Anyone Want to Run a Bar/Restaurant in the North Capitol firehouse?

by Prince Of Petworth February 2, 2012 at 10:04 pm 32 Comments

Thanks to a reader for sending a tweet from ANC5C03 commissioner Hugh Youngblood:

“Engine Company 12 team withdraws #ABRA application; seeking new operator. Anyone interested in a #BloomingdaleDC restaurant opportunity?”

Engine Co 12 Firehouse is located at 1626 North Capitol Street, NW. We last spoke about it in May 2011 when we learned of the delayed opening. We also spoke about it briefly when we learned Shaw’s Tavern was denied a liquor license.

So, think a new restaurant operator will jump at the chance?

  • Anonymous

    Only if Ali Aziz is with me.

  • Rustik and Boundary Stone seem to be doing great business. It’s a good time to get in before there’s too much competition.

    Plus, it’s a fucking firehouse. Ghostbusters! Ample patio space and garage doors that open up wide on summer days…

    • Annonny

      Ghostbusters – my thought exactly. Given the impending Mayan apocalypse, shouldn’t we be experiencing a steady rise in interdimensional activity? It’ll be a growth industry!

      “Well, let’s say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. Based on this morning’s sample, it would be a Twinkie… thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds. “

      • Also Shaw

        “That’s a big twinkie.”

        “You bet your ass.”

  • new

    I think this place has a chance to be truly amazing. After the Shaw’s tavern fiasco I am sort of glad that this place will be run by a different group. Hopefully enough renovation has been done that it is doable for someone else to come in and FINALLY open this place. This place has been a tease for far too long.

  • I used to live across the street from this. I think a restaurant could be really successful there. You have all the houses in Bloomingdale and Eckington that are potential customers, there’s not a whole lot else around there except Big Bear Cafe and the fast food joints, which don’t compete with a sit down restaurant. Plus it’s a cool space. The building could be restored and leave the garage doors and open them in the warmer months and have sidewalk seating, of course that might be too noisy with the traffic on N. Cap street.

  • Anonymous

    lol. i am shocked.

  • The Boyfriend has had his eye on this for years now…if only he had the funds.

  • Anonymous

    I could think of a lot of clever ideas for a restaurant in this place. Whenever someone asks for water, we get out the fire hose and knock them back in their seat with the water.

  • mo

    Excellent location for a Full Yum bistro or Lake Trout cafe’. I’d love to sit and eat my wings and mumbo sauce while breathing exhaust.

  • leblomi

    It’s a great space and has a lot of potential, but I never really thought the concept that they had would work. It’s a big space. Rustik and Boundary Stone work in part because they are small and (relatively) inexpensive.

    Given the size of that place, it would either have to be expensive or do a lot of volume, neither of which seems like a great business model in that area at this point.

  • McDonald’s with a playhouse?

  • Bloomingdude

    Thank god someone competent may be able to take this over.

    Wasn’t the place sold to the current crop at a discounted rate with the caveat that they do something with it?

  • KD

    A high volume casual restaurant would be briliant in this location with the rooftop views of the Capitol dome. Something Southern or a rotating menu to showcase regional American foods.

    I remember that this space was limited to opening as a restaurant by the Fenty administration when it was sold to the current owner in auction. Is that correct? It is huge and a restaurant may find it tough to be profitable in that space, but if they were to do ground floor retail with the upper two levels as a restaurant/bar space it may be a better concept. Living on the next block I can also say that parking is starting to become problematic. There was mention of a possible sollution with the last concept by running valet parking to the corner lot at Florida and N. Capitol. This seems to be the only available space for parking, but it would be such a waste of prime location if this sollution was anything more than very temporary.

    • Anonymous

      The size may be part of the problem. I’m not sure there’s enough demand in the neighborhood to fill up an enormous restaurant, and sadly, Bloomingdale will probably never become a destination like Adams Morgan or H Street.

      • eric_in_ledroit

        sadly?! are you kidding?

        • Anonymous

          Not kidding, just in touch with reality instead of some fantasy that I might have of what I’d like to see the neighborhood become.

          • Bloomingdude

            I agree that Bdale will never be AM or H Street. I disagree with the word “sadly.” No one moves to Bdale wanting to live a boombox blast away from a major commercial strip. Rather, most of my neighbors like a short trip (walk or otherwise) to those areas and then a return trip to our little and happening community.

          • Anonymous

            That was my point exactly, Bloomingdude. Some people, on the other hand, just don’t get it.

        • eric_in_ledroit

          you would want bloomingdale to become more like Adam’s Morgan?


          speaking as someone who had an awesome dinner and beers last night at Boundary Stone, I can safely say that I am very pleased that we are nothing like AdMo.

          • Adams Morgan smadams shmorgan. The city has one, that’s enough.

            I think there’s a lot of room for a strip to grow on North Capital. I’ve mentioned this before: they’re adding lots of condos in Eckington soon. Where are those people going to hang out? They’re kind of close to H Street, kind of close to the east side of U Street. But wouldn’t they rather walk somewhere?

            North Capital has a couple blocks of commercial property. Commercially zoned property rarely turns into residential. Some of the owners of current vacant commercial properties are waiting until those condos come in so they cash out. They’re going to sell or rent to businesses that are supported by people who own condos that have Yale Steam Laundry prices. A Busboys -type restaurant would be ideal in the firehouse. Maybe some kind of hybrid gathering place, like Tryst or Commissary. There’s no reason this place has to be a vanilla restaurant.

      • Anonymous

        we don’t want to be as crazy as Adams Morgan or H, but we have GOOD stuff in our hood and it’s just getting better

  • eric_in_ledroit

    i have the perfect plan. first floor will be a conveyor belt-driven sushi restaurant. next floor, a pizzeria. and on the top floor, a music hall simulcasting live performances on XM/Sirius radio. what could go wrong?

  • If I had a lot of money and some business experience, I would be all over this place…

    • I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller…

  • David

    Wow, seems like a great building/land for a restaurant….wish I was ready to open mine up at this time…alas, it will be a few years.

  • David

    Surprised not to see Adam Express in MtP on here….maybe I just love my Korean food more then most!

  • Ess Street Blues

    ‘Hello, Operator: Get me Mike Benson. NOW!’

  • TCRes

    Hmm, and here see what was written by the manager at the community this past summer you would think he was days away from opening. Can the city take this property back from Brian Brown? Didn’t his below-market purchase include a clause that he must develop?

    • H Street Landlord


    • DavidAtDunbar


      Talk about not delivering on your obligations..

  • AcrosstheStreet

    Isnt Brian Browns time up to develop this eyesore? We have just been through the bigesst real estate market evah….and the firehouse sits as it has been for the past twenty years, if not longer.


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