The former Island Cafe, soon to be the Petworth Citizen.
The former Island Cafe, soon to be the Petworth Citizen.

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The alarm sounded yesterday on the Petworth email list: The neighborhood is at risk of becoming “hipster.”

I’ve heard rumors on the street that the people who are opening Petworth Citizen on Upshur Street (formerly Island Cafe) have also purchased the building next door (formerly Hair Impressions) and the empty building across the street next to Huff Cleaners, as well as the Murrell Building (at Upshur & Georgia Avenue).

Word also has it that Petworth Citizen will have dancing in the basement of their Bar.

Since this is a small neighborhood made up of a great mix of small businesses and residents I think a meeting with the owner(s) of these establishments and the existing businesses & residents is warranted, to provide input and discussion on future plans for the neighborhood.

No, no one prefers unused, empty buildings in the neighborhood!  but we also do not want this neighborhood to become “hipster”.

The poster wrote a followup note to add that “the building on Upshur, formerly Mona’s Hair Braiding has been purchased by the same group.”

“Again,” the poster continued, “this is word on the Street, on Upshur Street.”

The word on the street does not appear to be correct. City property records don’t show any recent sales of these buildings. Paul Ruppert, a partner at Columbia Heights’ Room 11 and Mount Vernon Square’s The Passenger who’s opening the Petworth Citizen bar at 829 Upshur St. NW, says he hasn’t purchased any buildings on the street. He’s signed a lease for the Petworth Citizen space, as well as one for the building across the street at 828 Upshur St. NW, which he says will be a “neighborhood restaurant” opening sometime in the new year.

“Those are our only current plans,” Ruppert says. “We’re looking at other spaces.”

So what about those other buildings on Upshur? Ruppert says he’s “looked at them,” but nothing has been signed. No word yet on whether anyone will be inspired to dance there.

Image via Google Maps