Restaurateur Alan Popovsky will permanently close his Declaration pizzerias in Shaw and Navy Yard. Popovsky put Declaration Shaw—which had operated in the neighborhood since 2016—in hibernation mode in October; it won’t reopen. He quietly closed Declaration Navy Yard—a huge restaurant near Nationals Park—in December, and made the decision to keep it shuttered two weeks ago.
“Our decision really hinged on two venues, Nationals Park and 9:30 Club, that are close to each of those places,” says Popovsky. “Baseball will have 5,000 fans, but 5,000 people is nothing for that area. There’s no timetable for 9:30 club. Those were the two biggest drivers for those restaurants.”
The PRG Hospitality founder says he wants to refocus the group’s energy on their two remaining downtown DC restaurants, Teddy and the Bully Bar and Lincoln, the latter of which will celebrate its tenth year on April 11. In January, Popovsky launched an Asian fusion ghost restaurant, Stingray Kitchen, in the Declaration Shaw space. That delivery only concept will continue, but will be run out of Lincoln.
Before the Declaration Shaw space officially shuts down on April 30, Popovsky plans to spend time making pizzas for those in need. He’s partnered the Immaculate Conception Church in Shaw to hand out free pies from the restaurant. The first donation day was last Monday—what would have been his late father’s 97th birthday. He plans to donate over 50 pizzas again on Monday, April 29, and keep donation days going—whether free meals or care packages with essential items—at Lincoln and Teddy moving forward.
“This pandemic has really opened my eyes to the fact that maybe having four restaurants is too much for me,” says Popovsky, who’s operated in the DC hospitality scene since the ’90s, with spots like Felix and Hudson. “I’m trying to look on the bright side and say it’s a good opportunity to recollect and focus on what’s important.”