When fast-casual seafood restaurant Tackle Box opens this week at 3407 Connecticut Ave., it will end more than seven years of businesses trying, and failing, to occupy the building. Starting with a McDonald’s popular with seniors, Cleveland Park 2.0 takes a look back at the recent history of 3407.
McDonald‘s left Cleveland Park in January 2004, according to Washington City Paper archives. The restaurant had become somewhat of a senior community center, where the neighborhood’s senior citizens could spend hours at a time socializing, the City Paper said.
The departure also left the community without a reasonably-priced cup of coffee, people said at the time on the Cleveland Park Listserv.
The site stayed vacant until retail bank BB&T Corp. applied for a zoning exemption to move into it in late 2005, Woodley Park/Cleveland Park Advisory Neighborhood Commission minutes show. BB&T would have caused the neighborhood to break a zoning regulation that allows only 20% of the Connecticut Avenue strip’s floor area to be occupied by banks.
Commissioners questioned whether the business district needed a third bank and whether BB&T would enhance the area. They ultimately voted to oppose the exception in January 2006 and the building went up for lease again.
A year later, Argentine restaurant Divino wanted to move to the space. It would have served alcohol and featured “occasional” tango lessons and music until 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends.
About a dozen residents came to the ANC meeting about Divino’s liquor license application to express concerns about the establishment. They included parking issues, noise and the number of liquor licenses in the neighborhood (Divino would have been No. 22). Additionally, it may have run afoul of zoning regulations. The commission voted unanimously to oppose the license, its minutes show, leaving the space empty again.
DC Diner, a “family-friendly” diner by the owners of nearby Spices Asian Restaurant and Sushi Bar, received a unanimous ANC blessing for its liquor license for the space in November 2009. The city’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration approved the license shortly thereafter, but the restaurant never materialized.
Finally, Tackle Box announced its intention in June 2010 to move to the space, the Washington Post reported. It first planned to open that fall, but kept pushing back the date until almost a full year later. Owner Jonathan Umbel said in an email that it would open Thursday, though the date is not so precise, and it “should open by the end of the week,” Prince of Petworth reported.
As for the ANC, Tackle Box’s liquor license was transferred from DC Diner, minutes show. The commission therefore did not have to review any applications for the restaurant to open.