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Dear God Please Let This Be True – Capital City Diner Moving to Petworth/Columbia Heights; “Will prominently feature Kosher-style Jewish deli sandwiches”; Hopes to open by Aug. 1st

by Prince Of Petworth April 4, 2012 at 10:30 am 51 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user AWard Tour

The Capital City Diner closed in late Jan. 2012 and was listed for sale on ebay in early March. Yesterday, the Post reported:

“owner Matt Ashburn says he’s close to a deal to sell the historic diner to a group that would keep it in the District — apparently not far from its original site in the Trinidad neighborhood.”

I suppose Trinidad isn’t too far from Petworth/Columbia Heights once the extensive Streetcar grid is in place. Anyway, a reader sends word of potentially life altering news, for me, about the new location. And perhaps, for some, even better than the new location is the new vision – “Kosher-style Jewish deli sandwiches” and “a rooftop outdoor patio featuring a tiki bar”!

Check out this Craigslist ad Cooks, servers, manager wanted for 24hr diner (Petworth/Columbia Hgts):

“EXPERIENCED SERVERS & COOKS!!!!! New 24 hour diner being moved to Columbia Heights/Petworth seeking experienced cooks & servers for all shifts / full or part time. We purchased a classic silver diner car will move it to the CoHi/Petowoth area. We plan to be open by August 1, and are seeking experienced persons to help open this exciting venture.

We plan to seat appx 75, with a rooftop outdoor patio featuring a tiki bar. Food will be classic diner fare, with Asian fusion. Menu will prominently feature Kosher-style Jewish deli sandwiches, with bread baked fresh every morning.”

Another Passover/Easter miracle in the making?

  • classic_six

    The “Dear God…” letter is like the first page of a YA novel. I knew it wouldn’t take too long where we might now see a slew of Kosher Jewish delis in the area. It has been missing from the dining scene for too long, for anyone hankering for a good Jewish deli in the DC area. (There’s one opening up in the Dupont area, I think.) If this rumor is true, I hope they drop the “style” from the description and it is an authentic Jewish deli. Although I am not a fan of copying trends until you beat the heck out of a trend, even before the first one has opened, I’ll forgive since it’s long been absent from dining options here.

    • Anonymous

      Unfortunately, from the announcements I’ve seen for the latest two, they are both kosher-STYLE, which implies not actually kosher.

      • classic_six

        Yes, I was getting sloppy by throwing the term “kosher” around almost synonymously with “Jewish” but for a place to be kept kosher, it would mean leaps-and-bounds above typical and standard health codes. It means keeping the kitchen maintained in a certain way (see textdoc’s reply below) and food and preparations that conform to certain regulations. I can’t imagine a place in the DC area that would take or do all the necessary steps to make a place that is authentic Kosher.

        • EdTheRed

          Kosher also means no Reubens (pesky cheese!)…so, you know, Kosher-style has that going for it…

        • Josh

          Um, what about Eli’s, the Kosher Restaurant and Deli south of Dupont? Not saying I particularly love the place, but the answer is yes – somone would open a kosher place in DC and has a long time ago.

          • Meatandmilk

            Eli’s is kosher and the JCC’s restaurant is but otherwise you need to go outside of DC. There are a few places up on Lamberton Dr in Silver Spring, among others in the area. Point is, yes, people do take ‘all the necessary steps’.

          • Jenna

            Soupergirl, in Tacoma Park, is kosher too. And she delivers all over the city.

    • Anonymous

      Wait, what’s Parkway then?

      • anonymous

        Chopped liver?

      • Meatandmilk

        Parkway isn’t kosher. It’s a NYC-style deli with a lot of ‘Jewish-style’ food. It’s a good deli but it’s not kosher.

  • dat

    Super exciting, indeed. Does anyone have any scuttlebutt on potential locations? With the new 24hr diner coming in on 11th St by Meridian pint, I assume it will want to keep its distance — towards Petworth, I hope!

  • BB

    Love, love, love a diner coming to Petworth! I am a little worried about it being open 24 hours and that it might end up becoming a hang out for trouble (see iHop in Columbia Heights). Hopefully there will be a solid police presence to make this a wonderful addition to the neighborhood!


    Also I’m amusing myself by picturing a tiki bar directly on top of a silver diner car… :)

  • monkeyrotica

    “Kosher style” means they’ll be serving bacon, right?

    Also, I don’t see how they’re going to fit people on the roof of the diner. Are they going to build some deck ABOVE the diner?

  • mh

    Ain’t no amount of scrubbing ever going to get the smell of pig out of that place.

    Sweet, sweet pig. mmmmmmm


  • Everything about this is awesome. Tiki bar AND Jewish deli sandwiches? I *so* know where we’re having lunch on Christmas Day this year!

  • Anonymous

    My guess would be that this is something else entirely. I seriously doubt it would be feasible to put a rooftop outdoor patio on top of a dining car-type diner like the Cap City Diner.

  • monkeyrotica

    Looking forward to the nimby contingent lamenting how this will ruin the neighborhood with people spending money and enjoying themselves at all hours of the night, followed by dire warnings to their math-challenged followers that it will be constantly crowded with over a hundredth of a thousand people

    • Unless this actually goes in someone’s back yard I doubt there will be much of a protest. Petworth/Columbia Heights to me sounds like Georgia Ave (11th St. being CoHi and Upshur being Petworth the other major commercial strips.) If this does go to Georgia Ave I think it will receive great neighborhood support.

  • NoLongerNew2CH

    Agreed that this sounds great, other than the discongruous “Asian fusion” remark, which almost seems erroneously included from the press release for some new fusion/tapas place. I can’t see any way that Asian fusion can be compatible with classic diner fare featuring Jewish deli sandwiches. Stick with the diner / deli stuff, please, rather than trying to overcomplicate a concept that has stood the test of time, for a reason.

    Very curious where this could go. I am thinking either Georgia Avenue north of the metro, or somewhere north of Park Road on 14th street would be good. But does there need to be a vacant lot involved, for the car to be moved to?

  • lei

    I wish they could get the church to lease them the parking lot on 9th btw. Upshur and Taylor… that would be an awesome spot!

  • matt

    “Food will be classic diner fare, with Asian fusion. Menu will prominently feature Kosher-style Jewish deli sandwiches…” Asian fusion and a Jewish Deli? How does that work?

    • monkeyrotica

      Asian fusion at the tiki bar, deli sandwiches in the diner.

  • AK

    Mmmm, I sure do love classic Asian fusion diner food.

    • monkeyrotica

      If only they served American tapas and cupcake shots, they’d have all the bases covered.

    • ctk

      Mmmm… General Tso’s meatloaf.

      Seriously, though, this makes me very happy.

  • Anonymous

    asian fusion? whatever, just bring it on

    • classic_six


  • This is very exciting!

    I’m trying to think of vacant lots in the Petworth/Columbia Heights (and perhaps Park View, which falls into the “Legal Subdivision” of Columbia Heights?) that would accommodate a diner.

    I’m assuming “kosher-style” means “Jewish deli-style, but without kosher supervision/certification and open on Saturdays.”

    I’m not super-familiar with the rules for kosher, but I suspect it would add quite a bit of expense to the operation (someone to supervise/certify, separate countertops/dishwashers for meat. vs. cheese, etc., etc.).

    Classic_six, as far as “a good Jewish deli in the DC area,” it seems like the Parkway Deli — just over the D.C. line in Silver Spring — is the acknowledged supreme Jewish deli in the area:

    • classic_six

      Thank you. Alas, I am hardly ever in the Silver Spring area.

    • Meatandmilk

      For anyone interested in what keeping kosher means, among other things… Kojo is talking about it on NPR this hour. :)

  • Anonymous

    I’m so confused by Jewish deli and Asian fusion in the same description.

  • ‘Twould be so cool (‘cept for that perplexing Asian fusion bit). A true kosher establishment would be a reach, but I’d hit a good kosher-style deli with disturbing frequency.

  • Anonymous

    This would be amazing. I live on the Cohi/Petworth border and Cap City Diner was the only thing I would ever go to H Street for.

    There are PLENTY of vacant lots on lower Georgia Ave. that look like the lot they originally situated on off of Bladensburg. I’d bet that is where they are going.

    And I agree, I don’t need asian fusion, tiki bar, and jewish sandwiches. Pick 2 of the 3 and call it good.

    • E.g.: there’s a vacant lot right on the corner of Otis and Georgia, across from Fish in the Hood. And one block from my house. A girl can dream…

  • SF

    Well, this is tough news for us on H Street. I still think if they could have just held on until the new Flats at Atlas opened, they would have been okay.

    If true, it’s great news for Petworth & CH. Congrats.

  • Florista

    I’m just so happy a classic silver diner will still be a part of the DC landscape – not the faux “Metro-##” style diners phoning it in. Rooftop tiki sounds, well, interesting…

  • i think I might love a reuben and a mai tai.

  • Trixie

    I’m thinking corned beef & broccoli, general tso’s tzimmes, kung pao matzoh balls…

  • Anonymous

    Good news? Sure. A “miracle”? Come on. Words lose their meaning when they’re thrown around so casually. Getting a diner is not the same as the sea parting, an unexpected turnaround from a terminal disease or the face of Jesus appearing in your grilled cheese sandwich.

    • What gives?

      Well, when everything from transoms to doors to sidewalk art to flowers to a picture of somebody’s lunch is “sweet” or “awesome”, what’s left but for a diner to become a “miracle”?

  • “Asian fusion” and Kosher-style is not too a stretch at all — the stereotype of American Jews loving Chinese food has a strong basis in reality (as I can attest, having been raised in a Jewish, but not Kosher, Long Island household). Moreover, my grandparents and their friends and ilk LOVED anything that involved kitschy Asian decor — so I think the tiki bar is a perfect complement.

    And yeah, doing it truly Kosher would not only be much more expensive, but also require being closed on Saturdays and knocking a lot of stuff off the menu that the non-Kosher clientele would want (eg, cheese, ice cream, BACON).

    I hope they do a good job; I’ve been looking for a local replacement for Morty’s since it went downhill years ago.

    • Lenny

      And by downhill you mean closed?

      • Well, if memory serves me, it went downhill, then changed ownership and names, then they brought Mel back, but it continued to go downhill, then it changed names, THEN it closed. Or something like that.

  • Art

    OMG!!! Hurry!! Can’t wait!!

  • AG

    Oy vey, that sounds exciting!

  • The craigslist ad now says “This ad was prematurely posted. Please disregard.” Let’s hope they mean the hiring announcement was just premature, not that they are changing their mind about Petworth. Would be fabulous!

  • Any news?


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