Serendipitous Plans

Serendipity 3 ice cream sundae by joanna3555.

As reported all over the place, L2’s Rodrigo Garcia and Rhino’s Britt Swan have signed a deal to bring New York’s Serendipity 3 to the old Nathan’s location. For those not familiar with it, Serendipity 3 is an expensive ice cream parlor in the Upper East Side. Depending on whom you ask, it’s either a wonderful high-end restaurant or a total tourist trap.

But what specifically can we expect for Georgetown’s Serendipity 3? The NYC location offers a menu of various burgers and sandwiches, including also such odd choices as macarroni pizza and a $1,000 sundae.

But beside this basic outline, what will the Georgetown location actually look like? GM inquired with Garcia and Swan and received no comment, so he had to do a little digging on his own.

First of all, it appears that the interior of old Nathan’s will not survive in the new establishment. Last monday, DCRA issued a building permit for interior demolition. GM hears that the plans entail the restaurant using all three floors, which will require significant modifications. One particular issue that will likely drive a lot of the construction is ADA compliance. Nathans was grandfathered from a lot of the requirements, but as soon as the current tenants start building anything, they will likely have to bring it up to code (for instance, the bathrooms are way out of code). Plus, if they use the upper floors, it will likely necessitate the construction of an elevator, although GM is not certain of that.

Another issue that ought to be addressed before opening the new restaurant is the shabby state of the exterior. Check out how bad it’s looking these days:

The paint is in terrible shape on the Wisconsin Ave. side.

Not much better on the M St. side, plus one of the balustradesbalusters is missing.

The last remains of Nathans, the exterior sign, still hangs.

All-in-all, the exterior needs a lot of work. Garcia and Swan are shooting for an April opening, but in GM’s opinion there’s little chance they could get exterior modifications approved and completed before then.

Physical modifications aside, what about liquor? GM did a little digging there too. As of right now, the Heon family holds Nathan’s old liquor license (see Carol Joynt’s blog for the history of that involuntary transfer). It is a tavern license, which is valuable but in this case probably not necessary since Serendipity 3 would likely get so much of its revenues from food. According to ABRA, no application has been filed to take the license out of safe keeping (i.e., start using it). Any such application would likely involve a new voluntary agreement with the ANC and CAG. Given the length of time that normally takes, it seems unlikely that the restaurant will be serving alcohol if it indeed does open in April.




Filed under Restaurants

11 responses to “Serendipitous Plans

  1. Medusa

    Garcia promises “Ice Cream Martinis.” So, they must have someone’s liquor license. DC’s ABC board works in strange ways, and licenses can be bought.

  2. First it was Cupcakes. Now ice cream. Georgetown will soon be known as “Fat City.”

  3. Liquor Enforcement

    I don’t see how they intend to satisfy building code’s in 1 month…. THIS has not even gone through basic review…. Their time lines are about 1 year off unless they intend to not demo interior…. Everything in DC takes longer then one intends/expects… Just look at Apple Computers attempts to open in Georgetown….. Review committee’s take forever…. I have heard rumors that Neighbors intend to make sure this building follows all code and handicap issues to the letter of the land… THAT MEANS EXPENSIVE………….

  4. I love Serendipity III. Been a regular since my son was little. The Frrrrozen Hot Chocolate and the Foot Long Hot Dogs are addictive, and the milk shakes are a mile high (and FFFAAATTTENNNING), but in a yummy way. Very expensive, but children love it. What Rumpelmayer’s was to my generation.

  5. Well it will certainly pack in the tourists and their fanny packs, both detachable and otherwise, so I suppose it will be good for village business overall.

  6. Actually it’s a baluster missing. Balustrades are ranges of balusters.

  7. You following me around the web, Erik? 😉

  8. Janine Schoonover

    Below is a copy of the OFFICIAL Serendipity3 Press Release. Hopefully, this will help you clarify your information.
    Janine Schoonover
    202 631 6527 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Washington, DC March 12, 2010: Serendipity3, the landmark New York City restaurant, a favorite amongst celebrities, is coming to Georgetown early summer. The original Serendipity3 opened in New York City in 1954 and has continued captivating restaurant goers with its whimsical magic, sinfully delicious comfort food, outrageous desserts and motto that too much is never enough. Serendipity3 DC will unite the universal palate through its menu options, daily specials and special order items in a classic setting with an over-the-top atmosphere. Serendipity3 DC will offer something for everyone: families, couples, locals, tourists and friends out-on-the town. The cheerful, gracious staff, Serendipity3 Ambassadors, host a festive dining experience. Generous portions cleverly presented contribute to the WOW factor, especially after savoring the first scrumptious bite. Specialties of the house, including foot long hot dogs, phenomenal burgers, over-sized innovative salads, towering sandwiches, delectable omelettes and signature entrees that offer something for everyone. Naturally, it wouldn’t be Serendipity3 if the cuisine, desserts and drinks don’t have a tasty, surprising twist. A specialty drink menu has a range of choices from the famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate to the Cotton Candy Martini. Of course, the infamous Golden Opulence Sundae – the Guinness Book of World Records ice cream sundae – for $1,000 will be offered. A pastry chef is available to design your special order cake for whatever the occasion. Private party rooms are available for birthday parties, events and business meetings. The gift shop provides unique gifts and memorable tokens for your serendipitous moments.

    Serendipity means a seeming gift for finding things accidentally. As fate has it, the Serendipity3 experience will be easy to find at 3150 M Street, NW, Washington, DC in the heart of Georgetown. Currently, Serendipity3 is located in New York City, NY; the famed Las Vegas Strip, NV and Boca Raton, FL with South Beach, FL coming soon.
    Everyone is excited to unite the universal palate, sweet tooth and quest for magical, whimsical, serendipitous moments in the Nation’s capitol.

  9. Pingback: Georgetown Fall Preview «

  10. Pingback: Terrible Twos: The Fourth Most Popular Story | The Georgetown Metropolitan

  11. Pingback: Updates to Aren’t They Building… | The Georgetown Metropolitan

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s