It turns out Logan Circle doesn’t favor French food over chicken wings.
Frenchy’s Naturel (1337 11th Street NW) will close for good Sunday, July 28, about six months after restaurant group EatWell DC opened it in an attempt to save a space that held its struggling poultry parlor, the Bird, for two years.
For its closing week, Frenchy’s will offer a 25 percent discount on the entire menu, including an alcohol list full of natural wines.
Upon opening, principal owner David Winer told Eater at the time that the goal was to create a “French modern feel as opposed to a wild party.”
Entrees from executive chef Eric McKamey, who’s trained in French fare, were relatively affordable by D.C. standards. A 6-ounce Virginia Devon sirloin steak ($25) or a grass-fed beef burger ($20) included a small salad, one of three sauces, and an option for unlimited fries or a seasonal vegetable.
Via a phone call on Tuesday, Winer tells Eater that while brunch at Frenchy’s “was well received and busy, dinner never took off.”
Along with rising competition from “bright, shiny” arrivals, the restaurant’s two-level layout spread across multiple rooms didn’t help business. On slower nights, certain spaces felt empty.
”It didn’t lend itself to good camaraderie people seek when they go out to eat,” he says.
He reveals he was entertaining a potential buyer that planned to flip Frenchy’s into a casual American eatery, but the deal fizzled.
The menu also featured steak tartare, mussels, spaetzle gratin, and chocolate pot de creme, alongside a retooled beverage program heavy on French spirits and classic cocktails.
The team spent a chunk of change converting the graffiti-soaked Bird into a quaint French cottage, installing light blue siding, wooden bench seating, lush planter boxes, and glowing orb sconces.
The homegrown restaurant group operates five other brands, including Grillfish, Logan Tavern, Commissary, The Pig, and The Charles in La Plata, Md. All of Frenchy’s 25 staff members have been offered positions at the group’s other restaurants and no layoffs are expected, the team tells Eater.
He tells Eater he hopes all opt to stay within the company, especially as more D.C. restaurants open and the struggle to retain employees thickens.
“So many of us are vying for a small pool of relatively skilled labor,” he says.