Popular neighborhood restaurant Little Ricky’s closed in July 2014. Since then, what will replace it has been the subject of rumor, but no hard information that we are aware of. Back in May, we learned that the ABC Board cancelled the liquor license for the location because the license holder (Gin Rummy LLC) did not seek to renew it. Now we recently learned that Gin Rummy applied to renew the liquor licence, and has a hearing set for January 2nd. It would be great to see another unique dining concept there, we really enjoyed Little Ricky’s. We will let you know when we hear anything new. Gin Rummy/Little Ricky’s is/was located at 3522 12th Street NE.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
Little Ricky’s, one of Brookland’s beloved restaurants, announced yesterday via Facebook that they will be taking the summer off. Although this news is surprising, it comes on heels of the restaurant’s “re-launch” on May first, which included a new menu concept focused on southern American cuisine. We reached out to Chase Moore, proprietor of Little Ricky’s, for a statement. He assured us that all is well, but that ownership feels it is time for a much needed break, and that they expected a slow summer. In deed, the signs in the restaurant window says “We’ll see ya’ll in September!”. We hope that is the case.
The next Ward 5 Happy Hour will take place Thursday, May 1st, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at Brookland’s Little Ricky’s, located at 3522 12th St. NE. If you haven’t checked out this restaurant or a Ward 5 Happy Hour, now is a great opportunity to meet neighbors! For more information, check out the Ward 5 Happy Hour Facebook event page.
Brookland restaurant Little Ricky’s opened about a year and half ago, and has been tweaking and improving both the food and service concept ever since. After a mixed review from the Washington Post, they debuted a new menu last June that combined both Cuban and southern American elements. We recently learned that on May 1st, Little Ricky’s will do a “re-launch” featuring a new, southern cuisine based concept. We got a sneak peek of the menu and sampled some dishes, and while we are slightly disappointed to see a departure from the Cuban menu, everything we have sampled was delicious. Here is what co-owner Chase Moore had to say:
Very soon you are going to see some changes at Little Ricky’s, not the least of which will be the menu. As with a great many things we tire of repetition and long to shake things up. Food is no different, so with that, Little Ricky’s will be shaking things up in the coming month reorienting our focus from Cuban cuisine to a pointedly Southern, albeit diverse, offering.
Now, everyone in the restaurant industry has said we are nuts, and while we are certain they are correct – we’ve never been much for convention nor for playing it safe. Some will love the change, some will hate the change…to that point we are certain that those who hate it will tell us just how much on Yelp. That’s cool. Chef Miguel, who is coming on as a partner in the venture, is working on a fun menu that frankly we are super excited about. A section of the menu will be dedicated to constant items and many more “take out” friendly options, like a host of Po Boys, while the entrees portion will be more flexible and draw inspirational from the Carolinas to Texas, and points in between….with even the occasional nod to the Caribbean and South America. The new menu will be rolled out on May 1st.
Brooklanders who dine at Little Ricky’s regularly will be familiar with some of the southern dishes that have been on the menu for a while – like the catfish bites, shrimp and grits, and fried green tomatoes. Some new standouts include crabmeat “sardou” and a “low country boil” consisting of shrimp, potatoes, corn on the cob, sausage, and more, boiled with spices and served with french bread and butter. Chase added that as they get more situated with their new menu, they will up step up their offerings by adding specials that include wild game and other surprises. In addition to the new menu, Chase was quick to point out that he recruited new kitchen staff that is more experienced and will turn out a more consistent product going forward. We wish this local business the best of luk with their new vision! Little Ricky’s is located at 3522 12th St. NE. Their website is here.
Brookland restaurant Little Ricky’s is planning a fun event – a Fat Tuesday 5K! The 5K will take place Tuesday March 4th, costumes and Mardi Gras attire are encouraged. Afterwards 5k participants will enjoy drink specials and half price gumbo back at the restaurant. We caught up with Chase Moore, owner of Little Ricky’s and asked him about the inspiration for the event:
The 5k was born of the idea just to do something that brings the neighbors together. I took some time off in October down in Mississippi and one of the local bars in the beach town hosts a 5k every Thursday evening and at the finish everyone hangs out and drinks beer. I thought that would be a great community builder in Brookland. We’ve created an event on the Little Ricky’s Facebook page. The whole event is super casual. There is no real winner, it’s just people running or walking together and of course Mardi Gras themed dress is encouraged. Afterwards we’ll have some beer and gumbo specials at the restaurant, and of course king cake, since it will actually be Fat Tuesday.
Last week we posted about the ultra-brazen smash and grab attack on the CVS at 12th and Newton Streets, NE. In that burglary the thieves made off with an ATM machine. So far, we haven’t heard about any arrests made in that case.
Then, we got word from Chase, the owner of popular Brookland restaurant, Little Ricky’s, that they were burglarized in the early morning hours of Friday January 24th. Fortunately in that case, the thieves didn’t get away with much.
Now, less than two weeks since the CVS theft, we learned about a very scary and again, very brazen, robbery at neighborhood restaurant Silvestre’s. According to reports, masked gunmen entered the restaurant around 8:00 pm on Friday night, January 31st and robbed the patrons and employees at gunpoint. NBC 4 Washington broadcasted a story about the crime, see the video here. We visited Silvestre’s Saturday to inquire how the employees are doing. While the staff put on a brave face, they were clearly shaken by the event. What they told us was harrowing. They said 5 men with rifles entered the store, pointing the guns at patrons and at them. Once they robbed the patrons and the cash register, they went the extra step of forcing an employee at gunpoint into the basement to check if there was a safe down there they could rob as well. Needless to say we are disgusted by this violent act perpetrated against our neighbors. We reached out to Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie and the Metropolitan Police Department via Twitter and McDuffie responded with the following Tweet:
— Kenyan R. McDuffie (@CM_McDuffie) February 1, 2014
McDuffie’s office also released this statement:
It was disheartening to learn of the robbery that occurred last night at Silvestre Cafe on 12th Street. I’ve reached out to MPD5th District and have asked for increased police presence. I’ve spoken to Chief Groomes and MPD has pulled the video of the robbery and are canvassing the area to seek additional evidence. They have also increased patrols in the area, more officers are on foot as well as having the Latino division assisting. Recently, MPD closed the cases of a nearby cleaners that was robbed and have made an arrest in the string of cabs robberies in the 5th District. I urge anyone with information relating to last night’s callous robbery of Silvestre’s to immediately contact MPD. In addition, I just spoke to the victim (restaurant employee) to ensure them that MPD and law enforcement are vigorously pursing all leads in this case.
Well, we thought that it is about time that we, as neighbors, stood up for our Brookland businesses and demanded more police presence on 12th Street and around the neighborhood. The CVS and Silvestre’s crimes were well coordinated and bold – obviously the pack of cowards who would point rifles at unarmed victims at 8:00 pm on a Friday night on our main street felt they could get away with this attack. Between the armed robbery of of the Newton Market in August and the robbery of Yes! Organics in July – that makes 5 burglaries/robberies of our businesses in 7 months, just over a half mile apart. If there isn’t a swift, prominent and proactive police response, what will these criminals think of next? Here’s where you can make a difference. If you want to send a message to our Councilmember and members of the Washington DC Metropolitan Police that we demand additional police resources dedicated to our commercial district, please take a second and fill out the letter to them via the form below.
- Executive Office of the Mayor, Vincent Gray
- Ward 5 Councilmember McDuffie
- Chair, Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, Councilmember Tommy Wells
- MPD Chief of Police, Cathy Lanier
- MPD District 5 Commander, Andy Solberg
- ANC5B 01 Commisioner Shirley Rivens-Smith
- ANC 5B-02 Commissioner Ursula Higgins
- ANC 5B-03 Michael Morrison
- ANC 5B-04 Commssioner Carolyn C. Steptoe
- ANC 5B-05 Commissioner Jenese L. Jones
As I am sure you are aware, there has been a recent uptick in crimes in the Brookland neighborhood of North East DC. Two of these, the “smash and grab” theft of an ATM at the CVS, and armed robbery at Silvestre Cafe at 3601 and 3000 12th Street NE, respectively, were particularly coordinated and brazen. All tolled, there have been at least five burglaries or robberies of 12th Street businesses in the last 7 months, and just over a half mile apart. Without a noticeable, proactive, sustained and increased police presence, on and around our commercial district, the perpetrators of these crimes will get the message that Brookland businesses continue to be easy targets.
For Brooklanders, the night of December 18, 2010, when Newton Foodmart owner Raj Patel was killed in a botched robbery is etched in our consciousness. We will not stand idly by while our neighbors and those that have invested in our community are threatened and robbed with deadly weapons.
I stand with my fellow neighbors and the businesses of the Brookland’s main street, 12th Street NE, in asking you to do everything in your power to address the unsolved crimes that have taken place in our neighborhood and increase the presence of MPD officers on our streets.
Brookland Residents Request Increased Police PresenceRead the petition
The next Ward 5 Happy Hour will take place Thursday, December 5th, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at Brookland’s Little Ricky’s , located at 3522 12th St. NE. If you haven’t checked out this restaurant, now is a great opportunity to meet neighbors and sample delicious Cuban food. For more information, check out the Ward 5 Happy Hour Facebook page.
12th Street Fire 11 5 2013, a set on Flickr.
Around 11:00 this morning we got word that there was a fire at the Pizza Kingdom restaurant on 12th Street NE between on Monroe and Newton Streets, NE. I rushed down there and took these pictures. Thankfully no one was hurt in the fire. However, Pizza Kingdom, a favorite among Catholic U students and Brooklanders alike was badly damaged, and I would imagine will be closed for quite some time. I spoke with the owner, Mr. Ali, and he didn’t have much to say other than he was in shock and saddened, and looking for reasons for the fire. By the time I left the scene it was still too early to tell what caused the fire. Little Ricky’s, another Brookland favorite, is next door to Pizza Kingdom. I spoke extensively with Chase Moore, one of the owners. Their glass front door and back door were smashed in and there is some smoke and water damage to the restaurant. Chase said “it is too early to say when we will re-open. We are hoping for the best.”
Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie is in touch with the owners of both restaurants to offer help and support. He is also asking for the community’s help with ideas for supporting these businesses. Brookland Grill, which is next door to Pizza Kingdom did not appear to be affected by the fire. We will post updates as we get them. Our prayers and best wishes go out to all affected by the fire.
We were excited to see one of our neighborhood gems featured on the news for honoring their Cuban heritage. Great to see Brookland get some positive press! Go Little Ricky’s! We had a hard time embedding the video, but you can see it here at the NBC Channel 4 Website.