Washington, DC

DSCN1832, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Thanks to the many readers who sent me the news. After only a few months being open we learned that Meridian restaurant closed back in early June. For the folks up in North Country I’m happy to let you know about Brightwood Bistro located at 5832 Georgia Ave. I stopped by and was able to grab a menu and talk to some folks doing prep work. First of all the new Bistro is opening up on Tuesday. Most of the decor will stay the same. The new executive chef is named Michael Walters. Call 202-545-5015 for reservations. Currently hours will be 5-11pm. A sample from the menu:

Shrimp Noodle Soup $8, Brightwood Mussels $7, Rittenhouse wings $10, The Brightwood Burger $15, Missouri Avenue Hotdog $8, (all sandwiches come with garlic fries), Pan roasted rockfish $18, The georgia avenue ribeye $24, Its Shrimp N Grits $19 (There are a number of other choices as well). I like the local names but I’m a little concerned that the price point may be too high.

Hard to say without sampling the goods but do you guys think the Bistro will be successful at this location when Meridian was unable? What do you think they’ll need to do to be successful?

Comments (34)

  1. Did you see any vegetarian food on the menu?

  2. Prince Of Petworth

    There is a chopped salad $9 and a mixed green salad $8.

  3. I hope it will be successful because I just relocated up to the North Country and would like to have a nice sit-down place. But, it’s hard to say if enough people will be interested in a $15 burger to keep the place alive. I’d have a hard time spending that – especially if the food or service is only mediocre. I was hoping for something more mid-range that felt more a part of the neighborhood. Like a Tryst coffee/bar situation, only better with fewer laptops..

  4. Oh dear. I too live in the North Country, and find the paucity of places to go -well-depressing. I appreciate what the new ( and previous) folks want to do, but I am worried that it might ( given the menu and prices Dan cited) suffer the same fate.
    But I hope not.

  5. I mentioned this last week and someone summarily dismissed me. The commercial places for rent are just too large. This is a big footprint for a restaurant. And the rent is likely ~ $25/sq ft. At that level, the restaurant can either be upscale or high volume. Since their is not enough foot traffic, upscale is the only viable way to go.

    DC restaurateurs need to be more efficient with their space. For instance, places like the Heights could be a good bit smaller and still be functional. And developers need to create smaller commercial places instead of one big commercial pad. In NYC, a place that big in a similar neighborhood would have been divided into at least two commercial pads. I am mentioning NYC not to start a debate on which is better or worse. I only mention NYC because the economics of the commercial rental markets are very similar.

  6. fingers crossed!

  7. One thing that I find important in any business is to survey the area and to ask the community/patrons what they’d like to see listed as items on the menu and pricing that they’d prefer (I am hearing mid-range pricing).

    Also, the ownership of this establishment should partner with the community to help ensure that this establishment becomes a viable part of the community.

  8. There is a reason why there are hardly any mid range price establishments are opening. Brightwood Bistro has to pay utilities on a pretty big space. Plus the rent, taxes, and rising input costs. How midrange can they be, given the economics of it?

  9. Nate-your points are well taken-but I can tell you from experience (I get my haircut less than a stone’s throw from the site) that anything other than mid-range fare isn’t going
    to bring neighborhood folks rushing. I am just saying..

  10. Reuben,
    I used to get my haircut in the next block up as well. I can tell you that a space that big won’t make it. Not unless the owner takes a serious haircut on the rent. That place is too big.
    It should have been broken into two places. A nice small sitdown could make it and satisfy the community’s desire for mid priced fare.
    I would even go as far to say that it takes a very skilled owner to manage a spot that big. However, this place is unlikely to attract a restaurant group like EatwellDC. Want to see what works. Just look at how successful Colorado Kitchen was. It was not nearly as big as this place. It is much easier for an inexperienced manager to run a small restaurant.

  11. Spot on again, Nate. That is a big space. Guess we will see, won’t we?

  12. I don’t get up that way too often… Is that in the building that used to be the old Ibex Club?

  13. I don’t think the size of the space is the issue. If they offered food at more reasonable prices, they would bring in more customers, leading to more profit.

  14. Hiya – yep, the very one. First a masonic lodge, then a club, then a furniture store, now condos and a restaurant space.

  15. $8 for hot dog and fries? um…no. watch for failed restaurant #2 at that site.

  16. those are ballpark prices, that is for sure.

  17. Well, the opening is today. Are any of you going to attend?

  18. Nate- sure you would know more than I but dont the condos give these large resaurant spaces big cuts on rent just to have a place to draw in the buyers? I mean thats what I would do If i was trying to sell condos these days. especially in a location like these. Are they actually selling? I would give a restaurant or a trader joes free rent for a year at least until i sold the condos.

  19. Oh! A Trader Joe’s would be awesome in this location!! Oh — I hope someone from Trader Joe’s reads this and, when this place inevitably fails, rents it out and brings their awesome cheap variety of groceries so much closer to my house!

  20. The Brightwood Bistro opened tonight and had a very nice crowd; I was impressed. The crowd was 30-ish and up. The food was good and the service was respectable and friendly, at least I thought so. The bar area was packed with lovely ladies most of the evening –not to sound sexist, but that was a plus if nothing else.

    I don’t think that the prices are unreasonable when you take everything into consideration, this is a bistro not McDonalds, which is up the street in the next block. This group seems to know what they are doing, but we shall see –they just got here.

    They’re doing something a little different than the previous owner. From the looks of things, they had a lot of patrons from the surrounding community and from outside the community based on the people that I met and talked to.

    Before someone goes off wishing for failure, maybe the naysayers should take into consideration the type of food that Trader Joe’s has compared to others. We need to pay closer attention to what we eat and how it is prepared. A lot of fried and cheap foods are not good for anyone. Certain inexpensive foods have consequences for your heart, arteries, and waistline –that is why they are cheap.

  21. Brightwood Resident

    Hi there!! I want to agree with JamesonRittenhouse. I bought a condo right down the street and I’m glad that the Bistro has opened up. As a resident of the neighborhood we need to have something beside fast food. I think they will be fine. I’m one of those 30 something that will be there at the bar area.

  22. I would like to say the food at the Brightwood Bistro is awesome!!!!! I had the rock fish, wings, crab cake, and the shredded beef wraps .All I can say is fantastic!!! . The crowd of people that were there when I attended were business professionals, single men and women, as well as some of the condo tenants that live above the restuarant. I think this will be a very suscessful restuarant, one of the owners I talked to by the name of James Preston, told me that their main goal is to have excellent food, nice atmosphere, perfect customer service, and cater to all ethnic groups. I’m also glad to hear the new owners are all from the neighborhood and not someone from abroad that doesn’t know the community. Lets keep our fingers crossed, and support our new Brightwood Bistro!!!

  23. This restaurant sounds great, but how’s the parking? Is there a lot?

  24. Baron of Brightwood

    You need to keep the prices high or the riffraff will take over. With prices high those guys will stay at the carry out across the street and urinate there… Hopefully.

    FYI there’s roughly endless parking in that area since its largely abandoned.

  25. I hope this restaurant does well. I’ve not been there yet and am not really prepared to pay $15 for a hamburger. That’s a little high. I had a lousy burger last night — at a different place — but was still miffed about it. That burger was only $8.95. I don’t think I’d chance $15 for one.

    I’ll go and have a beer and go from there.

    The Trader Joe’s idea for this corner is a viable one, if this restaurant flops.

    Love the name of the place though (as well as the menu choices).

  26. Baron- Stay classy. p.s. the restaurant will fail. That neighborhood totally jumped the gun on trying to gentrify. sorry you bought there but itll be years before you see some nice ammenities. normally I wouldnt have pointed this out but you sound like a real A Hole. so have fun with that.

  27. If I may be allowed to interject some peace in the blog –let’s not personalize our critiques of each other comments. We can disagree on points of view, but character assassination serves no benefit to anyone.

    The $15 hamburger is not like a McDonald’s burger –it’s Angus Beef. We all have the option of not buying something that doesn’t agree with our respective pockets. If it doesn’t sell, I’m certain that the owners will get the message. However, from what I’ve seen thus far some people are liking it at $15. Even at Burger King the Angus Burger sells for a lot more –but I’m willing to bet it’s Angus with filler… LOL

    Restaurants on a whole typically don’t have very long shelf life, but some have stayed around for over 20 to 30 years. The former Face’s Restaurant that used to be located where the Rite Aide is at Georgia and Longfellow was there for over 25 years until the owners of the former Morton’s Department Store cash out and took their money and retired –smart move.

    Having been a business owner for many years, I know that it takes every bit of 3yrs for the average business to stay even before you can see daylight. The Brightwood Bistro can work, but it will take time, energy, and reinvestment.

    I have lived in the Brightwood community for over 35 years, and I see it on the rise. Yes, there are somethings that causes everyone pause –life happens. I am willing to
    bet that the corner across the street from the Bistro up to the McDonald’s will experience transformation –be patient and observe, nothing happens over night.

  28. I ate at the brightwood bistro last night, and I saw that the burger was reduced to $12, and the blte was reduced to $10. I actually had the Mike’s crab cakes, and all I can say is greaaaat!!!!!. The corn relish and chop salad was awesome as well. I parked at the vacant posins parking lot which is no longer in existence. There’s plenty of parking around the area, and I think people can compromise!! . Everyone on this blog should try this bistro, and I gaurantee you’ll be impressed!!

  29. Baron of Brightwood

    I also ate there last night, it was very good. I went straight to the top and got the $24 rib-eye. It was delicious though their definition of ‘medium’ differs from mine. It was rarer than I would have cooked it, more like an Outback steakhouse ‘medium’ in my experience. Regardless, I was told that, as said above, the burger is $12 and a couple other prices are lower than printed as well. Also, the menu will change day-to-day. I felt a bit under-dressed in shorts and t-shirt, though, and felt the place was a bit sterile, almost too clean and bare!

    Above all the food was high-class, the service was fantastic, the drinks were amply strong, and the management made a special point to review everything with me and ask how they can improve. In short, the owners are really, really trying and they know what they’re up against, and they are also seeking to be a positive force on that block and and in the community. I don’t live right there, I’m actually in a netherworld junction of Brightwood / Manor Park / Takoma (was trying to be blog-appropriately-cute with my name), but pass through Georgia Avenue almost daily and find it so depressing overall. So, its good to see some local guys make good and do good and I wish them all the best. I’ll give them as much money as I can, I love eating out and their food is worthy.

  30. Can someone who has been recall the beer choices? On tap or bottled?

  31. The bar is quite extensive, so I’d say both.

  32. gonna check it out tonight, number posted is out of service

  33. We sure could use a decent bar up in the North Country. I’m getting a little weary of trekking down to Looking Glass, which I liked better when it was Temperance Hall. But that style of place is what we need up in the Kennedy Street area. A decent grocery store goes without saying.

    Anyway, I hope Brightwood Bistro makes it. The retail/dining choices won’t improve if the neigbhorhood supports only carry-out joints, liquor stores and barber shops. Not that those outlets aren’t needed, but some nice places to hang out sure would improve the Petworth/Brightwood profile.

  34. I would just like to add the Brightwood Bistro phone number (202) 545-5014. They’re open during the week monday-thrusday 5pm-11pm, and friday-saturday 5pm-12am. The beer selections are bottled beers which consist of Amstel light, Bud light, Heneiken, Stella, Budweiser, and Corona. The mix drinks are awesome, along with the 50 inch plasma over the bar. I asked if they had a wine selection, and I was told they’re working on the list, but they did have a pretty good merlot, pino grigio, chardonay, and cabernat. I think the restuarant will do very well, and I plan on making it my weekly dinner spot!!


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