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Seasonal Pantry Closing next year on 9th Street in Shaw

by Prince Of Petworth June 9, 2014 at 10:25 am 42 Comments

1314 ½ Ninth Street, NW

The tidbit came out of the Washington Post’s really interesting piece about “A Changing Little Washington”:

“Next year, O’Brien plans to close Seasonal Pantry and open a new concept in Little Washington, tentatively named Farm to Long Table.

He will be leaving a location on 9th street in the emerging Shaw neighborhood for what is currently a dilapidated former tavern and possible brothel from the 1830s that is 70 miles away.”

Seasonal Pantry opened on 9th Street back in June 2011. It will be interesting to see if O’Brien’s move has any impact on Sundevich too.

  • JinDC

    This is a shame, but it seems like this guy doesn’t really understand the business side of everything and wants to be an artist instead. I could have it wrong, for sure, but the location is AMAZING for doing well. Why leave it? For the art? Maybe someone has a better idea as to why this is going on, but to me, it’s a shame because he could thrive in that area

    • Anonymous

      Maybe he’s just tired of the city and wants to move some place quieter and close to nature. Little Washington is a great little town.

      • JinDC

        Very possible – but why wait a year? I’m sure if it’s a lease issue, someone would definitely want to take it over.

        More importantly, where will I pick up Frenchies stuff?!

        • NightBaker

          Big loss for DC dining. But a great reason to take weekend trips to VA. Frenchie’s pastries are available at the H Street FreshFarm Market on Saturdays and La Colombe daily.

          • JinDC

            Yea I get some stuff at La Colombe but SP was the pickup spot for orders. I’ve ordered the carrot cake – seriously amazing stuff

        • oh2dc

          Not the same abundance, but some are available at La Colombe

        • fellowpetworthian

          Frenchie’s is trying to open a brick and mortar location on H Street. No word on when the opening is yet, but the Kickstarter campaign was successful!

    • The is the same guy who bitched and moaned because other people opened a fried chicken focused place in DC when “he thought of it first”. Also the same guy who when appearing on Top Chef bragged about having the “#1 rated restaurant on Yelp” (a meaningless metric based on the way it was calculated), and then subsequently got kicked out in the first episode because he couldn’t make an omelette. Don’t get me wrong, I think Seasonal Pantry offers some great stuff, but I won’t lament the loss of Daniel O’Brian’s attitude in the DC food arena.

      • Anon

        +1. I could not have said this better. His ego and attitude is much to be desired, though no doubt, he is talented. I too get the feeling that he’s not the best business person in the world and is hard to work with. Sad to see him leave the neighborhood. I certainly will not be trekking to Little Washington for the fare..

      • JinDC

        …this was basically what I was trying to say in a more subtle way but you are exactly on point.

      • Anon

        He was a huge asshole on that episode of Top Chef. It turned me off from ever wanting to eat at any of his restaurants.

    • Daniel O’Brien

      Please explain how?

      • Anonymous

        Explain what, exactly? Someone doesn’t seem to like you (for whatever reason) and they took to making unfounded accusations about your perceived business acumen (presumably because they are salty about something that happened/is happening in their life, completely unrelated to the topic at hand). I don’t personally know you, but keep doing what you’re doing; it seems to be working if you got the likes of Abdo throwing money your way. :-)

  • 5th St

    Seasonal Pantry is out of my price range but — Sundevich better stay put!

  • Anonymous

    Wouldn’t it have been easier for him to just move up 9th Street to the old whorehouse that was between Axum and DC9?

    Or if that space wasn’t available, how about the former sex club at the corner of 14th & Corcoran?

    • TacoPants

      Who are you who are so wise in the ways of DC sexcapades?

  • Anonymous

    Is this the chef who imploded on Top Chef a year or two again because the judges didn’t like his omelet?

    • Anonymous


  • kbloomingdale

    This place would have taken off even more now that the apartments are finishing up on 7th! Shame. Love the spot though… I also echo the hopes of Sundevich not closing.

  • ClevelandDave

    I’m surprised he wasn’t able/willing to let one of his partners/acolytes take over the space with a related if not the same name. Seems like a great location and interesting concept that could be profitable if it isn’t already. A year to train someone to run it and move on would seem to be more logical than just closing it down. Yes, I think Dan likes the idea of starting something and playing with it more than the mundane day to day operating of a business, but he’s built it out, created something… now he has a chance to let it live on. Too bad for all concerned, particularly his employees, friends, customers…

  • Brian Kraft

    I am a simple-minded person and I don’t know what opening a concept means. I go to a concept, give them my money, and I get what, exactly? Is this industry-speak that has become commonly used or…well, what? Is it a useful new meaning for the old word? Do they not yet know exactly what their new business will do for people?

  • Anonymous

    Wow. Brutal crowd today. I live in the neighborhood and will really miss Dan and SP. He’s a passionate, kind human being who believes in great food thoughtfully prepared. He’s built a brand through blood, sweat, and tears. Keep keepin’ it real, Dan. Excited for your next adventure!

  • Anonymous

    “He said he isn’t certain about what his concept will be — Italian-inspired “peasant food” is an early description –or how much of his small staff will follow him. But he thinks that at least his loyal flock of around 150 customers will.”

    Um, that sounds awfully optimistic. I’m guessing a lot of his current customers don’t have cars, and even those who do would not travel 70 miles just to go to a restaurant on any kind of regular basis.

    • JinDC

      we have a $300 gift card to Volt we got at our wedding that we’ll never use because it’s prohibitively far to enjoy a dinner. maybe it’ll work for him but I know a lot of people who don’t want to travel that far for a meal unless it’s an actual vacation

      • There’s a cute B&B right around the corner from Volt. It’s worth checking into for a night (or 2) and using your gift card, if you want a nice night away from home.

  • sarah

    this is a bummer, i love SP, i always find an interesting goodie or two and went to one of the sitdown dinners and it was phenomenal…i always found dan a pretty nice guy to talk to when he was in the shop. echoing a few others though – i frequent sundevich way more often than SP and would be heartbroken if they left too!!

  • oh2dc

    I live nearby and have mixed feelings about SP closing. I loved the concept and the goodies on the shelves and coolers. But, I often found SP closed whenever I wanted to stroll in to buy something. The wife and I had dinner there once and liked it, but didn’t love it. Again, the concept was awesome and enjoyed the communal aspect. Nothing was wrong with the food, but felt it didn’t justify the price and difficulty of getting a reservation. Dan is super friendly and nice to talk with at the store. He clearly loves to cook and play in the kitchen. For some reason, I can’t help but get the impression that he feels he is owed something. There is some level of cockiness there and I think it comes out in the article mentioned in this post. Maybe that part of him is what has driven him to get to this level and take ballsy leaps, which I certainly don’t have the courage to do. In the end, I think it is a net-negative that it is going away. I hope someone is able to reinvent the space in an equally innovative way, but they might have a difficult challenge.

  • Anonymous

    great news. the owner is a jerk.

  • Tim O’Rourke

    Reading the comments here, it’s no wonder he’s leaving the area. I’m fairly certain he has his reasons and I haven’t read a thing that is backed up by any fact by any of the commenters here. What does anyone here know of his business acumen? Apologies if he’s opened his books to you, but otherwise, any speculation is just that. Most of the negative comments that I’ve read here are based on folks thinking they know the right way to operate someone else’s business or what they saw on a TV show. To the former, I’d ask if any of those commenters has had the guts and resolve to open and run their own spot. I shouldn’t have to say this, but it’s not easy. And to the latter, try and think of it from a producer’s standpoint. Reality tv shows need drama. Take away the music, the sharp cuts to random expressions of exasperation, and add in some wide eyes from a shot from who knows when, and there’s not much left to draw in the viewer. Yes, I’m saying that it’s quite possible most of that show was staged and made into something it was not. That is television. If you didn’t like his food, that’s certainly grounds for criticism. If your feelings were hurt by an actual interaction with him, then by all means, take to the intertubes with your virtual pitchforks in hand–that is what people seem to do these days. But try to understand that sometimes talented people want to move on and do different things, take on new challenges and explore new areas. I’ll miss his unique concept in a town starving for creative, innovative, think-outside-the-box type craftsman. I’ve been in this area since ’96 and there hasn’t been anything quite like Seasonal Pantry. And to me, that’s a good thing.

    • If you love him that much then you won’t have to miss him. You can be one of his customers he’s counting on to all pack up and drive down to Little Washington.

      • AA

        Wow. Someone had a little too much haterade today. Maybe it’s the humidity. I’m sure you have legitimate reasons for your animosity, but it seems exhausting to spend your time trolling the comments section for a two paragraph blurb about an establishment you hate.

        Most chefs ARE dicks at one point or another – if you’ve ever worked in a kitchen before, you’d know that. That’s the game, and we all know the phrase (if you can’t handle the heat….).

        Obviously the food has spoken for itself – and if you’ve ever been to supper club (I have, and I loved it), you would know that it is an intimate 12-seat atmosphere and Chef Dan made everyone feel right at home as he and his staff cooked an amazing tasting menu for the group. I’m sure there are nights were things don’t go as smoothly but at least most other restaurant chefs have the luxury of cooking behind closed doors instead of two feet away from the table.

        I, for one, will be sad to see Seasonal Pantry go, but wish Dan all the best in his new endeavors. Play on, playa.

    • Anonymous

      “Reality tv shows need drama. Take away the music, the sharp cuts to random expressions of exasperation, and add in some wide eyes from a shot from who knows when, and there’s not much left to draw in the viewer. Yes, I’m saying that it’s quite possible most of that show was staged and made into something it was not. That is television.”

      It is pretty silly funny to take anything that happens on a reality show as reality.

      • Well the reality of the show is that he got kicked off in the first episode for a sloppy omelette. You may disagree with Wolfgang Puck’s judging, but I would guess he has slightly more credibility than you. The camera angles and facial expressions and other “drama” is really irrelevant when compared to the results.

        • Anonymous

          You know justinbc, I stand right by my statement “It is pretty silly funny to take anything that happens on a reality show as reality.” I don’t take for granted that he got kicked off in the first episode for a sloppy omelette. It’s reality tv. I don’t take for granted that Wolfang Puck’s culinary expertise is what decided who packed their knives and left. Now I didn’t watch that episode, whatever season it was, because I haven’t watched that show in years. But I do wish I knew the emoticons to express an eyeroll.

          • That’s fine, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion of something you state you haven’t even seen. I still respect his culinary skills, I just hate his attitude. He reminds me of Spike Mendelsohn, except he cooks more than burgers and pizza.

          • Anonymous

            justinbc, it’s funny, we’re having completely different conversations. You keep sharing your analysis of what you’ve seen on TV about a semi-fictional character, and I keep saying that there is no real knowledge about the real person to be derived from a TV show.

            I am not interested in discussing the characters of Top Chef any more than I would be in discussing the characters on Days of Our Lives, and pretend that they all really exist as we see them on/imagine them from TV. I’m also not interested in basing my support of a neighborhood restaurant on a heavily scripty and creatively edited tv show. If there is a Pocahontas restaurant in Disney World, I won’t decide whether to eat there based on how well the character cooked in the movie. And wrestling is scripted too.

          • If it weren’t for the numerous interviews he’s given in which he sounds like an egotistical prick I could totally see your point there. But I guess those could all be skewed too, right?

          • Anonymous

            Ah, well I see your point too, about interviews.

        • Haphamil

          Well you, my dear justinbc, without the aid of editors or producers, sound like a right pompous git who has nothing better to do than troll neighborhood blogs. This is why DC can’t have nice things! Dan, and I feel comfortable saying this because I actually know him, is one of the most generous and passionate people I have met in DC. Yes, he is direct, he says what he thinks and you know where you stand with him. Sorry for those of you who may have been lead to believe we are all special snowflakes who deserve a trophy just for showing up. Dan ain’t your man in that catagory. And yeah Dan had been doing fried chicken and doughnuts on Saturdays at SP a year before NRG quickly opened GBD. Oh and as for Top Chef . . . Puck criticized Dan’s omelette for being brown. I would agree as I was taught in culinary school that an omelette should have no color but then Puck turns around and cooks a brown omelette. Yeah that might be a touch irritating! Just saying.

          • Anonymous

            I seriously doubt it’s @Justinbc’s fault that Seasonal Pantry closed.

  • When I interviewed him in March, he talked about wanting to open a bigger restaurant that would still maintain the idea/feel of Seasonal Pantry, and that they were looking to do this in 2015-16. Though I presumed it would be in DC, I think it makes sense to try something further out. He wouldn’t be the first nor the last DC restauranteur to do that. Little Washington is already a culinary destination, so to add another option to an area that already supports some of what his concept has been (seasonal and local), seems like a natural progression.


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