The imminent reopening of JP’s Night Club (2412 Wisconsin Ave.) could herald a citywide increase in strip-club sleaze, reports the Washington Post. Plans for the club, recently rebuilt after a 2008 fire, include dance platforms in “private alcoves” that might invite incursions into the required three-foot distance between entertainers and patrons, critics say. “Washington has one of the cleanest strip club attitudes in the whole nation,” said a source identified by the Post as a “dismayed competitor.” “This is going to change the whole city. If they allow this to open, I assure you other clubs will follow suit. You don’t want Washington to become like Las Vegas.”
Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category
Big news day on the Avenue: as reported by Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Brian Cohen on Twitter, a Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches shop is coming to 2428 Wisconsin Ave., the former home of Custom TV Solutions. Stay tuned for details.
From the May 2013 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:
Rooftop drinks may be in the offing at The Mason Inn (2408 Wisconsin). On April 24, the day the ABC Board was scheduled to hold a hearing on the bar’s application for permission to serve liquor on a new rooftop deck, co-owner Fritz Brogan and ANC commissioner Jackie Blumenthal each emailed the Board asking for extra time. “We are close to a settlement agreement, but a technical matter cannot be resolved quickly,” Blumenthal wrote. The protest hearing has been rescheduled for May 29.
From the May 2013 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:
Construction delays have pushed the reopening of JP’s Night Club (2412 Wisconsin Ave.) into June, says managing partner Phil Mathew. “Things happen, minor things, like the lead time for a light fixture could be a little longer than expected,” Mathew says. “I’m not settling for mediocrity when it comes to our build-out. I want it to look exactly like the architect’s rendering.”
The decades-old strip club is being rebuilt after a January, 2008 fire destroyed its original building. The new interior will look like “more of a high-end lounge than a gentleman’s club,” Mathew says. “It’s well-lit, it’s not anything seedy.” The space will feature black walls with TVs in light oak frames, with a dark custom-made wood bar, he adds. The club’s staff will total about 30 people, including dancers, servers, and security personnel.
The club’s liquor license is currently in a dormant status called “safekeeping”; it must be reactivated before the club can operate. Once that happens, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B and near neighbors will be allowed to lodge formal protests of the license with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, as they are certain to do.
Arcuri is accepting applications for all its hourly positions through Friday, according to a Craigslist post: “Experience is a plus but detail oriented, hard working and fun are a must!” The Venice-style trattoria is taking over the former Kavanagh’s Pizza Pub space at 2400 Wisconsin Ave. Co-owner Adam Hiltebeitel says he anticipates opening around June 5, but “we’ll certainly be at Glover Park Day” on June 1 with pizza and other offerings.
Though the full menu is still “a work in progress,” according to Hiltebeitel, the draft includes misticanza salad with duck prosciutto, Sicilian pinenuts, and ramp dressing ($9.50); wood-fired pork chop with vinegar peppers, glazed cipollini, and pork jus ($20); and pizza toppings such as green apple, fennel sausage, and broccoli rabe.
In the early morning hours of March 31, two strangers got into a religious debate inside The Mason Inn (2408 Wisconsin Ave.), according to a police report. “A heated conversation occurred between them,” the report states: one of the men opposed religious practice, while the other strongly supported it. “This led to them leaving Mason Inn and then getting into a physical altercation” in the vicinity of Davis Place, the report states.
During the fight, the godly combatant hit the atheist with a wooden fraternity paddle, causing lacerations above and below the unbeliever’s right eye. Police were called to the scene, and they seized the paddle as evidence. The report lists the name of the paddler as “unknown.” The incident is under investigation by the Alcoholic Beverage and Regulation Administration.
Glover Parkers have begun a frenzied effort to save the shop of beloved ice cream icon Mahmood “Max” Keshani, who last week received written notice that his lease for Max’s Best Ice Cream (2416 Wisconsin Ave.) would end on June 30. Neighbors have called for pickets of the landlord and boycotts of next door neighbor Rocklands Barbeque (2418 Wisconsin Ave.), which has announced that it will expand into the vacated Max’s space. There’s a Facebook page, a Twitter hashtag (#SaveMaxs), and a torrent of impassioned posts on two neighborhood Yahoo newsgroups. At the center of the frenzy is Keshani himself, who openly blames Rocklands owner John Snedden for his troubles. But the case for Rocklands’ culpability is not at all clear.
According to Keshani, the property manager earlier offered him a 33 percent rent increase that he declined. Keshani wanted to negotiate, but the landlords, sisters Gail and Barbara Bassin—who also own the Rocklands property—evidently did not. Property manager Raymond Ruppert, Jr., told us that Keshani was informed verbally last fall that his lease would not be renewed. Keshani, however, did not get that message, and laid in supplies for an entire summer ice cream season, expecting to eventually strike a bargain on a lower rent. Last week’s notice to vacate came as a shock, Keshani says. (Although we do not know the exact details of Keshani’s lease, we do know that he assumed it shortly after it was negotiated by his predecessor in the space, an ice cream shop called Bob’s. Retail leases often run for 10 years, with two five-year renewal options. If the Bob’s lease is typical, it could be ending now without any built-in option to renew.)
During the past year, Snedden kept up a 20-year habit of expressing interest in leasing the Max’s space, should it ever come open. Snedden told us on Monday that the property manager approached him this spring with a lease opportunity, and he accepted. Until last weekend’s brouhaha, he says, he thought Max was retiring voluntarily. (Rocklands, another locally owned business, started in its Glover Park location 22 years ago and has since added three other stores in the area.) Critics say that Snedden’s willingness to rent the Max’s space empowered the landlords to break ties with Keshani. But at Tuesday’s Glover Park Citizens’ Association Meeting it was revealed that the landlords had also lined up a backup tenant for the space in case Rocklands didn’t rent it, according to a woman who attended the meeting.
Snedden, for his part, says that he is sorry to see Max’s go, but he has a signed lease on 2416 Wisconsin that he cannot back out of without cost. Nor does his lease allow him to sublet to anyone else. Snedden says he has told the property manager that he is willing to delay the start date of his lease, should the landlords choose to allow Keshani to remain in the building. But Snedden adds that he doesn’t know whether the landlords will want to forge such a deal.
Due to media coverage of the lost lease, Keshani has heard from landlords all over town with offers of vacant space, he says. Remy Esquenet, who owns 2319 Wisconsin Ave., confirmed to us that he had reached out to Keshani as a possible second tenant for that building, which currently houses Tennis Zone. Some supporters have expressed willingness to contribute to a Kickstarter campaign to help Keshani with the expenses of relocating, but Keshani says he will either stay put or close. He bought the ice cream business with wife Marsha 20 years ago, and after Marsha’s death from cancer in 2011, he has no interest in moving out of the building they shared, even if only across the street. “This was my birthplace to begin with, and it will be my last grave,” he says. “My wife dedicated her life here. I don’t want to go anyplace else. If this is not going to work out, hey, God meant a different life for me.”
This week, Groupon is offering a deal for Slate Wine Bar & Bistro (2404 Wisconsin Ave.) for both its new lunch menu (available Tuesday through Friday) and its expanded dinner menu (available Tuesday through Saturday). The lunch coupons cost $7 and are worth $14 at the restaurant; the dinner coupons cost $20 and are worth $40. To buy either deal, click here.
The owner of Max’s Best Ice Cream (2416 Wisconsin Ave.) received verbal notice last fall that his lease would not be renewed, says Raymond Ruppert, Jr. president of the Ruppert Real Estate property management firm. The reason: “Basically, Rocklands wants to expand, and they’re an older tenant.”
News of the beloved ice cream parlor’s lost lease shocked two Glover Park Yahoo newsgroups on Saturday. One poster wrote that owner Max Keshani had told her he thought he’d be negotiating with the landlord over a proposed 33-percent rent increase, but instead received a notice to move out by June 30.
Ruppert, however, says there was never any offer of a raised rent from the landlords’ side. The talk was “only on his part; he asked if that were a possibility.”
The Max’s Ice Cream building is one of three in a row owned by local sisters Barbara and Gail Bassin. According to DC land records, the two women received the building from their mother, Ruth Bassin, last year, along with 2418 Wisconsin Ave., which houses Rocklands, and 2414 Wisconsin Ave., which houses Z-Burger.
Asked whether the change in ownership from mother to daughters might have caused a change in how the property is managed, Ruppert said, “The daughters are more pro-business at this point.”
Rocklands owner John Snedden and Building co-owner Barbara Bassin have has not responded to multiple requests for comment. Max Keshani could not immediately be reached for comment.
UPDATE: Rocklands owner John Snedden called us back. He says that he has never made a secret of his interest in expanding, if the Max’s building ever came available, but he made no special push to oust the ice cream shop. Rather, the property manager came to him this spring and asked if he were still interested in the space. “I said absolutely,” Snedden says. “I’ve been saying that for 22 years.”
Until this weekend, Snedden was not aware that Max’s was not closing voluntarily. “I thought he was retiring,” he says. “I would love for Max to continue to be our neighbor.”
The owner of Max’s Best Homemade Ice Cream (2416 Wisconsin Ave.) received notice this week that his lease would end on June 30. “The owners have requested that I inform you that they will not renew and/or extend your lease,” wrote property manager Raymond R. Ruppert, Jr. to Mahmood “Max” Keshani on May 3. “They expect you to have vacated the premises 2416 Wisconsin Ave. N.W. on or before June 30, 2013.”
According to a post on the Glover Park Yahoo newsgroup, Max had earlier received word that his rent would rise by 33% with the renewal of his five-year lease. “Max asked for a lease to that effect so they could begin negotiations,” the listserv member reported. “Instead he received the termination letter – no lease, no negotiation.”
According to the listserv member, Keshani speculated to her that his lease was ending so that next-door neighbor Rocklands Barbecue (2418 Wisconsin Ave.) could take over the space. “He wants Glover Park to know that he is not leaving because he wants to or because he is throwing in the towel,” the member continued. “He wants to fight for his business but does not know how – or whether this is even possible.”
Other listserv members vowed to take up the fight, suggesting a boycott of any new tenant. Neither Rocklands nor the building’s owner have responded to requests for comment.
UPDATE: Locals have created a Facebook page in support of Max’s.