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The Washington Business Journal has a short piece on Agua 301, the "modern Mexican" restaurant coming to the Lumber Shed at the Yards Park.
The restaurant, developed by the same people who run Zest Bistro on Barracks Row, will be on the building's southwest side (the left side in the photo at left, closest to the pedestrian bridge), and buildout is apparently now getting underway, with the owners "hoping for" a late July opening.
It is a 3,500-square-foot space, and will have 107 seats indoors, plus another 43 on the patio.
So, let's do a run-down of the next few months:
Canal Park's Park Tavern could be close to opening {ahem}, so let's call that March.
Bluejacket says "May/June" for its highly anticipated arrival at the Boilermaker Shops.
Nando's Peri-Peri says June for its opening, also at the Boilermaker Shops.
Agua shooting for July.
No dates other than "summer" have been announced recently for Osteria Morini, Chef Michael White's Italian restaurant planned for the southeastern corner of the Lumber Shed. So, August or September might not be out of the question, though until a buildout is underway, that would just be speculation.
Also no dates for Buzz Bakery or Willie's Brew and Que at the Boilermaker, though since Buzz is by the Bluejacket folks, perhaps it'll come around the same time? UPDATE: A Facebook commenter passed along this Hill Rag piece by the Capitol Riverfront BID's director, saying that Buzz is aiming for an April opening. Willie's remains a mystery, though.
Anyway, basically one new restaurant a month from now through summer is a little bit different from what the neighborhood has seen since, well, ever. (Though, of course, we know how targeted opening dates can sometimes slide...)
For Nats fans doing a little preseason salivating, here's my map of where the neighborhood's restaurants are, and will be. (If you haven't been to the neighborhood since last season ended, you'll also want to note the arrival of Kruba Thai and Sushi at 3rd and Water Streets, in the Foundry Lofts building at the Yards.)
Comments (23)
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Packinblackandred says: (3/12/13 10:38 AM)
I think I'm going to have to invent new meals to try all of these restaurants. Lunch-thirty and pre-dinner dinner, here I come.

MJM says: (3/12/13 10:40 AM)
So GB started building out in Dec? If they are planning to open 1 April lets use five months as a timeframe to build out.

BJkt hasn't really started anything so we are five months out as each day ticks by. May/June - go with early August.

Aqua 301 is they are just starting build out mid March puts you mid Aug?

Nandos - not a chance - Aug/Sep more like it.

Could be way wrong but as JD has noted over the years - don't believe the dates (except in this case GB - they busted their @$$es to get that place ready).

But from a curious standpoint is the south side of the Lumber Shed in the middle where it appears there is a large garage door - will that be some type of delivery entrance? Or will that be something else?

JD says: (3/12/13 10:46 AM)
Bluejacket is a little past "nothing" -- they've got a lot of equipment in there, and people are working (compared to, say, Willie's).

Nando's is a chain--they shouldn't need five months to build out. And I *think* (not sure) they just got their building permit.

Also, Biersch is huge--that was a lot of space to build.

Not saying that these dates won't slide, just that I don't think June for Bluejacket and Nando's is necessarily that far off.

JD says: (3/12/13 11:03 AM)
Looking into the archives, it took Potbelly two months or a *smidge* longer (like maybe two months and a few days) to go from start of work to open for business.

ZoolanderANDtheBoYz says: (3/12/13 11:22 AM)
GB and Bluejacket have a lot more construction to do than the rest of the other places. They have to deal with their brewing equipment and they both have bigger size places. I think it shouldn't take more than three months for the other places to finish their construction.

Well, it seems things are back to normal (2007) and more restaurants attract more companies to lease office spaces.

JD says: (3/12/13 11:26 AM)
A Facebook commenter mentioned this link, a piece by the BID's director, that says Buzz is shooting for an April opening. It's possible that's the new building permit might be for them, then.


MJM says: (3/12/13 12:03 PM)
The equipment is there and has been for some time. They need a floor at Bluejacket - aren't pockets of the floor still just crushed rock? Just don't see a three month miracle.

GB was working some night tills 9pm and on Saturday and Sundays. Even with all that time working it still took nearly five months.

I just don't see that effort anywhere else and if they don't get busy not sure those dates will happen.

JD says: (3/12/13 12:30 PM)
Well, if we toss Buzz into the mix, with a May-ish opening, the others could shift by a month and the one-a-month average would still basically hold. :-)

Eric says: (3/12/13 1:33 PM)
I read that piece at BizJournals and I'm glad we have people at Agua willing to take a "chance" on us, but as I've said before, do we have enough people in the neighborhood to support all these establishments?

I can see people from the Capitol Hill area coming down here, but are people in northwest/east going to?

If the restaurants are smart they'll have an affordable lunch menu to lure all the workers.

Eric says: (3/12/13 1:36 PM)
Disclaimer: I also might be projecting my laziness about traveling onto other residents.

Packinblackandred says: (3/12/13 2:40 PM)
I think between the Nats games, Capitol Hill people, and the lunch rush that most of the restaurants should be okay. I'm sure some will fold, just because that's what restaurants do, but I think they'll be generally healthy.

MJM says: (3/12/13 3:36 PM)
The places that are opening in The Yards can gorge themselves during baseball season and then rely on slower seasonal traffic. Park Tavern is gonna have an easy time no matter the time of year. GB looks smaller than other GBs but that should be full most of the time. Yards Park will get a summer crowd that will bring people down there and when BJkt opens that will be a nice draw too. By summer of 14 it will be a totally different place when the places on the agenda are finished.

ZoolanderANDtheBoYz says: (3/12/13 3:52 PM)
Osteria Morini will always be booked no matter what season or month it is. Well, at least the one in NY City is almost always fully booked.

No one is thinking about the 35,000 day time employees. They would probably stay after 5pm and enjoy happy hour foods and drinks till rush hour traffic slows down.

JD says: (3/12/13 8:31 PM)
Given the way Mr. JDLand is impatiently tapping his toes about the arrival of Osteria Morini, I imagine we'll give them plenty of business.

BillP says: (3/13/13 9:51 AM)
Did Xavier Cervera's restaurant "empire" ever get sold as was speculated previously? If so, Willie's Brew and Que will never happen since the new owners will likely (hopefully!) consider their own concept for the space, assuming they are contractually bound to it in the first place.

I still laugh at the "Boilermaker Shops Late 2012" signs that are still visible in some corners of the neighborhood when, in all actuality, we will be lucky if the place is anywhere near half full by late 2013. Still no new lease announcements for a tenant to replace the "Huey's Diner" but I assume Nando's replaced the "Be Right Burger" or whatever that was supposed to be.

Forest City is not having any luck meeting their deadlines although, in fariness, the Lumber Shed seems to be on track. To wit, it's amazing to compare the progress at the William C Smith Park Chelsea project which, despite getting started over a year later, is waaaaay ahead of the project we are all actually awaiting, the 1212 4th Street building with the Harris Teeter. JD's map says construction started in Dec 2011 and there is still nothing above ground in Mar 2013.

Maelstrom says: (3/13/13 1:19 PM)
Well, I mean the delays on 1212 are understandable given that they had such a ~dynamite~ time digging the hole out for it.

JD says: (3/13/13 1:22 PM)
In addition to the danger of unexploded ordnance, it was technically up to GSA to declare the dug hole completed and "prepared," to then be handed to Forest City's control, and we know how fast the Feds work.

ZoolanderANDtheBoYz says: (3/13/13 1:45 PM)
I guess every person who was involved in digging had a top secret clearance and their mission were to retrieve any unexploded ordnance, artifact, mysterious relic, fantastical object and supernatural souvenir buried by the department of navy.

Maelstrom says: (3/13/13 2:22 PM)
1212 is where we stashed the Tesseract, and that 1000 pound shell we saw removed was actually it's case. *puts on tinfoil hat and grabs a comic book*

Westnorth says: (3/16/13 8:48 PM)
@BillP: keep in mind a bunch of big differences:
1. Forest City had lenders up and collapse on them (e.g., Lehman Brothers)
2. as JD mentions, a uniquely weird relationship with GSA wherein they don't really control the land until GSA feels like handing it over
3. both Boilermaker and 1212's north wall are historic structures, which adds not just months of approvals but also a lot of uncertainty
4. mixed-use development requires a lot more work, since construction loans aren't forthcoming until a substantial amount of commercial is pre-leased; lenders are more flexible about apartments

@MJM: national chain restaurants have much shorter build-out timelines, and even those vary substantially based on the different equipment and upfit needed - Potbelly only needs toasters, but Biersch requires a whole lot more. It's like the difference between baking a cake mix and starting from scratch.

MJM says: (3/17/13 9:27 AM)
@Westnorth - nothing has opened when they said they were gonna open since CHT came on-line. Still waiting on those 10 days for Park Tavern. Still waiting on 2012 for the Boilermaker. Still waiting, still waiting. They will open this year but I'll be shocked, shocked I tell ya if all of them open as scheduled. Permits in DC can be a.....

Westnorth says: (3/18/13 3:08 PM)
Yeah, I know that: most businesspeople are optimists. I was responding to your "5 months" timeframe for restaurant buildout, which is not something that can be generalized to different operations in different circumstances.

Westnorth says: (3/18/13 3:10 PM)
Also, many of us in SW are also anxiously awaiting restaurants that don't require crossing the Sahara, erm, National Mall :)

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