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418 7th Street, NW

I know I get exciting by the most routine coming soon signs but this one is especially cool. Back in October of last year we learned about Jose Andres’ new Chinese-Peruvian Restaurant, China Chilcano coming to the former Olsson’s Bookstore space and once hoped for Wagamama in Penn Quarter. Hopefully, China Chilcano will not toy with us like Wagamama…

From the October press release:

“Highlighting the rich flavors, bold colors, diverse textures and unique aromas, the menu will apply time-honored Chinese techniques to Peruvian ingredients. From the classic Peruvian causas or ceviches, to Asian favorites like dim sums and sumais, the dishes will showcase Peru’s multi-cultural influences and ingredients in true Jose fashion.

Building on the success of China Poblano, the restaurant’s working name, China Chilcano, will pay homage to Peru’s celebrated fish stew and one of its more traditional drinks, the chilcano.”

You can read the full release here.

Can’t freaking wait.

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looking north toward Verizon Center

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looking south toward Penn Ave and Navy Archives

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418 7th Street, NW

Finally a tenant for the former Olsson’s Bookstore and once hoped for Wagamama.

From a press release:

“José Andrés, the chef who introduced America to traditional Spanish tapas and championed the path of avant-garde cuisine in the U.S., is opening a modern Chinese-Peruvian concept, in the heart of Penn Quarter in downtown Washington, DC. The restaurant will feature Chifa favorites–the cuisine known throughout Peru, melding Chinese style and native ingredients–with his personal and creative take on Chinese classics and this South American style.

José is no stranger to weaving cultures together in a dynamic dining experience, he is well known for his interpretation of Chinese and Mexican food, culture and traditions at his award-winning restaurant China Poblano at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. At this new location, José and his talented culinary team will create authentic, yet innovative dishes inspired by their research and development trips to Asia and most recently to Peru, that have helped them master the various skills and techniques of this rising world cuisine.

Highlighting the rich flavors, bold colors, diverse textures and unique aromas, the menu will apply time-honored Chinese techniques to Peruvian ingredients. From the classic Peruvian causas or ceviches, to Asian favorites like dim sums and sumais, the dishes will showcase Peru’s multi-cultural influences and ingredients in true Jose fashion.

“Peru is an astonishing country. The people and the culture reveal so many traditions. The history with China is fascinating and the Chifa cuisine so unique,” said José. “I want to tell the world about this incredible country and the many things it has to offer. What better place, what better home than here in the heart of DC, right near Chinatown and surrounded by our family of restaurants.”

Building on the success of China Poblano, the restaurant’s working name, China Chilcano, will pay homage to Peru’s celebrated fish stew and one of its more traditional drinks, the chilcano. The restaurant will be located at 418 7th St, NW, and is scheduled to open in the spring of 2014.”

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Yesterday we learned that Ben and Jerry’s had closed at 1333 19th St, NW in Dupont Circle. At the time a reader wondered what was going on with the former Olsson’s Bookstore space nearby (1307 19th St, NW). Thanks to a reader who works nearby – we know that construction started on Oct. 10th for a daycare center to be named Huckleberry Cheesecake Daycare.

If you don’t have kids not as cool as a Wagamama nor an Olsson’s for that matter but glad to see the long vacant storefront finally filled.

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“Dear PoPville,

Just wanted to let you know that the Ben & Jerry’s at Dupont Circle (1333 19th St NW) is closed. All the furniture and fixtures are gone. I just checked the Ben & Jerry’s website: the Dupont location is not listed. And the old Olsson’s space is still for lease! What is going on with Dupont Circle? Is it the economy? Is the neighborhood *that* unfashionable?”

I also wondered what was going on with 19th St, NW in Dupont back in Jan. ’11. But since that time – it has been announced that a new Irish Bar and Tapas restaurant will be coming to the strip. Also a bit further south a new sushi spot opened up at 1899 L St, NW. I’m not sure why it is so hard to fill former Olsson spaces but who knows maybe a Wagamama will announce that it is interested in the space

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We obviously talk a lot about rumors and scuttlebutt and we have to take those discussions with a grain of salt. But there is something particularly painful (at least for me) when a liquor license is applied for and we have official word that a new restaurant/retail chain is coming. Then many months later. Nothing. It stings me every time this happens. So when I passed the old Olson’s bookstore at 418 7th St, NW in Penn Quarter, I had to do a double take. Looks like the arrival of Wagamama in 2010 is not to be. From their Web site it looks like their only US location is in Boston. And now a for lease sign has gone up at the Penn Quarter location. Very disappointing.

So for the Friday Question of the Day, and perhaps they eventually will still come but, what retail/restaurant did you think was coming to DC but no longer is – is most heartbreaking? Wagamama? Elwood Thompsons (though there is still a sign up at DCUSA)? REI? A Kite store? H Mart? Walmart? Wegmans? Something else?

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I thought this was petty curious. It was located on the inside of the door at the location of the soon to be Wagamama located at 418 7th Street, NW in the old Olson’s book store. Because it’s on the inside of the door I wonder who placed it there.

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Every now and then I like to walk around the Penn Quarter/ Chinatown neighborhoods. I used to work around here and I know lots of readers work in this area as well. I’ve always been a bit disappointed with the bar options. (They do have great restaurants.) So I was excited to see some alcohol application posters. The photo above from 507 7th Street, NW is going to be Iron Horse Tavern. It says it’ll be a “tavern with darts, shuffleboard tables and a juke box. Occupancy Load is 299.” To me, that sounds like an awesome addition to that stretch of 7th Street.

The blog PQLiving had previously noticed this spot a few weeks ago and is a great blog for keeping up to date on development news in Penn Quarter.

I still enjoy the surprise of stumbling upon these alcohol posters by chance. I saw another one at 418 7th Street (the old Olson’s Book Store):

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This is slated to be an Asian restaurant called Wagamama. I hope it’s good but I miss the bookstore…

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