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Mum Mum Restaurant Closing after Tonight’s Service in Dupont

by Prince Of Petworth January 31, 2014 at 11:30 am 28 Comments

1836 18th Street, NW

Earlier in the weeks some folks tweeted they heard Mum Mum would be closing on 18th Street.

This morning a reader emails:

“Just a heads up, Mum Mum (formerly Zabb) in Adams Morgan is allegedly closing this evening. I had dinner there last weekend and one of my regular servers broke the news to our table. The server said that Friday (tonight) will be their last night open.”

I called the restaurant and they have confirmed tonight is their last service.

Back in June 2013 Mum Mum opened up in the Zabb Modern Asian space which had previously opened in the summer of 2011 in the former Straits of Malaya space across the street from Lauriol Plaza.

Updates when we learn who will take over the space.

  • Anonymous

    Seems like a lot of places are recently closing in DuPont. Maybe I just notice it more now……..

  • Anonymous

    Granted, I only set foot in DuPont once in a blue moon, but I never even knew this place existed.

  • lovefifteen

    Three failed restaurants in this location within three years. Not a good sign. Sometimes certain locations just don’t feel comfortable or inviting. It’s funny because across the street, people are willing to wait for hours to get a table at Lauriol plaza.

    The food at Zabb and Mum Mum sucked, but I wonder if this building can support a restaurant even when the food is great. Sometimes a certain location is just cursed.

    • Anonymous

      Zabb and Mum Mum had the same owners – just different names and looks.

    • Anonymous

      The place has an awesome roof deck. With the right owners it could be great. I liked Zabb actually. I must have been the only one.

  • Interesting-Mum Mum’s liquor license allows it to serve until 2am and 3am on weekends, wonder if a bar would ever try to move in.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry to hear this! I’ve ordered delivery from them and their food was great! Yet Tysons III accross the street continues to thrive!

  • Anonymous

    I loved Zabb’s happy hour – best deal in the Dupont/Adams Morgan area. Beers were $2, sake and wine $4. Tons of cheap, decent sushi and appetizer options during HH ($3-$5 each). I only went there during the warmer months, but the place was never busy. Really nice people who worked there.
    And I agree, this location is cursed. Which is surprising because they have a nice street level patio and a very large roof patio. The interior decor is also nice. That said, the food was ordinary. But I’d rather eat at Zabb’s over the PG County Embassy any day of the week.

    • lovefifteen

      People in the restaurant industry definitely believe that certain locations are just “cursed”. Not literally cursed, but no matter what food you put there, it just can’t do well. It’s pretty shocking a place with a lovely roof terrace just can’t get customers.

      My theory is that the restaurant and the sidewalk terrace are too narrow. It just feel somehow cramped or claustrophobic there. I never felt relaxed and at ease there, and I lived on that block for 5 years. I would always give it a try, but never loved it. It’s the same with Plum Blossom on that same block. It has excellent sushi, but the physical space is just awkward and uncomfortable. You just don’t feel relaxed there.

  • DC_Chica

    I still remember the African place that preceded Straits of Malaya. Does anyone have a theory as to why restaurants don’t survive in this location?

    • Anon

      Yeah, the African place was really good. As was Caravan Grill across the street. I think each place that has failed has done so for different reasons. For example, the African place (Wazuri, if I remember right) got a great review in the Post and then got slammed. Neighbors couldn’t easily get in and never returned once the hype died down. Straits had been off and on, depending on the late owner’s travel, and now he’s gone. Zabb started out strong but then just started sucking. If there’s one unifying factor, it’s that none of them could get a spillover effect from Lauriol. It seems that when people from the ‘burbs have their sights set on Lauriol, they’ll wait for hours instead of getting better food nearby.

    • saf

      Actually, Straits came first, then the African place, then Straits re-opened.

      I loved bother Strait and Wazuri.

    • Anonymous

      It’s kind of an in-between-neighborhoods sort of location, with not quite as much foot traffic as businesses get a few blocks away. It’s not quite Adams Morgan and not quite Dupont Circle.

  • Anonymous

    And wasn’t it yet some other incarnation between Straits and Zabb. I seem to recall eating there in the late 80’s? I want to say there have been at least 5 different concepts, ALL the same owner. And they also have Jacks in the same building facing the corner, right?

    • Anonymous

      Nah, the corner spot is an awesome gay bar called Larry’s Lounge. Good prices, nice patio, and they let you bring in your own food :)

    • Wrong name, right concept: Larry’s is owned by Larry Tan, who also owned Straits of Malaya. He originally closed Straits in ’99 and leased the space out. Wazuri, I think, was the last of the restaurants to try to make a go of the space before Tan came back and reopened Straits around 2004. (Before Wazuri there was Canvas, and I think something else as well)

  • emilysquirrely

    You’d think the spillover of people who don’t want to wait 2 hours for a cramped table at Lauriol alone would be able to keep the next closest restaurant open. Pro tip: El Tamarindo.

    • Anonymous

      El Tamarindo is half a step up from Lauriol in terms of food quality.
      The last time I was there, El Tamarindo was hosting a prom (or bar mitzvah) afterparty. It was comical.

    • Dave

      El Tamarindo is crap. That comes from someone who grew up on Latin/Central American food. I imagine there simply aren’t enough people in the area who know what real, good Latin food tastes like.

      • Anonymous

        Go to CoHi!
        Is there any decently authentic Latin food in Adams Morgan/Dupont? I think all the good places got priced out of the ‘hood.

      • Anonymous

        Umm If there is something this city suffers from., I don’t think it’s a lack of Latino people willing to eat food.

  • lives2BlocksAway

    Zab had better sushi. When they redid the interior and renamed it they started using low quality fish. Their tuna was barely editable. I stopped going when their service got worse as well, glad its gone.

    • RGM

      I ate there a few times but after having the same experience with their sushi I never went back. The fish was clearly not fresh.

  • Anonymous

    This place would probably do really well as a gay bar. Get the right people running the place and bringing in the right crowd. Keep the food menu minimal – just simple bar snacks/drunk food.
    The terrace is lovely – just get rid of the tables and put a Nelly’s-style tent over it in the winter months. Bring in good music. Let the boys and girl have their fun.

    • Anon

      Not a bad idea, but I think that spot has a CR (restaurant) license. The place would probably have to convert to a CT (tavern) license in order to avoid the food sales minimum, and that would be difficult considering it sits within the Dupont Circle ANC.

  • Nathan

    A couple of people have mentioned El Tamarindo. I just want to go on record by saying El Tamarindo is AWESOME!!
    As far as Mum Mum, ehhh won’t miss it at all.
    As far as Northern Virginia across the street (often referred to as Lauriol Plaza) you couldn’t give me a free meal there once a week for a year. I’d rather eat at 7-11. Not that the food is that bad but the entire atmosphere and experience is of zero interest to me.

  • Duponter

    This place is definitely still open! I walked by twice this weekend and saw patrons eating inside, an open sign on the door, etc.

  • Daniel

    Mum Mum is still open as of now! The closing date has been extended; the transferring process to the new owner is taking longer than expected.


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