Zenebech Injera to Eventually Close in Shaw to make way for new Development?


“Dear PoPville,

I saw this article 110-Unit Building Proposed Next to U Street’s Howard Theater:

A new 110-unit residential building with 8,000 square feet of ground floor retail is being proposed for the corner of Wiltberger and T Streets, NW directly adjacent to the Howard Theater, District Source has learned.

This is on the same site as Zenebech. I’m distraught at the thought of losing such a great place. The food is great, the prices can’t be beat and the people who run it are the absolute nicest.”



In the meantime:


24 Comment

  • justinbc

    It’s been fun to watch things change at Zenebech over the years. I remember first going in there in 2008 and there were 2 tiny tables, which were usually taken by the cab drivers who seemed to sit around and chat the entire time but not eat anything. They were so nice to us when we came in, and since it was only our second Ethiopian meal they actually made quite a few small portions of things for us to try before we ordered larger dishes. Now, you can barely move in there at times it’s so packed. They’ve done a pretty good job keeping up with the neighborhood’s changing face, it would be a real shame to see them close. It’s still my favorite quality Ethiopian place in the District.

  • Accountering

    Last time I was in there (about 2 weeks ago) I overheard one of the employees speaking with a customer about this prospect. He mentioned that they just re-signed for 3 more years and they were happy about that. The customer mentioned what was likely a big buy-out, and the employee/owner agreed that that was a prospect. I would say this will take some time if it is going to happen.

    • 3 years sounds about right. There is a lot of planning and permitting to go if this proposed building is going to happen.

  • Seconded – this really is distressing news. Also begs the question – where are people in the neighborhood supposed to get a reasonably priced meal?

    • Petworth

    • At one of the other Ethiopian/Eritrean places down 9th?

      • Thanks all — pretty sure Petworth is not the same neighborhood as Shaw.

        MtP — have you tried any of them? I didn’t have a great experience at Etete but happy to try others that are also more vegetarian friendly (which KoChix is not).

    • Unfortunately, in these “transitioning” neighborhoods most of the new places to eat are high end and pricey. Even at ones that claim to be reasonably priced, you somehow end up shelling out more than $20 when it’s all said and done. Some have an artificial down to earth facade but it’s really not. DC has gone from ghetto carry out only to small plate, overpriced american fare and not much else.

      • Accountering

        I am okay with that. Ghetto carryouts are disgusting, bad neighbors, and shell out horribly unhealthy food.

  • Definitely the best cheap food in the area. It would be a huge shame if something that has maintained its authenticity while accommodating all the new neighborhood arrivals had to move or close.

  • The new Ghostbusters!?!? Now this. Zenebech jumped the shark already, I guess. A worthy alternative is Chercher down 9th. Their house tibs is a must try.

  • Ugh, sometimes I really hate this city.

  • This is still at the proposal phase, so I doubt we will see action very quickly. Ultimately, the city needs more housing, so the development needs to happen. But, hopefully they will relocate in the area.

  • maxwell smart

    Hooray. More architecturally-bland, over-priced rentals. Cue the obligatory “will there be a Whole Foods/SoulCycle/Other Hip Retail” conversation.

    • justinbc

      There won’t be a Whole Foods there, as they’re already building one just up the street.

    • ledroittiger

      You clearly have not seen the existing rentals at that intersection. Don’t be so quick to dismiss the Whole Foods conversation, because if you were forced to live in one of those units you’d be crying all the way home to your somehow less offensive Harris Teeter supercenter or Yes! Organic…

    • Accountering

      By nature, if they are “overpriced” they would not rent, but if people are renting them, then they are not “overpriced” they are fairly priced.

      • Scrillin

        Judging from the vacancy rates in these Class A buildings, and the aggressive promotions (I’ve seen 2 months free rent at a couple places recently), as well as the stagnation and deflation of luxury rents in the past year or two – these might be overpriced.

        I know you love defending the poor, put-upon developers of DC, but the market has spoken.

        • wait wait where can i get two months free- not in (upper)Shaw I guarantee you!

        • Accountering

          You are using a lot of fancy words, but ultimately, these places have seen prices dropping just a bit (good thing) but we are talking a few % (from $2600 to $2500 etc) so just minor market corrections. The vacancy rates are basically zero. These things wouldn’t be getting built if they werent getting rented.

Comments are closed.