Residents will recall that, last March, we were expecting a sit-down restaurant called J. Bell's to open within 30 days at the corner of P Street N.W. and North Capitol Street (1500 North Capitol Street N.W.). The would-be owner made a presentation to more than 20 residents at my single-member-district meeting, and then he followed up with a presentation before the ANC 5C seven days later.
That was the last the community heard of the matter, the property remained untouched... until a few days ago. Alert residents informed the community that "coming soon" signs were on the property. With some trepidation, I investigated. Would the community simply be greeted by another takeout restaurant whose employees bide their time behind protective glass (that's better than a vacant building, but the demand is for something else).
I have spoken with the co-operator of Luciana Cafe, Reinaldo Escuder. He and Ramio Claros are planning to open the restaurant... soon. Reinaldo says that the protective glass will be coming down (although probably not by opening day). He wants it to be a sit-down restaurant. A liquor license is not in the immediate gameplan. Here's a key: Reinaldo has 20+ years of experience operating a restaurant.
The distinct feeling I get after talking with Reinaldo is that he is going to feel out the community and see whether we are ready to support a restaurant. If so, Reinaldo will expand into the phase he calls "a big, big thing."
Across the street, on the south side of P Street N.W. (1430 N. Capitol Street N.W.), is another Douglas Jamal property. I spoke with someone over there who has informed me that Jamal intends to renovate that commercial property soon. The fence surrounds the property due to an incident involving a car.
Still further two doors south, another property is under renovation-- a new story is being developed.