The City Paper's reports last night about Philadelphia restaurateur Stephen Starr headed to DC have panned out this morning, but that's about where it ends — for now at least. The paper had reported rumors that Matchbox is planning a fourth DC-area location at 14th and T, while its sibling Ted's Bulletin is moving into the District Condos space at 14th and S. A rep for both restaurants doesn't specifically deny the report, but tells Eater that it is "just a lot of speculation." The only confirmed move for Matchbox is to Merrifield in 2012, she said. But Ted's is definitely planning a second location and, when asked if Ted's has looked at the District Condos space specifically, the rep confirmed that they've looked at "that area" just as they've looked at Rockville, Clarendon and City Center: "Nothing is set in stone, no lease has been signed. They've been looking at a lot of locations, so it's all speculation."
The reports also claimed that Mark Kuller, owner of Estadio and Proof, was planning on opening another restaurant in the District Condos space. Eater reached out to Kuller, whose denial was emphatic:
"I can say unequivocally there's no deal. Not only is there no lease, there's not even a letter of intent that's been signed on any property. Not on 14th Street, nowhere do I have a letter of intent or a lease signed to do any project. Now, will I say that I talked to them and numerous other developers or landlords? Yes. Might they be interested in me? Yes. As are a number of other developers or landlords. But we've made no commitments, we don't have a letter of intent with anyone and, by the way, even if we signed a letter of intent, I've been in at least three deals where letters of intent never led to leases. So any kind of firm transaction is a long way off.
I think 14th Street is a great place to have a restaurant. Estadio has been warmly greeted by the neighborhood, so it would certainly be an area that I'd consider. But we've also looked in Dupont, we've looked in Georgetown, we've looked in Chinatown and even in Clarendon. So we're not really limiting our scope. And deals come to us. I got a call yesterday from a developer who's putting up a big building in Clarendon and I'm going to go meet him next Wednesday to see what he's got. But that's the story. There is no deal. There is no lease. There is no letter of intent. Have I had conversations with them? Yes, but I've had conversations with dozens of other developers and landlords."
Kuller was mum on what concepts he has in mind for a new project, but noted that it would depend entirely on the space that he finds anyway. And, to be clear, there is no deal on that space. So, in sum, anything is possible on 14th Street, but don't get your hopes up too high.
· Big-Time Philly Restaurant Group Gets Into D.C. Market; Other 14th Street News! [WCP]
· All Previous Matchbox Coverage [-EDC-]
· All Previous Ted's Bulletin Coverage [-EDC-]
· All Previous Estadio Coverage [-EDC-]