70 Comment

  • So it’s Coppi’s, right? Dammit, my fiancee and I were just starting to fall in love with that place.

  • You wonder why Cleveland Park has had such a tough time with certain restaurant spots. Palena and Dino have yet to be replaced after years of sitting vacant. The 4Ps was replaced by the Uptown Tap Room and that has also sat vacant for a while.

    • They’re vacant because of the moronic ordinance that prohibits more than 25% of the strip being occupied by restaurants. The market would definitely bear a diner and other restaurants, but they can’t move in because of the fantasy that the restaurant cap will protect small businesses and allow the strip to fill with vacuum shops and bookstores. No one but a restaurant wants the Uptown Tap Room space, but only non-restaurants can move in, so we’re stuck with vacant restaurant space.

      • I just looked up the ordinance and man, what a terrible law. Thank you for pointing it out. That has to be changed.

        • maxwell smart

          Clearly you know nothing of the NIMBY’s in this area who will mobilize in mass to make sure NOTHING ever changes. Several years back there was a proposal to remove the service lane along this side of the street, which I think most normal people would agree, would have been a huge improvement to the retail experience, which is now burdened by a narrow sidewalk, barely wide enough for 2 people to pass. Oh no – the NIMBY’s shut that down, to save maybe 15 parking spaces. They would rather have empty storefronts than change.

          • Well, it ought to change, regardless of the NIMBY outrage. The restaurant cap is unconstitutional and really stinks for CP residents and would-be patrons. The NIMBYs just have this outdated idea of what the neighborhood “should” look like and think they can regulate their way to their ideal. In reality, we end up with vacant space and an undervalued neighborhood.

          • maxwell smart

            100% agree… but given what I have seen with the service lane and the Cleveland Park Library renovation, the NIMBY’s here have the time, numbers and influence to enact, or prohibit, pretty much whatever they want. They are perfectly happy to keep Cleveland Park encased in some vision of the past.

          • Bad policy? Sure. Unconstitutional? C’mon FFS.

          • CP, being on a Metro line, should be high density residential/commercial. These NIMBY folks off CT Ave want all the benefits (appreciated housing prices & transportation access) without the density of being in a city. It’s narrow-minded and selfish. I live in CP and wish to god we could have more restaurants and rid the neighborhood of that useless service lane. GRRRRR

          • Trip, we may disagree on local Italian places, but we certainly agree about the service lane!

      • HaileUnlikely

        That sure does sound odd and unfortunate, however, given that restaurants that are already there and are widely-regarded as very good can’t manage to stay open, I’m not sure said ordinance is the problem. And note that restaurants having trouble staying open around here long predates the restaurant boom in Logan/Shaw/14th/U St. I think it is a distinct possibility that, as another commenter below notes they have too *many* restaurants, not too few, given the neighborhood demographics. It’s relatively lower density, lots of families (as others noted are probably eat out proportionally less than singles and couples without kids), and is neither itself a major employment center nor a place that people travel through when going home from work. They were already struggling to keep places open before Logan/Shaw/14th/U came along; now, they’ll likely have even more difficulty.

        • maxwell smart

          Yes and No. Further up the road, Comet, Little Red Fox, Bucks, etc. do not have a problem staying busy, which is in an area that is less accessible (no nearby metro) and even more family driven (fewer nearby apartments).

          • HaileUnlikely

            Those are way further up the road and there are fewer options up there, so the options up there don’t directly compete with each other so much. Also, there are a few large apartment buildings up there, and with no metro nearby, places located right there probably get a greater share of the total neighborhood resident dining pie than the CP places do (though probbly also a relatively smaller share of visitors from outside the neighborhood) since people who have already come home from work can’t easily hop on the metro to go elsewhere and would have a $20+ uber ride to any of the new hot dining destinations. I live in Takoma, and prefer to dine close to home not because the options are superior (they’re not) but because I’m an old guy and I don’t love having a long metro/bus ride followed by a long walk from the station to home with a stomach full of food and alcohol. If I lived in the middle of the city and across the street from a metro station (and where an Uber from Logan is $5 not $15) I’d almost certainly do a greater share of my dining out at places other than those within a couple blocks from my house.

      • I heard that it’s going to become a World of Beer, and that’s why it’s still vacant

    • No clue. The area has a ton of money and plenty of people walking around. A few bits of anecdata that may, in combination, explain the issue:
      -My friends who live in CP or WP tend to cook at home, rather than spend money going out. If you’re into the conspicuous consumption aspects of DC’s restaurant and bar “scene,” you’re probably not choosing to live in Cleveland Park or Woodley Park, but rather Shaw or Logan Circle. The people I know in this area generally are homebodies or have kids.
      -Much lower density than other parts of the city closer to the core.
      -The small cluster of concentrated retail makes empty storefronts stick out like a sore thumb. No one bats an eye at an empty store front in Shaw, 14th, or Dupont.
      -Tons of families around here. And families with kids simply do not go out for meals at the same rate as single folks or DINKs, even if money is no issue for them. They have neither the time or patience for that, aside for special occasions.

      • Wow, what a terrible gross generalization of the people who chose to live in CP or WP.

        • HaileUnlikely

          You seem to be reading things that definitely weren’t stated and have no reason to believe were intended to be implied. Statements about a place and about one’s friends who live in that place do not pretend to be applicable to every single person who lives in that place.

    • That neighborhood is very high traffic and has a lot of residents for the number of business. The owners of the buildings have been raising rent at a furious pace for a number of years. Those restaurants haven’t been replaced because there are cheaper rents in more fashionable places. The rent in Cleveland park is only going to attract established businesses and chains at this point.

    • My understanding is that Cleveland Park has very high rents. Ten-fifteenth years old, Cleveland Park was a destination for people in NW DC, Bethesda, Potomac, etc. These people that would have gone out to dinner/shopping in Cleveland Park now have 14th Street, Shaw, City Center, H Street, Bethesda Row, Tyson’s, etc. In 2002, no one from upper NW DC went shopping and out to dinner on 7th St NW. Now it happens all the time.

      So, Cleveland Park went from being a top option to a second or third-tier option. Landlords still rent out at rates near the top tier, which forces businesses to operate at very small profit margins. A few bad weeks or months is enough to put a restaurant out of business, for example.

      Personally, I don’t see the situation changing any time soon. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few more Cleveland Park restaurants went belly up. Hell, Alero even pulled out recently.

      • maxwell smart

        “These people that would have gone out to dinner/shopping in Cleveland Park now have 14th Street, Shaw, City Center, H Street, Bethesda Row, Tyson’s, etc.” – I disagree. I live in Forest Hills, and I rarely trek all the way out to 14th Street, Shaw or City Center for dinner. I’ve maybe been to H Street once in the 5 years I’ve lived in DC. I’d much rather go out somewhere less trendy and be closer to home, then have to deal with a +45 minute commute home late at night.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Completely agreed here regarding trek home after dinner. I do find it perplexing that CP had so much trouble keeping stuff open even years before these new places opened.

      • I agree with Bob, based on my experience. I lived half-way between CP & WP stations for two years, and only went out for dinner and drinks in the neighborhoods a handful of times. We’re in our late 20s; we can afford to go out and spend $100 a few times a month, but if we’re going to pay DC prices, we don’t mind traveling. Plus, going to Dupont or Foggy is easier for meeting friends from across the river.
        Having recently moved up to Forest Hills, the other things I miss about WP are the 96 and Circulator lines – getting to U Street was a breeze for a night out.

    • Cleveland Park was the Logan Circle of it’s day back in the 80s and 90s. It’s now longer the hot spot, but people are still charging “hot spot” rents. I’d love to see a diner type place. (A real, go in your sweatpants and read the paper at the counter while eating hash browns place, not a small plates, fancy, brunch place).

      • And a real coffee shop!

      • A real diner would be great. I miss them all over the place from when I lived in NYC. I think the neighborhood would support that sort of restaurant – the people with little kids, the older folks, the younger folks who rent or own small condos around here because it is cheaper than other neighborhoods – all would eat at a diner because it is a cheap and casual meal, even if they don’t go out for dinner at the fancier restaurants all the time.

  • Who are the “celebrity patrons,” I wonder. Maybe one of them will come to the rescue?

  • DC1

    It’s Coppi’s. Not sure what happened, but it was never the same after they relocated.

    • Yes, I loved Coppi’s on U St, missed it when it closed, and was happy to see it open in CP now that I live nearby. But the extremely delicious quality of the appetizers isn’t there anymore. The food is solid, with some misses on the salads, but it doesn’t blow me away like it used to. Also, I miss the old ambiance of the basement place – a strip mall is a strip mall. Still, will be sorry to see them close. But I was surprised to see them open up here, and didn’t think they’d make it – as the density of restaurant goers isn’t so great in this ‘hood, for all of the demographic reasons mentioned above.

  • Man, I really wish it were Sorriso going and not Coppi’s. I love that place and go there all the time.

  • .. and yet somehow Nam Viet manages to remain open for years and years (and seemingly always empty)! Is it just high rent that in these particular locations that are preventing restaurants from success? It’s so puzzling.

    • Nam Viet is always packed, mostly with grad students or families with kids that want an affordable and low-key atmosphere. Not to mention that they do a huge take-out business.

  • This was hardly comparable to 14th in the 90s–that was Adams Morgans heyday. The Park & Shop had been in limbo for years during that era, which tied up a lot of storefronts.

    CP has long been the safest close-in area and its relatively family-friendly with schools that have good reps. It doesn’t have major destination stores–no super market (Brookville isn’t quite there). Uptown would work better as a draw if someone like Landmark ran it. There are young people there but it’s not a magnet like Logan or U. The stalwarts which tend to be in well defined niches have been there forever and do good business–Vace’s always has a line. It may be an area that actually needs less retail, restaurant occupied or otherwise.

    Sad if it is Coppi’s, but I never had a reason to follow them to their new location. There are other places with decent pizza that are easier reaches for me.

  • I’m surprised that with all of the restaurant caps, more fitness studios haven’t moved in as that seems to be the trend across the city. I know there is City Fitness but I don’t actually know many people that use it. A lot has opened now at Cathedral Commons but I would love to see a yoga studio in CP proper and I think folks would use it. Unlikely though if rents continue to be so high.

  • Can someone who knows more about the business explain to me exactly what is being sold here? Are they essentially selling the remaining term on the current tenant’s lease?

    • I don’t know the business well, but it sounds like they’re selling an LLC that contains the (allegedly) below market lease, the liquor license (no idea what that’s worth), the kitchen equipment/ovens, and other equipment.

    • They are selling the business and the lease is being assumed by the new owner. Not uncommon to charge 5-10 years worth of profit to buy a business.

  • I found oír that Coppis is NOT closing… Letra Jeep tren open by dining out at their resteraunt… The food is great for a good price!!

    • I meant to say let’s keep them open by dining out in this lovely resteraunt!! Coppis is NOT closing… Yeah!! I love their food!!

  • This flyer is a fraud. I am a personal friend of the owners of Coppis and I can tell you they are not being sold.

    • As much as I want to believe this, I’m having trouble thinking of a reason anyone would go to the trouble of putting out a fraudulent flyer like this. Help me out?

      • Why someone would go through the trouble of creating a fraudulent flyer like this is beyond me. I informed the owner (Carlos and his sister) about this yesterday and this was news to them. Just because someone went through the trouble of making this doesn’t make it true. This property is not listed on the Blake Dickson website (http://blakedickson.com/properties/). Also, the pictures are fake. The bottom left picture is a black wood burning oven which looks like it was built into a black wall (walls in Coppi’s kitchen are white) and their staff do not wear long sleeves in the kitchen. Whoever made the flyer got that picture from the internet. I took a picture of the wood burning oven (http://www.coppisorganic.com/gallerycoppis/), so it’s possible the top left picture could be it, but it is heavily cropped and the granite is darker. I’m not expecting anyone to believe me, so feel free to call Coppis for confirmation!! I hope Prince of Petworth edits or removes this post upon Coppi’s request.

    • HaileUnlikely

      It might be neither fraudulent nor referring to Coppis. The flyer doesn’t say anything about Coppis – people above merely guessed that it was Coppis.

      • What other restaurant do you know of in CP that has a wood burning oven (btw the picture has 2 different ovens on it) and “all restaurant equipment under two years” (Coppi’s reopened in Fall 2014).

        • HaileUnlikely

          I don’t live in the area and don’t have any idea. That’s not the point, though. “I can’t think of what else it could be” isn’t good logic.

  • Maybe I should buy this restaurant. I’ve lived in CP for 11 years and rarely go out to eat in the neighborhood. There are no good, affordable meals to be had, besides a couple slices of pizza from Vace. I just want food that’s as good as or better than what I can make, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Ever try Fresh Med? I don’t go over to CP very often, but if I am in the area and want a quick tasty inexpensive meal, that’s where I go.

  • I really hope KR is correct, and it isn’t Coppi’s. I love that place. Was my original “first date” spot when I moved to DC, and I was so sad to see the U St. location close – and so relieved when it opened up again (although bummed a further walk from my house).

  • IT IS NOT COPPI’S. We went there last night to have dinner asked the question. They said NO and that the ENTIRE BLOCK is up for sale, but they are not. Didn’t know nor were they happy about the rumors and the rumor mongering.

    So that’s good news. I can still get my spicy lamb pizza and inslata de spinaci novelli. Oh. Stu Gotz!

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