Local American chainlet Bold Bite has closed its downtown DC branch after fewer than four months in business. Co-founder Alvaro Roche, who’s also behind locations in Bethesda and Union Station as well as 202 Doughnuts (which is actually located in the 301), says lack of patronage in the office-heavy Golden Triangle neighborhood is to blame.
“The Bold Bite Market concept was built to have traffic throughout the day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but unfortunately, the 19th Street location was only busy for lunch,” says Roche.
Roche and brother/chef Alonso Roche also recently shuttered TapaBar in Bethesda in favor of a new homey concept, R Family, in the same space. (They’re scouting a new location for the Spanish restaurant.)
A number of restaurants operate successfully along 19th Street—the Greek Deli is going on its 28th year, while new openings include a 24-hour Wawa and Gregory’s Coffee. Still, the 19th Street stretch has a higher turnover than most, especially for restaurants that serve around the clock. Closures in the past two years include Smith & Wollensky steakhouse, Bonfire, Protein Bar, Round Robin Burger (which predated Bold Bite at 1028 19th Street), Sophie’s Cuban, Soma, Olivia’s Diner, Science Club; nearby Melt Shop and Veloce also shuttered. As Donburi owner James Jang said when opening a branch of his Japanese restaurant at 1134 19th Street, Northwest:
“People call it the place where restaurants go to die, but I only found this out after we signed the lease. I guess we’ll see.”