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Seriously Sweet Mt. Vernon Square Scuttlebutt – Chipotle and Rays Coming Soon?

by Prince Of Petworth — August 2, 2010 at 10:00 pm 47 Comments

It’s been a while since we chewed on some sweet scuttlebutt and I wanted to update our last Mt. Vernon Square scuttlebutt discussion from June. At the time I had heard that the City Vista sales center located at 1045 5th St, NW was looking like it might become a wine bar, a Chipotle, or something else. Well I’m hearing that Chipotle won the battle.

And in other huge Mt. Vernon Square scuttlebutt – one of the last retail spaces on the K St, NW side is likely to get filled with a Ray’s Hell Burger you know the place often cited as one of the best burgers in DC (Arlington actually) and the spot Obama visited in June with the Russian president. I’m hearing it will be in the space near the Results gym. That would be a pretty sweet addition to the row, yeah?

At the moment both the Chipotle and Ray’s ‘coming soon’ should still be considered scuttlebutt but I promise to update if/when the official word comes out.

  • Anonymous

    from the ground up, i’ve been very impressed with City Vista. i can’t think of any other development of that scale that has worked so well.

    the building in noma w/ the harris teeter is looking good though…time will tell.

    • NE DC

      If we can get half of the cool retail that City Vista has over at Constitution Square (the NoMA building with Harris Teeter) then I would be unbelievably excited.

      I’d probably even be happy with 1/4 of the cool City Vista retail… definitely one of the best new developments I’ve ever seen, in any city, although it would be nice if the Safeway hadn’t covered up all of the L Street side.

      • Anonymous

        any first floor tenants yet?

        • NE DC

          Potbelly, Tynan Coffee & Tea, Georgetown Valet, Constitution Cafe (downtown-type M-F breakfast/lunch place), TD Bank, and a small newsstand will be coming in soon as well. Not bad tenants, but certainly not as cool as City Vista!

          There’s still several more spots left on both the First and N sides. Plus the second phase will have a lot more retail spots, and of course there’s probably another 50,000 SF currently available in other completed buildings.

    • “i can’t think of any other development of that scale that has worked so well.”

      Certainly not DC USA!

      • anon

        +1. DCUSA needs to poach whoever is courting these tenants for City Vista.

  • Darth Fabulous

    Holy crap this is the most awesome thing ever. I wish I could afford City Vista.

  • anon

    I liked the last rays hell burger scuttlebutt a lot better but Ray confirmed that he wasn’t opening an Adams Morgan location afterall. Trader Joes confirmed they weren’t opening a 14th and U location too. What’s the Scuttlebutt batting average these days? But Pop I like that you keep posting the rumors. It’s always fun to speculate. As for this city vista building. I don’t really get it. Are they just offering everyone free rent for a year? The level of business they seem to be attracting doesn’t seem worthy of the area which is just kinda blah. I guess they do a good lunch business?

    • Anonymous

      what kind of business would be “worthy” of the area? business that aren’t always really busy maybe?

    • Prince Of Petworth

      The last Rays scuttlebutt was not my own but was from Washington Business Journal:


      Trader Joes expansion remains to be seen. Most recent scuttlebutt that is fact was the group 826 coming to Columbia Heights plaza and Frozen Yogurt being sought at 13th and U (as well as Fro Zen Yo) coming to CH Plaza.

      But I appreciate the selective memory.

      • Anonymous

        PoP, there is a certain amount of self-defeating risk involved in reporting on such scuttlebutt. Remember the Room 11 fiasco? As I recall, you reported they were going to expand, and that caused them to love the opportunity to expand when the building owner read about their ideas on this listserv. This was confirmed to me by one of the Room 11 owners in a conversation I had with him soon after the posting.

        Part of the issue is that posting such rumors negatively affect negotiating tactics – if a building owner knows that a restaurateur really really wants to move into a space, they can charge them a premium. Which then may put it out of the price range of the restaurateur.

        All I’m saying is…be careful what you report, and understand that it may be hurting the very businesses you want to help.

        • Prince Of Petworth

          I have a very good relationship with the owners of Room 11. If they had asked me not to post I never would have done so. They all know who I am and like I said if they didn’t want me to post they would have said so. They were the ones who told me about the expansion. They have never relayed to me that their expansion didn’t happen because of the posting here. I will ask them the next time I see them. Which owner did you speak to who said that?

          I am fully on record for loving Room 11.

          Believe me, I sit on a lot of Scuttlebutt stories when an owner requests it or I fear it will have a negative effect.

          • Anonymous

            Fair enough, and I almost assuredly don’t know the whole story. I could easily be mis-interpreting what I recall.

            In any case, it was a while back, but if memory serves, I think it was the bald(ing) guy we talked to. Don’t get me in trouble for dimeing him out!

        • Anonymous

          edit: “lose the opportunity”, not “love the opportunity”

    • The restaurants in the development seem to be doing well, which is probably more a tribute to the restaurateurs than to the not exactly central location in a transitional area. The times I have been there for lunch, Taylor Gourmet has had at least 80 percent of its seats filled. Kushi’s crowds have been noted in the New York Times. Busboys & Poets seems to do a reasonable business, although nowhere near the constant crowds the 14 & V location attracts.

      • Anonymous

        i certainly wouldn’t bank on you perspective.

      • anon

        yeah. sounds just ok as it is. But add Rays and Chipotle and THEN will Taylor have 80 percent of its seats filled? With two more popular casual-eats spots competing for the same clientel I’m not so sure. Hence why I think City Vista must offer some sweet incentives. Rays in adams morgan would do a fine lunch business but would have lines out the door 7 nights a week. At City Vista it may do a slightly better lunch biz but it can’t possibly do the same dinner biz. I think they would be better off opening in adams morgan and then getting a food truck to make deliverys to K street for the mon-fri lunch crowd. But hey. Clearly I’m just closer to adams morgan than city vista.

        • Given a choice between Chipotle and Taylor Gourmet for lunch, I’d take Taylor Gourmet every time. At least in City Vista’s market, there are going to be plenty of people who will prefer a boutique product to a chain product (although I’m sure the chain will do adequate business).

          • anon

            I would pretty much guarantee you that chipotle will cut into taylors lunch business. Sometimes you want a sandwich and sometimes you want a burrito. Before when you wanted a burrito you were out of luck and went to taylor for the second time in a week. Now when you want a burrito you can get a burrito. And certainly Rays Hell Burger will be in competition. Also, all are chains. 2 of them are just local chains. (for now). My point remains the same. I don’t see how the area can support that many lunch options yet. It’s no bethesda. But if the incentives being offered are worth waiting another 5 years for more buildings to go up then more power to them.

          • Anonymous

            FYI….Taylors is a chain, and their sandwiches aren’t anything special. Go to Philly for a real treat!

        • Tres

          I disagree. You want to put restaurants like Ray’s where people work. The lines and waits at various restaurants in Chinatown are longer than anywhere else in DC. Mt V gets a chunk of the spillover.

          Vista has 3 spots, each of which are busy week round. They get big lunch -and- happy hour crowds. The incentive for a restaurant is that they get to rent in that location.

          Meanwhile, the Morgue is just that — kinda dead 4 days a week.

          • anon

            Admo is indeed dead at lunch during the week. But city vista is dead on nights and weekends. If all you are after is the lunch crowd why not park a food truck right downtown?

          • Anonymous


            city vista is dead at night and weekends? how late do you consider “night”?

            things are definitely busy until 10 pm.

            and weekends are usually pretty too. have you really been checking this out lately?

  • I thought Mandu had already signed a lease for the space next to Results? http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/top_shelf/2010/04/mandu_cityvista_lease_signed.html

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Yes that’s true Mandu is def. coming. I heard the Ray’s was going to be between Mandu and Result but perhaps the order is shuffled a bit.

    • Mandu is only taking roughly half the space between Kushi and Results.

  • I’ve known about the Chipotle thing a few months even before PoP first posted the scuttlebutt a few weeks back. This Ray’s for K Street rumor is very new to me though. My source, which is one of the parties directly involved, has been saying it would be a pizza place.

    • Jeff

      Ray’s the Slice?

  • mmm

    This is great news. There are a lot of new residential units in the pipeline in all phases of development in the immediate neighborhood (currently leasing, under construction, close to breaking ground, maybe it will happen someday if the stars align) that will help generate night and weekend demand. Well over 1,000 units, I think.

    Busboys is shockingly busy most times of the day/night. Taylor seems to already do a solid dinner business. Etc.

    • By my count it’s more in the 3000-3500 unit range for new construction (last 10 years) within two blocks of City Vista.

      • mmm

        Oh yeah. I’m just thinking about what’s leasing and currently under construction right now (1,000-ish in the pipeline. could be low though)

  • Anon

    ok, my jealousy for this complex increases with each addition. seriously, it’s ridiculous how many great places they’ve been able to attract. if i were a single guy renting, i’d strongly consider paying the price premium to live there.

  • Yeah, the retail mix at this complex rocks. Meanwhile, still two vacancies in Highland Park and one in Tivoli (in a far more densely populated area to boot) … come on folks, give CH some love!

    • Anonymous

      CH is not a high income area. Besides, CH has enough of these boring, low quality food, chains.

      • The income around CH at this point I’d think is fairly similar to Shaw / Mount Vernon area … both have tons of high end condos and row houses mixed in with lower / middle income residences as well. And CH has a lot higher residential density I believe. Not close enough to downtown, now that is a fair point, the lack of daytime traffic in CH could be an impediment, at least for now.

        But the City Vista tenants are hardly low quality!!!! BB&P, potentially Ray’s, Kuchi, Taylor’s, etc. I’d take those in my hood any day!

        • Anonymous

          and all those cheap condos along mass ave bring down the average income of the area around city vista

          and being right next to 395 and new york avenue probably doesn’t attract some suburban money.

    • Anonymous

      CH isn’t close enough to downtown….

  • .

    I think DCist’s reporting is pretty spot on with regards to this issue:

    When DCist called Landrum this morning, he was perturbed at the flak he’s been getting from hungry residents.

    “People are yelling at me on the street for not opening Ray’s the Catch,” he said. “They say, ‘Do you know how much I love seafood?'” Landrum also notes that premature disclosures can often cost entrepreneurs hundred of thousands of dollars in negotiation fees.

    While Landrum did not outright deny the possibility of a City Vista Ray’s location, he told DCist that he regularly fields offers from a number of developers.


    • Prince Of Petworth

      Business owners are not able to confirm scuttlebutt until the ink on the deal is dry. That’s the whole point of scuttlebutt.

      • bond

        that’s why you go to Prince of Petworth for your neighborhood blog info. you skip dcist and go to washington business journal for confirmed things.

        dcist used to be cool, but in trying so hard to be real grown up journalists, its lost its charm. its just another site, but with monkerotica’s predictable irreverent sense of humor that all the other commentors have copied.

  • As the proud owner of a recently-acquired money pit that’s about equidistant (.5 mile) from both City Vista and NoMa’s Constitution Square, I’m pretty excited about all the scuttlebutt in this thread! Fingers crossed.

  • Steph


    Speculation is fun. People need to not take themselves so seriously!

  • Chris Pusvegan

    Seriously. DCist can suck on it.

  • Michael Landrum

    Awesome! I love it. You are like the Chief of Proctology when it comes to scuttlebutt. Either that or totally into scuttlebutt-play. Love it!

    • Anonymous

      we get it. you have an anal fixation.

      • Michael Landrum

        Only when it’s anonymous, but never when it’s non-consensual. Steph above said it best–It’s all in fun!

  • Michael Landrum

    What am I thinking, edit that to Prince of Proctology, scuttlebutt-wise.


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