83°Partly Cloudy

Well This Sucks – Crane & Turtle Closing April 24th

by Prince Of Petworth February 29, 2016 at 9:42 am 77 Comments

828 Upshur Street, NW

From Crane & Turtle:

“After much careful consideration, Crane & Turtle has decided to close our doors on Sunday, April 24, 2016.

Husband & wife team, Executive Chef Makoto Hamamura & Pastry Chef Katy Kinch, will be relocating to New York to pursue future career opportunities and to be closer to family. Chef Makoto (whose mother and aunt are named Crane and Turtle, respectively, in Japanese) is so intertwined in the identity and success of the restaurant that no replacement will do.

We are proud of the work we have done to create a unique dining experience that combined all of our team’s passions: chef-driven inventive cuisine, engaging service, exceptional wines & beverages, thoughtful design, and most importantly, camaraderie & community.

We feel truly honored to have been a part of special moments in our guests’ lives ranging from engagements to birthdays to a memorable night out with dear friends. We hope that you will look back on an evening spent at Crane & Turtle with same fondness as we all will.

We would like to especially applaud all of our remarkable staff that has worked so diligently everyday. Crane & Turtle could have never accomplished the high degree of critical acclaim without each and every one of you.

We cannot thank Petworth enough for welcoming us with open arms and not only being loyal patrons, but becoming our friends. This is an incredible neighborhood with so much heart. We feel very privileged to have called it “home.”

We are looking forward to the next few weeks of service. We see this time as a period of celebration. We certainly hope that you will be a part of it.

Thank you all & cheers, The Crane & Turtle Family”

828 Upshur Street, NW in 2012

  • madmonk28

    Wow, what a drag. Two steps forward and one step back for Petworth.

  • jcm

    Oh that sucks. I love Crane & Turtle. It seemed really successful, too. It was busy every time I went.

  • Philippe Lecheval

    That’s unfortunate. I was worried that it was a little too high end for the neighborhood, but the place always looked like it was doing good business.
    What Upshur street needs is the urban equivalent of a Chuck E. Cheese’s, so the bars don’t need to hire a doorman whose main job is keeping people from wandering in with strollers at 9 PM on a Tuesday night.

    • tacopuss

      This is the oddest juxtaposition of comments I have ever seen.

      • Philippe Lecheval

        Hence the paragraph break.

    • Anonymous

      Who is bringing their toddler (or even younger!) to a bar at 9pm? WTF. Everyone I know with kid(s) that that are “stroller age” is exhausted and trying to get their kid down for the night.

      • Truxton Thomas

        Yes, this doesn’t seem to be something that happens.

        • ann

          The doorman part definitely happens.. Twisted Horn has a doorman to keep kids out after 6 pm. I assumed he was just slightly exaggerating…..

          • Truxton Thomas

            That makes sense. I think I just instinctively recoiled in horror at the thought of being out, at a bar, with my toddler, and not at home in pajamas, at 9 p.m.

          • Philippe Lecheval

            Oh, it gets ridiculous. I realize child care is extremely expensive in DC and everybody’s parents live 1,000 miles away, but clearly a lot of young parents never got the memo that after breeding, some adjustments to their social lives might be in order.

          • JoDa

            I once saw a family including a 4-ish-year-old having dinner at St. Ex at 10:45 on a Saturday night. Needless to say they probably should have picked up the vibe of the place, but instead decided to come right in and scowl at the revelers instead.
            Also, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me where you are going that kids AREN’T there at 8 or 9 PM. I tend to wait until 8 or 8:30 to go out to dinner hoping to spare myself. It never works.

          • OP Anon

            Most places south of U Street/Columbia Road but north of K Street. There tends to be more kids in Petworth and Columbia Heights due to the prevalence of larger row houses. And then downtown you’ll find tourist families. But overall, I haven’t found too many families congregating in bars after 8pm. Then again, I’m not typically hanging out in Bloomingdale or Petworth, where many establishments need to double as restaurants and bars to make the economics work.

          • JoDa

            Because I complained about it, it was bound to bite me. Went to dinner at *9:15* tonight, after both co-worker who joined me and I had looooooong days. One group of what looked like 2 families dining together with several kids in the 2-4 range were squatting up front. None of the kids wanted to be there, and made that *abundantly* clear, loudly. When we entered, there was no food on the tables, just empty plates and drinks. They were still there when we left at a few minutes after 10…
            Restaurant is in a residential area (not Petworth), but also turns up the music at 9 to try to send the message that family time is over. It didn’t work tonight…

    • sproc

      That sounds like a Portlandia sketch. So much potential.

  • wdc

    That does suck. I had wanted to try it, but each time I looked at the menu, I was so stunned by the prices that I chickened out.

    • Anony

      Same here!

  • Freddie

    Katy did our wedding cake, and that’s when we knew she was the pastry chef queen of DC. Good luck in NYC, guys!

  • deejay

    My boyfriend and I just ate there for the first time two weeks ago. We had great service and a really delicious meal. We loved the restaurant! This is very sad for the neighborhood. :(

  • Trip Throckmorton

    Meh, okay experience there, but sad to see it close.

  • Guillermo Brown

    I hope the space is replaced with a quality take-out spot like a deli. If an Italian deli like Vace came to this space, it would kill. I just don’t think Crane and Turtle was appropriate for the neighborhood

    • JM

      I wasn’t that much of a fan – the food was a bit bland and overpriced for the quality. But I definitely think a good high-end restaurant (like Red Hen) would kill in Petworth. Condos are selling for $500K+ – those are folks who don’t always want a burger or wings for dinner.

    • Anon

      An italian, jewish or greek deli, ramen shop or bakery would be awesome. Seems there is a high-demand for these types of places from residents…

      • Bruce

        A bakery or deli requires daytime foot traffic.
        Upshur does not have enough to support such a place and very little daytime businesses..
        Bakeries are not very profitable.

        • anon

          bakeries can be extremely profitable if run correctly. the margins are extremely high if you get a good wholesale biz going. most baked goods are flour, water, salt, sugar, and butter. All relativity inexpensive. But yea, if you are just a storefront, you wont do well. need to be able to do wholesale to schools/hospitals/etc.

          • DF

            Clearly you don’t know how much (skilled) labor goes into making great quality baked goods. It’s not the ingredients….

          • anon

            family has owned a bakery for almost 100 years, you are wrong.

          • Anonymous

            It’s a lot cheaper to bake that stuff out in PG or Nova and truck it in. The margins for baked goods suck. Big time. You need a lot of space to bake for institutional/wholesale customers.
            I love how there’s always someone who demands “fresh baked bread!” in a neighborhood with low foot traffic without any acknowledgment of the crappy cost structure. Petworth real estate ain’t cheap. If there were easy profits to be made, someone would be there.

          • Philippe Lecheval

            Not to mention finding reliable employees who are willing to get up at 3 AM every morning.

          • moldieoldie

            wrong. the margins suck and wholesale makes it worse. but PLEASE bring YOUR 100 yr. old family bakery to Petworth. or just be quiet. deal?

        • neighbor

          The kitchen is really small so I don’t think a bakery would work. Maybe if it’s somehow connected to his space down the street.

    • anon

      tapas or lebanese or turkish would be awesome to have.

  • Anon

    I came across this Japanese children’s game in a book recently:
    Kagome kagome / The bird in the basket/cage,
    When, oh when will it come out
    In the night of dawn
    The crane and turtle slipped
    Who is behind you now?
    Evidently crane & turtle is a meaningful combination in Japanese culture. *The more you know.*
    Best of luck to the chefs! They will be missed.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t say I’ll miss Crane & Turtle too much although it was nice having them in the neighborhood. I live only a few blocks away, but have only been one time. Its not the price nor the menu nor the location… Its just not a daily restaurant. Living in Petworth, I go to higher-end restaurants like Le Diplomate, Red Hen and Mintwood Place in other neighborhoods all the time. Im a frequent patron of Chez Billy and have tried to get into Bad Saint multiple times. I wish Crane & Turtle the best of luck and hope that another higher-end restaurant that is a bit more accessible/daily option comes in… Great opportunity for someone!

  • petworther

    This sucks, that place was fantastic. Let’s hope they can get a new tenant in there soon.
    Hopefully since the building is ready (unlike most of the other neighborhood spots which needed TONS of work) it will go quickly.

    • jcm

      Sounds like it just the chef leaving. Paul Ruppert, the current owner, is keeping it, and will open a new restaurant in its place. From Eater DC:
      “The decision comes because executive chef Makoto Hamamura and pastry chef Katy Kinch, who are married, are relocating to New York. The restaurant considered trying to find a new chef for Crane & Turtle, but ultimately decided against it, a spokeswoman told Eater. “Chef Makoto…is so intertwined in the identity and success of the restaurant that no replacement will do,” the restaurant said in a statement. Its last day of business will be Sunday, April 24.

      The restaurant is located at 828 Upshur Street NW; sister bar Petworth Citizen, located across the street, will remain open. The owners are in the process of brainstorming new concepts for the space once Crane & Turtle closes.”

      • petworther

        Makes sense. I think another high end chef-driven restaurant would work well there. It’s a good balance of centrally located but available parking and reasonable rent so it attracts people from other neighborhoods.
        Something more simple and mid-market would work well too. Maybe Italian?

      • Taylor streeter

        Disagree, I called this months ago. I walk my dogs by almost every evening and it’s nearly empty except the weekends. I can’t see it being financially solvent.
        The food is good and interesting but the problem is it’s too expensive to go there more than once every few months. Plus you aren’t taking your kids there and Petworth, as mentioned is full of kids. It’s not quite a destination yet for most people to travel to. Just didn’t work out timing wise.

        Upshur is getting some good family type restaurants soon and that should help gain more attention so that a place like Crane & Turtle could eventually sustain.

        Personally, I think that space could use a nice little pub with a few tvs sort of like a DC reynolds or looking glass. I think people would love to drop by for a beer after work or one of two parents. heading over after the kids are in bed. I thought that’s what was happening with the Pitch when it opened but that place is just not a good bar.

  • JohnSmith

    I feel very conflicted. On one hand, you never want people to loose their livelihood. On the other hand, the only time my fiance and I tried to eat here, the staff was very snooty towards us. May have just been that particular staffer but the experience turned us off from the whole restaurant.

  • NT

    Ugh. This does suck. I had four really good meals/experiences at C&T, and it was always my go-to when people came to town and I wanted to show off the neighborhood. Was definitely a highlight, and SUCH a better option for upscale than Chez Billy, IMO. Hope someone else sees the opportunity and keeps a nice restaurant in that space.

    Thanks to C&T. I’ll be going back one last time ASAP!

  • NHAve

    I think the number of people who are sad to see a new vacant spot but ok with this restaurant closing is pretty indicative of neighborhood demand. I live 4 blocks away and went once. It was nice but not memorable enough to make me plan my next special occasion there. Agree that an Italian deli (+ salads… +BAGELS?! Dreaming here…) would be bomb but maybe not a money maker yet. Straw stick & brick is a good walk but more vegetables there would be an improvement.

    • Anonymous

      Except that it was always packed, so neighborhood demand was strong.

      • Anon

        Agree. It was ALWAYS packed. That’s why it’s sort of shocking. Sounds like tweaking the concept could work. They should expand their ramen special. Focus on ramen! It was da bomb.

        • Bruce

          Packed does not necessarily translate to being profitable or making money. Such a small space is limited to how many people they can serve and their profits depend on much much people want to spend and how long they feel they can camp out at a table.

          • petworther

            It’s clearly closing because the chef is leaving. Not sure if you ever ate there, but it’s not the kind of place you could just bring in a new chef and keep the menu.

          • Anony

            Open a Denny’s there and you’ll get quicker turnover

    • eva

      Yeah, I only once was able to get a table as a walk in, the other times I ate there was with reservations. Twice I walked in on a random weeknight and was quoted 45-60 min waits.

      I don’t think it was just the neighborhood either, when I ate there I routinely sat near people who had cabbed or metro-ed there from other neighborhoods or even VA. This was a destination restaurant that happened to be located in our neighborhood, not a neighborhood restaurant per se.

    • Bruce

      There is a brand new Safeway up the street and anyone that looks closely at consumer trends will find it very clear than consumers eat less vegetables than they did 50 years ago, are cheap and spend less time cooking than they did in the 1950’s.
      However, an optimist would support a Bi-rite type of place.

      • MR

        You win for the most random comments on posts about restaurants.

  • DeliCious

    This is too bad, however maybe they could open a Turkish Deli that focuses on Istanbul expats with a twist of lemon.
    Another need for the neighborhood is to have a place focused on good Kale Chips and locally sourced produce- they could partner up with the good folks at Twin Oaks and barter goodies!
    Please, let’s have a family friendly place. Or maybe Italian— no, make it an Italian ice cream shop with baby cribs and gelato (is that the same?) or a deli. We need a deli.
    And coffee, we need coffee.
    No bars. and please, make it affordable. Anything above $30 is crazy.
    I hope they open a deli…..or a coffee shop….or a deli.

    • petworther

      Plenty of family friendly places. This restaurant is tiny, it’s not really the kind of space that works for a kid friendly restaurant.

      • DeliCious

        maybe a deli? one that is child friendly

        • Bruce

          Most children are in school during the day Monday-Friday which does not translate to child-friendly business during the popular lunch-time.

          You can’t demand local produce and want it to be affordable at the same time. Local produce from PA/VA is more expensive than the CA commodity stuff. There is already a YES! Organic down the street which has more buying power than an independent place.

          A place focused on Kale Chips might be a bit too focused.

          • Anon

            The area needs more lunch options. The Coupe is always packed. Day and night. Half our neighborhood treks down there because there are limited options in Petworth.

        • Anon

          It’s a shame that Park Place is still vacant. How many years has it been??? A Chipotle, 5 Guys, Sweet Greens, &Pizza or Cava Meze would be perfect for there. DC needs to come down harder on the owner of Park Place. How is this acceptable? Especially when they got tax breaks!

          • LittleBluePenguin


          • Anony

            Tax free for a long time so no worries on their part

  • Anon

    I had an awesome experience at Crane & Turtle, so I’m sad to see it leave. They went out of their way to accommodate my many food allergies, and did so without losing any flavor or style. Dinner at C&T followed by drinks at Petworth Citizen was a solid night out. Hope something equally excellent replaces it.

  • I thought the food was delicious and the waitstaff lovely. We went for several special occasions and I loved being able to go out for a fancy dinner in the neighborhood (rather than drive elsewhere). I will definitely miss it!

  • bob thomas

    Food was too small and too expensive. Good flavor, just tiny.

  • Hill Denizen

    I seriously don’t get the push for a deli in a residential neighborhood. How often do you people eat sandwiches??? The only time I really go into a deli is for a quick lunch, usually during the workday…or Taylor late night after drinking. This doesn’t seem the kind of place for that. I for one would love to see a mid-range quality neighborhood restaurant. The kind of restaurant that becomes your go-to when you don’t want to stay in on a Friday night with a pizza but don’t want to make a whole to-do of things (or spend half your paycheck). Then again, I don’t live in this neighborhood, so I’ve got no skin in this game.

    • DeliCious

      yes! a deli would be good! with stroller parking

      • Ice Ice Baby

        You forgot about the ice cream! WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE PEOPLE WHO NEED ICE CREAM?!?

    • petworther

      Agreed. Some people are around for lunch, but the bigger crowds are dinner and weekend. It would be hard for a deli to attract the late crowd.

  • Petworth Diva

    I live close enough but never thought to go. For high end, I’m just not going to Petworth. Maybe Chez Billy’s but I haven’t been there either. The idea of French (a cuisine I like & know well) & Japanese just didn’t make sense to me enough to try the place. Still, it’s a loss to the neighborhood & to up & coming Upshur Street.

    • petworther

      Not sure why you would say that, but the restaurant got great reviews and always had solid service. For the level of cuisine and attention it was a bargain. And French-Japanese food is one of the hottest combinations around the world right now: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/7001f030-41eb-11e4-b98f-00144feabdc0.html
      But being a diva maybe you’re the type of person that would rather eat frozen food at Fig & Olive than get nice cuisine at a spot in Petworth.

      • Bargain?

        You cannot call anything there a bargain. I went three times and spent a couple hundred dollars each time and left hungry.

    • Anon

      You should go before they close. Food was delicious.

  • Uptowner

    Meh, I live around the corner and C&T was way too expensive for me. I’d have preferred a good Ethiopian place that I could actually afford to eat at.

    • Eric

      Check out Mignot. It’s at Georgia & Delafield.

    • eva

      Speaking of good Ethiopian places, my neighborhood standby Fasika is closed! I’m kind of devastated about this.

      • Vered

        Try Hiwat a few blocks north on 5300 block of Georgia. Very good, I thought.

        I always wondered how Fasika kept going as they didn’t seem to pull in a lot of patrons, at least at the times at any time I was there.

  • shaw

    Well, the upside is that they leave behind a beautiful storefront that is nice to look at even when it’s vacant, and a great space that hopefully inspires another entrepreneur in the future!

  • lilyd

    Their food was PHENOMENAL, however, I was so bummed at the host and server staff. We went for a special anniversary dinner and I reminded them several times that it was our anniversary. They did absolutely nothing to make it special, we were crammed in with the rest of everyone else, no mention of our anniversary (not to mention the amount of money we spent!) . Frankly, it really turned me off. When I sent them a message about it, I received no reply. So I have not bothered to go back. Onward and upward.

    • So you loved the food, but they didn’t kiss your ass enough?

      • dcd

        Yeah, that was an odd comment. I’d understand if the complaint was the service was bad, but to quibble that the restaurant didn’t fawn over you enough, so you won’t return even though the food was “PHENOMENAL” is precious.
        Also, “we were crammed in with the rest of everyone else” – what were you expecting? A separate room on the roof? The restaurant to clear out several tables around you in honor of the occasion? To quote a frequent poster, I don’t get it.

  • notimpressed

    This isn’t surprising given the menu…overpriced food that was too complicated. We need a nice simple sit down restaurant with good food that most people eat. Leave the fancy stuff for downtown.

  • anonymous

    Huge loss for the neighborhood, I’ve had so many great meals there, and anyone I would send there loved it. Exceptional food, exceptional service, and a great space. Deli? Ice Cream? casual? these suggestions make no sense, there’s a diner opening in a couple weeks, and a bunch of other casual options around. Keep the formula, and bring in a new chef/menu, it’s got great potential for success again


Subscribe to our mailing list