Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New restaurant, Maple, coming to 11th in Jan/Feb; help decide what to serve!

I recently got a press release about Maple, a new restaurant coming to 3418 11th Street, next to Columbia Heights Coffee. It will be run by a husband and wife team, journalist Lori Robertson and architect Eric Gronning. Gronning makes furniture and designed Jack Rose, Commonwealth, Marvin, Cork, Pizzeria Paradiso and more, so it's probably going to look pretty cool.

Lori tells me they're aiming to open in late January or early Feburary. It's going to have Italian and European-influenced food with local ingredients. Below is the press release that says more about the place.

But what's interesting is that they're taking ideas and votes for what to serve, from a new website called Popularise.com. Popularise was launched by some local realtors, and the idea is for people to vote on what should go into certain spots. The website buys the spot (like one on H Street) and then people suggest and vote what should go it, and then Popularise helps that happen. In the case of Maple, they're taking suggestions for menu items: currently a wood-fired grill and a user submission, grilled cheese sandwiches, are leading. (Although the user submission was by the founder of the site, but hey.) It's an interesting idea, and will be more interesting to see what comes of the idea. To join in, just go the website and request an invite.

But whether you vote or not, it's great to see something new coming to 11th, especially in what was an empty space.

Maple, a new restaurant and bar, to open on Columbia Heights’ 11th Street Set to open in early 2012, Maple will be a cozy and casual restaurant and bar on Columbia Heights’ vibrant 11th Street. 
The restaurant will feature a modern American menu with Italian influences -- bruschetta, salads, sandwiches and panini, pasta and grill specials – as well as an extensive selection of wine. The full bar also will highlight craft beers and specialty cocktails. Maple, at 3418 11th Street NW, will have indoor seating for approximately 45 people and outdoor seating for eight to 10.It will be open seven nights a week for dinner, and for brunch on Saturday and Sunday. 
The design is clean and modern, with a 20-foot-long bar as the focal point. The restaurant’s name comes from a beautiful piece of tiger maple that will be used for the bar top. The growth rings and “tiger” streaks in this sustainably harvested wood give it a rich texture, and it will create a warm, welcoming atmosphere. 
Maple will be a lively neighborhood place with affordable food, wine and drinks. The kitchen’s philosophy is that fresh, quality ingredients go a long way toward making a great meal. The menu will feature simple dishes with gourmet ingredients, and borrow heavily from popular Italian and European cuisine. Maple will also partner with local farms for produce, meat and cheeses. 
Maple is the creation of architect Eric Gronning and journalist Lori Robertson. Gronning has been the architect for several successful Washington, D.C., restaurants, including Jack Rose, Marvin, Cork, Pizzeria Paradiso and the Palena expansion. He is also a licensed general contractor, specialty metal fabricator and furniture designer. He will be personally fabricating many components of MapleRobertson, currently an editor with the website FactCheck.org, has been a journalist for 15 years, writing about politics, the media, travel and health issues. Gronning and Robertson have lived in Columbia Heights since 2005; this is the husband-and-wife team’s first restaurant venture. 
As Gronning and Robertson finalize the menu, they’re soliciting neighborhood advice. They encourage residents to visit Popularise.com, a new online platform that, for the first time, allows the local community to be directly involved in the development process. Maple’s owners are excited to have the opportunity to use Popularise.com to engage with future customers. 
Columbia Heights’ 11th Street has become a destination for dining and entertainment. The area was featured in a Feb. 20, 2011, New York Times article that called it “Washington’s hippest new strip.”


  1. woohoo, 11th Street! Lot's of great stuff there and more coming

  2. I'd love to see the two other vacant store fronts next to Meridian Pint / Columbia Heights Coffee get rented out by a new store/studio/restaurant/bar. Hopefully the opening of the new apartments across the street will spur even more investment!

  3. I think there's a huge opportunity here for a nice, quiet mid-range kind of place with a good atmosphere that serves reliably good food. I don't think there's a place like that in all of Columbia Heights, let alone 11th St. I worry though when I see the owner talking about small plates and wine, and a bar type of atmosphere- that's what Room 11 and Meridian Pint are for, and they're doing a great job of it. Fill the niche, the neighborhood will love it and you'll make money hand over fist.

  4. Good points, ben. You should make them on the popularise website too!

  5. We really need a Shawrma spot in the neighborhood. Something with a Middle Eastern flair like falafel, .YUM


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