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New York’s Union Square Cafe Cancels Its Planned D.C. Location

The anticipated arrival just scratched its longtime plans to anchor a high-profile project

Danny Meyer’s upscale cafe is not coming to Capitol Crossing.
Union Square Cafe/Facebook
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Prolific restaurateur Danny Meyer is no longer importing his popular Gramercy Park cafe to D.C.’s Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood as planned, reports Washington Business Journal.

It’s been two years since New York developers Property Group Partners announced Union Square Cafe’s commitment to anchor its new Capitol Crossing project coming together along the 200 block of Massachusetts Ave. NW. The five-time James Beard Award-winning, no-tipping-allowed cafe — a decades-old fixture in NYC’s crowded dining scene — hoped to expand with a second stateside location on the ground floor of the planned mixed-use property.

“After much consideration, USHG and PGP have mutually decided not to open a second location of Union Square Cafe in Capitol Crossing,” a spokesperson for Union Square Hospitality Group told both WBJ and Eater in a statement.

The structure that was originally supposed to house Union Square Cafe was slated for completion in 2018. WBJ says the opening was delayed, in part, because the restaurant was bumped to 250 Massachusetts (the second building to arrive vs. the first). There’s currently no restaurant-related building permits in the system for its 25,000 square feet of retail space available.

The splashy construction project has attracted lots of start-and-stop hospitality interest over the years, at one point rumored to be the future home of Eataly. Another huge no-show was Wagamama.

Meyer and USHG already have a widespread presence in D.C., with multiple Shake Shacks dotting the dining landscape. Nats Park-specific food stalls under Meyer’s restaurant umbrella include fan favorites Blue Smoke and Box Frites.

It appears Meyer still hopes to open a full-service restaurant in D.C. one day, however. He told The Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema earlier this year about plans for a project inside Navy Yard’s incoming Thompson Hotel.

“We hope to have more details to share in the coming months,” the spokesperson told Eater.