Business Ins & Outs 2022: L’Avant-Garde, Hobo, Whole Foods; Berliner, Amazon Books, CB2
By January 9, 2023 0 820•
Welcome: L’Avant-Garde, Yellow, Showfields, Hobo, Glossier, Bitty & Beau’s, Fountain Inn and others. Farewell: Berliner, Officina, Fluevog, Pie Sisters, Petite Soeur, Sara’s, CB2 and others. It was a busy year for Georgetown — and 2023 offers some new flavors, too: Wolford, Dig, Shouk, Van Leeuwen, Arcay and Osteria Mozza. Stay tuned.
L’Avant-Garde, a contemporary brasserie by Fady Saba along with Michelin-starred chef Gilles Epié, opened in December at 2915 M St. NW. We agree: “L’Avant-Garde is an ode to Paris, where a sultry, high-energy atmosphere combines with pitch-perfect cuisine, classic cocktails and an extensive wine list. The menu is best described as exquisite simplicity.”
Yellow, a cafe from chef Michael Rafidi, opened last month at 1524 Wisconsin Ave. NW. They tell us it “offers a taste of the Levant with a menu of baked goods, mezze, wood-fired pita sandwiches and specialty drinks. The sweet and savory pastries blend French technique and Middle Eastern flavors.”
Showfields opened at 3077 M St. NW in December in the former Brooks Brothers space as well as retail incubator, Concept 31/M space. Showfields calls itself “a lifestyle discovery store” and “the most interesting store in the world.” Showfields brings together, it says, “a unique curation of brands and experiences” in the roughly 20,300-square-foot three-story property.
The Bourbon Concierge has opened at 2816 Pennsylvania Ave. NW in the former Cafe Tu-O-Tu space. The family-owned business was founded in 1995 and specializes in high-end, collectible spirits.
An Indian restaurant — Herbivore — opened at 1639 Wisconsin Ave. NW in the former Pho Asian Bistro location on Book Hill in November.
DC Tasty Corner
DC Tasty Corner opened at 3147 Dumbarton St. NW in the former District Chicken & Gyro location. The South American-style cafe offers empanadas, choripan, specialty sandwiches, home-style soup and hand-crafted espresso drinks.
Kabul Castle Kabob
More Middle Eastern food at 28th & M: Sambosa, wraps, kabobs. Kabul Castle Kabob opened in November at 2801 M St. NW. Its entrance is on the 28th Street side of the corner building, across from George’s King of Falafel.
Diptyque, the luxury French fragrance brand — full name, St Germain Diptyque, founded in the 1960s — opened in October at 3273 M St. NW. It is best known for its high-priced candles but also offers eau de parfum, eau de toilette and perfume oil diffusers.
Little Words Project
Little Words Project, the playful bracelet shop at 1246 Wisconsin Ave. NW, opened in October. The business “aims to inspire and encourage people to be kind to themselves and to pay that kindness forward, one bracelet at a time. …”
The world’s fairest cashmere: Naadam arrived at 3003 M St. NW in the former i-Thai restaurant space. The company was founded in 2013 by Matthew Scanlan and Diederik Rijsemus, college friends, who work with local herders.
The leather accessories brand, Hobo, announced it was “thrilled to expand into Washington, D.C., with the opening of a Georgetown store, which is its second retail location in the U.S.” in September at 1265 Wisconsin Ave. NW.
Clubhouse, Not Church
No kids allowed. Church, the former beer hall at 1070 Wisconsin Ave. NW, transitioned in August to a 23-and-up bar during the evening. Owned by hospitality group Tin Shop, the 9,000-square-foot Clubhouse looks to be for real grownups after being tagged as a college hang-out.
Glossier beauty brand opened its fifth location at 3065 M St. NW in the former Sephora location in July. The new 7,200 square-foot store is inspired by the Jet Age and all things aviation.
The shiny juice joint — Pressed — at 1300 Wisconsin Ave. NW opened in July in the former space of the Papyrus card store. It is the company’s 116th store.
Storie Collective Design Firm
Storie Collective: Unique Kitchens & Baths opened in June at 1506 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Founder and creative director Sara Swabb lives in Georgetown with her husband, Erik, and two daughters, Tippi and Minna. The lead designer is Mirentxu Meyer.
UpWest, a casual women’s clothing store, opened at 3110 M St. NW, part of the Canal Square retail complex — in the former Kiehl’s Skincare space.
Hatley, on the opposite side of the Canal Square entrance, occupies the former space of the Dawn Price store at 3112 M St. NW and is best known for its PVC-free rain gear and cotton pajamas.
Feta Cafe and Bakery
Feta Cafe and Bakery opened at 2805 M St. NW. The location which previously housed Freshbee’s American Grill and, before that, Bibibop and a ShopHouse by Chipotle. It was the longtime spot for the beloved Furin’s Bakery which closed its doors in 2011 after 27 years.
Bitty & Beau’s Coffee
Bitty & Beau’s Coffee opened its 24th store at 3207 M St. NW in April 30. Named after their two children with Down syndrome, the North Carolina-based brand was launched by the Wright family in 2016 to change the way people see people with disabilities, especially in the workplace.
The straightforward men’s wear and women’s wear store, Buck Mason — founded in 2013 by Sasha Koehn and Erik Allen Ford in Los Angeles — set up shop in April at 3128 M St. NW.
The Fountain Inn opened in March at 1659 Wisconsin Ave. NW with some serious whiskeys. The new tavern has staked its reputation on fine spirits — as well as on the spirits of Washington history.
Aung Myint opened Sticx in March at 1728 Wisconsin Ave. NW — followed by Stonx, an upstairs bar.
After being closed for almost five years, the popular Whole Foods grocery store at 2323 Wisconsin Ave. NW in Glover Park re-opened in February. The Amazon-owned full-service grocery store is one of the few in the country to introduce “Just Walk Out” technology.
Auf wiedersehen to the Berliner, the German beer hall at 3401 Water St. NW, which closed in October. Co-owner Zubair Popal also runs bistro Lutèce, at 1522 Wisconsin Ave. NW and Lapis on Columbia Road. The news was not unexpected. Plans call for the construction of hotel CitizenM at the property.
Pâtissier Ashleigh Pearson’s Wisconsin Avenue boutique, Petite Soeur, closed in October. Pearson’s bonbons can be ordered online but are no longer available at 1332 Wisconsin Ave. NW.
Yes, they finally did it — really closed, as a storefront sign had warned for years. Riccardi Clothier, a men’s clothing shop founded in 1983, has closed at 1363 Wisconsin Ave. NW.
Chef Nicholas Stefanelli closed his Officina popup in the former Via Umbria space at 1525 Wisconsin Ave. NW.
Taïm opened its first location outside NYC in Washington, D.C. — at 1065 Wisconsin Ave. NW — in 2019. The Georgetown spot closed in May. Taïm, with its falafel, pitas, bowls, salads, mezzo, continues at 1514 Connecticut Ave. NW.
Scilla & Luna
The handcrafted goods store Scilla & Luna, a mother-daughter owned business on Book Hill closed in May.
A Georgetown tradition of more than a century ended. Sara’s Market at 3008 Q St. NW shut its doors in June.
The Georgetown branch of Capital One Bank at 1545 Wisconsin Ave. NW closed in May.
Business owner Girma Hailu closed his 7-Eleven at 2617 P St. NW in May after decades working there and owning the franchise with his wife Tsige “Chu-Chu” Sebsibe.
Georgetown Allure, the skincare medical spa at 3288 M St. NW, next to Pizza Paradiso, closed.
The cool, fun stationery store at 1355 Wisconsin Ave. NW packed up and moved out in May.
Mini Me Boutique
The charming shop at 3236 P St. NW, Mini Me Boutique, that carried mother-and-daughter outfits, along with toys, shut its doors in May.
The shiny, stylish clothing store at 3105 M St. NW, Michael Kors departed and left a message on the door read: “It’s not goodbye … visit us at … Tysons Corner.”
Amazon Book Store
The Amazon Book Store at 3040 M St. NW closed in March. Amazon closed all 68 of its physical bookstores. Ironically, the Georgetown book store opened in part of the former Barnes & Noble space in 2018.
The Pie Sisters — Alli, Bear and Cat Blakely — closed the doors of their shop at 3423 M St. NW in February. The brand continues.
In February, Fluevog, the cool Canadian shoe company, flew the coop from 1265 Wisconsin Ave. NW.
CB2, the contemporary home decor retailer from Crate & Barrel, at 3307 M St. NW, closed its Georgetown location in February.
Long awaited at the old Paolo’s side space (once a Little Tavern hamburger joint) at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and N Street NW, fast-casual Dig serves up bowls of salads or main dishes of chicken or meatballs.
Founded in October 2014, Maman is a New York City French bakery coming to 1353 Wisconsin Ave. NW this spring. Next to the Compass Coffee with its famous Georgetown sign, it will occupy two storefronts and pushed out Shop Made DC and Duly Noted. Writes the company: “Maman founders Benjamin Sormonte and Elisa Marshall have brought to life a melding of our earliest childhood experiences in the kitchen and a nod to their mothers from the south of France and North America. Maman, after all, means ‘mother’ in French. What started as an independent Soho café and bakery is now a leading lifestyle brand that boasts cafés across North America.”
Taichi Bubble Tea
Meanwhile, on the same block as Compass Coffee and Truist Bank, Taichi Bubble Tea under construction at 1357 Wisconsin Ave. NW and will “bring the best bubble tea, healthy poke bowl, and tasty ramen,” we’re told. It’s part of a chain, mostly from Upstate New York. Who knew?
Set to open February at 1238 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Ever/Body “offers a unique approach to cosmetic dermatology by combining the highest level of medical expertise, and individualized treatment plans with an unparalleled level of client service,” it says.
Blank Street Coffee
Blank Street — “with a limited, quality menu and state-of-the-art coffee technology — will open at 1238 Wisconsin Ave. NW.
Van Leeuwen Ice Cream
Started out of a yellow scoop truck on the streets of New York City in 2008, Van Leeuwen Ice Cream will also open at 1238 Wisconsin Ave. NW soon.
Villa Yara, a restaurant serving Mediterranean and Lebanese cuisine, is planned for 2815 M St. NW in the former Le Pain Quotidien space.
Shouk Food is coming to 1426 Wisconsin Ave. NW, the former space of Tugooh Toys, which moved a few doors up the avenue. Shouk says it offers “chef-crafted street food made from plants and Middle-Eastern spices.”
Award-winning restaurateur Stephen Starr is partnering with Michelin star chef Nancy Silverton to bring an Italian restaurant — Osteria Mozza — to the former Dean & Deluca space at 3276 M St. NW and has said, “I am confident that what we create together will knock the socks off of D.C.” Expect a late 2023 opening.
Streets Market … on P Street
Oh, thank heaven. Georgetown’s east side neighbors will be happy to learn that Streets Market — a local chain of small grocery stores that operate in such neighborhoods as Adams Morgan, Cleveland Park, NOMA and West End — appears to be taking over the empty 7-Eleven space at 2617 P St. NW, according to sources familiar with the property.
With a retail presence in Union Market, Rockville-based Arcay Chocolates plans to expand to Georgetown at 3211 O St. NW, the former site of the cat cafe, Crumbs & Whiskers. Offering truffles, specialty bars, shots, peels, pretzels and fruits, Arcay Chocolates is the product of Anabella Arcay, a Venezuelan master chocolatier.
Alo Yoga to Take Over Banana Republic Space
Another retail icon departing. As first reported by UrbanTurf, “Yoga clothing and accessory company Alo Yoga appears to be taking over the prime Georgetown retail space currently occupied by Banana Republic at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street NW. Plans filed with D.C.’s Historic Preservation Review Board outline a series of changes to the exterior of 3200 M Street NW to make way for the new tenant.” It is uncertain when Banana Republic will close.