H Street Restaurants Speak Out In Support of Streetcar

26 Mar

Street Car

Much has been said of the H Street Streetcar over the past several weeks and months (years actually).  Often overlooked in that discussion is the impact the streetcar has already had on H Street restaurants and bars and the impact that it will have on them in the future.  For restaurants that opened several years ago, they endured months of major business disruptions due to construction.  For some of them, the road in front of their restaurants was torn up and completely blocked for months on end.  For newer restaurants, many of them chose to invest their money in the H Street Corridor because of the promise of the streetcar running.  We caught up with many H Street restaurants and bars–both brand new and those open for awhile now–to get their perspective on the importance of the streetcar opening and operating on H Street. *As you will see at the end, we did talk with one restaurant that has become frustrated with the D.C. Government’s handling of the streetcar and no longer supports it.

The Argonaut (1433 H Street): “10 years ago when Joe Englert and I (Scott Magnuson) opened the Argonaut, we had a grand vision of a packed streetcar bringing people up and down the street.  This vision is something I latched onto as we struggled being the only business open at the time.  We struggled through two and a half years of construction which had one side or the other of the Argonaut closed.  Like many of the other businesses it was extremely painful to go through.  City officials need to not only get the current line up and running ASAP, but they must finish the line downtown and to Minnesota Avenue for the streetcar to have a chance to succeed as a transportation option.  Failure to complete the line will result in a failed streetcar.  The one advantage businesses have with the current track is that it will bring people from NoMa to the bars and get them home.  It will not be a valid transportation option until the line goes downtown.  We are pro streetcar and can’t wait to see it up and running!”

&pizza (1118 H Street): “The streetcar opening up is important for H Street because it provides a proper means of transportation from a transit hub such as Union Station but also, further, it starts to lay the foundation for further means of transportation going east of H Street.  I (Steve Salis of &pizza) believe that there will be a lot of development taking place east of H Street in the years to come and this is a great vehicle to support the maturation for those communities while leveraging the leisure components that H Street provides.”

Dangerously Delicious Pies (1339 H Street): “As a business that moved onto H Street in 2009, we, along with our fellow H Street businesses, have certainly dealt with some crazy challenges in general, but certainly in regards to the preparation of the streetcar in particular.  Collectively, small businesses and local residents have put up with a lot and have paid out a lot in taxes and it only seems logical that we at least see the project through, now that we are so close to completion, as opposed to cutting some major losses.”

Driftwood Kitchen (400 H Street): “The streetcar, if implemented as promised, would really help do two things: connect the two sides of H Street for the consumer, and open the H Street Corridor up to Metro traffic by ease of accessibility.  We would love to see Northwest D.C. have a convenient means to see what H Street has to offer.  Connecting us to the rest of the Metro would simply be a boon for businesses in our neighborhood.”

Le Grenier (502 H Street): “The streetcar is a nice option to fix the parking issues that hurt business but above all, an easy, fancy, green way to go up and down the corridor and stop by any businesses.  We will be proud to be part of the first (new) streetcar in D.C..”

Smith Commons (1245 H Street): “With the limited parking on H Street, the streetcar would provide travel from Union Station where guests could park and take the streetcar to all H Street locations.”

DC Harvest (517 H Street): “The opening of the streetcar would continue the revitalization of H Street and be instrumental in bringing more new people to our proud part of D.C..”

Micho’s Grill (500 H Street): “Most of us on H Street are mainly small business family-owned restaurants and (many) serve authentic international foods.  We rely on foot traffic to keep us going.  The streetcar will play a major role in exposing us to the rest of D.C..”

Sol Mexican Grill (1251 H Street): “The streetcar is very important to us.  It will promote tourism in our neighborhood which means more business for everyone.”

Ocopa (1324 H Street): “(the streetcar will) increase traffic and broaden market audience for businesses in the neighborhood because parking is limited and difficult.  Union Station offers great Metro access but is too far from most restaurants.  It’s also (currently) challenging to keep employees who do not live in NE D.C..”

Tony’s Breakfast (1387 H Street): “It (the streetcar) matters because too much money went into the project (to abandon it), and because it is a good tourist attraction.”

Biergarten Haus (1355 H Street): Biergarten Haus has become frustrated with the D.C. Government’s handling of the streetcar and no longer supports it: “one more example of the lack of accountability, planning, and impact for the District of Columbia’s residents and businesses by the government in the District.  Not to mention, the waste of 200 million of our hard earned tax paying dollars.”


3 Responses to “H Street Restaurants Speak Out In Support of Streetcar”


  1. Morning Links - Housing Complex - March 27, 2015

    […] H Street NE restaurants and bars (mostly) urge the city to complete the streetcar project. [District Cuisine] […]

  2. In Other News … | Urban Scrawl - March 31, 2015

    […] H Street Bars and Restaurants Want Streetcar Completed  [District Cuisine]  After reading all these testimonials about how important the streetcar would be to H Street businesses, I would almost believe that it’s been sabotaged by a shadowy group of Georgia Avenue investors trying to hold down the competition. […]

  3. District Line Daily: Weed Seeds - City Desk - April 2, 2015

    […] H Street NE restaurants and bars (mostly) urge the city to complete the streetcar project. [District Cuisine] […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: