End of an Era: Booeymonger Closes


Last week, the signage was stripped off the awning and the windows papered up. The unique Georgetown deli, known as Booeymonger, ended its 50-year-old existence at 3265 Prospect St. NW.

“Yes, Booeymonger is closed,” Leslie Samuel, property owner and co-founder of the business, told The Georgetowner. “A new restaurant is forthcoming.”

It will be a French bistro, Samuel said, from the owners of Zeppelin and Chaplin’s, two restaurants on 9th Street in Shaw. He added that he understands that the new business owners, Ari and Claire Wilder, plan to call it La Bonne Vache — “The Good Cow.”

Since 1973,  Booeymonger — at the corner of Prospect and Potomac Streets, near residential homes and one block from busy M Street — was a gathering spot for neighbors, business folks and Georgetown University students. The unusually named sandwiches, the “Patty Hearst,” “Fifth Avenue” and “Tuna Turner,” fit the eatey’s quirky name, taken from a student newspaper in Ohio which one of the co-founders thought was cool.

Apparently, just everyone has stopped by —  Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Patrick Ewing and various politicians and celebs — as well as former Georgetowner publisher Dave Roffman, whom Samuel said loved to have lunch there almost every day.

But the pandemic put a strain on the eatery for Rummana Choudhury, business owner since 2018. (The occasional underage drinking violation did not help either.) Hours constricted — and employees departed. Except for three or four, including Priya, who was the subject of a recent Mapping Georgetown column in September.

Nishantha Kodithuwakku, who works at the Embassy of Brunei, wrote on social media: “Booeymonger Georgetown is a place that changed their lives by helping nearly 100 Sri Lankans living in Washington, D.C., get green cards. In addition to working, a place where there were debates between party and opposition. Ron’s former-owner, with dedication for almost 40 years, is being devastated day by day at the change of administration. I was saddened when I walked by that company today. That company has been closed down. A new company is about to be started soon by a different name. Thank you, Booeymonger for making the lives of many Sri Lankans colorful… !”

An opening date for the new business —  which is still going through the permit processes —  has not yet been announced. 

Please tell us your Booeymonger stories in the Comments section.

La Bonne Vache, a French bistro from Ari and Claire Wilder, is set to replace Booeymonger at 3265 Prospect St. NW. Georgetowner photo.

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34 comments on “End of an Era: Booeymonger Closes”

  • Lisa says:

    In 1988 I moved from the midwest to an English basement apartment a few blocks from Booey’s and years of Patty Hearsts, hummus, sprouts and peanut butter on a sesame bagel, and Friss’s (french bread with fried eggs and melted swiss) followed. So sad nearly every old place is now gone! Long live Martin’s!

  • Torie Bernuth says:

    I walked in shortly after the 2 young men opened this place. I suggested providing prepared food and one of the owners said come and cook for us, and that was how it started. We created a menu and we were off and running. It turned out to be a huge success.

  • Debbie Nichols says:

    In August of 1974 I stood in line behind Dustin Hoffman; we engaged in a conversation about the Washington humidity, allergies, and living in Georgetown. I tried to act very cool and not be awed by who he was – until, before he departed, I had to say “I loved you as Ratso in Midnight Cowboy!” He smiled, winked and said “Thank you; I loved it too.”

  • JUDY RYAN says:

    Our Sunday morning go-to since our teen grandchildren were babies.
    We remember a lovely young woman, behind the counter, who always recognised us and greeted us warmly.

  • Mark Andrews says:

    Moving from Oklahoma to play football in Baltimore wasn’t easy, but no place helped me adapt to the DMV more than Booeymongers. You will be missed.

  • I was one of those underage drinkers. I had my first beer there in 1981, while I was visiting the university for my early decision weekend. Since everyone I was with was over 18 (the beer/wine drinking age at the time), I wasn’t carded. I forget what sandwich I had – maybe the Patty Hearst? But I was hooked.

  • PBN says:

    I grew up in Georgetown and have lived there almost all my life. In 1985 my family moved from 31st & R St to N & 34th. I was 15. The boy who lived across the street was 17 and we started dating. Our earliest “dates” were walks to Booeys for a Miami Burger, a Fifth Ave, or an egg-salad sandwich. We went there through, high school, college, law school, and when we got married and had our babies we took them to Booeys every Saturday morning for bagels, and continued to take them to Booeys as they grew up. Booeys has been part of our family history for 38 years and we are so sad to see this era come to an end! Thank you for all the memories!

  • PHIL FRAULINO says:

    There still is Booeymonger at 5252 Wisconsin Ave, which is considered as being in Frienship Heights(DC??? or MD????)

  • G Harvey says:

    Was there not a Booeymonger on Wisconsin Avenue in the early 70’s?

  • Justin Sayfie says:

    Upper Manhattan and Lower Manhattan were both delicious. 1986-1990 Georgetown student. Thanks for the memories. Looking forward to trying the new place.

  • RFM Gtown ‘96 says:

    Georgetown just not the same as the glorious 80’s 90’s and early 00’s; M street now gone posh…The pub, Suger’s, Booeys, Quik Pita, Champs, 3rds, Winston’s…what else – hope Wisemillers still there…Tombs and Clyde’s is all that’s about left….Here’s a thought let’s pool some alumni and start buying up these ‘original’ nostalgic properties and keep them alive….

  • Lamar Jackson says:

    Booey’s was great. The problem was they only carried Anheuser Busch products. Would’ve gone out of business anyway in the coming weeks even if the business was running smoothly because of this.

  • Herk Maulson says:

    I’m not sure how true it is but my friend from nearby in Georgetown was friends with the owner and said that they refused to continue anheuser busch products because of the boycott and that’s partly why they went out of biz

    • Violet says:

      Considering it was closed before the caterwauling started, I’d say no. Also, Anheuser is not tanking, that’s just wishful thinking by conservative males who are too fragile to watch TV commercials without filling their diapers.. Check your sources.

  • Jimmy says:

    loved this place, we would skip school and go hangout there.

  • Susan says:

    Working at Booeys in the 70s was the best. Maybe my favorite job ever.

  • Winston N. says:

    The Duke will reign supreme in my heart forever. Long Live Booeymongers!!

  • John says:

    The whole Budweiser argument is truly the dumbest thing I have ever heard….
    No business that has been in operation 40 plus years closes because it only sells AB products….get for real.

  • Evan says:

    From May ‘81 to August ‘82 I ‘managed’ the place on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I lived across the street and just rolled right out of bed into work. Great memories of all the G’town, GWU, Wilson High, GDS students who prepared breakfasts and lunches. If you wanted to know when the best DC Punk shows were happening, you only needed to ask across the order counter.

  • JTH says:

    Became a huge Booeys fan in the mid 80s. $5 pitchers in Georgetown? Totally worth the drive from McLean for my 18-year old buddies and me. I was a Duke fan but everyone else loved the Patty Hearst. I’m 55 now and my friends and I still talk about how great it was to eat and drink there. A truly wonderful institution!

  • J. says:

    My first night at Georgetown, having just moved into the dorm (first time living away from home), decided to go out and one of the students said “I know a place” – we all walked down to Booeymongers for bagels – it was the start of many visits there during my four yeas at college in the 90s. Great memories, great place.

  • Bill H. says:

    I lived above the Booeymonger in 1973/74 and founders/owners Tim and Les (along with Les’ wife, Ruth?) were wonderful people and inventive sandwich and breakfast designers. That was back before they sold beer and only had the west side of the building. Fifty years for any restaurant is a small miracle—many thanks for the food and the memories.

  • 30+ year customer says:

    Rummana Choudhury ownership destroyed the original concept by cutting costs, service and quality of food. You had to beg for mayo or jam or condiments. Service was rude under this management at Georgetown and Jenifer Street/Wisconsin.

    • Fi says:

      Exactly. I used to go there all the time in 90’s- I loved their big patty burgers. I went to visit in 2020 and the food was awful. The new management destroyed the Booeymonger menu- these fools charged for condiments, and didn’t understand how to make a simple burger. It was THE WORST restaurant experience I’ve had. I was wondering what in the hell new management was doing. Hopefully they don’t ever open up another restaurant ever again. Terrible service and food.

  • MRG says:

    I’m so sorry to hear the Booeymonger closed! My grandparents owned Seidel’s Market there before for close to 25yrs. My mother grew up above the store and I remember when they first opened, they rented from my grandparents until around 1994. My grandfather would take me all the time. We would sit at a window seat and have breakfast, lunch or share a milkshake. It was some of my favorite memories!

  • Wilfrid Ward says:

    Welcome to La Bonne Vache! I was not a Booeymonger fan… they lost their sense of the neighborhood and culture.

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