Restaurateur brothers Eric and Ian Hilton and The BBQ Joint owner Andrew Evans were all set to open a summer camp-themed bar serving sloppy joes and giant bowls of sugary cereals. In fact, the place was supposed to open this month in a former loading dock at 500 Penn St. NE near Union Market.
But Washingtonians will have to look elsewhere to mix alcohol with bunk-bed and canoe-tipping nostalgia. Landlord and developer Edens has pulled the plug on the bar.
Ian Hilton says Edens asked them to open a bar and restaurant in the development and planned to help pay for the buildout. “We got pretty far down the road, and they were kind of pushing back on the concept a little bit,” Hilton says.
As Hilton explains it, Edens officials asked whether they would refuse to do another concept if it wasn’t the summer camp bar. “We kind of called their bluff and said, ‘Yeah, this is what we think belongs here,’” Hilton says. “And they called us in a week later and said, ‘Not happening.’”
Edens Director of Culinary Strategy Richie Brandenburg declined to give a reason for killing the concept other than to say, “It just didn’t really work out.”
Hilton has his own theories: “They might have thought it was a little too campy? Too low-brow?”
Brandenburg says he’s still interested in working with the Hiltons. (Evans already has a barbecue stall at Union Market.) “I love what they do, and I hope to do something with them still,” Brandenburg says.
Meanwhile, the Hiltons and Evans may still try to open the bar elsewhere, if they come across the right space.
“I think it’s a cute idea,” Hilton says.