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Zengo Closes in Chinatown, Circa Coming. (Circa also coming to Navy Yard)

by Prince Of Petworth February 21, 2017 at 2:45 pm 37 Comments

781 7th Street, NW

Apologies for the delay in posting – and thanks to all who emailed and tweeted. I have no excuse except for the fact that I’m battling a bit of a fruit fly problem that is slowly driving me insane. But never mind that… Richard Sandoval’s Zengo closed last week and the Washington Business Journal reports:

“Circa, the neighborhood brasserie with several other locations around Greater Washington, will open in the Zengo space at 781 Seventh St. NW.”


You can see Circa’s menus here.

And on their website they have a coming soon slot for a Navy Yard location too (99 M Street, SE.)

  • MHillPark

    Noooooooooooooooooooooooo! I loved Zengo.

    • Jakeondc

      Loved this place 2

  • LoSientoZengo

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo I love Zengo and don’t love Circa. How many Circas are there now? It’s like the new Busboys…in terms of opening up locations everywhere.

    • MHillPark

      I feel so “blah” about Circa. The food is fine but too expensive for what you get. It’s so cookie cutter. Sigh.

      • Anon

        “It’s so cookie cutter. Sigh.” – uh, this is “Chinatown”. What were you expecting?

        • divebar311

          I challenge you to walk around Navy Yard, it is becoming the epitome of cookie cutter. With the exception of Nats Park and Big Stick you can find every single one of those businesses on 14th Street, U Street, NoMa, etc. and almost every new residential building looks the same, same amenities, same facade, etc.

          • kanon

            Wait, there’s a Justin’s, Bluejacket, Willies, Due South, Osteria Morini, 100 Montaditos, Augua 301, Whaleys, and future All-Purpose, Salt Line, and slipstream on 14th St???? And, of all of those places to point out, you chose Big Stick?

          • anon

            DC is where the masses want to live, thus we get businesses with mass appeal. If you want bohemian shops/restaurants go to some half abandoned strip mall.

          • Anon

            “I challenge you to walk around Navy Yard.”
            Challenge not accepted. ;-)

          • Tsar of Truxton

            I agree with your larger point, kanon, but you will definitely find a slipstream on 14th ;-).

          • Shelia E.

            What is a Circa equivalent that’s better? I feel like it’s a generic restaurant? Just curious, I honestly don’t know what the restaurant is known for?

            What should be replaced is the “bar” in the old Redline space. What a waste.

          • SWChick

            @SheliaE THAT PLACE IS THE WORST!!! The old Redline is such a great location cant believe the trash that has taken over. I went last week and the wait staff were arguing with one another at the top of their lungs about “stealing” tables. The customers wee no better.

  • Tsar of Truxton

    I haven’t been to Circa in years but I was not impressed back then. Zengo had a great happy hour, with solid food deals, so count me in as sad to see it go.

  • Upset Bruncher

    Nooooooooo this is one of my top 3 D.C. Brunches! Do we know why?? I was just there two weeks ago and it was packed. Also kind of irritated I have a reservation for there and had no notification it closed. Do we know when circa is opening?

  • DupontDweller

    Surefire way to get rid of fruit flies- drink a bottle of red wine (that’ll help you from going insane) except for about an inch at the bottom. Leave the bottle open wherever the fruit flies are concentrated. Should be gone in a day or two!

    • I accept your challenge – and will give you a lifetime supply of free PoPville t-shirts if this works!!

      • abdc

        You can add to this by also putting out a few wine glasses with just a bit left in the bottom for more coverage depending on how bad your problem is. I’ve gotten more with leaving a couple glasses out than the actual bottle.

        • Glover Park

          AP Bio also taught me about the magic of oatmeal (and, um, then formaldehyde) and fruit flies. On a related note, have you heard the scuttlebutt about the Trader Joe’s potentially going in to the old Holiday Inn on Wisconsin in Glover Park? I WILL NEVER MOVE FROM MY NEIGHBORHOOD, IF THIS IS TRUE.

      • anon

        You can also put a little bit of apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. cover with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in it. the flies will get into the bowl and not be able to get back out. the wine option sounds a lot more fun, though.

        • hookdntx

          with this method, you will want to put a drop or two of dish soap to disrupt the surface tension so that the flies sink…

      • DupontDweller

        Yessss! Good luck!!

      • skj84

        I’ve heard the same, but with beer rather than wine. Good luck, fruit flies are the worst.

      • Anon

        We’ve tried both red wine and apple cider vinegar to get rid of fruit flies. They both work, but the vinegar works better. We’ve found that using the small clear plastic cups that are wider at the top than the bottom work best. It’s kind of fun to watch the fruit flies gather around the rim until one decides to go for it (after going halfway down a few times then changing its mind). You’d think the others would learn, but they don’t.

    • jsauri

      I’ve also heard it recommended to fold a piece of paper into a cone to stick in the opening so the bastards fly down, but then have more trouble finding their way out.

      • AnonG

        Vinegar + dish soap + an inverted paper cone has been the most effective combo for me since it covers most bases. Down with fruit flies!

    • MsSunshine

      Add a drop of dish soap to the wine (or vinegar) to break the surface tension (so they sink).

  • DCbyDay

    The world (okay, DC) does not need another Circa. BLAH

    • FridayGirl


  • AG7

    Of Richard Sandoval’s restaurants, Masa 14 is head and shoulders above the other two. I was somewhat disappointed with Toro Toro, and Zengo was the worst of the 3.

    I tend to agree about Circa. Its generic and rather expensive for what you get.

    • jaybird

      El Centro makes it 4.

      • eggs

        El Centro’s brunch is excellent for the price. I’m a huge fan.
        I really liked Zengo’s happy hour deals.

  • SWChick

    I ALMOST CHOKED!!!!!! I LOVED ZENGO!!!! I may need time to get over this. Lord. Matt was the best bartender.. The ahi tuna nachos. I was just there about 2 weeks ago but lord. I’m sad.

  • RIPZengo

    My husband and I had our very first date here, followed by many many beers at Iron Horse. RIP.

  • Shawn

    This is outrageous for two reasons:

    1. There are other Circa’s. They didn’t need to replace an existing restaurant if they wanted to come into the neighborhood.

    2. A slap in the face to Chinatown. While Zengo was a fusion restaurant with latin influences, it respected the culture of the neighborhood. Circa just brings the neighborhood further along in being Chinatown in name only.

  • Bruce

    I never even knew that Zengo was open. Every time I walked by, it was dark. I always thought they were perpetually closed, but maybe they were going for some kind of romantic vibe?

    Oh, well. My loss, I guess.


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