Terrible News for Barracks Row – “Las Placitas To Give Way to Matchbox Expansion Plans”

517 8th Street, SE

The sad news comes from Capitol Hill Corner:

“The owner of the building housing Barracks Row institution that is Las Placitas at 517 8th Street, SE, will not renew the restaurant’s lease when it expires in October, and Matchbox – located next door – will expand into the space.”

Fortunately for huge fans, and for 16th Street Heights residents, work is progressing on their 4724 14th Street, NW location:


30 Comment

  • I honestly don’t see this as much as a loss. The last three times I’ve been I’ve had pretty terrible service. Numerous times I didn’t even receive the appetizers that we ordered, and when we would follow-up with our waiter, he would just disappear. Also the food has been pretty inconsistent, sometimes hot, sometimes cold. So I would usually find myself heading elsewhere when I get a craving for Mexican food.

    • Replacing anything with Matchbox is a loss. I would literally rather have an abandoned building with homeless people selling crack out of it. I would rather have a superfund site than a Matchbox.

      • You mad, bro?

        • I agree with the negative on Matchbox. The one who lives on the hill is rude, rude neighbor. Obnoxious with his cars, dangerous in the alley, and just kind of a tool.

    • SouthwestDC

      Yeah, as far as hole-in-the-wall Mexican goes I prefer that place around the corner on Pennsylvania (can’t remember the name but it’s on the block with Labyrinth). And Matchbox could really use the extra space.

  • There goes the neighborhood.

  • How can Matchbox possibly need more space? I’ve never seen that location full!

    • SouthwestDC

      On weekends it’s always packed. I remember trying to go a few months ago and it was a 2-hour wait.

      • I have nothing against Matchbox, but who on earth waits TWO HOURS to go there?!

        • SouthwestDC

          Like Brandon said below, it seems to be mostly people from the suburbs visiting Eastern Market. But almost Barracks Row any restaurant that’s halfway decent has ridiculous waits on the weekends.

    • Yeah, on a weekend it is impossible to get in, especially during brunch.

    • Go for lunch on a Thursday and try to get in.

    • Big with the bridge & tunnel crowd. I fills up when the Eastern Market is busy.

  • not a big loss…this place is pretty bad. Its only real value is in nostalgia.

  • justinbc

    Sure, it wasn’t great, but it was one of the better of the shitty Mexican (Mexidorean) options in the area.

    • Still don’t understand why people always comment about Mexican food in the DC area. There are not many Mexicans in the area, hence there is not much of a market for good Mexican food. I think you would need to go to the South to find enough critical mass of Mexicans to get a good Mexican food market.

      Along those lines, anyone who goes into a Salvadoran place looking for Mexican food is going to be disappointed. It makes as much as sense as going into a Jewish-run deli in NY and commenting about the quality of their German dishes. Just because somebody comes from the same general geographic area does not make them culturally identical.

      Get Salvadoran dishes from Salvadoran restaurants.

      • And it’s not like fake Mexican isn’t good in its own right (as long as you’re not counting calories). Just like the fake Italian food that’s everywhere.

      • justinbc

        People comment on it because it’s a news story about a place that serves that type of food. You can’t understand that correlation, or are you just being obtuse? Look at the sign in the photo above. It says “Salvadorean / Mexican foods”.

      • Just because there aren’t a lot of Mexicans doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for authentic Mexican food. Authentic Italian restaurants aren’t always packed with Italians.

  • I am really sad about this. Have been going here for years for better than average mex/salvadorian, killer margaritas chased with tequila shots (forced on us by the wait staff). I was so happy when we moved our offices to Barracks Row, so I could enjoy it more often. Looks like i’ll be going at least once a week for the next few months.

  • La Lomita (Penn and 13th-ish SE) is close and much, much better.

  • I loved the food and service at Las Placitas…what a huge loss!

    • Long-time Barracks Row neighbor from way before it was “Barracks Row” and now, apparently stodgy old fart, here. I’ve been treated well as a Las Placitas regular starting at their satellite restaurant in the now-Ugly Mug space. Also former member of Capitol Video (lol’d seeing that reflected in the window); and as a broke college student in the early 90s picked up a pair or two of cheap shoes at Payless before stopping off for a game of darts at Mickey’s…who’s still with me?

      I’ve been torn by the reinvention of this area from neighborhood to destination. Time moves on but as much as I appreciate the decrease in crime, visual improvements, and uptick in property values; I lament the ongoing homogenization of the neighborhood, and will mourn the loss of another old friend. Good luck to them in the new location anyway.

      • Yep, I remember the second Las Placitas on 8th as well…they had a little village motif going.

        I’m very surprised to see the complaints in here, 10+ years of eating there and I never had a problem. Clever Name is right with the neighborhood vs destination phenomenah. This really became apparent with those ridiculous lines for Rose’s. For my family Barracks Row is becoming less of a destination and it’s right here in our neighborhood.

  • So sad to hear this! Lots of great memories from Las Placitas, and we will definitely miss this place!

  • One time we waited forever for a table at Matchbox, and when it was finally our turn, we got bumped by the congressman who waltzed in with his wife and interns. When I told the hostess we were next, she said they had a reservation. I call BS on that one.

  • Awful, awful news. The place is an institution, family-owned and operated. Folks who comment that this isn’t much of a loss because they don’t care for the food are missing the bigger point.

    I love Las Placitas for all the reasons why it’s not something like Matchbox.

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