From 2010 – 2014 Silvestre’s restaurant was located at 3000 12th Street NE (northwest corner of 12th and Hamlin Streets). Since it closed the building has undergone renovations and we recently learned that the plan for the space includes a French restaurant called Primrose. From the liquor license application:
A neighborhood bar serving French cuisine with a strong wine focus. Seating capacity of 66 inside. Total Occupancy Load of 97. Summer Garden with 26 seats.
Sitting on a patio eating French food and sipping wine, uhhh, YES PLEASE! We stopped by recently and the brick wall that divided the former restaurant has been removed creating an open dining room space, the window spaces that were boarded up or had metal bars on them are now large floor to ceiling windows and a tasteful storefront marquee now wraps around the building. Currently there is scaffolding surrounding the exterior, so we are assuming they are sprucing up the brick facade. We will let you know when we learn anything new.
Ever since it opened in October 2010, Silvestre’s has been a popular neighborhood restaurant. The food was simple, delicious, affordable and generously portioned. But things were not always perfect. It was robbed at gunpoint in early 2014, and although the staff was friendly, and the place was spacious, it never moved beyond being a quick take-out place. While we supported Silvestre’s by ordering from there often, it never felt like a place you wanted to be. It was cold in the winter and sweltering in the summer, not to mention that the food only came in “to go” boxes and there was little in the way of ambiance. In recent months we became aware that the restaurant was behind in rent, and as of now is closed.
We recently posted about the space above the restaurant that was renovated and is now available for lease. The building has been dubbed the Gateway to Brookland, has a website and is described as a
“…new community-serving space. This corner location at 12th and Hamlin Streets NE will set the stage for outdoor seating, large windows lining the streets, and 2nd floor and cellar space ready for new tenants. We look forward to this being the next great gathering space for Brookland.”
As you can see from the photos above, demolition has already begun and the Silvestre’s signage has been taken down. (You need flash to view the photos. If you can’t see them, click here to open the album.) While we will miss the yummy chicken we are excited for new things to come. Silvestre’s was located at 3000 12th Street NE (northwest corner of 12th and Hamlin Streets).
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:
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.