Nando’s Will Run a Streetcar on H Street in Case the Real One Doesn’t

Photograph courtesy Nando's Peri-Peri.

The DC Streetcar isn’t the only big launch scheduled for H St., Northeast, this weekend. Nando’s Peri-Peri is opening its newest location on the retail-and-dining strip on Saturday, and the purveyor of spicy roasted chickens wants to make sure its fans can get there.

And though District officials say the streetcar will begin serving the public on Saturday after more than a decade of planning, construction, and many unfulfilled guarantees, Nando’s—like so many DC residents—isn’t totally convinced. So the restaurant plans to run a trolley of its own on Saturday that will (presumably) run alongside the DC Streetcar.

“Nando’s congratulates the city for launching streetcar service on H Street, after years of delays,” the restaurant’s marketing director, Sepanta Bagherpour, says in a press release. “But we’ll be launching our own streetcar too this weekend, because you can never count your chickens before they hatch.”

Painful clichés aside, the Nando’s streetcar is actually a motorized trolley on loan from the tour company Old Town Trolley, unlike the actual streetcar, which runs on tracks built into the street and catenary wires. The green-and-orange vehicle will be marked with chicken-slinging phrases like “A Streetcar Named Fire. Here’s to Tasty Transit. Next Stop Nando’s.”

And while the real streetcar runs from Union Station to Oklahoma Ave. and Benning Rd., Northeast, the Nando’s line will only run between the Atlas Performing Arts Center at 13th and H streets and the new Nando’s location at 411 H St. Still, like the DC Streetcar, the one operated by Nando’s will run every 15 minutes and will be free to ride.

The streetcar that DC has spent about $200 million on so far is set to launch at 10 AM Saturday with a ceremony led by Mayor Muriel Bowser and other city officials. The Nando’s streetcar will kick off at noon, with members of the DC United roster working the restaurants’ grills from 1 to 5 PM, the restaurant’s press release says.

While the Nando’s streetcar is obviously a marketing gimmick designed to sell us chicken, it has one clear advantage: Unlike the DC Streetcar, it will run on Sunday.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.