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Costa Brava, Spanish Tapas Restaurant, Coming to Bloomingdale

by Prince Of Petworth — August 19, 2012 at 10:22 pm 54 Comments

1837 1st Street, NW

Back in May 2012 I shared some scuttlebutt that a Spanish tapas restaurant was coming to the vacant space in the yellow building next to Rustik at 1837 1st St, NW. Ed. Note: Across the street, 1822 1st St, NW will become an Italian-influenced American restaurant.

Turns out the scuttlebutt was accurate about the Spanish tapas restaurant. It will be called Costa Brava and the liquor license application posted out front says:

“Restaurant/bar serving Spanish tapas with a seating capacity for less than 50 patrons and a total load of less than 99. Requesting an Entertainment Endorsement for occasional small Spanish ensemble, acoustical trio and DJ.

In addition, requesting a Sidewalk Café with 12 seats and Summer Garden with 20 seats.”

1st and T St, NW (Next to Rustik)

  • N

    Just to get this out of the way, yes we know you hate tapas so much, and there are a ton of tapa restaurants, and tapas are small and expensive and you’d really like so much more food for your buck. Etc etc.

    Okay, cue discussion.

    • Anonymous

      Personally, I love tapas. I do worry that this place will be expensive though. Still a great thing for first street!

    • Anonymous

      tapas are wonderful. portion size is ridiculous in america. not everyone needs 5 helpings of pasta to feel like they’ve gotten their money’s worth. sometimes it’s ok to eat just enough so that you’re satisfied, not stuffed. thus, tapas.

      • Anon X

        stop with the strawman. You must know there’s something in between a 4-5 bite plate for 7-10 bucks and a 5 portion helping of pasta… right?

        • I agree! we went to Izakaya Seki on Friday and I came away hungry after a bill over $60 for two.

        • Anonymous

          i will stop at nothing. yes, it was for effect. i’m saying some people can fill up on 10 bites for $14.

        • I’ve found that tapas for 2 ends up being expensive, but that tapas for 4-6 (if all sharing), ends up affordable. I think ordering too much is sometimes driven not by whats needed to be satisfied by the meal, but a desire to try a few different things.

    • Vic

      I’m stoked about it, and tapas portions are just fine with me!

  • Anonymous

    Are there any empty spots left in bloomingdale?

    • Not many anymore, I don’t know if any of these are spoken for but there’s the spot to the left of Rustik; an empty corner store at 2nd and Fla.; and is there one spot left in the Sylvan theater (Boundary Stone) strip? I know there’s supposed to be a bakery coming. Plus N. Cap.

      • Elle

        Lots of places on North Capitol…so many vacant storefronts there.

  • David

    How about a Pizza place that serves slices in tapas size portions…..

  • bb

    Sweet. This will be a good addition to the neighborhood, despite the usual tapas complaints. I love that this strip will eventually have a nice variety of cuisines in one place – surprisingly little repetition. PoP, what’s up with that bakery that’s supposed to come in around the corner? The sign still says for lease…

    All we need now is a grocery store. Please. Somebody open a grocery store.

    • Anonymous

      Good idea, but where?

      • Anonymous

        A grocery store is part of the plan for the McMillan development project that oh so many in Bloomingdale are opposed to. Just saying . . .

      • bb

        There’s a space for lease at 3rd and Florida Ave NW that would be absolutely perfect for a small grocery store. It doesn’t have to be all organic and crunchy (although a YES! would fit well in the neighborhood) – just someplace to buy fresh produce and some basics for a decent price.

        Other than that, maybe somewhere in Progression Place? The retail slots in there are looking rather long and narrow, though – perhaps not big enough for what the neighborhood really needs.

        Or we could just reclaim the ex-Safeway that’s now the United Planning Organization. Or Howard University could finally get its act together and build Howard Town Center…

        • Anonymous

          a Yes! WOULD be a great idea…

          • Matt

            Is YES! any cheaper than Field to City/Timor’s? Between Harris Teeter, Field to City, and Windows, I feel like the neighborhood is pretty well covered on places to buy groceries.

        • Anonymous

          “get its act together”????

          • CA

            Yes. Howard owns an overwhelming amount of land and property in NW DC and after years of proposals and promises to the community of development, they continue not to deliver. They should either act, better maintain these properties or sell them to developers who will move to enhance our community for the better. I acknowledge they have been better in their matinance of their real estate in recent years, but thier inactivity has been a blight on the community and the reputation of an outstanding university.

          • Anonymous

            yes, howard is great at educating people but not good at development. for years they let homes in le droit park fester and rot. thankfully they got their act together and sold them off. the town center has been molasses slow.
            i don’t blame them, but from a neighbors point of view, they suck at development.

        • anon

          Had heard at one point that the guy at 3rd and FL wanted a 5 year lease…. which is unreasonably long for most businesses. A wine bar was rumored to be going into that spot a while ago, but because of that 5 year lease thing a plan never materialized.

          One other property that COULD be converted into something really cool is 1700 2nd ST NW… but as it stands now… it is just a shell with these horrible steel window/door guards bolted on in order to keep bad people out of there. What a waste.

          • bb

            +1. That corner could really be something, either residential or commercial. The huge space in front of the building is a waste, too – all concrete.

          • Matt

            There is a wine bar that should be opening sometime soon over on North Capitol. I think it’s at North Capitol and R?

          • anon

            PoP – that property should get a horse’s ass award

    • Anon X

      If you mean a small grocery store, we have Timors… it could use a bit more diversity in its offerings, but its about the best you’re going to get in a storefront. If you want a big grocery store, most people are happy with 2 within 3/4s of a mile. You have a safeway and a teeter very close with a Trader Joes opening just over a mile away soon. Plus a brand new giant opening up in Shaw. AND there’s a whole foods 14 blocks down Rhode Island. Also there’s a YES! in Brookland, abouit 2.5 miles away (but a very easy drive that is rarely congested). Plus, 6 months a year there’s a farmers market.

      So recap:
      YES!: 2.5 miles
      Whole Foods and Trader Joes: ~1mile
      Safeway <1mi
      Harris Teeter <1mi
      Timor's physically located in Bloomingdale
      Farmers Market, 6 months a year.

      With all of these options, do you really think Bloomingdale could support a larger grocery store on its own?

      • Anonymous

        Not everyone has a car, and your distance estimates seem to be calculated from the South or West ends of bloomingdale. Personally, I find walking over a mile home lugging groceries (even if I did have a grocery cart) to be a bit taxing, especially in the summer heat. Yes, there are bus options, but you still have to deal with bags, grocery carts, and the logistics of finding space on the bus. I think a larger store could certainly be supported in the area. Perhaps the old fire house on North Capitol could be turned into a grocery store.

        • Anon X

          It sounds like you’ll only be happy if a grocer decides to open within a few blocks of wherever you decide to live. I suggest you move to an area with higher density than Bloomingdale has. You will be happier not having a car in an area that can support more retail.

      • bb

        I realize that we have several large grocery stores that are all equidistant from the area. And when O St Market opens, this will be less of an issue. But for now, I’m just looking for some place to supplement the weekly schlep. A clean, well-lit place for food that goes slightly beyond the Quickie Mart variety.

        And yes, the Howard Town Center project has been plagued by indecision and false starts, all well documented.

        • Vic

          Windows has everything you need including produce.

          • eli

            You’re just being silly. The produce at Windows is just awful. You’ve seen it, right? Timor is ok for some things, but prices are high. They just don’t move enough volume to be inexpensive.

      • Matt

        I completely agree with you and don’t think a large grocery store in bloomingdale would get the business needed to keep it going.

    • AP

      It would be great if Mt. Bethel Church would sell their parking lot at 1st & Thomas and open it up to development. That parcel, combined with the Windows and China Dragon parcels, could easily fit a 4-5 story residential building with a grocery store on the street level. Windows could expand or a YES Organic could go in there. It’s such a waste having that parking lot there that is so underutilized and not well-maintained.

      • Anon X

        If the church decides to develop that parcel, you can bet what you just described is NOT what is going to happen.

        • AP

          Why is that, because the plan actually makes sense? Haha… Seriously, I’d take almost anything except an empty parking lot or 100% “affordable” housing.

          • Anon X

            If I were to place a bet on what that parcel would be in 10 years, I’d split my money into thirds and put equal money on:
            1. parking lot
            2. 100% affordable housing
            3. homeless shelter

  • meo

    What about the sushi/thai place, when is that opening?

    • I’m curious about this, too – have been seeing quite a lot of work in there so I keep thinking it’s soon. I was guessing that it’d be open by the end of August, but now I’m not so sure…

      And I’m very pro-tapas! I agree that they’re often overpriced, but I love being able to share a variety of dishes without stuffing myself.

      • Julie

        I think Aroi sushi is opening sometime this fall, like Oct-Nov. And then Red Hen next door (on other side of Yoga District) is due to open in Jan 2013.

        I am personally super excited about all of this development on 1st street. Now we need a Deli, a fro-yo place, and a PHO place. 🙂

  • Nekojita

    Tapas sound fine to me in theory–it will depend on the execution.

    Imagine the potential for an awesome Bloomingdale food/pub crawl:
    -Wings and Beer at Boundary Stone
    -Summer roll and beer at Aroi Thai and sushi (hopefully coming soon?)
    -Kale Salad and prosecco at Rustik
    -Patatas Braves and Sangria at this new tapas place
    -Meatballs and wine at Red Hen (hopefully coming soon?)
    -Homemade dessert and coffee at Big Bear

    Still hungry? Pick up a pizza at Bacio or mac and cheese at Jam Doung as you waddle/stagger your way home.

  • Sounds pretty cool, but what I’d give for a good, inexpensive taqueria like Pica to open in the hood.

    • AP

      Yes, a Pica Taco or something similar would be fantastic. It’s inexpensive and good quality…just what the neighborhood needs!

    • Anon X

      Totally agree. Not just tacos either, everything texmex has to offer. Including all kinds of tequila drinks.

  • Anonymous

    I love it. I am originally from Barcelona and I live on 1st st. A good number of tapas restaurants in DC are surprisingly good, reliable and offer a great introduction to these amazing culinary treats. I hope that Costa Brava will keep the stakes high. Oh, and about the price… the worth of a meal shouldn’t be measured by how full you get. Satisfaction in eating is also about good ingredients, creative combinations and attractive presentation. That is what good tapas are about. If you want a cheap and oversized meal, there are plenty of options around town…

    • Anonymous

      thank you

    • Anon X

      Strawman argument again! You’re putting up a false choice. The people who dont like expensive small plates arent saying that cheap big plates are the answer.

  • This is fantastic news! We just moved to bloomingdale, and I am so happy for it!

  • rovyates

    I just moved to DC and LOVE, love love Ethiopian food, but don’t know if they have it here. Anyone know any good places?

    • Prince Of Petworth

      From an old chat:


      But be sure to check out Ethiopic at 4th and H St, NE as well.

    • You don’t know if they have it here? You mean here as in DC or here as in Bloomingdale? Either way, you’re in luck – DC is the best place for Ethiopian food in the entire country (the largest Ethiopian population outside of Ethiopia), and my personal favorite spot while not technically in Bloomingdale, is just a short jaunt away – Zenebech Injera, on Florida Ave NW, right next to T St and 6th St. Definitely more of a hole in the wall place, but amazing (and cheap!) food – the vegetarian combination platter is my favorite and can easily feed 2 (or 3 not as hungry) people for just $10.

  • B

    Sure would like to see something more than restaurants. I think Bloomingdale would welcome an old style butcher/meat/cheese/deli type of market. Lots of us like to grill or prepare fresh, delish meals instead of eating out. There is a untapped market in Bloomingdale for this, I think.

  • Anonymous

    the city paper article on this place mentions that it’s more than just the first floor. and that they will have weekend dj’s.

    “barcelona meets 18th street lounge”

    bloomingdale’s first night club?

  • Anonymous

    Hopefully, someone will open a restaurant at 1700 2nd Street. At the corner of 2nd and Florida Ave. NW. Perhaps even a sidewalk cafe.

    • Anonymous

      Amen. I’d love to see that building fixed up.


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