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Cafe Collage Closing at 14th and T Street, NW

by Prince Of Petworth September 28, 2012 at 11:30 am 18 Comments

1346 T St, NW

Dear PoPville,

Just heard Cafe Collage is closing today from the woman who runs the place. Sad news. Not too surprising, though; I think most of the business came from people camping out all day with their laptops. The side street location didn’t help, and I always thought that having more pastries/more light inside would have been good for them.

We last judged Cafe Collage, located at 14th and T St, NW just east of St. Ex, back in Nov. 2011. Do you think a cafe can survive in this location?

  • Anonymous

    This is terribly sad news. I always loved this coffee shop because it was one of the only low-key cafes in town where you could consistently find a place to sit on the weekends and it was run by the sweetest people in the world. A big loss for that neighborhood.

  • otberbur

    The location was not ideal, but the recent successes of the new restaurants on V St. indicate that a place slightly off the beaten path can be viable if there is a compelling reason to go there. We generally went to Cafe Collage on winter weekends when we wanted some place to sit inside and other places in the area were filled to capacity. The people there were quite nice, but the product they were selling wasn’t compelling. While the coffee was good, it could not compare to the superior products offered at establishments such as Peregrine, Filter, and Blind Dog Cafe. (Note that Filter and Blind Dog are each slightly off the beaten path themselves.)

    • 14t

      i think you are wrong. location was ideal enough… their door is 30′ from the door of st. ex. in no way could this be construed as out-of-the-way. also, the coffee is great, the wraps are made fresh to order and they have some awesome shakes. (Try the Klee wrap and Stamina shake before they close!)
      i think the issue is its non-trendiness and lack of image which failed to “compel’ you and others coming from outside the neighborhood. the rents are going way up due to people coming in from outside the neighborhood or even the district and you just can’t have a regular little business in this area anymore.
      i’ll miss these people and this place greatly!!

      • KMB

        I get the impression that oterbur wasn’t coming from “outside the neighbhorhood,” why would you assume he/she was?

        • Otberbur

          In response to 14t, I’ve lived within two blocks of the Cafe Collage site for 10.5 years, and within six blocks of the site since 1980.

    • I go to lots of coffee shops but for some reason, I never went to this one, even though I pass it all the time. This post made me analyze “why.” The place looked foreboding/not too welcoming. Also, I was never quite sure if it was open, or not? So I kept walking. I would say a little more cheer, a little more openness would help. Also, the dark black signs againt the red brick are identical to the St. Ex look, so this place should have gone with a different feel.

      • Outside tables might have helped too, like at Azi’s. That frontyard space should be used to say “We are a coffeeshop.” As is, looks like a house.

  • anon

    Someone needs to open a NO-WI-FI cafe–a place where people actually go in and order food and drinks, and not be allowed to hang out indefinitely so that there is room for others to come in and sit. Would be interesting to see how that plays out.

    • Paul

      Ummm….I think you just described Peregrine.

    • Anonymous

      The Panera in Columbia Heights covered all their wall electrical outlets so guests can’t sit for hours on their laptops—assuming their batteries will die after a few hours.

    • wkt1969

      You also just described Filter’s GW location

    • JB

      I think there is too strong an assumption that coffee shops that allow laptops automatically are destroyed by that allowance. In the case of Cafe Collage, do we really think that people sitting with laptops at an otherwise empty cafe cost them business? I think instead those people were the most likely to order food and be constant patrons.

      This is very different from somewhere that is generating enough business that someone hanging out with a laptop is using a table that would otherwise be used for lunch or dinner. Many of those places have restrictions based on time of day to get both.

    • Dos Gringos Cafe in Mt. Pleasant has a no laptop/no cellphone policy. Good place to relax without the glow/office feel of laptops to distract you. Staying in Mt. Pleasant, Flying Fish has a no WiFi policy on weekends from 8am to 2pm.

      • drew

        only in dc do people love rules everywhere, even in places they’re trying to relax

  • Neal B. – Som Records

    Sad to see them go, they were very nice folks. I would love to see another low key coffee shop go in there and think one could do well if done right (and if the rent isn’t too crazy).

  • Anonymous

    What coffeshop in D.C. that allows WiFi is “not” filled with people camping out all day?

  • As someone who often camped out there for hours with a laptop, I can assure you there were always empty seats. This place had great food and drinks but suffered from a lack of marketing. How many people would go to brunch at St. Ex and not even realize there was a place next door?

  • Anonymous

    I live across the street and am sad.


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