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Columbia Heights Scores New Venture from the folks behind Tryst/Diner/Open City!

We learned a bit about this building located at 11th and Monroe St, NW back in May ’10. (I’ve since been told that the condo portion is slated to be completed in July/ August.) Since then there had been some rumors but nothing concrete about who would fill the retail space. I’m happy to report that a combination Coffee house, diner and bar will be filling the space. Oh yeah, it’s from Constantine Stavropoulos the guy behind Tryst and Diner in Adams Morgan and Open City in Woodley Park. This is a huge score for the neighborhood.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Constantine for two hours at Tryst on Thursday afternoon. Long story short – Constantine and a group had plans to to open a new space at 14 and T St, NW but that fell through and has since become home to Room & Board. Since that time Constantine had been looking for a new space that could be a true neighborhood gathering place. Enter 11th and Monroe St, NW. In his own words:

“We are going to open a true combination of Tryst and The Diner – a Coffeehouse*Diner*Bar. Open City is that (serving Tryst coffee from Tryst trained Baristas) but except for the community table in our side enclosed sunroom, it does not have that “coffeehouse” feel. This place would have it all – Diner counter with fixed stools, a Bar, a community table, a private community/event room, a coffeehouse/lounge area and a ton of window-side seating.”

The space would consist of the entire first floor totaling 7,000 square feet. There will be three distinct feels, as mentioned above, a coffee house, diner and bar. Each section would interconnect and the entrance will be on the 11th St, NW side. The space has room for 199 people but that is not likely to be met except for Sat. and Sun. brunch. The menu will consist of comfort food, small plates like you can now get at Tryst as well as fare you can get from the diner. Eggs all day!

The bar component will have about 30 seats and after talking to Constantine sorta reminds me of the feel of the Passenger in Mt. Vernon Square. The bar will also feature specialty cocktails though Constantine was quick to add that you’ll still be able to get a miller light.

Another huge aspect of the yet to be named space is that it plans on being open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Constantine understands that this could cause some concern but after listening to his vision actually makes a lot of sense and could actually provide an added benefit the community. Many of us are aware of the difficulties that have arisen with the park across the street and it is hoped that increased foot traffic will also increase the safety of the area. Of course the usual rules still apply and the bar component will not be open all night.

Constantine has a strong vision for this future neighborhood gathering spot. He was offered spaces in Virginia and downtown DC but declined due to the lack of neighborhood feel. He sees this as a space that will serve the entire community. When we were sitting in Tryst Thurs. afternoon there was a couch that had three women sitting together, one was a teen, one was late 20s/early 30s and one was in her 50s or 60s. He sees this new venture equally catering that diversity.

What is really cool is that Constantine is eager to explain his vision to the community. Over the next three to four weeks he will be meeting with anyone from Columbia Heights and particularly close neighbors who are interested in learning more or who may have some concerns. If you would like to set up a meeting send an email to [email protected]

If all goes according to plan there will be a soft opening at the end of August and a grand opening in September.

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