station? There’s already the building across the street. There’s already the new building where the Safeway was/is. I’m not sure what surface parking you’re talking about unless you mean street parking (remember, not everyone can walk or bike… some people are disabled – street parking is still a necessity).

            How about more stuff like Simple Bar and Grill and Salt and Pepper Grill instead of more luxury condos/apartments?

          • Accountering

            Well yes, I live here, and it’s not unreasonable for me to prefer nasty restaurants that are health and safety hazards to close, and for more apartments and condos to open.
            The reason there should be a high rise building on EVERY street corner surrounding a metro station is because the metro is an INCREDIBLE investment. It is worth probably 100,000,000,000 in today’s dollars, and we should be taking advantage of the land within walking distance of it.

          • And the point you’re missing missing TP is that I never suggested that those businesses add character. But Sweet Mango Cafe did. I’d rather see something similar take its place than another giant EYA project.

          • Accountering

            Well, I would much rather see a much higher and productive use of this space, and won’t mourn the loss of Sweet Mango. EYA is a terrific company, and Petworth would be very lucky indeed if they were the developers of this project.
            With that said, I recognize that we have competing visions, but I am glad that capitalism is winning out here. It will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

          • While my follow ups were originally directed at tacopuss… I’ll follow up on the EYA comment. EYA is NOT a terrific company. They promote “smart growth” and “transit oriented development” as a way of passing off single-use, expensive housing. For EYA, those are marketing terms, not promises. The vast majority of their portfolio is is housing… NOT the mixed-use development that you touted in your original comment, Accountering.

          • Accountering

            That’s fine. If they wind up building a bunch more just high quality housing right here, I wouldn’t be opposed to that. I think the focus should be on having them include ground floor retail, not sticking with a business that clearly played with their customers and neighbors safety and health for many, many years.

          • Can someone explain what problem people have with luxury apartments? I hear a lot of complaints here and heard some really aggressive criticism of “developers” (scare quotes here intentionally evoke the lilt of the candidates) building condos or pop-ups. I was previously puzzled, but at the candidate forum it seemed like there was a lot of race-bating going on.
            What’s so wrong with people making the neighborhood nicer? If there is demand for higher density housing what’s the problem with building it? What alternative do they envision?
            As a side note lost: most of the food at Salt and Pepper Grill is terrible. Simple Bar and Grill is boring and over-priced. There are small long time businesses I would like to see stick around, neither of these would be among them.

          • Accountering

            I have a hard time understanding the hate for “developers” too. Also, Simple Bar and Grill and Salt and Pepper are both new – and have come in as a result of the increased amount of people with disposable income in the area.

          • I am generally opposed to removing the height restrictions in DC. But, I think the Petworth Metro is a perfect place to serve as a pilot. Booming property values that will attract and retain business, nice houses, but largely unremarkable from a historical perspective and very similar to the stock across the city, dramatically underutilized metro station compared to many in DC, well removed from the urban core. A couple big office buildings could effectively poach tenants from Silver Spring.

            I see no downside. I think several other neighborhoods are also eligible, but I think Petworth’s geographic location makes it the best candidate. Not the north part, but the part around the petworth metro stop that petworth residents try to pretend isnt part of their neighborhood.

          • It’s a shame that you feel that Simple and Salt and Pepper are terrible. Out of curiosity, how do you feel about Sala Thai?

            There are plenty of us in the Brightwood/Takoma neighborhoods that love both establishments. Salt and Pepper had a one hour delivery time last time we ordered from them. And several times since their opening. That doesn’t indicate to me that their food is terrible. Otherwise why the demand?

            Yes, both establishments are relatively new… BUT they are in line with the neighborhood and are small businesses owned and operated by local business people. Not towering developments. Simple changes their menu often and had to expand the bar to accommodate more patrons. Obviously a lot of people don’t find it boring. We like having a neighborhood bar we can grab some beers and some food and have a conversation. What are you looking for? Karaoke? Showgirls? Live entertainment? Maybe it’s not so much that Simple is boring, rather that you are bored and/or boring yourself. Your comment smacks of entitlement… that you deserve to be entertained all the time. And do you think that the new bar from the owners of Hank’s Oyster Bar is not going to be expensive?

            My point in bringing them up is that both establishments were welcome additions to the neighborhood by many, many people and both are inline with the scale of the neighborhood

            The “hate” as you put it is not particularly for developers (though maybe specific developers who run amok or don’t deliver on commitments to the surrounding neighborhoods), but rather over development or development out of scale. I’m not sure if either of you have noticed, Mixed Feelings or Accountering, but there is a SERIOUS lack of affordable housing in DC. We do not need more luxury apartments or condos. We need fair and affordable housing. If you’re going to be touting smart growth and transit oriented development, it has to be for everyone… not just those that can afford it.

            When I hear “making a neighborhood nicer,” I hear “making a neighborhood more AFFLUENT.” And yes, along with matters of wealth come matters of race.

          • Accountering

            More condos by the metro means less demand for SFH in north Petworth etc, and as such lower prices. The ton of new buildings that have been opening mean rental rates across the city have stopped increasing, and are actually decreasing. This is a great thing, especially when compared to the years when 10% increases were standard. Also, filtering. These luxury building will become more affordable in time.
            Also, yes, as a homeowner, I would prefer the neighborhood get wealthier. Black, brown, yellow, white, I don’t much care, but yes, more disposable income in the neighborhood means more new restaurants, tax revenue, and jobs. The question is whether that wealth is in condos on top of the metro, or in even more flips a half mile north of the metro.

          • First of all on the restaurants: Salt and Pepper is objectively bad. Their food is usually under seasoned and too sweet. MUCH better and similarly priced restaruants include Woodlands (in Hyattsville) or Shakti in Alexandria. Try them and you will never eat Salt and Pepper again. Sala Thai is also boring if less offensive. Thip Khao is the same price, locally owned, and 10,000 times better.
            Simple Bar is a nice effort, but it’s too boring. I don’t need to be entertained, but if I’m going to spend what they’re charing I want somewhere nicer. A lot of the new places in Brookland have done a nice job of this (Brookland Pint, Smith Public, Menomale all have better food drink and are cheaper or similarly priced). That they do brisk business despite all this speaks to the overwhelming demand in the neighborhood. I just hope somewhere better comes in soon.
            Opposing condo developments will not create affordable housing. Obviously if there is demand for luxury condos than we do “need” them. I don’t think there’s much hope developers will start building three bedroom apts for under 400k, but building more might alleviate the upward pressure on the rental market in older buildings and houses. There are lots of things that can be done, but there is no logic to preventing condo development because you want affordable housing. Nor is there any reason the city should be reserved for low income residents while relegating market rate housing to the suburbs.

          • Seriously, mixed-feelings? Under-seasoned and too sweet?

            I think a few of the dishes (at least from S&PII, because No.1 doesn’t deliver to me) are awesome, some are blah, some are whatever, but it’s Indian that delivers to eastern NW and closer NE. What other Indian place does around here? Give me an alternative.

            Fusion is gone, to the severe detriment of every one of us who eats food.

            Your counter-examples are shops in Alexandria and Hyattsville, so you’re picking on a local CARRYOUT restaurant that has two locations, and comparing it to two places entirely outside of the city.

            If I search for carryout on a google map search of the neighborhood at a reasonable zoom, 373 other results pop up. You’re going to choose the one Indian place that I can think of within miles of me to crap on?

            add the htt p://goo.gl/maps/NGX9Q

        • Accountering

          I agree with you – even though you are being sarcastic. This place wasn’t a particularly good neighbor, but I would be happy to have them back in a re-built space, assuming it is built to current code with correct exhaust and such. This place is essentially a walking death trap. It has had bad fires what, 3 times in the past five years.

          • Don’t go spilling the beans on Woodlands, if you think that a McDonalds is a good idea for the area, then you don’t DESERVE to know about Woodlands…

      • For $2.43 million, I’d say it’s a good bet that something bigger is going in.
        I wonder what the actual boundaries of the lot are. Does the property include that long triangle area with the treeboxes, or is that public space?

      • That CVS was a former gas station location which likely required clean up of underground storage tanks. It was never going to developed into a 6 story housing complex… I agree with you in principle, though, about high density development.

        • Except in Adams Morgan you have a 4 story condo building being constructed on the site of a former gas station. The development of that parcel shows a stunning lack of vision. That the city allowed the construction of a single story, single use building directly across the street from metrorail was a boneheaded move.

    • Andrene’s on Kennedy St. has added sit-down service, and I can vouch for the quality of their fare.

    • I wonder if Sweet Mango owned the building, or if it was their landlord that defaulted? My guess is they owned it, but if not that saves some hope for them reopening….

    • HaileUnlikely

      Serious suggestions regarding where to go: take the 70 up Georgia to Fern St (7300 block) and go to Teddy’s Roti Shop for outstanding Trinidadian, or get off at Hemlock (7500 block) and go to Flavors of Jaguya for pretty solid Jamaican food.

    • My name is Andrene, proud owner of Andrene’s Cafe. Andrene’s opened its doors July 1st. 2006 operating as a Carry Out. We are looking forward to celebrate 9 years in business July 2014. Andrene’s has expanded to a sit-down. We would love to have your support. Please read about us on Yelp! Andrene’s Cafe located @ 308 Kennedy Street, NW.
      Please feel free to stop by…you will not regret it!

    • Try Teddy’s Roti shop on Georgia Ave as you pass Walter Reed or Crown Bakery by the Macambo club on Georgia Ave. The food and service is good. If not you can always go to Caribbean Palace in Takoma Park their Dalpuri Roti is the best. Like the food at Mangoes especially the curry chicken. It like that nowdays they are busy up all the good spots in DC real estate is booming and Mangoes is in a very busy location. one luv, Stew

    • Rita’s is gone? When? Why?

    • Try Andrene’s on Kennedy Street NW and Peaches on 4th St NW. Both are good.

    • Pink Snapper, on Georgia and Shepherd is now Spices.

  • They should move up the road to the new building at the corner of GA Ave. and Shepherd.

  • I’m not an expert on jerk chicken but Caribbean Citations at 9th and O NW has it and it’s said to be authentic.

  • Do you think this has thing to do with their annual fires, lack of permitting or shitty wiring/construction? I like their chicken a lot but it always seemed like a matter of time before they shut down. I also am grossed out by the crap they pour down the storm drain on the back of the restaurant. Great location though so maybe something else can make a go of it in that location.

    • I have no hate for the restaurant itself, but I’m definitely not going to miss the rancid smell that came out of their trash cans and whatever the liquid was that also came from that area. Kind of glad this happened before summer.

      That said, it was good food. I just couldn’t eat it very much because I associate the restaurant with the smell out back (which I walk by most days) rather than the food itself.

  • That sucks. Easily the best Jerk chicken i have had. I really hope an effort is made to make sure that the new Georgia Ave. has space for Mango.

  • When I looked up the addresses it does include the one story building behind it. This is actually pretty good news as much I do like the chicken at sweet mango. Its been sold and I woudl bet on a mixed use building with residential coming to those two lots. No parking, as its on top of the metro tunnel. Also good news. Would love to see that sidewalk triangle really activated but I believe that is also metro property to not really part of the DC public space permitting process.

  • oh no! this is really bad news….they did really have the best jerk chicken in town although their service was not great.

  • As other commenters I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, many businesses on this stretch I will be happy to see go. Check cashing, cell phones, Pizza Hut, etc. On the other hand it would be nice to see the local flavor preserved, especially where places are serving good and interesting food. But the fact is that Sweet Mango, along with other long time business have not always been great neighbors or made effort to cater to the current tastes of the neighborhood.
    I don’t want to call out anywhere specifically, but a lot of food service places have poor waste management practices and packaging that ends up all over the street. Many have run down facades and fail to maintain their sidewalk. The district makes tons of grant money available to spruce up facades and to help business owners adapt to the changing taste of the neighborhood. Sure, it takes an investment, but keeping the same food while making the interior a little more clean and nice while adding some craft beers to your menu can pay off in the long run.
    One place that has adapted very well is Fish in the Hood. They really have the same flavor and same food, but have taken the bars of the windows, kept the building clean, and I hope they have been successful as a result. This is one of the places I would wager will stick around a long time.

    • I agree with you that Fish in the Hood is a great spot! Also, I didn’t even realize Sweet Mango, or ANYTHING was in that building until I was on a run last week and noticed a sign. Were they ever open? I am not on that block a ton, but at least twice a week and have never seen people coming and going. I thought it was an empty storefront. That said, this is a cool spot and I wish they would redevelop it into a cool bar/restaurant, maybe extend the balcony space. The look of the building reminds me of a bar in San Francisco called the Lookout even though this place doesn’t have the same views.

      • Yeah, at $2.4m for the buildings, I don’t see a bar or restaurant coming – at least not a standalone one.

      • dumplingdreams


        I lived in that neighborhood for half a year before I realized that the place was a restaurant. The entrance was on the New Hamp Ave side (as opposed to the Rock Creek Church side). The entrance didn’t fit the appearance of the restaurant at all, so if you didn’t know beforehand where it was you really wouldn’t be guided by any signage to point the way.

      • I see none of us are going with “Fish In the Neighborhood” – I agree Fish in the Hood is great, but some times their 8pm is a pain for those of us that work late.

        That being said, I have high hopes for the new Panamanian restaurant coming down the street.

    • Fish in the (neighbor)Hood’s rent quadrupled a few years ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if it does not get priced out of the Hood the next time around. It’s all well and good for the city to give a grant to help a business spruce up a façade. But as far as I know, there aren’t any grants to deal with the rent increases that follow gentrification.
      Once money moves in, the “local flavor” tends to be lost. That’s not to say that every local flavor deserves to be kept. But there is a disconnect between the small Mom and Pop businesses people tend to clamor for and the high commercial rents that invariably follow increases in residential values.

      • There’s both grant money and training/advisory services. I firmly support both of those programs but see no reason to have grant money for increased rent. The neighborhood has a lot more foot traffic now and the median income of that foot traffic is higher, making the space more valuable. For older places to survive they need to figure out how to both generate and efficiently handle higher volumes of business. Places like Ben’s, Florida Ave Grill, and others have figured this out. Some corner stores have figured this out.
        Obviously it’s too late for SM. At 2.4M I’m thinking it’s highly unlikely this structure is going to stay there. This place will be condos or condos and first floor retail.

        • Many of the older businesses on Georgia don’t necessarily cater to the new face of Petworth. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but when people are buying $800,000 houses and have kids, there needs to be better quality, family friendly restauarnts and retail business. There certainly are “some”, but just look at the near manic enthusiasm for Slim’s Diner. I think some of these older businesses can survive and perhaps thrive, but a run-down store front with poor customer service and mediocre food; isn’t going to cut it any more. Just reality. It’d be nice if more of an effort was being made to fill the vacant store fronts in the neighborhood.

          • Well that’s the whole point. Some places could adapt and thrive but need a little direction and short term financing. Lawrence’s II comes to mind. Decent food and nice people, but could use some sprucing up and some training on how to bring in new people. Some of the Salvadoran places would do better with better decor, better beer on the menu, and a few more interesting food items.

          • At the same time there has been an uptick in the entitled mom-bies roaming through this area. Bring your infant child into Chez Billy allow it to scream and cry for an hour straight while you enjoy a wine, dinner and crème brule? Why, yes, I will.

          • Re: “Mom-bies”. Sorry our enjoying “a wine” means that for an hour or so, you are no longer the youngest and shriekiest person near the bar.
            “Roaming”? Truly? Yes, moms and their infants generally walk around Petworth aimlessly in search of wine and creme brulee. Eyeroll.

          • Have to disagree with Anon here. With all the potential for annoying babies, I think people are actually incredibly appropriate. Most people only take their babies to appropriate venues at appropriate times and deal with it well if the baby is upset. Both businesses and parents have done a great job ensuring everyone can enjoy being out for dinner/coffee/beer.

          • It’s mean, but it’s true. What IS it with the shrieking 20-somethings? Why must they be so loud??

          • HaileUnlikely

            Most of the homeowners in the neighborhood have been there for a long time, didn’t just buy their homes, and didn’t pay any $800K for them. When talking about the “new face” of the neighborhood, it’s not as if it is a neighborhood where everybody is affluent and can afford to eat at Chez Billy every night. Basically, the proportion of wealthy folks in the neighborhood has gone from basically zero to well north of zero in the past 15-20 years, as has the proportion of restaurants that cater to the newer and wealthier residents. However, it is obviously not even approximately true that everybody in the neighborhood is wealthy, and the neighborhood still needs establishments that cater to the needs and desires of the “old face” of the neighborhood that you clearly want to pretend isn’t here anymore but obviously still is.

          • HU – you are partly right here. While the houses that have been sold for 800k are a small percentage the number of people in the large new condo buildings by the metro is huge. Also keep in mind that when thinking about the role they place in supporting businesses you really need to weight residents by their disposable income. I would wager “new” residents–white, asian, latino, black, persian, or whatever–make up well over 50% of the disposable income in the neighborhood, and the value of a storefront is based on how much disposible income it can potentially capture, not the number of customers.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I realize that there is good business sense in running a business in such a way as to draw the newer residents who have more dollars to spend, what I’m objecting to is wealthy newcomers wanting to ignore those who came before them, pretend they’ve successfully forced out everybody who was already there, and cry that less than 100% of the neighborhood establishments are bending over backwards to cater to their every need.

          • Accountering

            I object to your classification as well. I really could care less about who “came before me”
            The lady who owned my house prior to me was a nice lady, or so my neighbors told me. I don’t see how that is relevant.
            I am well within my rights to hope that development in Petworth continues, and that more things of interest to me keep coming in. I am not going to feel even an ounce of guilt for doing such, especially in places like Sweet Mango, which was a safety and health disaster, and also, apparently, was rude to their customers. I maintain my excitement for the bigger/better thing that is going to replace SMC.
            Also, for reference sakes, I am not ” cry that less than 100% of the neighborhood establishments are bending over backwards to cater to their every need.” I am simply saying that they are making a mistake, and if they want to survive and maintain profitability, change in some form is necessary – of course they have the right to do with their business and property as they see fit.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I’m confused. Are Accountering, MixedFeelings, and Anonymous 1:05 here the same person? I was replying specifically to the post up above by Anonymous who used the phrase “the new face of Petworth” and seems to think everybody should cater to said new face, yet have managed somehow to elicit some ire from both MixedFeelings and Accountering, who seem to think that I have accused you/them of saying something or other. Anyway, Accountering – of course you have the right not to care about people who you declare that you don’t care about. Glad we cleared that up. That ain’t exactly the path to a peaceful coexistence with everybody who is still here, though. Don’t worry, your side is obviously winning. They’ll be gone soon enough.

          • I can confirm I’m not the same as Anon or Accountering (who posts here regularly). I agree some of Anon’s comments seem a little entitled, and indeed it’s this entitlement by some new residents that makes old residents resentful.
            So yes, while some new comers could be more respectful, some old neighbors could be more welcoming. And the fact is that old businesses will have to adapt. They should look at this as an opportunity to make more profit, not someone pushing out their business. And if they lose out on that opportunity they have no one to blame but themselves.

          • The problem is, if you are to believe Stefan from Mothership, the new places aren’t doing too well either…

          • “[T]he number of people in the large new condo buildings by the metro is huge.” All of the large new buildings near the Georgia Ave.-Petworth Metro are apartment buildings, not condo buildings. That doesn’t really change what you’re saying about new residents with disposable income… but it does mean that those new residents are likely to be somewhat more transient than if those buildings had been condo buildings.

          • The “manic enthusiasm” for Slim’s Diner is based on the lack of any similar business in the area. Note that the footprint for that place is pretty small. It won’t need a huge crowd – see, for example, The Coupe – to be successful.

            I’ll bet the owners of the vacant storefronts are making an effort to fill them. There are probably few takers at the price point being asked. Someone said that the apartments in the buildings around the metro are full. Actually, they are not. Look around that area at night and you will see a lot of dark windows. The residential developers are counting on this area becoming the next Columbia Heights. Maybe they can afford to sit on empty apartments. But a restaurant or bar owner can’t sit in a built out but empty room waiting for the neighborhood to develop to the point where there are enough customers to keep him or her in business.

    • dumplingdreams

      Horrible customer service is what, in the final analysis, will be the downfall of local businesses. Why would anyone return again and again to spend money in an establishment where they’re treated with contempt when there are loads of friendlier places to do business? Because the chicken or oxtail is great? I suppose that’s what the owners of SMC must have though. They were wrong.

  • Definitely too bad. Food was always good. For those looking for jerk and stew alternative, I recommend Sandovan at Georgia and Decatur. Food is great, and they are super friendly.

  • dumplingdreams

    I’m probably going to get some hell for this, but I’m going to go ahead with it — FWIW (and probably not much at this point). But I really did think about this before deciding to post: I loved SMC’s ox-tail. It was the only place I could get it and although I loathed going in there with every breath I have, I did it because this particular dish was SO GOOD and so affordable. However, they had the worst customer service I have ever experienced in my life. Only very occasionally the older gentleman would be working at the cash register and he was very sweet. But the other staff were horrible. In TWO YEARS they never addressed me with a greeting or returned my greeting when I entered the restaurant. They barely looked me in the face while taking and processing my order, and never ended with a thank you (even when I always gave one). If I dared to ask a question it would be met with a scowl and a sigh as if I was either the dumbest person on earth or the biggest bother they ever had to deal with. On one particularly bad occasion when my order was handed to me they had forgotten my soda and a group of staff — literally — stood and ignored me as I called out “excuse me” to try and get someone’s attention. I was mortified in front of other customers (none of whom helped, either). I didn’t return for almost a year after that. When I finally went back I was met with the same rude treatment. I’ve never done any wrong to anyone in that establishment. The fact that I chose to spend my hard-earned money there was treated with no gratitude and what, bizarrely, I can only describe as contempt. I support small, local, family-owned businesses all over DC. I really, really wanted love SMC and give them more business, but they made it impossible for me. I don’t believe I’m the only one, either. If their business offered a quality product (and it certainly did) but failed for lack of customers … well, there’s a reason for that. And I don’t feel sorry for them. I don’t.

    • Strongly agree about SM. That’s one of this things I love about Fish ITH is the owner is tremendously friendly (if occasionally an over-sharer).

      • YES. I love Fish in the Hood. Every time I go in there they ask if I’ve been before (it’s getting to the point where that question is a little weird, but whatever it seems like they want to make sure they’re giving a good impression) and they want to know how I found out about it, etc. The food is really good, I just wish they’d open on Sundays.

    • In the upstate NY city where I grew up, many of the deli’s, bakeries and restaurants were owned by Italian families. I would go to the bakery with my mother or grandmother weekly. The Italian women working in the store would never say hello, never look at my mother and certainly not say thank you and good bye. I thought they were so mean. One day I asked my mother why she continues to go into their businesses. She told me that much of their disposition is their culture and that I was taking their actions of lack of action too personal. In my travels to Jamaica one of the first things that I had to adjust to was how slow and impersonal the service is. Not giving SM an out, nor saying that a local business should not adjust customer service to accommodate current demand. Just saying don’t take things personal and keep in mind that culture does have a role in the level of service (product & delivery of product) provided amongst the diverse business owners in the DMV.

      • dumplingdreams

        @Niagra: I genuinely appreciate that you tried to offer another perspective, but these were AMERICANS. Not Jamaicans. Furthermore, Jamaicans are wonderfully nice people. In any case, I don’t give a crap about someone’s culture. You don’t get to be rude to me and take my money at the same time — not for very long. The fact that I put up with SMC for more than 2 years (visits going from weekly to monthly to “once in a while” until NEVER AGAIN) is a testament to my patience and love of unique food.

        • Niagara is correct. And LOL at “Jamaicans are wonderfully nice people.” Of course they are but that’s a huge oversimplification and not the point at all. Go to any Jamaican restaurant in the country and you will often (not always – Andrene’s on Kennedy is a friendly exception) find typical service to be slow and a lack of emphasis on customer service. And certainly no “craft beers” as a previous poster suggested to cater to a changing clientele. You can expect almost the exact same menu at any Jamaican restaurant in the country, down to the drinks, almost like a Chinese restaurant. It’s just the model, I grew up with it is south Florida where there are tons of Jamaicans and Jamaican restaurants. Saying all that, I 100% agree with you KS about Sweet Mango’s routine crappy customer service. It’s why I stopped going two years ago – I was sick of them running out of food, and me having to endure long waits and attitudes for a simple patty and Cocoa bread. I think they were the typical Jamaican take out model in overwhelmed mode. They just couldn’t manage to put processes in place to make their growing popularity run efficiently (WHY does everyone stand in the same line regardless of what they ordered and/or how quickly it is ready???) which made them even more customer unfriendly than normal. But trust, it is pretty normal, it wasn’t aimed at you.

        • Also just wanted to add that you should look more closely at that distinction you are drawing by concluding that the people you saw were Americans and not Jamaicans. Owners of sweet mango are Jamaicans, as are the cooks. Cashier people are likely second generation Jamaicans that would look just like “Americans” to you, but that doesn’t mean the same cultural values as their parents aren’t there, informing the way they operate their role in the business. And even if a tiny number of the employees were actually culturally American, we all know how workplace culture impacts the actions and expectations of everybody in the place. So there you have it.

    • I have to say that I completely agree with you. I visited SM for the first time just about two weeks before they were closed. I have to admit that I felt a little justified as I had just renewed my commitment to not patronize them anymore. I realized, upon returning this one time, that I had already decided this and for the same reasons. I do not understand why the wait is so long, but more importantly, the person who took my order was so rude and impersonal. So no matter how good the food is, or was, I cannot abide bad customer service when I am paying money. If they never got that message before, I hope they will get it now.

  • I never had poor service there and enjoyed the food. It was a carryout so I’m sure not sure why people were expecting white tablecloth service from them. In any case, the wings and oxtails will be missed.

    • dumplingdreams

      Who said anything about table service? Who said they expected white linens? And why is it excusable to be rude to paying customers just because the place is carry-out? Furthermore, I’ve had plenty of carry-out in DC that didn’t involved staff glaring and mumbling at me as they took my money. You can keep your attitude of blaming the customer for expecting a modicum of common decency, and defending the business for being rude. The place is closed and it didn’t happen in a vacuum.

  • When they opened the “club” part of the restaurant that was super shady. If they can’t even make a go of a restaurant I guess they figured their side business on the upper floor would help. They need to adapt to the a changing market. Not get rent subsidies to support a business that the locals wont support. Clean the joint up, stop catching on fire, stop illegally dumping grease into the drains, spruce up the inside, make it more family friendly, provide good service, maybe even table service. See what happens then. I like local businesses too and probably have supported more than a few against my better judgement just to help them out. But at the end of the day its a business. There has to be a need or demand and service or product provided. And maybe the new folks moving in, whether businesses like that or not, have changing tastes or expectations. Adapt of close.

  • Where is the best place to get Jamaican Beef or Chicken Patties in DC? Patty Patty Boom Boom used to have good ones then they sold smaller ones that were blah and then on a occasion I went to Sweet Mango. Where else can I find good beef patties.

  • I am sad to see them. Yes, I noticed a lot of shady activity. Yes, they were rude to me. However, their food was so damn good! Maybe they can open up in a smaller building nearby. I agree that they were part of what made Petworth what it is…
    But things change. Seeing them go is bitter sweet, but Im hopefully we will see a mixed use development go in to that space with LOCALLY OWNED businesses in the bottom floor. Baked & Wired, Sweet Greens, 5 Guys… Hell, I’d welcome any family friendly, well run, quality restaurant. Just not another 7-Eleven.

    • dumplingdreams

      “Yes, they were rude to me … but the food was damn good”. And this why they, and others like them, get away with it for so long. We take rudeness lying down. We roll over for it. We even try to compensate for THEIR rudeness by being even more polite to them as if somehow they can’t help themselves or we’re going to “kill them with kindness”. We make excuses (“culture”). Worst of all, we reward them by handing them our money. Well, screw that. NO MORE.

      • +1. I like your thinking. This is why I stopped going to Chef Spike’s joints on the Hill a year or so ago. The employees are usually rude and almost never say thank you. I’ve got other places where I can spend my money- places that don’t treat me like crap or act like I’m putting them out by handing over my dollars!

        • dumplingdreams

          GOOD. This can be a revolution if we want it to be. I was in San Francisco for the first time a couple summers ago and since I was on vacation I did a fair amount of eating out — basically I ate out for almost every meal. I mixed it up and tried not to go to the same places more than twice. I soon discovered that almost very single place in SF is was high in quality and outstanding in customer service. It’s absolutely phenomenal. And you know why they’re all so good? Because of competition and the demand for quality from the consumer. In SF the food is so good that a restaurant will hardly get a second chance if they serve one bad meal or the staff willfully offends one customer, because that customer has so many other superior places from which to make a choice next time. But SF wasn’t always that way. The revival happened slowly and grew because otherwise the city wouldn’t have survived. That’s what we need in DC. We need a revolution and a revival. And it can only happen by the customers’ demand. Your food isn’t good — I don’t come back. You’re rude to me — I don’t come back. Your facility is in a run-down state — I don’t come back. No more “but it’s only a block from my apartment” or “but the food is good” or “it’s so close to the metro”.

  • Just wanted to add that pink snapper on shepherd and a block off Georgia Ave serve better Caribbean food than sweet mango. Service is always!

  • Something has clearly been going with SMC over the last couple months so this isn’t a huge surprise. First, the place would be closed on random nights with no explanation posted anywhere. Then the credit card machine broke down with no attempt (as far as I could tell) to fix it. Finally, they started running out of food. No joke. On several occasions over the past couple of months I was told that they were out of everything but would have more in 45 minutes. On other occasions all they had left was the jerk chicken. Don’t get me wrong, I love their jerk chicken but it was strange that they didn’t have anything else..All that being said, I’m sad to see it go. I live a couple blocks south of the metro and this was one of my go-tos for take out on my way home. Looks like I’ll be picking up a lot more fish from Fish in the Hood.

    • dumplingdreams

      They obviously couldn’t hire staff with an ounce of work ethic or the heart for service. SMC’s problems all point to staff inadequacies — from the lack of food prep, to the management of the facility, to customer service. It makes my blood boil that the community endured this for YEARS and the owner is now all like “We love you guys and miss serving you. Jah bless”. REALLY?

      Yuck. Blood boiling, rage-inducing. I have to get off this post.

    • dumplingdreams

      I will definitely give Fish in the Hood a try! I’m eager to.

    • I’ll miss it too, but I’m betting whatever retail comes into the ground floor will be just as good if not better. Until then, I’ll be hitting up Pink Snapper and a few of the other suggestions.
      Maybe that CVS will do what the Rite Aid at U & 13th did… Tear down the existing building, operate out of satellite facility/trailer, and build a new mixed use development.

  • Business profits over people as usual. Will miss the Sweet Mango family and the community of my family’s neighborhood.

    Transplants, do you think you won’t be pushed out also if the development isn’t controlled, developers and government held accountable and an increase in affordable housing doesn’t happen? It’s very narcissistic to come into an established community and think because you pay x amount of rent or for a mortgage that you can have whatever you desire. That’s what the suburbs were invented for; head back to them. It’s sad to see there is no concern about the most vulnerable in society

  • Good riddance. Will not miss past daily on rock creek and having to avoid the nasty liquid oozing out of their dumpsters. Terrible neighbors.

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