B & J Carryout (since 1972) Closed at 3rd and Rhode Island Ave, NW

by Prince Of Petworth January 21, 2014 at 11:30 am 36 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

Walking by B&J’s BBQ at 3rd and Rhode Island NW, I noticed that the windows are all covered in newspaper. At the same time, I saw some people in there watching TV and hanging out as usual. I’m confused – is this the beginning of the end or just more of the usual sketchiness?”

I also noticed the storefront papered over when I walked by on Saturday. And I too saw someone inside – when I inquired all I was told was that there were closed. More info when it becomes available. We judged B & J back in 2011.

238 Rhode Island Avenue, NW

  • Kind of strange, we had just driven by this place last week and I remarked at the “since 1972” on the banner, wondering how much longer that would apply, given the neighborhood shift.

  • Anonymous

    that location has got to be worth a ton of money. selling BBQ to sketchy types… probably not so much. hopefully that guy is cashing it in and starting a comfortable retirement.

    • Kam

      What exactly is a sketchy type? Please explain to me because I’m curious.

      • Anonymous

        random people hanging out in front of the store, watching TV through the window, loitering for hours. no place to go. my view of sketchy people in a city setting is anyone that hangs outside in one place without any obvious reason to be there. typically assume they are selling drugs. doesn’t matter white, black, latino, asian, whatever (as your comments here might have been baiting me to mention).

        • Kam

          No baiting here. But are they not entitled to be in a public space? How do you know they are patrons of the establishment? How do you know they possibly selling drugs? Seriously, I don’t know, is this area/establishment known from fronting drugs? Maybe these people don’t have the life that you do but that doesn’t make them sketchy by just being there where I am sure many of them have been long before many here ever thought DC. Possibly they have been spending money there for the last 20 years or so…

          • kcr

            Not the previous commenter. I observe that you seem to be being a bit obtuse about the comment. The commenter made no suggestion that people aren’t entitled to be in a public space. Just like when people who are criticized for saying abhorrent things aren’t having their “free speech” rights infringed, opining that certain behavior makes the public environment worse isn’t saying that someone doesn’t have the right to be there. Also, with regard to the how do you know they were possibly selling drugs question, internet commenters remarking on “possible” behavior need not be held to a beyond a reasonable doubt evidentiary standard. Finally, I don’t see the relevance to this conversation of amount of time lived in a place. Does x number of years spent in a place inoculate a person from being criticized for behavior in that place?

            You’re very much right on the different lives point–people that spend their days loitering on corners and (sometimes) saying rude things to me and other passersby do lead different lives than me. I don’t do that, and in general I try not to affirmatively engage in conduct that make others uncomfortable. My daily life would be slightly improved if I could expect to not be harassed, rather than the other way around. Doesn’t mean I don’t like living in DC on balance, because I certainly do, or that I think they should be forced to not be there. But my evidence based expectation of not infrequent (and usually minor, but more than nothing) harassment by people whose only business being in a spot is their lack of alternatives, makes me particularly wish they were somewhere else. A decent job, a stable place to live, a volunteer position, a shelter that didn’t kick them out during the day. That’s all.

          • CT

            kcr — no, “living x number of years in a place” should not inoculate someone’s behavior from being criticized. The original post, however, did not describe specific behaviors — as later posters have done. “Usual sketchiness” can mean a lot of things, and likely involves a lot of assumptions. I, for one, appreciate the details that let me know if I’m on the same page, or even in the same book as the OP. A second bit though,
            I’m often dismayed by people who are relatively new to an environment that can be characterized as rich in certain qualities, who then complain that those very qualities are detrimental to their own quality of life — and that people and communities with those qualities should be destroyed, removed, whatever. Manifest Destiny, still, apparently rules in America, and even in DC, but that doesn’t mean that it should go unacknowledged or unchallenged.

          • kcr

            CT- are you ever struck by how people will defend something simply because it’s entrenched? I get your point, and I agree that people should be accommodating of diversity. But that virtue ends at constantly tolerating the imposition of negative externalities. That’s called being a sucker. I’m all for providing low income folks that have a hard time keeping up with price bubbles supplemental ways to avoid disruptions in their lives. I’m not ok with vague PC-ish rationalization for bad behavior whose only foundation is that the opinions of newcomers, especially those with money, are worth less, presumably because they can just afford to live somewhere else.

        • Anonymous

          How do you define “loitering”? As opposed to waiting for a bus, meeting a friend…..? I’m not baiting either, but I’m constantly taken aback by assumptions that likely have a socioeconomic basis and bias. People who live in smaller, more crowded homes, often do things in their neighborhoods that suburbanites do in private in their rec rooms. Maybe your “no place to go” is my “meet up with friends” spot. Just a thought.

          • Anonymous

            the bus come more than once a day, yet the guys are hanging out all day long. thats pretty clearly loitering.

            maybe if you’d go by and check it out you’d know what people are talking about. just a thought.

      • DC Dawg

        The bums hanging out across the street and inside the “establishment”. The old guys lying drunk along the sidewalk with their junk hanging out taking a piss while lying down. Trading small bags of suspicious substances with the owner for cash, only to quickly turn their back to me as I watched them do it. That kind of sketchy type.

  • bb

    Very very happy about this. Looking forward to more details on what it will become. Between this, Meats & Foods, and that other new bar, this block is turning around in record time! You’re next, BP station!

    • Anonymous

      Neighborhoods still need gas stations.

      • Anonymous

        Well sure, but they don’t need 3 of them all in the same place.

        • bb


  • Kam

    “Usual Sketchiness”? Damn shame. SMH.

    • anon

      Did you used to shake your head at the people that openly pissed in the alley behind this restaurant? These just happened to be the same people who sat outside watching the tv through the window.

      • Kam

        No I didn’t and that is why I asked the question earlier. I guess I will take your word that they are the exact same people. Instead of using words like “sketchy” which I think is still the wrong word to use because it conjures a threat, have any of these people ever threatened you or your friends. People can say what they want but when one is not clear on what they mean, they leave the door open for all kinds of interpretation.

        • Anonymous

          I have been told, “I have the right to lynch you, kill you, and behead you” at the BP, because I politely declined an offer to pump my gas. I live on 2nd and walk by this block every day, there are sketchy people around.

          Anything else?

          • DC Dawg


        • Anonymous

          it conjures “threat”?
          not to me.

  • ClevelandDave

    I’ve gotten ribs there… not bad, but seemed, even a couple years ago to be semi-closed. Most of the display cases were empty, a few older gents just hangin’ out. Must have been great in the day, but in this case, either they needed to up their act or close down if they were going to operate as a place to eat.

  • shaw molly

    I ate there once. Got food poisoning. It won’t be missed.

    • ConfusedinShaw

      Wait- this place actually sold food? News to me.

  • babybirdjohnson

    We’ve lived in the neighborhood 10 years and went in there soon after moving in. I like BBQ. I like supporting local business. What’s not to like…

    I walked in on two guys watching TV, the place looking half-open at best. Nothing on the shelves, nothing in the fridge. I ordered a sandwich, the guy behind the counter spent a full minute grumbling and looking for his bib. Eventually, a grayish meat sandwich was produced. It would not be worth describing the food now.

    Ever since, I’ve peeked in on a semi-regular basis and the scene has not changed a single pixel. The owners are either keen to subsidize the old guys inside, or there’s business going that’s not on the menu.

    PS — When you close, B&J, please don’t become a $4 artisanal toast emporium. (http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/toast-story-latest-artisanal-food-craze-72676/)

    • Anonymous

      You and I both know that this is the likely outcome. When ‘sketchy” places or useful ones like corner convenience stores go, the likelihood of some affordable decent restaurant or some utilitarian retail business is next to nil. It’s a shame that the overpriced restaurants usually are so mediocre, but DC has yet to surmount its reputation as a place where people think they have more sophistication than they really possess and food is a good example.

  • Truxton Thomas

    I once saw a sign on the window of a bar in Amsterdam that said “No Dodgy Characters.” That got the point across, and “sketchy” has the same know-it-when-you-see-it quality. There are a lot of sketchy characters in this neighborhood who are sketchy for any number of reasons, so let’s not overthink what the OP and other commenters have written.

  • Jane

    “Usual Sketchiness”? the times I’ve been in there, it sounded like everybody knew each other. Granted, I would not eat from their (super-greasy fried chicken that they would reheat in a microwave in front of you that tasted like pork). Never saw “Usual Sketchiness” fwiw, but not suprised its gone.

    • DC Dawg

      Drug deals, people sleeping in the place overnight, there’s even a cat that lives there. If you don’t see what many people consider “usual sketchiness” you aren’t looking and don’t walk by the place every day.

  • Anonymous

    If they were smart, they’d change their name to “Freddy’s,” throw up a picture of a Congressman eating their BBQ, and sit back and watch the dollars roll in.

    Maybe it’s not that simple, but it’s worth a try, right?

  • DC Dawg

    I’ve seen dozens of drug transactions happen in front of this place. There are also people sleeping there at night treating it like a residence, which I think is why the windows are papered over. I’m sure that’s one of the many health code violations they are committing, in addition to the cat that is living there.

  • Anonymous

    I remember walking by this joint a couple of months ago. It was after hours, but I noticed something moving inside and stopped to see what it was. Turns out they let a cat out inside after they lock up at night. It came to the door and meowed, and then out of the blue this lady inside ran to the door and started yelling for me to go away. I considered reporting the animal inside (it is a restaurant, after all), but figured that the owners might just kill the cat as a solution. I didn’t want that happening.

    So if this place was going to close down for anything other than shifting demographics, it would be for health code violations.

    • Anonymous

      Glad I’m not the only one who saw it. I know there are mice and rats all over the place in this neighborhood, but keeping a cat in a place where you supposedly (not likely) prepare and serve food is grounds for shutdown.

  • eli

    This place is gross. They run an illegal rooming house. It is so beyond sanitary. The posters who are defending them are idiots who have never been inside.

  • Anonymous

    Walked by today and the paper was down and they were open…

  • Bloomingduck

    Looks like they’ve had quite a few violations for whatever that’s worth. http://washington.dc.gegov.com/webadmin/dhd_431/web/?a=inspections&permitID=862


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