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Swampoodle Wins – Soft Opens at 14th and Colorado – Doesn’t Disappoint!!

by Prince Of Petworth June 12, 2016 at 10:22 pm 31 Comments

5501 14th Street, NW

At least based on the dozens of emails I got over the weekend that is. Thanks to all who sent word and photos that Swampoodle finally soft opened:


Another reader reports:

“They say they plan to be open 5-10 pm for dinner starting midweek and will focus on just brunch on the weekend and weekday dinners for now.”


Check out some of the preview menu after the jump.



  • I must have missed something in the post…what did they win?

    • I believe it was the race to opening…beating out Slim’s Diner and Timber Pizza along the way (and likely numerous other spots).

      • I see, those seem like really random businesses to compete against.

        • Anon

          Nobody’s actually competing to be the first to open – it’s just a playful inside joke perpetuated by Popville.

          • Liza

            Yes and no. The baker at Slim’s is engaged to the new GM of swampoodle. It was more than just “friendly competition” in their house. :)

      • Slims, homestead, hilltop, swampoodle. All been loooong time coming.

        • Maybe this will inspire the others to get their act together!

  • JRL

    Looks great! and the prices are incredible. $3 bloody marys?!

  • Philippe Lecheval

    You can tell it’s a soft opening because they’re aren’t 30 strollers in that picture.

  • David G.

    I stopped by during the 14th and Kennedy Street farmers market on Saturday and it was awesome. There are definitely some kinks to work out, but that’s to be expected. This place is going to be an incredible addition to the neighborhood!

    • What type of kinks?

      • AnoninBrightwood

        Only getting served water once, not being prompted to order another drink and needing to ask for it (that’s where you’ll make up all those months of lost revenue from not being open, guys!!!), etc. It also seemed like roles weren’t clearly defined–people were doing multiple jobs (hosts, servers, bussers, runners)–but again, I can chalk that up to a soft opening, and getting their sea legs. I want this place to succeed and the food was really quite good so I think that will keep people coming back while they figure out the dining room mechanics. Also – the bar upstairs is great looking–not open yet but will be a nice hang out spot for sure.

  • wdc

    But do they take reservations??

  • L

    Any idea why they the bar after a neighborhood that it’s nowhere near?

    • ANON

      I think I continue to speak for the collective masses when I say, Who cares?

      Unfortunately, I anticipate that we will continue to see this same tired question raised every time the restaurant is mentioned.

      • lizcolleena

        You know, not everyone reads every thread on every restaurant opening, ever. You don’t have to take such issue with a reasonable and reasonably-phrased question.

        A similar question occurred to me this morning when reading this – why is it named Swampoodle? I googled, found their super-dated Facebook page which doesn’t make them look great, and then saw on Wikipedia that the name refers to a neighborhood that was destroyed by the construction of Union Station. So I learned something interesting, but not why this restaurant is named for it. I had been hoping there was some special breed of poodle that it was named for, and the restaurant was aiming to be super dog-friendly. It’s not like it’s unusual for a restaurant to share some of its history and background with customers.

        • neighbor

          So far nobody knows why the restaurant is named after that old Irish neighborhood. Updating the Facebook page is the least of their worries at the moment – ha! They lost our order last night! Hopefully once they get their sea legs, as someone said, they will make their website live (it’s under construction right now) and it will explain the name!

    • werq

      maybe it doesn’t refer to the specific dc neighborhood formally called swampoodle.
      it was a common term for areas where poor irish settled. maybe even broader than that. philly still has a neighborhood called that.

  • ANON

    We went sunday and had suprisingly good food. The service seemed a little screwy, but i chalk that up to growing pains. I did hear that they eventually ran out of some items but again i hope that is just a growing pains item. Overall perception, the owner would benefit from an experienced restaurant manager to get this place up and running and manage the ordering / service items, this will pay dividends in the long run. Also the prices were cheap. Don’t get me wrong, i like a good deal as much as the next guy, but i would expect them to charge a little more as time goes on and they settle in.

    Overall, good place, great people, good food. Long term there are goin to be some hurdles to get over, but i think it shows a lot of promise.

    • ANON

      Also, for the love of God, please start updating your social media or take it down entirely.

      • jumpingjack

        Wow, you’re not kidding. About to hit the one year anniversary of its last tweet.

    • AnoninBrightwood

      ^ agree 100%

      The food is great, the space is great, and I think the fundamentals are strong.

    • Given that the menu seems to be printed on throwaway paper stock perhaps their intent is to charge lower prices initially 1) to partly apologize for service flaws during opening, and 2) drum up good word about low prices.

    • neighbor

      +100 to needing an experienced restaurant manager, host/hostess. Fingers crossed! Lots of promise.

      • Kennedy St resident

        Agreed. We went last night. Table service took wasn’t that great. We understand food takes a long time when first opening, but there were long stretches of time between seeing our server or anyone who could help us.
        We overheard one table get irate with a manager because of the wait for drinks and the server appeared magically when the manager was chatting with them. The server blamed the bartenders, to which the customers responded that the server should have realized how long it had been since he put the drinks in. That’s fair. The manager did buy them a round to make up for it.
        Another friend sat at the bar. Bartenders walked by people and weren’t overly friendly. Once he was able to get their attention, service improved.
        I know it’s their first few days, but at least make up for the slow service with being friendly and attentive, especially at the bar. They just need more staff.

  • Anon

    We went on Saturday as well. The food was good, and the pricing is extremely fair. Seating is comfortable (although they could probably use some cushions on their bench seats), and not too cramped.

    The “kinks” that others are posting are fairly typical new opening ones. The servers are still getting the hang of it, but at least they were attentive and diligent (unlike some other similar restaurants in the area, cough [the coupe] cough cough).

    We liked that they were not trying to be overly ambitious in their menu; the staples are served, and they seem to be served well. It’s not a foodie destination, but it is an EXCELLENT neighborhood restaurant.

    Also, the owner was present the entire time, and came around to every table to chat with folks, clearly they are invested in a good experience for their customers.

  • Madison St. Resident

    I thought the service was great! Food was surprisingly good for a soft launch. Can’t wait for the full blown menu and dinner to start!

  • TropicBird

    Looking forward to giving them lots of business! They should sponsor DC Stoddert soccer – there are like a thousand families from all over the city that do soccer at Carter Barron’s fields on Saturdays (and Hamilton and Raymond etc.) that should know about this place for brunch of weeknight dinner.

  • 16th St. Heights

    I went for Sunday brunch. Excellent food, great service, wonderful atmosphere. No complaints and so, so, so excited for them to have opened. Congrats, Swampoodle!!

  • lk1

    We went on Saturday for brunch- it was crowded (a good thing!) and the staff seemed harried but were extremely pleasant and very apologetic for the slow service. The owner was on hand and visiting tables too. Most importantly, we were pleasantly surprised by the food. It was really solid. Nothing gourmet, but honestly better than I expected. There is a lot to be said for a perfectly poached egg! They will work out the kinks over time (such as the bloody mary mix… ahem). Looking forward to going for dinner soon! We are so, so happy to have them in the neighborhood!!

  • Neighbor

    I went to brunch last weekend and dinner this week, both on the patio.. Food was great both times. Service is nice, but, yes, needs to work out some kinks. Heard a rumor that DC shut down their patio for bonus reasons. Anyone know if this is true? If so, RIDICULOUS and another example of how Brandon Todd doesn’t really look out for “his” ward.


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