“We have loved our time with Zest, and have had an awesome run”

735 8th Street, SE

From Zest American Bistro‘s facebook page:

“To our Loyal Customers:

As of October 5, 2015, Zest will be closed until further notice. We look forward to the opportunity to focus solely on our most recent venture, Agua 301. We have loved our time with Zest, and have had an awesome run.

We are grateful to all our staff, family and friends and would like to say a special thank you to all of our wonderful patrons who have come through our doors over the years, providing us with your business and support. You have made the experience, unforgettable. For our valued Loyalty Members, your points will remain intact and may be redeemed at Agua 301 at 301 Water Street, SE in Yards Park.

We remain committed to the Capitol Hill Community and look forward to serving you at Agua 301.

Stephen & Amanda Briggs, David Bonior”

23 Comment

  • Was never my favorite place on Barracks Row — it was just OK — but sad to see it close.

  • I only went to Zest once a few years ago so I don’t know about the place – other than what I read on the CapitolHillCorner blog. I wonder if the restaurant saturation on 8th played a part. Of course it may be that they are also more interested in their Agua 301 venture.

    • That’s a shame because Zest was okay, Agua 301 is not. And I can’t imagine the rent is any cheaper in WeNaYa.

      • GiantSquid

        Agreed. Zest was a great place to take the family because it had solid options for most people. I wouldn’t take my family to Agua 301. I was at the soft opening and it had promise, but a later visit put it firmly in the DNV (do not visit) column.

        • I went long after the opening, hoping the usual startup problems with servers and food had been ironed out. They had not.

        • I think both have problems. I remember having to wait two hours for our food at Zest once. I’ve never been back. Agua was similarly mismanaged when I tried it.

  • Zest was really good about 3 years ago. Tried it twice since then, and each time has gotten worse. Overall it was still okay, but nothing to write home about.

  • Wow Zest too!? I feel like all of my former go-tos are jumping ship. Zest was always sooooooo small to me. The last time I visited with about 6 office pals and we were cramped. On the other hand, I had no clue they owned Agua. I actually visit Agua at least twice a month but only because its walking distance from my home and there are 2 happy hours every day of the week (3-7 and 9-close). As for food, I’ve only had the empanadas and Chicken Tacos .I’ve heard they have an awesome brunch though: bottomless margaritas/mimosas/mojitos and I think a lot of people go for the view of the water.

  • phl2dc

    Never been to Zest but I’ve been to Agua and… I’m not sure if this is a good idea or not…

    • justinbc

      It’s a good idea if one is more profitable than the other. Just because a handful of people posting here might have had a better experience at one location doesn’t mean the other isn’t making significantly more money for them.

      • I was curious and so looked at Agua 301’s Yelp (with a certain amount of skepticism) and the reviews were decidedly mixed. What I learned is that food was OK to good, the services wasn’t so great, and there is/was a manager there who doesn’t seem to understand not all behavior is OK in front of customers. Nothing that indicated I should bother to go out of my way to eat there.

        • Not with Osteria Morini and Due South and any number of decent happy hour deals right around the corner, no.

      • phl2dc

        Let’s just hope for their sake that they’re not focusing Agua in vain. I’m actually quite surprised it’s still open.

  • Just drove down 8th, lots of empty storefronts. What’s happening to Barracks Row?

    • This. When I moved to the Hill almost 2 years ago Barrack’s Row had a ton of options and H Street had a few (conveniently, my apartment is between the two). For a while now it’s felt like the opposite.

      • Really? I think it’s filled out nicely in the five years I’ve lived here/nine years I’ve worked here. I can’t think of too many empty storefronts these days, aside from the ones that are in transition like &pizza and Pineapples.

        • Yeah, there are a gajillion restaurants on 8th. And not many more empty retail storefronts than when I moved to the neighborhood 8 years ago. I think one of the local organizations (maybe Barracks Row Main Street) had grants going a few years ago for some of the local businesses to spruce up their storefronts, which I thought was a great way to help older businesses transition.

  • Oh, no! This was our favorite place on Barracks Row to take visiting relatives. Good food, enough variety for all tastes (and diet restrictions), decent noise level. It will be missed.

  • Sad. This was one of my favorite spots on 8th.

  • Went there a few times – last was a post race brunch and it was not full and the two of us had to sit outside in the drizzle as the awning dripped all over the table. Decent food but poor customer service.

  • Meh, not surprised. The last couple of times we went, this was the only restaurant on Barrack’s Row that wasn’t hopping. Service and food quality had really gone down-hill over the past 1-2 years. And Agua 301 is even worse. Bad food, bad service, high price.

  • I liked Zest a lot. I like Agua’s happy hour, but I refuse to eat anywhere but the bar anymore. The service is just lousy and the waiters never seem to know how to behave like waiters. They are way too flirty and usually have 2 or 3 days worth of their own lunches on their clothing.

    Also, I’ve decided to send back the chips when they are too salty (which is always).

  • Zest was the only place I’ve ever eaten where I had to send my food back. It was completely inedible. I had brought friends to dinner and was embarrassed to have taken them to Zest. Worst place on 8th St by far. I can hardly believe that Agua 301 is owned by the same people. I love it there. Great food. Great Margaritas. Glad Zest is closing… I hope something better opens up in the Zest space!

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