Restaurateurs Take on Bloomingdale
When it comes to new restaurant establishments opening in Bloomingdale, business is booming. According to the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, the area, much like the rest of Washington, is undergoing tremendous growth in diversity and in the number of restaurant additions. Every year, more and more restaurateurs look to the area to make a name for themselves, thanks to the success of more established eateries, such as Big Bear Cafe, Boundary Stone and pizza joint Rustik Tavern.
To capitalize on the growth of the businesses, new restaurant owners are choosing to open shops in or around the Bloomingdale Center, a shopping area located on the corner of 1st and T St. NW. The center serves as the retail hub of the budding neighborhood.
Back in October, restaurant owner Somjet Promphasit opened Aroi Thai, a Thai-and-sushi themed restaurant. While the restaurant offers Thai classics, such as panang curry and see ew noodles, the establishment sets itself apart by listing chirashi sashimi and the “McLobster” roll on its menu options. Promphasit says he was drawn to Bloomingdale after he came to the area for the first time and felt a strong sense of the community by simply walking around. “This is a good area to have a business, and I wanted my place to be the neighborhood's first sit-down Asian cuisine” said Promphasit. “Neighbors have come out to support the business, which has been good.”
Bloomingdale residents will have many more restaurants to get excited over in the coming months. Four restaurant owners have either applied for new business licenses or publicly announced that they will set up shop in the area.
Sebastian Zutant, who was the opening sommelier of DC’s wildly successful Proof restaurant, broke the news to The Washington Postin June that he plans to team up with two additional restaurateurs to open an Italian-focused restaurant in Bloomingdale called the Red Hen. The design of the Red Hen will take advantage of the building's prominent windows, Zutant told The Washington Post. The restaurant will occupy the vacant space of the Bloomingdale Center on 1st Street.
Across the street from the Red Hen, another group plans to open Costa Brava Restaurant, slated to offer Balkan-style tapas cuisine, small Spanish ensembles and live acoustic music. The restaurant group, Balkan Concepts, LLC, said that it wants the restaurant to remain open until 3 a.m. and has applied for a sidewalk cafe alcohol license. Interestingly, the restaurant group has stated that there will not be nude dancing at the establishment.
Bakery Grassroots Gourmet announced that they will be setting up shop in a storefront adjacent to Boundary Stone (on Rhode Island Avenue NW) in the fall. The bakery shop, which specializes in delivering freshly baked goods to the homes of customers, plans to offer homemade cookies, pies and cakes, as well as vegan baked goods.
Finally, a group called Spo-dee-o-dee plans to open a new coffee shop directly across the street from Grassroots Gourmet. Called the Showtime, the café, according to the city's liquor license files, will be “an affordable and friendly neighborhood gathering spot with a laid-back atmosphere.” During the day, the Showtime will serve coffee, pastries and house-made dips and snacks, and at night beer, wine, spirits and appetizers. The restaurant group has applied for an entertainment endorsement and plans to keep the establishment open until 2:30 a.m.
Margie Epps, who lives not far from the new restaurants planning to open around the Bloomingdale Center, said that she is excited about the new eateries because their openings mean that business gets to stay in the community. “It's good that the neighborhood is growing,” said Epps, who has lived in Bloomingdale for more than 20 years. “Now you don't have to go so far to get what you need. It's also good to see the city growing.”