Not So Long Ago: M and 33rd

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Today for Not So Long Ago, GM stops by the west end of M St. between 33rd St. and Bank St. Today this block hosts the fashionable Cady’s Alley shopping district. It’s one the the nicest additions to Georgetown in over twenty years. That’s why it’s so hard to imagine that block as a run down collection of inexpensive restaurants, which it was in 1993.

As you can see from the photo above, where Waterworks now is, an Indian restaurant once stood. GM’s not sure if it was called Tandoor Indian Cuisine, or whether that was merely descriptive of the offerings. There’s a smaller sign above the awning that says “Madurai Indian Vegetarian Cuisine”. In 1989, a listing in Vegetarian Times recommends the “Madurai Vegetarian Room” and says it’s “upstairs”. So maybe there were two restaurants, one called Tandoor Indian Cuisine, and the other Madurai Indian Vegetarian Cuisine.

The banner advertises it being 18 years old, which would mean it opened around 1975. Anthony Lanier started buying up Cady’s Alley in the mid-90s, so this restaurant probably wasn’t open much longer.

To the left of the Indian restaurant was a TCBY. Interestingly, there’s a small Metro map in the window. It’s crazy to GM to think that the rail system was only 17 years old at the time this photo was taken. The photo itself is 18 years old.

To the right is Zed’s Ethiopian Cuisine, which is now located on M and 28th (and looks a lot fancier than it did back then).

There’s another Madurai sign above Zed’s, which suggests that the restaurant was on the second floor of that building too.

Here are static photos, in case the top flash doesn’t work for you:



Filed under Not So Long Ago

9 responses to “Not So Long Ago: M and 33rd

  1. Ken Archer

    There was a Slavic restaurant on the southwest corner of M and 33rd around then as well.

  2. GM

    This block’s changes really blew my mind. I walked all over the West Village before I realized that this was M St. I thought it had to be one of the side-streets off of Wisconsin.

  3. GeorgeM

    Was Sunny’s Surplus on that block? I miss that place.

  4. Yup, Sunny’s Surplus was at the end of the block (next to the now- Ukraine embassy), and the Key Bridge International Newsstand was in the mix as well.

  5. Alison

    GM, where do you find the older photos that you dig up? From the sound of your comment, it seems like you find the picture first, then locate its current site. Just curious!

  6. GM

    Allison: I got a pile of about 60 photos from CAG. They were taken in 1993 to document the tacky signage around the neighborhood.

  7. GeorgeM

    I’d love to see any early 1990’s shots of the south side of M Street between Wisconsin and 31st St. That block used to have a lot of independent stores, like that long-gone Irish import shop close to Georgetown Tobacco.

  8. Pingback: Not So Long Ago: M St. and Bank (again) | The Georgetown Metropolitan

  9. Do you mind if we repost the 1993 shot on Old Time D.C.? ( We’ll credit you and CAG.

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