Watch out T Street NW — a "New York investor" is coming to steal your parking and spoil your serenity with sidewalk seating, a summer garden and, horrors, weekend brunch. Prince of Petworth got his hands on a flier encouraging neighborhood residents to oppose the proposed bistro for the old Post Office space at an Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting tonight. The flier claims that the bistro actually aims to become a "massive destination, special events venue under the guise of a 'restaurant'" — making liberal use of all-caps, underlining, scare quotes and doomsday phrasing like, "Only massive unified opposition by us (the residents who have to live here) has any hope of stopping this disaster!"
Eater reached out to Blake Kimbrough, one of restaurateurs behind the project, for a response. Shockingly, the complaints seem overblown! All the way from the shadowy role of the "New York investor" right down to the fears of a nightclubby atmosphere.
As Kimbrough explains it, the restaurant group has had a series of meetings with the community (and even posted their contact information on the window) in hopes to address any concerns that might arise from a new restaurant. Some residents were concerned the bistro would turn into another Policy — the nearby venue that turned out to be as much nightclub as restaurant — because the bistro had requested an entertainment endorsement on its liquor license application. But, Kimbrough says, there are no plans to have a DJ or to turn the bistro into a nightclub. Rather, he explains, they were led to believe they should apply for everything available for a liquor license. He insists that they are working in good faith with the community to come up with a voluntary agreement that he believes should be enforced.
As for the New York connection, Kimbrough admits that one of the investors backing the project has a Hells Kitchen background, but the bistro will be as local as possible. They've got plans to hire a local chef (whose identity is still top-secret) and the future maitre d' lives two blocks away from the site. And Kimbrough himself has been kicking around DC since 1995. He says he gets why neighbors are concerned — after all, he lives near an alley where people pee on his car — but, he adds, "I chose to live in a city."
The restaurateur revealed a few other little details about the forthcoming bistro, too. They'll be serving contemporary Southern food, perhaps with in-house sausages (though the menu details won't be set until the chef is locked down). He hopes to have under-represented artists' work on the walls and is leaning toward calling it The Post Office. But for now, the team is just looking for feedback, he says, on how they can make the bistro better for the community. And that Dupont Circle ANC 2B meeting is tonight at 7 at the Brookings Institution if you want to be among those to have your voice heard.
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Post Office [Photo: 2011 Google]]