End of a Rocky Road for Serendipity 3 in D.C.

Georgetown’s sweets-and-gifts restaurant, Serendipity 3, closed its doors June 3 due to a lawsuit with the landlord, 3150 M Street LLC, who is allegedly owed more than $98,000 in rent, utilities and other fees.

The iconic location was home to Nathan’s Restaurant & Bar for more than 40 years before transforming into Georgetown’s spot for “Frrrozen Hot Chocolate” and hamburgers. Since its opening in May 2011, the home of the decadent $1,000 “golden opulence” sundae has had a bumpy ride.

After just a year in business, a disagreement between the owners caused the M Street restaurant to close temporarily. Washingtonian Magazine reported that co-owner Charles Britton Swan, who owns Rhino Bar, Modern and Sign of the Whale was arrested by the Metropolitan Police Department on assault and felony threat charges. He and co-owner Rodrigo Garcia were arguing when Garcia called 911, after claiming he was being threatened by Swan.

In its second year in the heart of Georgetown, Serendipity 3 was closed briefly due to three health code citations from the D.C. Department of Health.

The co-owners of the restaurant have been sued three other times this year, twice in small claims court over unpaid linen rentals and additional fees, and once in civil court.

Garcia and Swan operated the restaurant through a licensing agreement with the Serendipity 3 brand, whose flagship restaurant is located in Manhattan. Its founder, Stephen Bruce, a former fashion designer, had grown increasingly dissatisfied with the quality of service at the Georgetown location, and rather than meeting his standards, the co-owners chose to shut down, according to a statement released by Bruce’s attorney Kieran Doyle.

Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank purchased the M Street building for $12.25 million in February. Rumors of the sports apparel shop moving into the space have abounded since Serendipity’s closing, but plans for this location’s future are not yet clear.


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