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You Need Better Sense But Gotta Respect Your Resolve

by Prince Of Petworth March 7, 2017 at 12:30 pm 87 Comments


First of all, The Whitman condo residents facing this alley who are PoPville readers – how could you not email me this?!?!? This is my bread and butter and I have to read about it in the home of Washington’s best doctors?!? Just kidding, I’m a big Jessica Sidman fan and I’m glad she was able to dig into this story which is absolutely ridiculous:

“Tim alleges he has long observed leaky cooking oil drums and overflowing dumpsters attracting rats in the alley behind Corduroy and Baby Wale.

So, on February 17, Tim emailed the health department outlining a long list of grievances. On Feb. 21, health inspectors showed up at both restaurants. It was the second time within about a month they had responded to complaints about the establishments. Both times, they found no major violations.

Shortly after, a banner appeared in the back of Corduroy, facing the condo building, with a message:


Read the full story in Washingtonian here.

So – thoughts? Funny? Legit reaction to the frustration or just being a jackass? How long should he leave the sign up?

I stopped by on Sunday days after the story was first reported and was sure the sign would be gone. Nope. There was a cop checking it out though…



rear 910 M St, NW

corduroy baby wale
1122 9th Street, NW

  • Kramer

    Bad chicken! Mess you up!!

    • Tom

      Mr. Marbles?!?!?!

    • Margrave of Mt. Vernon

      “That’s not good for business”


      Sophomoric homopobe/sexist, gonna lose my business. Seriously, what year is it? What playground did 9th street step out of to think that having a same sex partner is insulting?

  • textdoc

    Wow. A restaurant owner’s response to disgruntled neighbors is to put up a public sign implying that if that were having more sex, they wouldn’t mind the restaurant’s sloppiness with its dumpsters?!?
    That restaurant owner has no class. Disgraceful.

    • Anon

      But they’re not wrong…

    • Anonymous

      I’ve enjoyed meals at Corduroy over the years, but this makes me not want to go back. Just ick.

    • SEDC

      ……or they were meaning that if she would get a boyfriend maybe that would take time away from her staring out the window and complaining by interaction with another person… just a thought…

      • textdoc

        I doubt it. If that were the goal, the sign could’ve read “HAVE SOME FRIENDS OVER.” Or as lizcolleena was pointing out above) “GET A LIFE.”

  • wdc

    That is some juvenile BS right there.
    I wonder if the restaurant owner has heard the saying, “If you meet an asshole, you met an asshole. If you meet all assholes, all day… YOU’RE the asshole.”
    This dude has feuds with not one, not two, but three alley neighbors, plus the building management. Changes seem good that he’s the… well, you know.

    • textdoc


      • FridayGirl


    • Anony4This

      It’s amazing how, of all the stuff that’s been reported to him, he remembers none of it.

  • houseintherear

    Sexist jerks.

    • pa2nova2dc

      This was actually directed at a guy named Tim who is apparently one of the more flagrant complainers.

      • houseintherear

        Would they have made a sign saying “Get a Girlfriend” if the complainer was a straight man? It’s sexist (at best).

  • Leeran

    Okay, this Tim guy seems like a supreme example of someone who should NOT live in a city (or at least walk through alleys) based on how inoffensive his pictures at the Washingtonian link are… but what kind of business owner puts up a sign like that? Gross.

    • textdoc
      • Anonymous

        That seems pretty tidy to me for the back of a restaurant.

        • lizcolleena

          Disagree. The fact that a bunch of it looks smushed seems as though it’s been driven over. That leads me to think it’s been there for at least a couple days.
          Yes, this is a city and yes they have to dispose of their trash someplace, but if the wind blows some out, then they should be obligated to clean it up promptly. When I managed a bar, I certainly made sure we were doing so and I do so for my own residence as well. Just because they’re a restaurant doesn’t mean they’re not obligated to clean up after themselves.

          • Anonymous

            I see yards, sidewalks, and streets all over town every day that have more trash than that. It’s not bad for the back of a restaurant. I didn’t say they’re not obligated to clean it up.

          • anonymous

            I have to say after living in DC my entire life that alley is pretty darn clean for a restaurant. Seriously the complaints are pretty disgusting. There are plenty of homes around D.C. that have considerably more trash. Let’s not be so picking, as to the sign sexist yes, but I’d be pretty damn annoyed to deal with neighbors constantly nitpicking. Let’s be honest there are plenty of homes and construction sites in and around Shaw that have considerably more trash outside. After living in Shaw for the past ten years I have to say I still love my restaurant. Give them a break!!! And go get a life!

      • B

        I agree. I’ve lived in the city – and all around restaurants – for close to 30 years. That photo looks pretty darn clean for what I have seen. Tim should probably move to the suburbs. And, I’m actually kinda with the restaurant owner on this one – for some reason, we all seem to think businesses shouldn’t do anything to “offend” their customers. Well, sounds to me like these businesses have been getting kinda attacked, so it’s a funny response. I may be the minority on this one, but it’s city living people.

        • Anonymous

          Well, it isn’t “shouldn’t” as a moral thing. It’s shouldn’t as a business thing because next time I’m thinking of where to eat in that neighborhood, this will pop to mind rather than meals I’ve had there in the past. I probably will pick somewhere. If there are more people like me than people who see it as a plus, it’s not a great business decision. Of course, the owner can decide that whatever catharsis or jollies he got of post the sign are worth some lost business. That’s his choice.

          • Anonymous

            (Three people came into my office and interrupted while I was typing this, before anyone jumps on my like they did that Fast Gourmet owner.)

      • Tj

        could be better.
        and certainly could be a whole lot worse.

    • flieswithhoney

      I think what a lot of people are missing without smell-o-vision is whether or not this place stinks of shellfish and trash. According to the condo residents, it does.

      • Tj

        There are some simple ways to avoid ongoing urban nuisances that can plague people who don’t pay attention to what they buy (not a complete list and of course not every annoyance can be anticipated).
        – Don’t buy property that faces a commercial strip with restaurants. This applies whether you look at the front or the back, but especially the rear. The back door of a restaurant is its a**hole.
        – Don’t buy a property on a busy road or in front of a bus stop.
        – Don’t buy a property in a neighborhood with a lot of idle minds who don’t work much.
        – Don’t buy a property next to a commercial building of any stripe. Nursing home, school, coffee roastery, whatever.

        • textdoc

          “Don’t buy a property in a neighborhood with a lot of idle minds who don’t work much.”
          The other characteristics you list are pretty straightforward, but how exactly is one supposed to gauge this one? Take time off from work for the sole purpose of visiting a property to see if people are hanging out nearby during the daytime?

          • E

            That’s actually a trivially reasonable thing to do before spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and assuming the biggest debt burden of your life … also standard advice to checkout your future property at different times of day

          • textdoc

            At different times of day, yes. On a weekday? No, that is not usually something that people are advised to do.

    • Anonymous

      We live right off 18th Street and border the main alley for all the Adams Morgan bars and restaurants on the east side. None of the restaurants and bars have trash that looks like that. There’s no oil barrels of fry oil, overspewing dumpsters, or garbage piled up. The business owners here do a fantastic job of ensuring that all trash is bagged and then everything is secured in dumpsters and recycle cans.
      It appears that the main culprit is the Courdouroy/Baby Wale restaurants for not ordering more trash pick-ups. The restaurant in our building has trash pick-up at least 3x per week, perhaps even more often.

      • textdoc

        Well put.

      • JoDa

        “The restaurant in our building has trash pick-up at least 3x per week, perhaps even more often.” This is exactly where the problem lies, and where some businesses and residences “drop the ball.”
        Over the 5 years I’ve lived in my building, we went from a building full of singles to a building full of couples, and now generate nearly twice as much trash and recyclables as we did when I moved in. When a restaurant I worked at long ago was taken over by new management and business went through the roof, we were generating A LOT more trash, recyclables, and grease.
        In both cases, we upped the number/size of cans/barrels/dumpsters we had, and, eventually, the frequency of pick-up. Yes, it costs more. But that’s what it took to accommodate the waste we were generating. We made sure that we had adequate waste disposal space/service…no sympathy for anyone who doesn’t.

        • JoDa

          “Adequate” means that the dumpsters/cans/barrels close fully. They don’t come with lids for purely esthetic purposes…closing the lid keeps rodents and pests out and odors in.

  • mvs

    I think this is hilarious. And I say that with empathy for all the parties involved…(I am a single lady, and if I lived in that building and woke up to see this sign, I would totally assume it was directed toward me, just like the lady on the second floor did.)

  • Michael Pierce

    I think they’re both idiots. That space behind the restaurant actually looks pretty damn clean compared to the alleyways behind most restaurants in DC, and the restaurant owner’s offensive response ensures that I will never spend a dime there. Maybe they should start dating each other!

    • navyard


  • K

    The owner sounds like a tool. Take the sign down and keep your alley clean.
    The staff are sexist jerks. They should be fired. Or at least get punished.
    Tim seems annoying. But the pics show a messy alley, so he was probably right for calling it in once.
    The lady who got cat called in her own condo is the victim here.
    Everyone else should just grow up.

    • Hill Denizen

      He is keeping his alley clean, as confirmed by two separate visits by the health inspector. Could things be picked up more? Sure, but there physically isn’t any more space in the trash dump. It’s not like they’re purposefully leaving trash out. Can’t speak to the other allegations though.

    • Joysbrother

      The staff should get punished? By whom?

  • Cam

    I think the sign is in extremely poor taste. It isn’t funny at all, in my view. They just lost my business.

  • Lisa

    Chef Powers has been in the area for a very long time, longer than the condos in question, and when most of the people in the area now would have been afraid to walk here much less live here. What does that matter? It’s hard to put it into words but he’s done his time dealing with drugs and prostitution and whatnot that was here before, and invested a lot of time and money into improving the neighborhood, and after making it through all that and putting Shaw on the map long before Rogue 24 came he has to put up with what appears to be a series of actually petty complainers about the situation in the alley adjoining his property. If that photo textdoc put up is the worst they can find that’s nothing. Some paper products on the ground? C’mon. Yes his response is not ideal from a PR standpoint, but the guy like many chefs and artists and the like can be a bit gruff and unfiltered and he appears to have been pushed past the point of civility. I’m with him. His good FAR outweighs this small ‘transgression’.

    • anoNE


    • kapitolhill

      I’m with you. Props to him for standing his ground.

      • thunder


    • FridayGirl

      If these “petty complaints” aren’t actually a problem, then no one will find any violations and everyone can move on with their lives without an issue. Why get so defensive unless there’s actually a problem?

    • Truxtoner

      I think maybe you’re taking your view of the owner and letting slide something that is inarguably a problem/issue that MOST people in DC get in trouble for.

      What is offensive to me is whether the owner knew Tim was the complainant here or if he assumed it was a girl and therefore put up a sign telling her to get a boyfriend. It’s not okay either way really, but I’d be a great deal more pissed off knowing he presumed the complainer was a girl.

      • Enough

        “inarguably a problem/issue “?

        This is such a serious problem that the cops should be called about it? You can’t be serious.

        Is the world going mad? Do we no longer have the capacity to understand scale and depth of problems?

        • lizcolleena

          He could’ve said “get a life” and delivered the same message in a less offensive way. Saying boyfriend means he assumed his “enemy” is either gay or a woman, both groups who routinely see harassment from white men… like Powers.
          I’m not saying call the cops on him (certainly at least call the right agency), but I do think it’s a jackass move and at least somewhat representative of the way in which women (being a woman, I will limit my comments to that group) are often derided and dismissed for expressing any opinion that those in power don’t find convenient.

          • FridayGirl


          • jumpingjack

            Well put.

          • Emmaleigh504

            well said

          • LittleBluePenguin


          • navyard

            Very well said! Couldn’t agree more!

          • Anon

            So black men aren’t capable of harassing women and gay men? Check your privilege.

      • Hill Denizen

        This is very much arguable. The health department has been called TWICE and found no violations. The complainant is wasting time and staff resources (ie money). Running a restaurant sucks, and having to play host to the Health Department for absolutely no reason is a completely unnecessary pain in the behind.

        • Truxtoner

          Not to be blunt, but there’s a photo. That trash overflowing violates the law. Restaurants are responsible for maintaining trash pickup to avoid this issue for what are quite obvious reasons.

          This is inarguable because there are photos showing a violation of the law.

          Running a restaurant may suck, but then he should find a different job. Or run his restaurant the way everyone else is required to in the city.

    • Anon

      So if the Chef worked so hard to deal with the drugs and improve the neighborhood, why give up now and allow for a nasty back entrance with rats and trash not properly disposed?

    • jumpingjack

      Corduroy moved to Shaw in early 2008. The Whitman was built in 2006.

    • LenskiBucher

      He can choose to be rude, and we can choose not to be patrons.

  • skj84

    Team No One.

  • anon

    I think the sign is both obnoxious and pretty funny. People in DC are so uptight.

    • Enough

      I agree. We are wasting our time about a sign. An F-ing sign that was made in anger. Whoop die doo.

      I am sure some of these people called the cops because of that. The passive aggressive BS game of hurt feelings really has to stop at some point. As the person Lisa pointed out, these people wouldn’t even be living here as it was “too urban” for them, but would gladly join a protest for equality as long as it is on a weekend.

    • Tom

      You beat me to it

  • You made the decision for me

    I know for sure that I’ll never eat there after this.

    Just the other day I was eating at smoked and stacked and was staring at this place out of the window debating on when I would eat there. Now I don’t have to make time to visit.

  • anon

    I think the the sign is petty AF but I’m with the chef on this one. It’s an alley behind a restaurant, they get filthy, get over it. It could be waaaaay worse.

    • Loganite

      Except people have patios and balconies on their apartments, some at or below ground level, that share that alley. So yeah, they probably don’t want to smell garbage or deal with rats. I don’t blame them.

      • anon

        If the condo building has parking, rats are also a hazard for the cars — rats like to crawl up into car engines and often chew cables.

  • anon

    There was a cop checking it out though…
    Does that mean some hypersensitive DCite called the cops about the sign? 911, I’m being significant otherless shamed! I demand action!

  • Brett M

    This is too funny.

    The sad truth is you are just not gonna prevent rats from coming near a restaurant. No matter how clean they are, the smell alone is enough to attract them.

    Deal with it or move.

    • Anon X

      Uhm no. If your risk tolerance for rats is anything >0 is unacceptable then maybe. But there’s responsible waste management practices that severely limit rats, down to the occasional sighting. Its entirely possible that there’s a problem with these restaurants. Certainly the restaurants with massive grease stains from all the spills are not spending the time necessary to mitigate the risk factors for rats.

      Overall, I’m with the residents. Restaurants, like residents, dont get to litter/create environmental conditions that attract rats and pollute. If that level of mess would be unacceptable for a person, its unacceptable for a restaurant. period. They dont get to play by special rules – even if no one will drop the hammer on them. Filth is filth.

      • textdoc


  • Mat

    This is awesome.

  • also anon

    The sign is a terrible reaction to a complaint from a neighbor. That said, they bought a condo with a balcony overlooking an alley in a city, did they really think the alley was always going to be clean??

    • EPinDC


  • Steve J

    This is hilarious. And I can only imagine what these people complain about to their poor condo board. Some people are never happy.

  • Petworth Anonymous

    I’m surprised no one else has had the same reaction that I have — that the owner, Tom Power, is a complete homophobe. I’ll preface with two things before explaining — a. Tim is probably an annoying neighbor to have, and b. it’s childish for any grown man to make a sign like this directed at anyone. With that said, Power’s quote says it all: “He needs something to do . . . I don’t know if he needs a boyfriend or a girlfriend, but I think if he had something to do in his apartment, he probably would spend less time looking in the alley.” Obviously, he opted to go with “boyfriend” on the sign, which as offensive as it is on its own, also insinuates Tim’s sexual orientation. I’m an openly gay man who had heard good things about Power’s restaurant and could easily have made reservations in the near future. Now I see him as a douche bag bullying a gay neighbor. Never stepping foot in Corduroy.

    • lizcolleena

      Agree, and was getting at that in a comment above. Though I’m not clear on whether Powers knew his “enemy” is a male. He didn’t seem to realize it was Tim who made this complaint, but thought it was a previous serial complainer. So I think the use of “boyfriend” is offensive (as explained above), but I don’t blame him for being irritated about multiple complaints that aren’t an extraordinary issue (that’s something you bitch to your colleague/friend/partner about). I do find offensive his dismissal of an ordinary issue, though.

    • Another Petworth Gay

      I had the same reaction. I doubt Tim ever discussed his sexuality with the owner. It is none of his business and certainly doesn’t belong on a banner in a public space. Given that the sign is aimed at criticizing Tim, I assume the owner chose “boyfriend” as a dog whistle gay slur.

    • Belinskaya

      I’m curious what his wife thinks of this whole thing.

      Natsu Onoda Power is an artist and theatre director who has been working with transgender and nonconforming performers on several pieces, both devised and scripted, most notably The T Party with Georgetown University and Forum Theatre. Not saying it’s out of character for married people to have different views on a lot of things. Also not saying trans*=gay, but generally, people working hard to promote trans stories from trans perspectives are also not homophobic. So I’m curious how she feels about the drama.

      • Anonymous

        You’re asking how an artist and theatre director feels about drama? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess “in favor of”.

    • anon

      Clearly you don’t know Tom Power. He is about as far from a homophobe as you can get. Anyone who has been in this neighborhood for a while knows this, and that is why they aren’t reaching that ridiculous conclusion.

  • FoodieinDC

    The Washingtonian article is indeed about a feud that is going on between the owner of a restaurant that basically backs up to the side of my condo building, and some residents here. The most ironic part is that many of us are now convinced that Tom Powers has hung that immature sign to specifically target and harass a condo owner who moved out last summer! The man “who went ballistic” that Tom Powers described was truly a nosy and nasty neighbor who was always in everyone’s business. But now, thankfully, he and his partner are gone. So as another person mentioned in a comment on the Washingtonian site… it would be great if Corduroy and Baby Wale would “collectively go the extra mile to keep the alley in good order as a gesture of goodwill to all neighbors and future customers”… and then take down the stupid sign. I’m just thankful that my condo looks out at the front of M St, so that I don’t have to see the sign everyday, like so many of my other neighbors do.

    And one final thing… many of you are making comments about Tim – the guy who took the photos, sent them to the DC Health Dept, and was interviewed by Jessica Sidman at Washingtonian…. I can assure you. Tim is a good guy. (He also happens to be straight, and lives with his girlfriend. Yet more proof that Tom Powers was targeting someone else.) He did the right thing by reporting Corduroy/ Baby Wale, and I applaud him for it.

  • Reality

    OMG someone is posting all kinds of dumpster photos on Chaplin’s yelp, too. I found it immature.

  • EPinDC

    It seems to me that, whether or not you agree with the guy who called the health department, the Corduroy owner’s response is completely immature and just jerky in general. The fact that a number of other folks have complained about the dumpsters/smell over the years suggests that the owner isn’t really maintaining the area as he should. If a restaurant backs up on a place where folks live, he/they have a responsibility to be a good neighbor…just like anyone else.

  • It`s kinda funny but the smell can be horrible and in this story i`m definitely on the side of Tim. By the way, on reddit they also pointed some important stuff https://www.reddit.com/r/washingtondc/comments/5wwdgu/dc_restaurant_hangs_you_need_a_boyfriend_sign/


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