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Nando’s is opening a location on H Street NE this Saturday, and like you, the chicken eatery seems to be very skeptical of the streetcar, which is set to begin passenger service that same day.
Taking advantage of the District’s zeitgeist (it’s like 1888 again!), Nando’s will also be transporting customers on its own private “streetcar” to its new two-story location at H and 4th streets NE.
“We’re excited to open the same day as the streetcar, but we also know things happen and you can never count your chickens before they hatch,” the restaurant explains in a notice. “So we’ll be offering [our] own free streetcar rides along the H Street Corridor. Just in case. And on Sunday, too!” (D.C.’s streetcar won’t offer Sunday service due to maintenance.)
Nando’s streetcar (which is actually a rebranded loan from the Old Town Trolley tour company) will pick up and drop off riders at the restaurant, at the corner of 9th and H streets NE, and at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, per the restaurant’s notice. It will run from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, with 15-minute headways—just like the D.C. streetcar is expected to start with.
“We’re trying to open with a bang,” says Sally Dadisman, brand manager for Nando’s in D.C. “I don’t know that the streetcar specifically is why we chose to open up on H Street. We’re just trying to have a little fun with it.”
On Twitter, Nando’s even co-opted the hashtag the District is using to promote the streetcar’s opening on social media:
— Nando’s PERi-PERi (@NandosUSA) February 22, 2016
On WAMU’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show today, District Department of Transportation Director Leif Dormsjo said the H Street-Benning Road streetcar will be free for riders for an initial six-month “promotional period.” It might be free for longer than that based on feedback, Dormsjo added.
“It has been too long,” the director said of the streetcar’s much-delayed launch. “But now that we have the opening in sight, I think there’s palpable excitement for what’s coming.”
Update 2:48 p.m.: The restaurant will have a seating capacity of 135 people, according to a company spokesperson.
Gif via DDOT’s D.C. Streetcar video; map via Nando‘s