Olivia’s Dinner Closed on 19th Street

by Prince Of Petworth May 24, 2016 at 1:30 pm 23 Comments

olivia's diner
1120 19th Street, NW

19th Street’s recent closings continue with Olivia’s. Olivia’s opened up last summer in the former G Street Food space just south of Dupont. Perhaps, I should’ve given more weight to their description:

We have absolutely no idea what we are doing. But here we are. And we have found our love and passion…food and more food! Finding fresh and local produce & meat and turning into a culinary masterpiece is what we do. Creating home made dishes with simple ingredients. Nothing fancy, nothing foo-foo…just delicious food.”

A reader sends this afternoon:


  • J

    went there once. The food was good but the server couldn’t accurately calculate the check. First she gave us a bill that just had our drinks on it — none of the appetizers or entrees. The second time she didn’t put all the food on there. It took about 30 minutes from when we requested the check to actually leaving.

  • Cam

    Sad to see it go, sort of. I’m a fan of diners, and the food was good. The service, unfortunately, was not good on either of my two brunch visits. Slow and inattentive.

  • siz

    aw. I went a couple times, the service sucked but the food was good! add it to the graveyard filled with 19th st. businesses, I guess. do I need to fear for greek deli’s safety??

  • A

    I went there one time. The chicken tenders my partner got were raw on the inside. They didn’t even offer to discount or comp the meal when he said he lost his appetite after biting into one. We never went back after that.

  • A. Nony Mouse


  • Billy

    Along the way? You mean in 7 months? They barely opened. It takes time to develop a following. The service there was fucking terrible. It could’ve been a great kid-friendly place for locals in Dupont/Georgetown/Foggy Bottom (plenty of weekend parking) but the place basically treated kids like shit. The kids menu sucked, the whole setup was not kid-friendly, the prices were high and THEY OPENED AT 9 AM. Once I got there at 9 (annoyed we had to wait) and several other families got there the same time. Hint: if there are 4 tables when you open, open early. Especially IF YOU ARE SERVICE BREAKFAST. And hire servers that don’t shit on their customers. The place could’ve done with with more time (financial reserves), better hours, better service, and reaching out to families. Other diners in the area open early on weekends are packed nonstop.

    • jno

      Billy is 7 BTW.

    • AsAMother

      Omg, dude, chill. “How DARE they make us wait for a table! We have CHILDREN!” Having children with you does not entitle you to preferential service, nor does it mean that they have to cater to your preferred hours of business.

      What killed the restaurant was the location. Not on the main drag for late night drunken meals, not close enough to GWU for an undergrad hot spot. Businesses have been closing on this strip of 19 rapidly over the last year. Having lived in this neighborhood for years, I know that this is not a child heavy area. It’s mostly retirees or young professionals, it’s just too expensive for most young families. So I can assure you that the fact that their kid’s menu wasn’t up to your standard had absolutely NOTHING with their closing. Most places in the city don’t even have kid’s menus at all.

      Your sense of entitlement reeks.

      • Anon

        Not sure how you read entitled. Dude just said that service sucked, which echoes what everyone else said about this place, and expressed opinion that could have gotten business from families, which I doubt but place clearly needed more business. So take your own advice, pot, and OMG chill.

  • kolinr

    Are they planning to tear this building down? With all the recent closings it seems like there might be something bigger in the works for this block.

    • chuck

      I was thinking that too. But, the other closings are all seperate buildings. Sophies/Science Club are historic and the building next door where the Noodles closed was just renovated a couple years ago. So I don’t think that is related to redevelopment. The Smith and Wollensky was closed due to underperformance. The building was recently sold and maybe redeveloped, but sounds like that is a bit off. The building on the corner of 19th and L looks to be headed for redevelopment based on the Melt shop closing due to construction.

      So maybe there are bunch of construction projects planned for that street. Or it might just reflects a general malaise in the broader Golden Triangle Area. Conn Ave has also seen a number of closings/multi-year vacancies: Books-A-million, Ping Pong, Cosi, Talbots, Kababji, etc.

      As other areas of the city have risen, this neighbrhood seems to having a bit of an identity crisis. Now that people from NoVa aren’t afraid to go east of 16th street at night this area dosen’t have the monopoly outside office hours that it did 5 or 10 years ago.

  • Evan Tupac Grooter


  • Victoria H

    While it was nice to have a sit down joint in the neighborhood where you could order breakfast any time of day, Olivia’s just couldn’t get it right. The service was spotty, at best, and in the dozen or so meals I’ve had there, there was always something they got wrong with our order. While they were pleasant about correcting mistakes, Olivia’s never seemed to get the hang of it. Nice try, though.

  • Goodbye

    I work 5 mins away and had lunch here once. It was horrible. If you can’t make a cheeseburger that tastes good, tou shouldn’t own a restaurant.

  • diogisdaddy

    This is scuttlebutt, but Rumors will be closing for two months soon…they will re-brand and completely remodel the space. I wonder if it’s worth the effort on this block.

    • divebar311

      NOOOOOOO not Rumors. But I guess you have to do something to stay relevant in Dupont or keep up with the times as tastes change. As Chuck said above now that people from NoVa aren’t afraid to go east of 16th street at night this area dosen’t have the monopoly outside office hours that it did 5 or 10 years ago. Plus I would add that re-branding and remodeling does not guarantee success, just look at the spot Mighty Pint used to be in. The place re-modeled, re-branded last year and it shut down relatively quickly (and I think there was a PoPville post about how people wanted Mighty Pint back).

      As Chris Rock once said, ‘grand Opening, grand closing.’

  • wdc

    The one time I went, the service was fine but the food was terrible. A grilled sandwich that was so dry and over-grilled that it cut my mouth up. And my friend found a couple shreds of plastic bag in her salad.

  • palisades

    Undoubtedly the worst service I have experienced from a restaurant. I enjoyed the food, but their inattentiveness was staggering. Funny seeing everyone else having the same complaint. Adios.

  • OP Anon

    I had a terrible, overpriced experience there last year. We had a group of 20 coming, reserved the table a week in advance, and they didn’t even bother to prepare a table for us. The hostess looked at me as if I had 2 heads when I inquired about the reservation. The place was mostly empty and dirty plates and used cutlery was strewn everywhere – it appeared as if the tables had not been bussed all day long. The food tasted exactly like it was tossed off the back of a Sysco truck and the bloody marys had no vodka in them. We had to order $10 shots of vodka to put in the bloody mary just to get a buzz. I think my bill was $75 for a very mediocre brunch for two of us (and that didn’t even include bottomless drinks).

    • OP Anon

      And yes, terrible service. We easily waited an hour for the food to come out. Two people got their plates 20 minutes after the rest of the table was served (so they waited nearly 90 minutes to eat). Inexcusable.

  • thedcyears

    For that unit, whether G St Foods or Olivia’s or the next place, it’s a low ceiling, dark place. It’s hard to see inside. There is no lack of lunch-seekers in the area, nor early dinner, breakfast. Sorry to see a business try and not make it.

  • Shelly Nuessle

    I had great food jere, and once my service was preat, but my waiter was one of the owners. A second time during the dabates food was slow and service has lousy.

  • General Grant Circle

    I would stop by here after work. Decent happy hour – great for downtown. Never had trouble with the service but I rarely ate there and stuck to the basics, wasnt bad.


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