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Virginia’s RĀKO Coffee Roasters Expands to D.C. With a New Cafe In Studio Theatre

The all-day cafe at the Logan Circle theatre will serve food made by local women and BIPOC-owned businesses

RĀKO Coffee Roasters, led by sisters Melissa and Lisa Gerben, is moving into D.C. at Studio Theatre.
Photo: Drago Tomianovic

Logan Circle’s Studio Theatre will emerge from the pandemic with a new look and cafe helmed by Virginia’s women-owned RĀKO Coffee Roasters.

The beacon for live entertainment prominently situated at the buzzy corner of 14th and P Streets NW since 1978 just released additional details about its Open Studio campaign, which includes a massive $20 million renovation anticipated to be completed by early 2022.

Its new day-to-night café component will serve single origin pour overs and espresso drinks to go along with natural wines, beer, and cocktails. Food will be made by local women, BIPOC-owned businesses, and zero-waste producers. The 1,100-square-foot java station on the first floor, lined with lots of visual art and metal detailing, will boast a 66-seat patio outside of its P Street NW entrance (1501 14th Street NW). The company will also operate concessions for Studio.

After its state-of-the-art refresh wraps, Studio Theatre will be named Victor Shargai Theatre after the avid D.C. theatre supporter and former Studio board member.
Hickok Cole [rendering]

RĀKO tried D.C. on for size during the pandemic with a pop-up out of Shaw’s sustainability-centric Oyster Oyster that lasted through the winter.

Its 5,000-square-foot facility in Lorton prides itself on using environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient roasting practices. Coffee comes directly from its farmer-suppliers to support small growers and their communities. Along with using fully compostable cups, customers’ returned coffee bags get recycled and turned into park benches.

Update 5/21/21: RĀKO plans to open its cafe in December 2021, which is also when Studio will welcome audiences back to the building for the first production of the 21-22 season. “RĀKO is thrilled to be partnering with Studio Theatre and to be a part of the neighborhood,” Lisa Gerben tells Eater via email.