Washington, DC

1225 19th Street, NW

Update Statement from Paul Marcus, CEO, Marcus Partners:

“An affiliate of Marcus Partners acquired 1225 19th Street NW in August 2018. In late September, Mr. Carlson expressed his desire to operate his lunch counter outside of regular building hours, a petition he had made unsuccessfully to the building’s prior two owners.

We have worked diligently with Mr. Carlson to identify a solution that would both satisfy his business goals and fulfill our obligation to ensure that all tenant spaces remain secure during non-business hours. As both a landlord and a community member, we are deeply invested in the business success of all of our tenants.

We evaluated and proposed several solutions to Mr. Carlson, none of which included a “uniformed escort” for any patron. Despite his claims, Marcus Partners would never take an action that denigrates or singles out an individual with a disability. The dignity of every human being is a central tenet of both our business practices and our personal beliefs.

Our ongoing discussions with Mr. Carlson, coupled with the lack of any new protocols instituted since we acquired the property, make his sudden decision to cease both discussions and operations quite perplexing. Our earnest desire is that CF Folks’ renowned lunch time service will once again soon be available to its loyal patrons and that it will operate from our property for years to come.”

Well, more terrible news. Gah. Thanks to all who passed on Kate Bennett’s tweet on Friday:

“Saddest DC food news ever: today was the last day of service at beloved CF Folks. I enjoyed lunch there so many times in the 37 years it existed on 19th Street. I hope Art can find a new spot. RIP, the best french fries in town.”

CF Folks’ website says:

“After 37 years, CF Folks will close its doors after service on Friday, November 9th.

Over the past four years we have been so restrained by our landlords to develop our business in the morning or later on in the evening that we cannot afford to continue successfully, “as a lunchtime only operation”. And we stated that clearly to the landlord some 5 years ago.

Our lease does not stipulate any restrictions of hours or days of operation even though we would and have agreed to some in unanswered communications.

Our lease clearly includes the use of restrooms as do all the other tenants as well. The District Government does not grant licenses to restaurants that do not have restrooms for their employees or their patrons. We have a license.

The restraints put on us by the landlord, which they even refuse to discuss, regards the use of restrooms by adding new protocols for restroom use.

Our lease stipulates that we have such rights of use as we have enjoyed for the past 37 years. The protocols are a new requirements, but applicable to only one tenant. CF Folks.

Here they are. Approved by CBRE, Lincoln Properties, Invesco and Marcus Properties.

The landlord requires us to first identify or have our patrons self-identify themselves as being disabled or not.

Following that odious process, the landlord then requires a process of separation where the disabled are escorted to one area and the non-disabled are escorted to another area.

The non-disabled are sent to a lower level facility in a stairwell which is too narrow to accommodate safe passage; clearly a building code violation. The disabled take an elevator to an assigned upper floor.

Both require escorts.

These uniformed escorts are required to lead the customer to their specific authorized restroom, wait outside and then escort the customer back to the main lobby and ensure their departure from there.

Our position has been clear from the beginning. We refuse to participate in the separation of people…any people. At any time or any place. We will never agree ever to an identifying process be it voluntary or forced.

Nor will we ever agree to the humiliation of having escorts physically overseeing the intimacies of our clients restroom usage.

We have hired the law firm of Aikin Gump to negotiate our departure from our building at 1225 19th St. N.W. so we can move our business quickly to another neighborhood location that offers a more welcoming atmosphere.

We apologize to our beloved patrons of many years for such short notice. But the difficulties that we’ve experienced over the years did not permit us the luxury of sharing our final decision in advance.

In the end, our many efforts to negotiate with our two landlords, past and present have been lengthy , costly, exhausting and in the end, futile.

Be well dear friends!
Art Carlson
CF Folks”

Final menu for posterity:

Next door to the Palm:


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