09 Feb 2011

New Bar Expected Next to Tunnicliff's

This just in: THIH hears restaurateur Xavier Cervera is buying 224 7th Street, SE – Petit Gourmet – out of its lease and putting a bar in next to Hill stalwart Tunnicliff’s, probably giving the centrally-located gathering place a run for its money and providing a  fresh bar scene on traditional ole Seventh Street.

DC tax records show that the building is owned by 224 7th Street LLC, and was bought or refinanced for $695,000 right before Christmas, Dec. 20, 2010. It is assessed at $864,660.

Cervera owns restaurants and waterholes  like Lola’s, Chesapeake Room and Molly Malone’s on Barracks Row.

Although THIH couldn’t do much reporting as the plans were still under wraps this morning, we hear The Hill Rag and Petit Gourmet (which I love, and where my daughter first grew fond of Cotswald cheese, chocolates and pates) will be gone. I couldn’t reach Petit Gourmet owner Phyllis Marriott this morning — she wasn’t at her usual place behind the counter, spooning her  delicious homemade soups and carefully making made-to-order sandwiches. However, I was able to reach Julia Christian, Executive Director of CHAMPS, Capitol Hill’s Chamber of Commerce, whose offices are on 7th Street above Tunnicliff’s. “We are eager to see what Mr. Cervera has planned for the site and look forward to working with him throughout the process.”

The building will be gutted and refurbished, which leads one to wonder what will happen to the offices of the Hill Rag, which are currently upstairs from Petit Gourmet.

Tunnicliff’s recently bought,  refurbished  and reopened the old Bullfeathers on First Street SE.

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23 responses to “New Bar Expected Next to Tunnicliff's”

  1. mary says:

    Seventh St. is turning into Eight St. Another bar! What will we do? Start signing that ANC anti liquor petition now!
    Breathe deep sheeple & stay calm.

  2. mary says:

    edit- 8th St.

  3. Liz says:

    Sorry, Mary, I disagree. I’m excited to see what this bar/restaurant will become and am one 4+ year resident of the Eastern Market area who is all for the new developments along 8th Street in the past few years!

  4. Mark says:

    The market will dictate what opens and what goes under. My concern is more of the fact that Molly’s =Lola’s = Chesapeake = Senart’s = Whatever this bar becomes. Mr. Cervera’s places all look and feel kinda the same (just my humble opinion).

  5. Kate says:

    I have to agree with Mark. I’m all for another place to hang out and watch “the game” however the only things we consistently enjoy at Molly’s are the wings, fries, and pancakes (as far as food goes.) Chesapeake definitely caters to a different crowd than the bar scene but I’d love for them to try a different tack especially since Tunni’s had pub grub down pat.

  6. Pip says:

    Lola’s and Molly’s aren’t bad but I too hope they put a little more imagination into this place. At the moment they all feel a bit… Toll brothers.

  7. @Liz, I’m almost 100% sure that Mary was being sarcastic.

  8. Liz Festa says:

    Petit’s Phyllis says she plans to be there for awhile so come in and enjoy the lovely sandwiches, treats and service. I, for one, am surprised at how cheaply this building was acquired! It is in the heart of the EM district, and although said to be in not so great shape, it is a key property.

  9. Tim Krepp says:

    Are you sure, Nichole? Because this place is one jumbo slice away from becoming Adams Morgan.

  10. Rebecca says:

    Very disappointing. We’ve been so unimpressed by Cervera’s restaurants. They are so boring and overpriced… Sure the ambience is okay. But what gives Capital Hill it’s charm is the eclectic mix of small businesses – and the cuisines that the owners do best – usually reflecting their cultural heritage. There is nothing original (or charming) about Cervera’s restaurants. I’ll continue to support those unique small business owners that make capital hill a special place

  11. M says:

    +1 for being disappointed in his restaurants. There is nothing particularly “wrong” with them, but there’s nothing particularly right either. Chesapeake Room was a big disappointment. Maybe that’s why I see it sparsely filled whenever I walk by.

    It actually wouldn’t be that hard to make significant improvements. For example, changing up the monotone beer selection every now and then would be a huge start. Somehow dozens upon dozens of other bars in DC manage to do it.

  12. Martin says:

    My wife and I are very excited at this potential new offering. We have lived on the hill for six years and have really enjoyed Cerveras spots since the first one , Lolas. We love the Chesapeake Room and think its the best food on the hill. Chef Wood is an amazing transplant from Savannah and the pub food and music at Molly Malones is awesome and our kids love it also. We cant wait for the new oyster bar to open, I think its called Senarts, it looks beautiful. Not really sure why Rebecca thinks they are over priced. We find all of his places so reasonable.

  13. Carolina says:

    Hi just to let you know that the Hill Rag will stay at its current location. If this happens it will be only on the first floor of the building.

  14. Kevin says:

    seems like a small space for a bar

  15. awads says:

    meh…i was excited at the prospect of another bar/place to eat (tunnicliff’s has never done it for me…), but agree with the above posters. i don’t frequent those places on barracks row b/c they aren’t family-friendly and the food is not good. would rather see a bistro (ala zest) move in.

  16. ET says:

    Is it just me or does it seem like all the places on H St, 8th, and 7th are owned by the same 7 people/groups? Maybe that is why there is a boring sameness regardless of food and decor. Maybe since they all seem to be vying for the same demographic they only design/plan within a very narrow constraint.

  17. b says:

    Sheeple? Couldn’t the excitement over the breadth of largely one-note bar/grille/comfort food spots be considered a little lemming-like as well? For every Ba Bay there are 20 Molly Malones around the Hill (and 20 more proposed).

    [Big yawn]

  18. Marian says:

    As the community reacts to this latest proposed food establishment , the near neighbors would greatly appreciate your support our efforts to protect our homes and the use and enjoyment of our rear gardens. We will be asking the owner to meet with us now, not later, so we can work together to minimize, if not totally avoid, negative impacts associated with restaurants and bars–garbage generation, noise, rodents, alley congestion, etc.

  19. Katherine says:

    Boo on the negativity. Lolas used to be Tapatinis ( crapatinis ) now its one of the most quaint bars in the city where we gather for a great burger, fantastic fish tacos, pate and brie or a skirt steak while surrounded by mahogany. Molly Malones is arguably the best Irish pub in town with once again a beautiful interior. The Chesapeake Room which used to be a shut down cinder block flower shop has wonderful regional cooking served by the most talked about young chef in the city. Everyone is chatting about Cerveras new oyster bar getting ready to open. We stuck our head in the other night while a crew was working and they were nice enough to give us a tour. Its AMAZING, a fifty foot long marble oyster bar and the most beautiful woodwork we have ever seen. They told us that the head chef from Brasserie Beck is coming on board. So give it a rest naysayers. This guy apparently lives on the Hill and in less than three years he has obviously contributed to our community in a very positive way. We have lived here for twelve years and except for Bart at Belga ( we love Belga ) Cervera has really helped build a wonderful array of choices that we as Hill residents should be proud of. His places are fun and staffed with people that seem to really enjoy what they are doing. I hope he is able to open Pacifico? on 8th and would love to have his new Eastern Market place on OUR side of Penn ave

  20. Mark says:

    It’s not negativity to simply point out the fact that all of his places look and feel and taste the same…that interior in Molly’s is virtually the same in Lola’s as it is the same in Chesapeake.

    Tapatinis was actually unique.

  21. Pip says:

    These places remind me less of AM than somewhere like Ballston. Throwing a bunch of dark wood up does not make a bar distinctive.

  22. Martin says:

    We just saw Xavier at Eastern Market and he confirmed that Brian Klien the chef who heads up Brasserie Beck will be the new executive chef at his new oyster and chop house -YES !!

  23. MAD says:

    While I am an advocate of diversity, I think Chesapeake’s wild boar stew (my personal favorite), crab cake btwn friend green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, etc are all fantastic (wine list could use a revamp). Molly’s breakfast burrito with buffalo chili..killer! Senart’s sucks, I think we can all agree.

    While the decor may be consistent throughout all these spots, I find the spaces to be aesthetically pleasing. But is he going to buy up every space in the area to create similar dining experiences over and over?

    I am happy Tunni’s will have some competition–does get a bit old sometime. One thing Xavier does well is beer—despite his navigation away from DOPS, who carries some of my favorite brews.

    All in all, bring it on.

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