In July we wrote about how popular Brookland restaurant, Little Ricky’s, was taking a summer break. Since then, there has been little news about its re-opening. Observant neighbors began noticing activity recently, and what looks like a bit of a renovation. We spoke with Lola Pol, owner of Little Ricky’s last week and asked her what’s up. While she was short on details, she shared that she plans to transform the format from a restaurant to more of a chic lounge called Gin Rummy. Still, fans of Little Ricky’s Chef Miguel shouldn’t worry, as he is still on board and there will be a strong food component to the lounge concept.
As a matter of fact, most of the Little Ricky’s team never really went away. When the restaurant closed, Lola and her team already had a thriving catering business going. Lola describes it as “…so labor intensive. Sometimes we have six parties a day.” The success of the catering business has allowed her the freedom and time to “keep paying the bills” while developing the new Gin Rummy concept. Being tight lipped about the new lounge concept is part of her marketing strategy to build buzz ahead of the re-opening, tentatively scheduled for early December. Still, Lola understands that the liquor license changes required to make her vision a reality, which include extended hours, dancing and live music, require sharing some basic details with the community. As a Brookland resident and sophisticated working mother of two young boys, Lola said, “it’s going to be the type of place that I would want to go to.” And, knowing what she does about her neighbors and the clientele she had at Little Ricky’s, she said “it will be really fun for the neighborhood, and for everybody”.
Unfortunately, we were unable to attend a recent “sneak peek” event at the restaurant, but we spoke with a neighbor who did attend and she said that the vibe was “upscale”, and that it reminded her of South Beach, Miami. Sounds great to us. However, there is the matter of the liquor license changes. I asked ANC Commissioner Ursula Higgins, the Commissioner for ANC 5B02 (where the restaurant is) her thoughts on the proposed changes. Here is what she had to say:
The only thing that I can state is, If we want to make a difference and have transparency, we as a community need to speak out. I can’t say personally whether or not this would be a good move, but the community can. I respresent them, I depend on them for their insight on what is or isn’t in the best interest of the 5B02 SMD. Thank you.
This is absolutely fair. If you would like to let Commissioner Higgins know what you think, she asks that you contact her directly. For more details on what exactly the liquor license change is, you can read the ABRA notification here, and here is info from a letter Commissioner Higgins sent to constituents recently:
As the 5B02 ANC commissioner wherein Gin Rummy, which is a located at 3522 12th Street, NE, Washington, DC 20018, seeks an Alcoholic Beverage Control Act (ABRA) approval of a Class Change from Retail Class “C” to Retail Class “CR” Tavern and Entertainment License endorsement to include dancing, License No.: ABRA-087727. I want to first hear directly from you any thoughts, concerns, support, objections, etc. you might have about this application. As commissioner, I wish to elicit your comments. Please review details:
CURRENT HOURS OF OPERATION AND ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE SALES/SERVICE/CONSUMPTION
Sunday through Saturday 10 am – 12 am
HOURS OF ENTERTAINMENT
Sunday through Saturday 10 am – 12 am
Please, email or telephone me. My email is: email@example.com, my ANC telephone number is 202-321-5289. Be sure to leave your full name, address, telephone number and comments.
I NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU! If I do not hear from you, I shall make my best judgment about the application for a license for Gin Rummy under the DC Alcoholic Beverage Control Act (ABRA). Thank you.