Famous Luigi’s Pizza was there 70 Years, Bonfire made it 8 months

by Prince Of Petworth January 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm 26 Comments

1132 19th Street, NW

We shoulda known after the initial promise of a “glamping experience”

Washington Business Journal reports:

“The hits keep coming on 19th Street NW downtown: Bonfire, the fire-themed restaurant that only opened last February, will shutter later this month.”

Ed. Note: They opened in late April/early May.

Famous Luigi’s Pizza closed after 70 years at 19th and M St, NW back in December 2013.

Other relatively recent closures on 19th Street include Olivia’s Diner and Science Club and Sophie’s Cuban and Protein Bar and Smith and Wollensky’s and Shoes by Lara and Red Robin Burger Works and Noodles and Co. not to mention Melt Shop around the corner…

famous luigis

  • That One Guy

    FWIW, I saw signage for Abunai Poke just around the corner on L street so hopefully it means all hope is not lost…at least for now.

    • In the former Melt Shop space? Also another reader noted – Greek Deli still kills on 19th!

      • That One Guy

        It’s actually across the street from where the Melt Shop used to be closer towards 20th street rather than 19th (perhaps in the former clothing store near PNC).

    • skj84

      WAIT. Abunai is open a brick and morter?!?! How did I miss this? Anyway, while I still mourn for Melt Shop, this is a welcome sort of replacement.

      • Tim

        Abunai’s Mochiko chicken is to die for!

    • cam

      There’s a sign that something new is coming to the former Amorini Panini spot on F Street, but I didn’t quite see what it was — seemed to have an aquatic picture. Could it be poke too?

    • FridayGirl

      OMG I LOVE ABUNAI. I would literally be there at least once a week. I’d really need to start budgeting better…..

  • AdMo Resident

    New restaurants need to take a hint and stop it with these cheeky concepts. A pizza restaurant is not going to draw in more patrons willing to spend spend spend because of a “glamping” concept. In this case, you are a pizza restaurant – freakin’ own it.

    These concepts are rarely cool. In my opinion, that scream try-hard. If you are going to put in the effort and investment, perfect the food not the sheepskin chairs. /endrant

    • los

      or may be leases are so expensive that the only concepts that you can take to the bank are upscale?

      • skj84


    • Hill Denizen

      Ha, I didn’t even realize it was a pizza restaurant.

      • skj84

        It isn’t. The former tenant, Famous Lugi’s served pizza. Bonfire categorizes it’s self as an “American” restaurant. They have 3 flatbreads on the menu, but the rest is standard upscale pub fare.

      • Bort

        There were a few flatbreads on the menu, but it is/was not a pizza restaurant by any reasonable interpretation of those two words together.

    • General Grant Circle

      -100 on the RC fail.
      Bonfire =/= a pizza restaurant
      Bonfire =/= Famous Luigis

      different restaurants

  • ST21

    Went here once for lunch during the work week and once on a Friday night for drinks. Both times I went I had no idea what type of vibe/concept they were trying to incorporate. I don’t think they had any clue either- seemed doomed from the jump.

  • AconcernedCitizen

    Behind the scenes real reason it closed: Landlord set unreasonably high lease requirements and this group was foolish enough to accept what others would not. Landlord (son of former Luigi’s owner) killed this restaurant before it even opened.

    • d

      Yeah, the article goes into detail on this. There is ongoing litigation related to the lease. Obviously most commenters didn’t read the article, and PoP’s glamping reference ignores it too, but it appears the quick closure has little to do with either the concept or the location.

  • Ava16

    If the Curse of 19th Street even looks at Greek Deli’s direction, I’m revolting.

  • ExWalbridgeGuy

    “Glamping” is an especially stupid word but I suspect this location is the bigger problem than anything else. It’s just not really a neighborhood you think of going for dinner. I wonder if the landlords are attempting to charge rents as if this is a much hotter location than it is…

  • wdc

    I work near there, and tried twice to check it out for happy hour with colleagues. Both times, the bar was too packed to stay. I guess the upstairs was empty? No one offered us space up there, which leads me to: why do failing restaurants insist on trying to be restaurants? If they saw that their dinner service was languishing, and let the drinks-and-apps crowd sit there, they would have made more money, no?

    • ILTXDC

      Had a similar experience. Went there for an hh, the bar was packed, so we asked if we could sit at the empty tables (all of which were available). We were told they were only for dinner, at which point we said we would be willing to order appetizers with our drinks in order to sit at a table, and we were still told no. What was originally planned for a hh at Bonfire ended with everyone leaving and going elsewhere. That’s just money out the door.

  • Tom

    sorry couldn’t help myself

    • skj84

      Honestly I’m surprised it took this long.

      • Tom

        You and me both!

    • ParkViewneighbor

      Will someone kindle the bonfire?

  • AntiAlias

    Unsurprising. In the article they claim it was a lease dispute, but frankly I work near there and I never saw many people having lunch. They got a decent bar trade in the evenings but that’s not enough to make it in that part of town. The menu seemed kind of pretentious and like it didn’t know what it wanted to be. Here’s hoping we can get something better in there.


Subscribe to our mailing list