Ghana Cafe Closes in Logan Circle

by Prince Of Petworth June 9, 2014 at 11:25 am 36 Comments

1336 14th Street, NW

In Saturday’s rant/revel post a reader commented:

“Rant: Ghana Cafe is closed! Just moved to Logan Circle recently and went there the first time last weekend. Thought it was strangely empty, but loved the food and planned on heading back many times. Walking past it yesterday, I discovered the chairs were empty out and the windows were half covered in newspaper! Anyone know what happened? Any tips on where else to get Ghanaian food?”

Ghana Cafe moved from Adams Morgan to Logan Circle back in Jan. 2010.

14th Street looking north towards Rhode Island Ave

Sadly word of the closure turned out to be true – I peeked in the window Sunday morning:


As for where else to get Ghanaian food – you could try the new (formerly Rahama) Appioo African Restaurant at 1924 9th St, NW (just south of U St. near the new Dino’s Grotto):

“We serve authentic Ghanaian cuisine, and our menu includes traditional dishes such as waakye, fufu, banku,tou zafi, red red, and abunabunu soup. Take a look at our menu page to see all of our offerings.”

1924 9th St, NW

  • Anonymous

    Bukom Cafe in Adams Morgan also has Ghanaian dishes.

  • Nope

    My heart is broken. Love this place.

    Your best alternative is Bukom Cafe in Adams Morgan.

  • Ross

    I’ll third that: Bukom Cafe in AdMo is a great alternative. It may not be in Logan, but it’s worth the trek for some solid goat. And their wings ain’t bad either.

  • And yet the Popeye’s lives on.

    • Identified

      And why is that a bad thing?

      Never went to Ghana Cafe after it moved from Adams Morgan. I 3rd the Bukom comments.

      • Did my post say it was a bad thing?

        • Identified

          Your post did not say anything out right, but you certainly implied it implied it.. By your use of the phrase “And yet”… yet is a transitional word used to introduce opposing or contrasting point.

          For instance:
          She knows she should not run a red light, and yet she did it anyway.
          He knows that he should not eat a doughnut because of his diabetes, yet he ate one anyway.

          Direct question time: are you happy the Popeye’s lives on? Go for it.

          • Anonymous

            I’m happy Popeyes lives on! La Villa closing has me a little nervous about whether they’re going out, too. Popeyes is delicious and the least expensive food on 14th St. I love small plates too, but sometimes I just really crave fast food…

    • BBBB

      Don’t worry, there are plans for the Popeyes, the restaurant next to it and the alley.

    • Anonymous

      If the Popeye’s moves, I will have to follow it. I don’t know how I would live if without the smell of that deliciousness wafting through my apartment window. Also, all the employees in there are super nice and the presence of the Popeye’s is oddly calming. It’s like the one holdout from yuppiness Logan Circle has left. Well, the Popeyes and the Import/Export Wholesale store.

      • If I recall, they are moving across the street? I think they are doing a full upgrade on the place to focus more on the “Louisiana Kitchen” aspect of it. I remember reading a whole article about that location in some local blog, but unfortunately can’t recall which.

  • Eponymous

    Oh no! Hopefully they will be opening up someplace else.
    Side note – why is it that New York can keep places like this, and D.C. can’t?

    • carlosthedwarf

      Because NYC, unlike DC, allows small commercial establishments on side streets in the city core. Places like this need low rents to survive…the only way to get lower commercial rents is to zone for more commercial.

  • Lisa

    If you check their twitter lately the topic on many has been ‘racism’. There is also litigation going on between one of the major opponents to Ghana Cafe (a neighbor) and the ANC who approved new endorsements regarding Ghana cafe’s settlement agreement with ABRA to help them be competitive with newer businesses opening with fewer restrictions. The ANC2F website http://www.anc2f.org has an interesting press release regarding this litigation.

  • Laura

    Fortuitously I ended up at Ghana Cafe the night before they closed and spoke with Tony, the owner, about the sad news. I’m happy to report that they’ll be selling their food at the Whole Foods on P St. (not sure of specifics) and are hoping to open the restaurant again sometime soon once they can find a new, decently priced, location. He said to keep an eye on their website for all updates which you better believe I am! http://www.ghanacafe.com/

  • Anonymous

    Apparently I’m in the minority, but Ghana Cafe wasn’t very good. Aside from other issues, their fufu was from a box!

    • Anon

      Where do you get your fufu from?

    • Anonymous

      As opposed to…? Hand ground by hunched little old ladies? I’ve been to quite a few West African homes, and they always used boxed. Same brand they used back home, too.

  • Paul Angelone

    A few days ago I received this from the ANC 2F re: the cafe.

    Press Release
    Frivolous Lawsuit Against D.C., Logan Circle’s ANC a Product of Misguided Crusade Against Immigrant Small Businessman

    Contact: Matt Raymond, 202-744-1921,
    [email protected]

    Please note: Any opinions expressed below are those of Chairman Raymond only, except insofar as formal positions and votes of ANC 2F are recounted.

    # # #

    (Washington, D.C.)—A lawsuit filed yesterday in Superior Court (James Kane v. DC, 14-3386 [422992]) against the District of Columbia regarding actions of Logan Circle’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F is rife with demonstrable falsehoods and could have far-reaching negative impacts on the ANC and an upstanding local businessman.

    The complaint (http://wp.me/a22M8Q-x4) centers on the ANC’s efforts to comply with a Freedom of Information request filed by James Kane, now the plaintiff, who sought communications about the ANC’s dealings regarding Logan Circle’s Ghana Café between April 1, 2013, and April 23, 2014. An initial search revealed at least 500 emails plus several other documents directly related to Ghana Café.

    However, the FOIA request went far beyond the one business, asking for every communication over a period of more than one year related to broad terms such as the city’s ABRA liquor license enforcement agency, the Alcohol Beverage Control Board, such commonly used terms in liquor license matters as “settlement agreement” or “voluntary agreement,” and even the exceptionally broad term “resolution.”

    When ANC 2F Chairman Matt Raymond began the broader search, he found that there were literally thousands of potentially responsive documents (the bulk of which being emails). He communicated this fact to Kane’s attorney and suggested narrowing the search to Ghana Café, citing the unreasonable amount of time the search and document production would entail, plus the fact that ANC commissioners are volunteer, unpaid officials, most of whom have day jobs. D.C. law requires only eight hours of personnel time related to document reformatting, which would be exceeded by an order of magnitude in accounting for thousands of documents.

    ABRA and the ABC Board are the D.C. agencies that constitute the lion’s share of ANC activities, and Ghana Café is but one of numerous liquor licensees the ANC dealt with in 2013 when residential development and dining establishments boomed in Logan Circle. ANC 2F has a total annual budget of $18,770 and is able to employ only part-time staff to assist with routine matters such as preparing agendas and taking minutes.

    Neither Kane nor his attorney responded to Raymond’s good-faith offer to comply, instead taking the matter directly to court.

    “To call this a fishing expedition would be an understatement,” Raymond said. “It’s more akin to Captain Ahab’s brash pursuit of Moby Dick. The extreme nature of the FOIA request and this lawsuit speak to the plaintiff’s intemperate efforts to bring harm to Ghana Café, as well as to greatly hinder the ability of ANC 2F to represent the needs of Logan Circle residents.”

    One year ago, Ghana Café owner Tony Opare, a Ghanaian immigrant, approached the ANC in hopes of easing restrictions on his liquor license that put him at a competitive disadvantage with nearby businesses. The ANC reached out to Kane and surrounding neighbors who along with ANC 2F were also a party to Ghana Café’s settlement agreement, which places additional conditions on a licensee than normal regulations. When Opare’s application for live music on weekends was denied by the ABC Board, giving neighbors little incentive to continue negotiations, they became nonresponsive to the ANC.

    In March 2014, frustrated by the bad-faith negotiations and sympathetic to Opare’s plight, the ANC voted to withdraw from the existing settlement agreement and enter into a new one with Ghana Café, placing it on more equal footing with competitors.

    Neighbors had valid concerns about a number of health violations, but Opare rectified them quickly and then had a record on par with other establishments in the neighborhood. The neighbors also alleged numerous violations of Ghana Café’s license and settlement agreement. However, ABRA notes only a single minor infraction in Ghana Café’s history, related to paperwork.

    The ANC in recent years has been responsive to the concerns of Kane and his neighbors—e.g., successfully opposing a 2011 Ghana Café application for outdoor seating. In addition, the ANC voted last year to oppose live music before later switching course and voting this year to ease restrictions after deeming the continued opposition to Opare unreasonable.

    “Mr. Opare has been held hostage for a year by a small group of surrounding residents, to the detriment of his business and patrons,” Raymond said. “The vehemence with which they have pursued their crusade is disproportionate, if not discriminatory, compared to their dealings with similarly situated restaurants. Ghana Café is not the bad actor those few neighbors would have us believe.

    “A likely outcome of their intransigence would be to force the closure of a business owned by a man who was living the American Dream.”

    Kane’s lawsuit makes several demonstrably false claims about ANC 2F’s handling of the FOIA request:

    • hma


  • Anonymous

    Rahama is a chain of three restaurants; one off 9th Street, the others in Woodbridge and Alexandria. The Alexandria one is the best.

  • AtlasCesar

    This place and La Villa were the among the closest food spots to my apartment. I am totally gutted about La Villa. Good prices for large portions of great food. Ghana cafe was tasty… but it was expensive. Only ordered out from there twice. Not too disappointed that it closed. But I probably will be once a $50 italian-ice-cream-artisanal-yoga-muffin-shoppe opens in its place.

  • falloutboy

    Jim Kane is a sociopath. You all in Logan Circle can thank him for this.

  • bb

    Sad to see this – their food was good, and it had a nice relaxed atmosphere. Interested to try the new place on 9th though.

  • Anonymous

    It shouldn’t be so hard to get good fufu and a bottle of Mamba in this city.

  • Anonymous

    Eat at Bukom if you want, but that place is horribly filthy. I can’t believe they haven’t been shut down.

  • Cristina

    Had dinner at Appioo last Saturday, excellent food and good service. I highly recommend it.

  • Apes

    Awww I love their food and I never got to use my livingsocial deal!! Though I guess this explains why they had one to begin with…

  • Heidi

    Nooooooooo!! I lived this place! Hopefully they re-open someplace else soon.


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