2631 Connecticut Ave, NW
From Burton Heiss, CEO, Nando’s PERi-PERi USA via email:
“Earlier this year, the DC Board of Zoning Adjustment granted Nando’s permission to open a new restaurant in the Woodley Park neighborhood of Washington. The BZA ruled that Nando’s would “enhance the vitality of the street and provide a variety of healthy food choices at reasonable prices.” The local Advisory Neighborhood Commission also welcomed Nando’s to the neighborhood, and nearly 150 Woodley Park residents and business owners signed a petition supporting Nando’s plans. We were excited and ready to go.
But while authorizing Nando’s to open, the BZA ruled that Nando’s would have to reapply in five years for permission to continue operating. The Board ruled that it wanted to see in five years whether there were “adverse impacts” of adding another restaurant to the Connecticut Avenue strip. Nando’s asked for a reconsideration of the Board’s decision and requested a longer term, but the Board stood by its decision.
As a result, Nando’s is disappointed to announce that it won’t be opening in Woodley Park. While we appreciate the professionalism of the Zoning Board, Nando’s can’t move forward under those restrictive terms. Nando’s was prepared to create good-paying local jobs and construct a beautiful new restaurant in Woodley Park, filling it with original and contemporary South African art. But we couldn’t risk a seven-figure investment if, in just a few years, we might be told we no longer could operate in Woodley Park. The BZA gave Nando’s only five years, and started the clock ticking as of February 10, 2015. That would mean that, after construction, Nando’s might only have had four years before it had to reapply, an unacceptable risk on our multi-million-dollar investment.
Nando’s remains grateful to our Woodley Park fans for their overwhelming support. We built our U.S. headquarters in Washington in 2008 and remain committed to the District. We will continue to grow in Washington. In the meantime, we hope our customers will come and enjoy our spicy PERi-PERi flavors at our nearby Tenleytown restaurant and at our other DC locations.”