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Dino’s Grotto Launches Indiegogo Fundraiser for Move to Shaw

by Prince Of Petworth January 6, 2014 at 11:30 am 40 Comments

3435 Connecticut Avenue, NW

In November we learned Dino would be closing in Cleveland Park and opening a new spot in Shaw. [Dino’s last day in Cleveland Park is January 12th.] Thanks to a reader for sending a heads up about their new Indiegogo fundraising campaign:

“We would LOVE it if we could entirely finance the restaurant thru this campaign so we can birth our new baby with just our own resources and fan support. This is the only way we can have the freedom to do what we do best: support our sustainable network of small family farms & wineries, and artisan producers deliciously!

It will take over $200,000 in total to bring the new Dino’s Grotto to fruition. So even when we hit our target, please keep on donating! Then we can give our regulars and our new customers what they want.

The Shaw neighborhood is undergoing a rebirth of vibrancy and excitement after many a hard year. Dino is closing in Cleveland Park and now comes to Shaw to experience its own rebirth into a new form and a new future. We are excited to join such a dynamic and exciting neighborhood.”

Yesterday Dino’s tweeted:

“What a 1st day! 7% to our goal & our Indiegogo not even 24 hours old! $25 gets you 2 10% off visits #DinoComesToShaw”

  • acg

    I don’t entirely understand – do they have a location yet in Shaw?

    • I heard a rumor they found a space on 9th Street but the owner would not confirm.

      • acg

        Thanks. Was hoping it was on 7th

        • I wouldn’t rule any location out yet! Like I said there is no confirmation.

          • Beth

            Dino sent an email about the campaign to its mailing list, and it said the following about the location:
            “We have finally agreed to a lease on our new spot in Shaw where we will open Dino’s Grotto {hopefully around March 1!} The location is in an old historic building on 9th Street south of U. “

          • Anonymous

            So Dino wants us to give him money to open up on U Street? Hahaha, okay guy… good luck with that.

  • Anonymous

    Sure, I wouldn’t mind investing. Now how about you give us some details as to the actual location. This will determine whether you get my $ or not.

    • Anonymous

      Just saw PoP’s reply above. That’s a bit too far from me to invest. I’m sure they’ll do fine without my $ :-)

  • snoopy

    Exactly – and do you get any return on the investment, or just a discount on food? I’m confused.

    • Indiegogo is not an investment vehicle. It is a method of raising donations with perks going if you donate.

  • Anonymous

    I’d donate if you were going to stay in CP, but I don’t really care about Shaw.

    • SS

      Shaw doesn’t care about you either, so there.

      • Anonymous

        And that’ll keep me up at night for sure.

  • Anonymous

    Would love love love to see them to take up residence in some of that NJ Ave (btwn RI and P) real estate that’s crying out for a new restaurant/cafe/coffee shop.

  • Bloomie

    What? They are 6 days away from closing and they just now decided to fundraise for this?

    When they announced their impending closure in November, I figured they Atleast had the money to move their restaurant, and a location picked. And would be building out their space by now. This seems all very last minute and disorganized. As spendy of a place as it is, how don’t they have the money to do this.

    Lastly, this crowd funding thing has gotten out of hand. It’s the “lazy” way that let’s people without the requisite experience, money or knowledge to get other people to pay their bills. While it works occasionally, I can’t count how many times I’ve seen it fail, folks just close down without making a go of it. And why not? It isn’t your money, who cares if it is wasted so “ofcourse ” they would like to finance this off other peoples free money.

    • Rose’s Luxury and Mothership both used crowd sourcing and frankly, that is here I got my inspiration.

  • Anonymous

    Is it just me, or is the whole idea of “donating” to help a for-profit business that charges it’s affluent clientelle on average $25-$30 for a plate of pasta and $75 for a bottle of wine completely insane?

    • Amen

      Amen brother ( or sister). With the prices this place charges, it’s insulting that they need the rest of us to kick in free money for them.

      What happened to businesses who got loans, based on solid business plans? Well, as long as everyone is doing it, I’m gonna crowd source me that new 100k car I’ve wanted. Everyone who donates get a free ride anywhere in the District.

    • ANON

      It is. The only way that I would find “donating” money to them acceptable is if they gave you gift cards in the full amount of the “donation” that you could use, let’s say, 6 months after opening. That way they have time to settle in. They could essentially pay back their “loan/donation” with food and drinks.

    • Our average bottle of wine sold is $35 and our pasta full sized portions average less than $20 a plate.

      But if you think I am insane, my wife will definitely agree…. most of the time.

      • Anonymous

        Why not offer real perks with acutal incentive to donate? Have donation options of “Donate $100 and get a $50 gift card”, or something similar. This way your get money up front for the move and the customer has an actual incentive to donate. You still make a profit on the $50 gift card too!

        • Anonymous

          Shhhh! You’re making it too easy for him!

          • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    Remember a time when businesses had to be profitable and have a winning business model to operate rather than simply starting an unaccountable/dodgy kickstarter fund?

    Pepridge Farm Remembers…

    I think if a company has to appeal to it’s customers for money beyond what they make as a profit they’re pretty much doomed to failure. It’s like putting a tip cup in a place that has no waiters… A big over-reach.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, it’s totally crazy, but if a for-profit business can convince people to give them free money, then more power to ’em!

  • Anonymous

    The restaurant needs a $200,000 to move — isn’t this what bank loans are for? You would think that a very popular restaurant such as Dino’s would have no trouble securing a line of credit, but who knows? Or are bank loans too passé now?

  • ams

    They’re embracing a fundraising model in a time where LivingSocial, Kickstarter and IndieGoGo can easily provide mutually beneficial deals between companies and their clients.

    Give them a break people, and embrace the future.

    Dino coupons ftw!

  • Anonymous

    Yep, this irks me. I wouldn’t mind as much if they were moving to an area that isn’t “hot” yet and needed the bump (Anacostia, Trinidad) and were asking for some moving funding, but 200K? To move to Shaw? Where like a dozen new restaurants just opened in the last month?

  • I’m not sure I understand all the negativity here. If you don’t like the restaurant or the idea of crowd-sourcing, then don’t participate. I for one have been a long time fan of Dino’s. I think the food is great and the prices are very reasonable. And if a $25 “donation” gets me 10% off my bill for two visits, I’m sure I’ll get most or all of my money back. Small price to pay as someone who lives in the Shaw area. Good luck with the move, Dean!

    • Anonymous

      The negativity stems from a presumably well-to-do restaurateur asking for handouts. Not sure why this is difficult to comprehend.

      • Anonymous

        Agreed. If I want to help out the people of Shaw by donating $25, I’ll give it to a soup kitchen. There are still tons of homeless people in Shaw, and even more living in housing projects that are dependent on food stamps (which don’t give out much more than $25 per week to feed hungry children). Not all the poor people in Shaw have been kicked out by gentrification. At least not yet.

      • Anonymous

        I’m still finding it difficult to comprehend. Would it be better if it were a Chinese carryout asking for donations? A high-end restaurant doesn’t necessarily have higher profits.

        • Anonymous

          See the previous response.

  • I guess my sense would be that (1) he is not so “well-to-do” considering he has had to close the original location due to a lack of profitability; and (2) he’s not asking for handouts. Handouts involve giving something and getting nothing. In this situation, I’d be giving $25, getting a discount on future visits, and having a great restaurant nearby. To me, that’s an investment. Maybe not everyone wants to make that investment, but I’m happy to.

    • Beth

      (Big) +1

  • dcgent

    Yea, I don’t think Dean is a “well-to-do” restauranter–he’s been on the verge of closing in Cleveland Park a few times because the high rent made it tough at various times for Dino’s to make a profit (And that might make getting that bank loan a bit of a challenge). It’s a popular but not a destination restaurant, and the CP competition has gotten tougher and tougher over the years. Dean’s ambitions/ideas have always seemed to conflict with pure business sense–I’m still curious what happened to the food truck he bought to bring out gourmet burgers. He had some ambitious plan to cook them on hot stones, I dimly recall? I think his fundraising plan is challenged by the explosion of new DC restaurants–most people don’t have time or money to get to all the new ones–and his choice of location may no longer be underserved enough that residents will pony up to help him. And while Cleveland Park residents may like Dino’s, will they actually lead their bounty of food options to go to Shaw more than once or twice a year–so his most loyal fans may not contribute. I wish him luck though because Dean means well and wants to feed customers good food and give them a great evening–the restaurant business is tough, however.

  • Anonymous

    I am a proponent of supporting the local businesses and giving money to these sorts of campaigns if you get something in return (ie discount for future use, etc). This issue was heavily discussed about each peach. I visit there weekly and its an amazing addition to the neighborhood (mt pleasant), but I donated money and they were supposed to have a board identifying those who donated and they never put it up. They instead only gave us buttons, as promised.

    In short, if you are going to have one of these campaigns, offer something in return and follow through!

  • kook47797

    Why all the angst regarding crowdsourcing? How is this any different than hitting up a rich uncle or daddy (or Mommy)?

    • Anonymous

      Because hitting up a rich uncle/etc. is done so in a largely private matter.

  • Identified

    No thanks. For profit companies do not get free money from me. I find it beyond repugnant that this is even a thing… and that people think this is a donation. In my mind, “Donations” are for not-for-profits or need-based organizations – and it rankles when giving to for profit organizations is considered the same thing as giving money to help those in need. But if other people want to do it… it’s their money. And this is a Flexible account, so they get the money regardless of meeting their goal.

    I’ll give Dino’s money when they give me food and drink, like any other restaurant. I have been to the CP location, it was pretty good. When they open, I’ll probably try the grotto.


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