City Paper is not for tourists
(photograph by Pilar Vergara)
Hang on to your mats, gentrifiers. The much-anticipated revival at the former Church of the Rapture at 14th and T is getting closer and, this time, won’t involve the laying-on of hands…unless that’s some new yoga move? Boundless Yoga is moving into 1840 14th St. NW, where it will share third-floor space with City Dance; the second floor will be a comedy dinner theater; and the ground floor is planned as a Diner/Tryst hybrid.
At least that’s the plan. Constantine Stavropoulos and Co. have to get by Dupont Circle’s ANC 2B first. Stavropoulos, owner of The Diner and Tryst in Adams Morgan and Open City in Woodley Park, is giving a presentation about plans at Wednesday’s meeting at the JCC, 16th and Q, around 8 p.m. Things could get sticky, we’ve heard.
The large space across from Café Saint Ex has been basically vacant since the church moved out a few years ago. We wrote about dashed condo dreams there at the cusp of the bust and, more recently, about artists kicked out because of the open elevator shaft.
That shaft will remain a defining feature of the building, which used to be a Model T assembly plant in the 1920s. (According to Stavropoulos, bumpers and lights were installed on the third floor, they’d paint cars on the second, and showcase them on the first, moving the parts with the giant elevator.)
The restaurateur and AU grad says unlike Open City (which is more Diner than Tryst), the new place will be a true blending of the coffeehouse/lounge/makeshift office that is Tryst and the 24-hour eggs-shakes-and-alcohol that is The Diner. They’ll be separate-but-not, he says, so Diner people can still be Diner people here and Tryst people can still grab a couch, but there will be opportunity for Diner/Trysts meet-cutes and whatnot. There’ll be a full bar, too, along with outdoor seating, pending liquor board and ANC approval.
So far, neighbors seem stoked, according to Stavropoulos. “Every single person I met, and I was out there all day Saturday, in some cases chasing after people as they were walking out of their homes, said ‘It’s about time,’” Stavropoulos says. One dropped what she was carrying “and hugged me.” The owners of the respective businesses are working as a team and using the same contractor, although they may open at different times. Stavropoulos says he hopes to open his yet-unnamed venture in March or April of next year.
It’s a bit of a gamble for Stavropoulos and not exactly cheap—it’ll probably cost him $2 million or more by the end. “The landlord is putting up some allowances, but it is going to be quite a bit of an investment. I’m leveraging everything, the businesses, the house, the dog, the cat, everything… but we’re excited. We’re hoping this will have a positive impact on the neighborhood.”