Scuttlebutt: What’s Happening at the Old Dry Cleaners at 14th and Q St, NW in Logan Circle?

by Prince Of Petworth May 3, 2011 at 10:25 pm 59 Comments

Back in June ’10 The Post’s Tom Siestsma shared news that a new Italian restaurant would be coming to fill the space at the corner of 14th and Q St, NW in Logan Circle. Besides some demo there hasn’t been much development in this space. This past weekend I noticed a new for lease sign has gone up in the window:

And now I’ve heard some very interesting scuttlebutt – I’m hearing that the owners of Buddakan are interested in the space. The owner is Stephen Starr of Starr restaurants. I have no idea how far along they are in the negotiations or if the Italian restaurant has completely fallen through but I know you guys like to hear the rumors when I do so there it is. I give this one an accuracy rating of 72%.

What would you rather see in this space – an Italian Restaurant or a Dim Sum place like Buddakan?

More info as it becomes available.

  • caballero

    Dairy Queen. A big one!

  • Anon

    We already have more than one dim sum joint in town, which is that many too many, and Italian is already overdone in just the past year. Something approachable. Casual. I’m forgetting the name of the place – but something like the place up on Calvert near Connecticut…city something….. and yes, I know I should just Google it….. Anyway – I suppose anything is better than an empty shell of a building.

    • Eric in Ledroit

      This could win a runner-up prize for stereotypical dumb PoP comment of the year. The only thing keeping it from being the winner is the lack of a reference to how something in NYC is better.

      • Anon

        It WAS in the running for runner-up prize for stereotypical dump PoP comment of the year.

        • Anonymous


        • Buffy Wilson


    • mmm

      ping pong doesn’t count

  • Sneaky Pete

    14th & You reports that the space will be Tortilla Coast. Looks like PoP got pwnd by the competition.

  • Eric

    Whoever bought the place last year did about a month’s worth of clean up and then just stopped. Rumors about environmental remediation problems have been rampant for years. If they’re true, any restaurant would need to invest a lot of money dealing with those issues in addition to the typical remodeling/retrofitting costs.

    • Anonymous

      i also read on another blog about the environmental cleanup was too expensive.

      • Jeff

        Is this a result of the dry cleaning operation here? What did they do, just dump chemicals all over the place?

        • Dry cleaning fluid tends to dissipate into the atmosphere, not the ground, so the building itself is saturated with the stuff. This is why property owners are reluctant to allow their properties to be used as dry cleaning establishments.

  • Anonymous

    If someone could change the facade to blend in with the church, and add a church friendly internal courtyard for coffee, tea, wine, beer, that might be kind of nice. Ah the spring brunches.

    • petvet

      What’s “church friendly?” Like free parking for cars with MD and VA license plates?

      • Eckingtonite

        Free double parking.

      • TaylorStreetMan

        No strippers.

  • Anonymous

    Didnt the homeless dude moved there from up the street. I think the blue tarp nicely matches the wall color.

  • Becs

    We need some Philadelphia-quality restaurants in DC, please! I was just there this weekend, and very impressed.

  • Oats

    I like the speceficity. 72%? As my second grade teacher Sr. Theresa would say, show your math!

    • Oats


  • muzindc

    What about a laundromat that makes paninis?!?

  • anonymous

    screen printing studio!

    another sitar center for adults!

    real thrift shop!

    heck, I’d love a mom and pop breakfast joint where I could get a cup of coffee and a bagel sandwich for under $5. we have enough high-end places in the hood.

  • steve

    Posto has impressed me as of late, since I branched out from their pizza. We don’t really need another Italian place. I wouldn’t mind more Asian food since ThaiThanic and Rice are both pretty mediocre.

  • I’d like to see a less discriminatory laundry — perhaps a “shirt & pants” laundry.

    • erin

      Or even better, a dry cleaners that doesn’t charge 99cents for a mens shirt and 10 bucks for a skirt or dress. I’m sick of gender discrimination by dry cleaners!

  • Anonymous

    This should be a one-stop cupcake, froyo, craft beer, and bbq joint all in one.

  • Anonymous

    Calling Buddakan a “dim sum place” is like calling Morton’s a burger joint. Stephen Starr’s restaurants are phenomenal.

    • Kristen


    • Jessica

      I really wanted to not like Buddakan because Starr is a notorious jerkface. But no, it was really really good.

  • David

    Can we please get a simple diner in this neighborhood? Eggs, pancakes, burgers, club sandwiches… The last thing we need is small plates\tapas.

    On another note I have also heard the ‘environmental’ issue rumors.

  • LS

    Buddakan is where Dale Talde of Top Chef is a creative director. It would be fun to have another former competitor in D.C.

  • J

    how about something like the Starr restaurant The Continental in Philly? good food, good vibe http://www.continentalmidtown.com/

    • Eric in Ledroit

      continental is awesome.

  • Kate

    When will a korean bbq place come to the District?

  • Anony

    Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllllllllllllls yes to Stephen Starr!!!

    That dude knows how to run a good restaurant! Morimoto (yes, the dude from Iron Chef) is probably one of my favorite restaurants ever. His restaurants run the gamut from casual to incredible upscale. If he really is considering expanding his Philly restaurant empire to DC, this city will experience a series culinary upgrade.

    Best possible news of the day.

  • Am I the only person who thinks a one-story retail structure isn’t optimal for this site? How about demolish the ugly old dry cleaners building, and construct a 4-5 story residential building with retail on the ground floor?

    • steve


  • mdp

    Stephen Starr would be awful for this place. Buddakan is a sceney restaurant in the worst way. Whatever moves in there should keep the old signage. Maybe a decent diner with a good drink program. Something along the lines of m. Wells in Queens would be an ideal option.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know anything about Stephen Starr, but a diner named “Shirt Laundry” would be so f’ing cool.

      • truxtonite


  • bloom

    I was thinking a big plain old diner with vinyl booths and the works considering those huge windows for the morning sun, coffee, and sweet fennel sausage (or tofu sausage, vegan option).

    However, since it might be a “brown site” in environmental ruins due to years of dry cleaning chemicals I would now rather it become a store, not someplace where I eat eggs.

  • Buffy Wilson

    Too bad it’s Buddakan and not Budokan. I could go for some sumo wrestling or a Black Sabbath show right now.

  • Jane

    Stephen Starr does much more than just dim sum places. He runs all sorts of great restaurants all over Philly – several Asian ones, yes, but also mexican, french, 70s style comfort food, middle eastern and a few more, I’m sure.

    it could be great.

    • Philly Born

      As much as our culinary scene has improved, this town still does not have a single restaurant that could rival any of Stephen Starr’s offerings–at least when it comes to flawless execution of a concept. I personally would favor something like El Rey–can you imagine what kind of business something like this would do when Lauriol Plaza is always packed to the rafters?


  • logan

    I can’t believe that anything about that building is worth saving. In my opinion, it would be best to just tear it down and build something with more height like more condos with retail on the ground level. I suppose blocking the church windows on the south side isn’t such a great idea but they covered them up with ugly covering anyway. I see dumpsters are along the side of the church and they have a sign indicating they are getting a renovation. Anyone hear what they are doing to the exterior of it. Exposing the beautiful stained glass windows and removing those ugly signs and landscaping would really enhance that building a lot.

  • MichelleRD

    Oooh! I love Buddakan. But I’m yearning for more outdoor eat options and love the suggestion upthread for some kind of courtyard. If it were shielded from 14th Street traffic–or even better, glass covered like the one at National Portrait–I’d be there every weekend.

  • NRJ

    How about a bagel place or sandwich place.. Or a Pete’s a Pizza.

  • Nofiction

    I was told by the owner of Well Built (the retail shop across Q from Shirt Laundry) that there is a height restriction on this building due to the historic glass windows in the church to the north.

    If that’s true…and there are remediation problems, then the property owners / developers are screwed and probably trying to dump it on somebody like themselves who didn’t do their research.

  • dceited

    how about a home brew supply shop? I don’t think there are any in DC itself.

    • Anonymous


      c’mon there aren’t nearly enough bored dads in the neighborhood to support that.

  • e

    Starr has been rumored to be coming to DC, but the concept was rumored to be a spinoff of his french bistro “Parc” not Buddakan:

  • Buddakan, we have enough Italian around DC. Need a little atmosphere transformation.

  • Joe

    Bowling Alley would be awesome!

  • Anonymous

    Dim Sum please!


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