Chez Billy has Closed for a “decor refresh” in Petworth. Update: New Concept Coming!

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3815 Georgia Ave, NW

Update from Chez Billy to clear up some of the rumors. Renovation on the space has “started for a new concept” today. What exactly the new concept will be still needs to be “ironed out”. They are hoping renovations will only take a month but realize in reality it could take longer. Maybe two months. No employees were laid off. All will be invited back when they reopen with the new concept. Also employees can transfer to their other restaurants. Updates when more is known on the new concept.

“Dear PoPville,

Is it true that Chez Billy in Petworth is closing?

God, I hope not.”

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“Dear PoPville,

Yeah, chez billy on GA is closing forever today [Sunday]. It’s goin to be a dumpling place eventually. It will be under construction for a couple of months. 40 people are being laid off.”

Ed. Note: I was under the impression that the employees will be able to work at other restaurants in the group (Brixton, Satellite Room, etc.) but I do not know for sure all the details. Chez Billy Petworth opened in April 2012 and was a gamechanger to say the least.

The official word from Chez Billy is a bit murky but we will update when more details are released:

“Dear customers

Chez Billy Petworth will be closed in August for vacation and a decor refresh. Our Georgetown location will be open for business as usual. We’ll look forward to serving you after Labor Day.

Merci,

Management”

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71 Comment

  • We stopped going once they stopped making steak frites. What French place doesn’t do steak frites?

  • So it’s closing for a month. I’d love to know where that reader heard it was going to be a dumpling place.

    • +1. It seems weird that they’d close permanently? I thought they were relatively popular but maybe I was wrong? (Also I think I’m having comment-posting issues today so apologies if this is a duplicate…)

    • Prince Of Petworth

      When it reopens it will most certainly will be a very different place than it is today according to employees.

  • Trick is (was) to eat in the bar space. Service is prompt and efficient. Service in the dining room always seemed slow & the atmosphere isn’t as good back there. Sorry to hear they are closing – it would be nice if Petworth had one restaurant that was more ambitious than “burger + beer”.

  • I never had bad service there. I did find the menu kind of limited, with lots of similar dishes so we didn’t go all that often, but I’ve never had a bad cocktail there and the staff have always been friendly.

  • My partner and I are supposed to get married at Chez Billy next summer. Sure would be nice for them to be very, very clear about what the heck is going on. I feel terrible for the staff, who were always wonderful to us and are definitely getting the short end of the stick here.

  • My favorite place in Petworth. I really hope that they are not closing or switching to dumplings.

  • From my understanding the staff didnt know about anything until they showed up at the door
    deff sounds like Chez Billy will be no more at all from my understanding

    • If that’s true, that is incredibly rude of management.

      • skj84

        Yeah. That’s messed up. Even if staff is going to be “rehomed” in the other Hilton Brothers establishments, why would they have any reason to want to work for them anymore? Their trust has been broken.

      • justinbc

        Rude, but entirely common. That’s almost always the case with closures (see Argonaut news from last week). The fear from management is that if employees know a restaurant is closing they’ll start stealing from the business and the business will have no recourse.

    • That’s my understanding too, which is so terrible. If it really is temporary for vacation & “refresh,” presumably it would have been planned for some time & they could have given staff/customers a heads up. Reeeeaaaalllly not a good look for Chez Billy.

  • Why is everyone convinced they’ll be closed permanently when the official message from ‘management’ is that they’re closing for a ‘decor refresh'”?

    • Prince Of Petworth

      I am almost positive they’ll be reopening with a different concept after speaking to many people.

    • I think it’s a matter of semantics. It appears as if this restaurant will no longer exist in its current form. The things that make this restaurant Chez Billy will be gone. But some new restaurant owned by the same owners will be in this space.

  • Sad, this was our special occasion spot. Too expensive to be a regular spot, but the food was terrific and the service was excellent.
    The people complaining about bad service… I’ve been there a handful of times, and the service was one of the highlights each and every visit. Friendly, knowledgable, and measured in pace. I don’t WANT my meal served at the same time that my appetizer plate is taken away. For that price, I want my questions answered without repeated trips back to the kitchen to ask the chef, a leisurely meal, and a full water glass. What’s your definition of good service?

    • Agreed – I am soooooooo sorry to see them go! But I suppose this will just help make my eventual move to SS all the more bearable. Boo!

    • Came here to say the exact same thing. We celebrated every special occasion here and always had a great meal and great service. So bummed to see it go or reopen under a “new concept” or whatever. Guess it’s time to officially try out Chez Billy Sud…in Georgetown… *shutter*

  • Hopefully the “decor refresh” will include fixing their fire alarm system which goes off for hours at least once a month and wakes up the entire block.

  • I wouldn’t be surprised if the competition from Homestead — which is far better than Chez Billy IMO — led to this. Hopefully it’ll result in two good restaurants on this strip.

  • Bear

    Kinda sad about this – haven’t been in a while but it’s been my husband and I’s tradition to have a drink or two at Chez Billy to kick off NYE celebrations. Been doing that every year since we met. Guess we’ll have to find a new tradition?

  • This was a great spot and one of the pioneers for good DC neighborhood food. As more french places and more neighborhood high end places have opened I think they kind of lost their niche. It always has some traffic, but isn’t packed, it’s not too surprising that they would move to something that might pack ’em in a little more. I think it was just a little to pricey for most locals go once a week or every other week.
    .
    The addition of Timber and Slim’s has been awesome and shows the demand for more variety in medium priced neighborhood food. I bet the new place does great.

  • The restaurant business is certainly brutal, even for quality spots like this. Also, I imagine that rent for a place as big as that must be quite high. Maybe they should come to Kennedy Street and reprise their role as trailblazers:)

  • I agree with whomever mentioned Homestead. I’m actually looking forward to a more Asian-centric dumpling place as opposed to heavier fare a la Chez Billy &. Homestead. The best part about CB was the space. It’s so cool with the fireplaces, beer garden and history. I actually think they’ll be even more successful with a different cuisine. I’ll miss Chez Billy much more than Domku or Crane & Turtle though. It’s good to have a nicer place in the neighborhood to take family — wish there was more! Still waiting on Red Hen, they’d ever amazing.

  • Glad to hear they aren’t shutting down for good! The Chez Billy always had an awesome bar. Will be interesting to see how they change it up.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      To be clear – Chez Billy is shutting down for good – the owners will open up a totally new concept here with a new name. But I’m also looking forward to hearing more details about the new plans!!

  • Man this is a real bummer. We had our wedding reception there and it was delightful.

  • well, by permanently closing i meant that chez billy was not reopening, not that this space was gonna sit empty. so that’s my fault for inferring. does sound like they were correct as well.

  • You got to be KIDDING ME. My husband and I have a contract with Chez Billy for an event there on September 24th. No warning, no outreach today, nothing. Are they going to be that rude as to not honor the contract we had in place with them 6 weeks out from our event?

    Way to leave us in the lurch, Chez Billy management.

    • Whoa, this sucks. I’d be getting in contact ASAP.

      • I have an update:

        They said that the event will still be possible because they plan to reopen by Labor Day. (Décor only refresh, apparently.) But they said that if the construction isn’t finished before then, they’re offering up The Brixton as an alterative space for us.

        While I’m slightly relieved that this turn of events, my anxiety is at an all time high still. We picked Chez Billy based on proximity of our house, our love of the neighborhood, and the space. It has a great flow on the upper level that accommodates a band, some quiet space, and the bar. But here we are…

        I wish the owners had asked their events staff if anything immediate was happening on their calendar before making this decision. It’s clear from what information we have been given that even their staff had no idea this was coming. What the hell are we going to get come September? I’m far from a controlling bride (this is going to be our reception venue for 70+ people), but we picked out this place with logistics in mind and they just threw a wrench in the works.

        Anyway, more updates soon. Will check out Homestead as an alternative.
        /rant

        • HaileUnlikely

          FWIW We had our wedding reception at The Heights and it was fantastic. We had a scare when Eatwell DC sold the Heights to a new owner about 3 months before our reception, but it ended up being absolutely fantastic nonetheless. That said, I think we were the new owner’s first special occasion and he was obviously trying very hard to make sure we had a good experience. I have no reason to believe he would not do just as great of a job with another client, but I can’t help but suspect we got some special treatment above and beyond.

          • Thanks for the advice! I’ll check out the Heights (I haven’t eaten there in years!) but I’m a little concerned just because I’m 6 weeks out instead of 3 months. 🙁 We had everything planned to, down to the menu.

            Grumble grumble, Hilton brothers.

        • justinbc

          Not to mention that The Brixton is a pretty big downgrade.

        • HOLY SH*T! You’re handling this like a champ for someone 6 weeks out from their wedding. I hope they find some way to honor your contract because [current] Chez Billy would be an awesome space for a wedding reception! Good luck!!!!!

          • +1. This really sucks and I’m sorry you’re having to deal with it! The large party space at Chez Billy always looked very nice (I had asked them about logistics and pricing for a work event one time and they were great). I would be disappointed. You’re amazing.

          • Thank you! The secret here is that we had a small wedding ceremony with only 16 people in NOLA back in May. This is just a reception with friends and family, so the pressure is off for it to be perfect. I’m pissed off, but not as much as I would have been if I were doing ceremony and reception all on the same day.

            My husband commented this morning that he’s glad I do not have a gun or a streak of arson, because I was really unhinged last night.

        • Take some unsolicited advice: get your deposit back and make other arrangements. Nothing about this story sounds like a normal, closed for renovations and even if it was, I’ve never seen a construction project be completed on time. Make other plans now and get back any money you gave them.

    • You should check out Homestead. Great space, great food, probably a viable alternative.

      • Homestead is so incredibly overrated! I have no idea why people give it such good reviews. The drinks are expensive with a poor hh, and the food is extremely overpriced. Last week the wife and I ate at Chez Billy (RIP) and the check was 70 bucks (2 entrees, 2, beers, 2 old fashions). We ate at homestead the week before and the bill was 70 (1 burger, 1 salad, 3 beers)… Homestead also appears to be terribly corporate that could be just at home in any state/city/neighborhood.

        Chez Billy, you’ll be missed.

        • Homestead is terribly corporate? It was started by two young local guys.
          .
          And I just don’t believe your comparison of $70 tabs at Chez Billy vs Homestead. No way.

  • Wow. I really love Chez Billy. It offers something a little different for this neighborhood. When my mom is in town, or I have a meal that I want to celebrate with, I like to go here. I’m pretty disappointed.

  • petworthnews

    Considering I spoke to employees last night (and cited that in the original post), what’s clear is that the owners did not do an adequate job of informing their staff. Popular businesses that announce a closure on the same day tend to create turmoil in their fans, especially when they forget or ignore to inform the public. Glad they’re connecting with Dan on updates to get a bit more information out. Hope the person who has a special event booked there for next month can find a different venue. Perhaps Homestead?

  • This space screams American Ice Co Part 2. (Same owners). Please make this happen

  • When I hear “decor refresh”, I think new chairs and art, and a deep clean for the kitchen if we’re lucky. I do NOT think “new concept, new menu, totally different cuisine, just in the same space”. Why are is management being cagey? I’d think they have enough goodwill in the neighborhood that they could say “French is out, we haven’t decided yet what’s in.”

  • Speaking of mysterious closings, any updates on the Argonaut?

  • When I hear “decor refresh” I hear “closing permanently but in denial”
    Was very excited for the historic re-do when this place first opened, the location is a DC/Black history landmark of sorts from the days of segregation when entertainers weren’t allowed to dine at the establishments where they performed. But business is business. My MIL noted that they had that dark dining room on the first floor north side that cried out for white tableclothes and better decor but was very unwelcoming. Hope the new place makes better use of the different spaces.

    • I had to chuckle out loud when I read “When I hear ‘decor refresh,’ I hear ‘closing permanently but in denial’.” Well phrased, TropicBird!!

  • This is terrible news for Petworth. I will forever miss Chez Billy’s Royale with Cheese, one of the best burgers in the city.

  • I loved this place for dinner and drinks at the bar. I always thought the menu at Marvin would have been more appropriate for the neighborhood though. So many people think of Billy’s as a special occasion spot, the new concept needs to be something that pulls people in on a weekly or monthly basis. Here’s hoping it comes back even better than before.

  • Ashy Oldlady

    This is unfortunate. I always enjoyed eating there. I guess the competition is tougher than it was back when they opened.

  • “Refresh” might include some infrastructure and piping issues… just guessing, but I’ve noticed some issues. I love the place… hoping its even better when they reopen, and the menu either stays the same or improves… and they keep the cheaper patio concept.

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