Neighborhood Watch: 14th Street Beer Garden Fight
The Issue: Summertime calls for cold beers, cheap burgers, and outdoor relaxin'. In steps Thaddeus Curtz's new burger joint, Standard, which is set to open at 1801 14th St. NW, reports 14th & You (guess Crepes on the Corner won’t be moving in). As a cook at the Neapolitan pizzeria 2 Amy’s, he must know what he's doing. Burgers, fries, and everything else will run under 6 bucks. And the 15-seat restaurant will open out onto a sidewalk cafe and a summer garden with seating for 130. The "problem"? Curtz plans to serve alcohol and stay open until 1:30 a.m. on weeknights and 2:30 a.m. on weekends–leaving nearby residents and two local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions up in arms.
Recipe for a Block Party: Standard would essentially transform the former outdoor garden center into a beer garden. “It seemed that large of a crowd outside, so close to residential homes…would be inviting problems,” says local ANC 1B commissioner Eduardo Ferrer. Curtz’s liquor license proposal was met with resistance by both the local ANC and neighboring ANC 2B, with ANC 2B voting unanimously against it. The ANCs expressed concern over the late weekday hours and outdoor noise. Commissioners noted that no other business in the area had ever requested so much outdoor seating.
For the Love of Burgers: A casual, cheap-eats joint to grab a beer on any given weekday is precisely what the neighborhood needs, wrote one commenter at 14th & You. “Residents have got to realize that if they want to live the ‘New York style life’ they so desire by buying these condos in the city that they will have some noise…from time to time,” wrote another. “If you want suburbia, move out to Reston!”
What’s Next: Curtz says he isn’t worried about disputes over his liquor license. “I think that it’s just a natural part of the process. It’s nothing unusual,” he says. The local ANC may be willing to negotiate if Standard's weekday outdoor hours are scaled back. The issue isn't the burger joint, but rather the business plan, Ferrer said.
Photo by davidgsteadman, Creative Commons Attribution License