Huge U Street News: Italian Concept Coming to 1212 U St, NW from the Owner of Russia House and Biergarten Haus!?!

by Prince Of Petworth December 12, 2012 at 10:30 am 65 Comments

1212 U Street, NW

Yesterday we learned that an “Italian concept” was coming to the former CB 1212 space on U Street. A very reliable source sends a huge update – they confirm that this will indeed be an Italian concept but more importantly they say who is behind the new spot – the owner of Russia House (1800 Connecticut Avenue, NW) and Biergarten Haus (1355 H Street, NE.) So maybe this will be Casa Italiano?

Whatever it will be called this is gonna be huge for U Street. More info as it becomes available.

  • petwurf

    okay, I’ll bite: why will this be huge? two restaurants, neither of which is known or applauded for their food quality, decide to join forces and open a third? kinda like sears merging with kmart, no?

    maybe they’ll sell a lotta chianti . . .

    • Anonymous

      i’m not sure why this is big either.

    • Anonymous

      +1. We already have more than enough mediocre Italian restaurants in the general area, and the food at Biergarten Haus is really, really bad.

      • Anonymous

        which other italian restaurants in the general area are you thinking of?

        • Anonymous

          All of them! Can you name a decent Italian restaurant within a mile of this place? None of the places over in Adams Morgan are anything special, the place over on 17th is mediocre, and anything else on U is little more than a pizza carryout with little else to offer.

          • Anonymous

            Coppis and Al Crostino come to mind, obviously.

          • I think Al Crostino’s food is excellent.

          • I love Coppi’s. Can’t wait til they reopen.

  • Anonymous

    I am excited about this. I am a fan of Russia House for what it is (but because of what it is, I don’t often go there), but I love Biergarten Haus. This is great news for U Street!

  • I hate the term concept – its not a concept its a freaking restaurant!

  • Anonymous

    Since RozCat has not responded to this posting I will go ahead and post what we all know he/she is thinking: When is U Street going to get a non-Italian, non-gay place for regular people?

    • Boris S. Wort

      Let it go. Geez, how petty.

  • Alex

    I heard rumors that this (or something Italian) was going to be taking over the Red Palace space when they close. I guess not…unless we’re getting two Italian places.

    • Alex

      Scratch this, I somehow misread “U Street” as “H Street.” Damn hangover.

  • GreenThumb

    I appreciate the sarcasm and low expectations, but this is a marked improvement and a welcome addition to the neighborhood. I wish them well. And for what it’s worth, over the coming months a number of decent concepts are launching in close proximity along the U Street and 14th Street Corridors. You’d think strong competition will keep them on their toes.

    • Anonymous

      A marked improvement? I’m just not seeing it.

      • Anonymous

        Did you ever go to CB1212? Doubtful or you wonldnt be asking how anything could be an improvement.

      • Anonymous

        Apparently you had never been the place that was in this spot before. This is a huge improvement.

    • Can anyone recommend a great concept for a special dinner?

      • Anonymous

        Komi is a pretty unique “concept” for dinner, but I doubt if you could get a reservation.

        • GreenThumb

          +1. Komi may be the toughest reservation in town.

          Another option: Corduroy.

  • Anonymous

    I live on U Street and the changes over the last 3.5 years (time I’ve been there) along U and up 14th are incredible. Unfortunately, I think it’s losing a lot of the character that has made it a fun place to live. I’m not at all anti-development, but buildings being demolished and replaced with standard fare DC condos and restaurants being opened by one of a few DC restaurant groups make me wonder whether it will be discernable from any other part of the city once the development is “done”

    • Anonymous

      Sorry, but I will not miss the 14th and swann street laundromat (1 story 1970’s brick), the yums/permanent going out of business/T street post office (1 story 1970’s strip mall-type development with plexiglass windows), or the satellite dish yard at 14th and V (now eatonville), or the nemiah center (1970’s strip mall).

      You are glorifying the past.

      • Anonymous

        I’d love to know specifically which places we are. Ourning here, tha left in the past 3.5 years.

        • Anonymous

          u streets changed a lot in the past 3 years? has it really? since the Ellington went up, the change has seemed kind of slow to me. all relative i guess.

          potential development with jbg seems like another pulse of huge change.

    • Arlington.

  • Anonymous

    Just why, exactly, is this *HUGE* news? More mediocre food in an area just drowning in’em.

    Go ahead, name me 5 great restaurants. Hell, name me 2. or 1; I mean REAL restaurants, that people travel to this ‘hood to visit for the food, not the scene or the vibe or the cocktails, the FOOD

    • Anonymous

      just speaking for myself, but pico taco, ben’s, etete, dukem, 1905, chillango, st. ex, el tamarindo.

      • I’m sorry, but none of those are great, destination restaurants that a person goes out of their way to get a reservation for. Ethiopian is a novelty food for most people (except to North Africans). Crappy little taco shacks are just that. Ben’s is good cheap greasy stuff, but it’s a landmark.

        The only real destination restaurant in the U Street area is Izakaya Seki. Everything else is lowest common denominator “upscale” aspirations.

        • I know this is going to make me sound like the stereotypical DC d-bag here, but Ethiopia isn’t in North Africa :). But yeah, agree with you 100% about the U St. restaurant scene.

        • Anonymous

          novelty food? what a dumb ass thing to say.

          • Yeah, Ethiopian is a novelty food for the vast majority of Americans. No one makes it at home, except Ethiopians. I’m not saying it in a pejorative way, it’s just what it is. It’s fun and delicious but it’s not something you go out for all the time (unless you’re Ethiopian). And the Ethiopian restaurants on U Street aren’t great restaurants that you go out of your way to find if you’re visiting the city.

          • Anonymous

            Nope, it’s true. The food is delicious, but it’s kind of hard to turn it into haute cuisine when your culture has yet to adopt the fork and the spoon.

          • Anonymous

            i’m glad i don’t think like half the people on here. have fun at your “great” foodie concept restaurants what with their spoons and forks and haute.

          • So much the better if no one has turned Ethiopian food into “haute cuisine.” We know what that means: tiny portions and exorbitant prices.

        • Anonymous

          Okay, so maybe not Pica, but every other place is definitely a destination for many.

          and great? what makes a place great then?

      • S/he asked for great. I assume you meant Pica Taco, which makes my own Mexican cooking look on par with a Michelen 5 star restaurant. Ben’s? Great? Really? The rest I’d say are good but far from great. I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to eat at any of them (or any restaurant on U st probably).

        • +1

          And I live in this area! I’ve been to all of them; they’re decent and palatable, but not great.

        • Whomp

          The Michelin Guide only goes to 3 stars

        • Cap Hill SE

          It’s true. I can’t think of a single restaurant that I would specifically go to U Street for. Then again, I can’t think of any in my neighborhood that I would go to if I didn’t live here!

    • Anonymous

      who goes to a restaurant solely for the food anyway? just cook at home.

      • Anonymous

        ben’s? etete? 1905? st x?

        wow, i guess people really DONT go out for food these days

        • Anonymous

          The question is what places on U St do “people go out of there way for.” The treasure trove of excellent Ethiopian restaurants alone gets us to five.

          • Anonymous

            Unless you live in one of the other neighborhoods that has a good Ethiopian restaurant.

          • Anonymous

            Or you don’t eat Ethiopian. In which case, 1 or 5 or 50, I’m not eating at any of them.

    • Matt

      No one has mentioned Tabaq, I think it’s really tasty. It’s a little expensive, but I think it’s worth it for a nice occasion. I took family there for a recent birthday and everyone loved the food and the very cool rooftop. I also agree with another post that asked why can’t we let them open before we crap all over them, jeez people! I don’t think DC has ever really been known as a “food town” but it’s improving, give it some time, and give it a chance!

    • I’m with you. I’ve been disappointed with most of the hyped-up U St. places I’ve tried. I heard about how great Dickson’s banh-mi are. Not so much. And Ben’s food is nothing to get excited about even if it is a landmark. Cafe St. Ex and Coppi’s were similarly underwhelming. It’s not that they were bad, it’s just that they’re average and the quality doesn’t match the hype. I do want to try Izakaya Seki, though. Personally, I’d recommend or make a trip for the restaurants on 14th in Logan before any I’ve been to on U.

      • Agreed, though most of the places on 14th are also lots of hype & noise, but little substance. The only really “great” places on 14th that I try to take out-of-towners to are Great Wall and Estadio. Everything else on 14th is just “OK” – they’re all similarly overpriced and I’ll usually just go to whatever is the least crowded.

        • Actually Estadio was the restaurant I had in mind. And Churchkey for beer. I’ve heard good things about the food at Birch & Barley, but I haven’t been there yet.

  • Anonymous

    Well, Ben’s for one.

  • Anonymous

    Plus any number of world class Ethiopian restaunts (Etete? Dukem?).

    And while you may not consider, say, “Bistro Bohem,” to be in the world class of foodie establisments, it’s exactly the kind of thing people are flocking too these days in the best neighborhoods around the country.

    • World class ethiopian lol. Dukem is good, but its food is pretty much on par with plenty of other Ethiopian restaurants (like etete), but a bit more expensive.

  • jaybird

    A lot of these posts are like the Sav-on thread. You’ve already decided that the food will be bad. I hope it is good or even great. Who knows but can’t we just wait until its open to crap on it.

  • Anonymous

    Reading all these sad, negative screeds is hilarious. You all sound like Angie Tempura … If you don’t enjoy your neighborhood, move.


  • NoKethup

    Really don’t get it. Seems only a few people have any idea what filled this space the past few years. HUGE improvement.

    I would venture that a lot of people complaining about the offerings on U st moved to the area thinking it was something it was not. It’s an area of the city. Pretty much it.

    I’ve lived on U st for the past 6 years. Not long but I’ve been here for the major developments. Solly’s and Ulah were the exciting new bars being built….that was it. There isn’t whole lot of special with U St. I like it because it’s convenient to Metro, bus lines, live music and “central” location to other DC neighborhoods. Not great restaurants.

    By the way, try Policy sometime or mussels at Bistro La Bonne. Shits good.

    • Bistro la Bonne is the best restaurant on U St.

  • Anonymous

    What are they going to call it? Russia Haus Italian Concept Restaurant?

  • Aaron

    We are pleased to announce Alphons Italian Market and Osteria will be opening this spring. We will offer the neighborhood a casual Tuscan style market/cafe/osteria. We will have fresh roasted coffee and pastries as well as traditional 100 percent Italian sourced meats and cheeses for our sandwiches, all of our pastas will beade In-house as well as all of our sauces. A wood fired pizza will offer you sicillian style individual pizzas with the freshest ingredients. In addition we will offer table service ( self serve with affordable beer and wine to compliment your food. Our market will offer prepared individual or larger size quantities with cooking instructions. Our Executive Chef Andrew LaPorta is classically trained in Italian Cuisine and has mastered the art of making Charcuterie and sausages for many of DC top Italian
    Eateries . Chef Laporta has spent over twenty years working in business with his primary focus on Italian Cuisine . Our upstairs eatery will offer international cooking classes and seminars, wine classes and private dining space for up to 40 people. Once again we look forward to offering authentic “Nona” style food in the near future. Aaron McGovern, Italian Food Concepts.

    • anon

      You mean “Nonna”?

    • Anonymous

      I’m not going to be a PITA and list the typos in this faux marketing entry. Just going to say that my favorite is having the affordable beer or wine compliment my food. I’ve never had that done before. Alright, major kudos!

  • A request to the new management: please, when doing your remodel/renovation, ramp the front step to provide wheelchair access.


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