Swampoodle – “f*cked again”

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5501 14th St, NW

The Hilltopian wait continues…

“Dear PoPville,

Do any readers have updates on Swampoodle? The lights were on this morning and lots of equipment was spread out inside but I didn’t see anyone. The sidewalk has been like this for a while now. I know they were having problems with the gas / water hookups. Any progress? This sidewalk condition is a hazard.”

On Dec. 17th Swampoodle wrote on Facebook:

“So the water line will be put in place next week.
However, although the city passed our gas hookup ( in July) we were informed that the gas line had been abandoned. So we need a new gas line to the property. The Poodle has no luck.
We replaced my mothers rosewood table with a bowling alley floor table which actually looks pretty good.
I am very disappointed with the City so if you wish to call Bowser and ask her to get the city to help open this restaurant before I go bankrupt I would appreciate it.

Happy holiday to everyone,
Thanks for your support. m

and in reply to a comment:

“It was months. But I just had to go thru the process.

Then when my gas lines were all in we were approved and they put in the meter then two months later took it out

Then last month came to replace the meter with a residential meter. Then they told me they had closed the line. So f*cked again

Sorry for my language”

44 Comment

  • Businesspeople really need to have a real estate attorney review their leases before signing. As a landlord I cannot imagine requiring a tenant to repair or replace at their own cost vital services to my building but maybe these are leased as-is even extending out to the street. Or maybe they only think it’s their responsibility and need to have a real estate attorney review their lease now that it’s signed. Chao Ku on 9th is having equally bad problems with deep infrastructure issues that they are having to repair themselves. The landlord’s laughing all the way to the bank. It’s nice for a landlord to have some unsuspecting, yes I’ll say it- unsavvy or ‘trusting’ tenant, pay to upgrade their entire building. Not saying it’s applicable here but please commercial tenants protect yourselves!!

  • I’ve been part of the opening of 4 restaurants in DC the last 15 years. Never have I seen so much trouble , lots of paperwork and a convoluted system sure , but this??? At some point this has to be operator error. I’m all for its opening and live a 1/2 block away, take my money. But seriously what is the holdup ???!!!

  • I hope this establishment will open soon. We need a nice restaurant in 16th Street Heights.

  • My wife has literally grown an entire person inside of her since the original anticipated opening date. Hopefully we can get swampoodle open before the first birthday.

    • Hey now, that sounds like you’re at least partially to blame for that!

    • I grew an entire person during the fall of 2013 into 2014 waiting for this place to open and my person is now almost 2 :o(

    • gotryit

      Maybe instead of it being a cool young family hangout joint when it opens, it can be a place where all our teenagers go to hang out / escape parents. :/

  • Worth noting, the other day that backhoe was not there, so if nothing else, it is progress.

  • This is an honest question… how much of this sort of thing is just a matter of simple graft? In other words, if you are a “long time resident”, and know which palms to grease, does that make things go smoothly with DCRA?

    • Maybe – there are permit expediters your can hire to navigate DCRA but this issue sounds like it is with the utility companies. And there must be other issues too because the amount of time it is taking to open is mind-boggling.

  • If only they had planned to open it in the actual Swampoodle neighborhood.

  • I’m guessing this is a case of “Old DC” where someone is expecting a handout just to do their job, and then purposefully sabotaging the project in protest.

  • Thanks Bowser!

  • Why on earth is a business called Swampoodle opening in 16th St heights? Surely Swampoodle would actually be a better location? Or perhaps someone should open a place called Tenley Town in Logan Circle, or Dupont Circle in Brookland?

    • we’ve been through this discussion before and I’ll tell you the answer… NO IDEA

    • This has already been discussed a number of times here

    • HaileUnlikely

      I don’t think it’s common knowledge that there used to be a neighborhood called Swampoodle in Washington DC. I think somebody just thought it was a cute/funny word and decided to name their business after it. That the logo for the restaurant includes a cartoon of a poodle (not puddle, poodle) suggests that it was not likely deliberately named after the *neighborhood.* I think it would be more sensible to protest NoMa swallowing Swampoodle, i.e., “F* NoMa! Our neighborhood already has a f*cking name thank you very much! We are Swampoodle!” Having never heard any such thing, I can’t find fault with the owner here.

      • Google maps still records the existence of Swampoodle. I think the fact that most the neighborhood was razed to build Union Station has more to do with the name not gaining much traction than the imposition of NoMa.

    • This whole question is really tired. It comes up every single time this restaurant is discussed here. I live 2 blocks away and really could not care less that the restaurant is named for another neighborhood. You know what I care about? Having a decent neighborhood restaurant where I can get a bite to eat. I don’t care if it’s named Swampoodle or Georgetown or New York City for that matter. I just hope the city gets its act together so that this place can open.

    • I Dont Get It

      If it never opens why does it matter what it is named?

    • Call it the Colorado Lounge. Decorate with Native American artifacts. Have a little kid named Danny ride around it in circles on a trike while his father throws tennis balls at the wall because of a terrible case of writer’s block. Maybe a big staircase for him to fall down later on.
      –workday, please end.

  • Which will open first, Swampoodle or The Hilltop?

  • I feel bad for the guy. He’s probably spent a million dollars between renovations and all the underground infrastructure work (that no one will ever appreciate when they go to your restaurant). Sucks if he signed a bad lease but property owners, not renters, should really cover underground infrastructure costs. I’m afraid he’s going to go bankrupt before he can finish paying for the gas or water upgrades (hundreds of thousands of dollars). Either he goes bankrupt now, after a huge investment, or he doesn’t and has to recover the huge expenses through pricier food–and then people will be angry the place is too expensive.

    • Wow, this guy agreed to take over and renovate the building as-is? That’s crazy and very ill-conceived. Infrastructure is always clearly the responsibility of the landlord. The interior is on the proprietor.
      Unless this guy has DEEP pockets, this won’t open.

      • Hindsight is 20/20. I think “as is” contracts are actually not uncommon common when it comes to places in as bad shape as this one was before the renter started renovating. you hope that they at least spell out different when it comes to infrastructure needs but perhaps the contract terms didn’t or is open to interpretation–who knows, I’d love to see the lease. I doubt anyone expects it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to set up basic utilities.

      • Everyone seems to assume that he is footing the bill for these renovations, which isn’t actually stated above. It could be that the landlord is paying for the building renovations but the delay is killing the restaurant slowly. Or, maybe he owns the building and has to pay for these improvements. Or, maybe, as everyone seems to assume, he signed a bad lease and is on the hook. Anyone know?

  • How does DC compare to other U.S. cities in terms of the time it takes to open a restaurant? It just seems to me that the regulatory and permitting process here is unnecessarily onerous.

  • I’ve written to the Mayor’s office. Let’s see if they reply.

  • This is just speculation but the hope is that since the water line issue had been addressed, the arrival of new equipment may signal that the gas line is next to be worked on.

    As you can see from the FB page, the guy has pretty much stopped updating people on what’s going on. I do feel so bad for him and you can see from the comments on his page that the community wants to help in any way they can. Everyone was really looking forward to this place opening.

  • Not sure if anyone is still following this thread, but is there anything else that we neighbors can do to help move this along? Do you think this place is actually going to make it?

  • Hey y’all, Things Are Happening! I’ve seen MS at Swampoodle twice this past week along with folks working on the roof. Yesterday I noticed No Parking signs for construction starting this Monday and today (Sat) we are watching out of our windows as guys cut up the street for the water line (I think). So, things are visibly moving ahead!

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