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ABC Board Says Hank’s Oyster Bar Can Expand

Hank's Oyster Bar 17th Street NW Dupont Circle

1624 Q Street NW: Hank’s Oyster Bar received approval Wednesday to expand into the empty storefront to the east, at the left in this photo. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Tom Hay. Questions or comments for Tom? Send him an email.

The DC Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board has granted Hank’s Oyster Bar permission to expand into neighboring retail space at 1622 Q Street NW.

The expansion, considered a “substantial change” in regulatory terms, has been a months-long effort by Hank’s owner and chef Jamie Leeds that began earlier this year and was followed by the filing of a protest by a group of neighborhood residents.

The December 8 order by the ABC Board granting the expansion did come with some conditions. Leeds must take reasonable steps to install soundproofing and mitigate any potential noise created by the interior or exterior of the establishment, since the expanded restaurant will now share a party wall with a residential property owned by Abdi Poozesh.

It was Poozesh’s testimony about noise concerns that was enough to sway the Board to address noise concerns in their order.

Read the ABC Board order allowing Hank’s to expand into the adjacent property.

Leeds must also limit the hours of operation, sales and service on the sidewalk cafe to 11pm Sunday-Thursday and midnight Friday and Saturday. The hours of service for the cafe prompted a last minute scramble by ANC 2B (Dupont Circle) to become a protester after comments during an ABC Board hearing suggested the cafe could operate to 2 am Sunday through Thursday, and 3 am Friday and Saturday.

The ANC withdrew their protest after Leeds agreed to limit the cafe hours on the license for the establishment. The ABC Board did note in their December 8 order that ANC 2B would have been denied standing since their protest was not filed with the Board in time.

The Board order does not address the proposed rear patio or summer garden that Leeds plans for the newly expanded restaurant. The summer garden was not included in the application for expansion and may be considered another substantial change. Any substantial change would require public notice by placard and open the door for further protests. ANC 2B recently addressed continued placarding of any substantial change at a recent special meeting when they withdrew their protest over the hours of the cafe.

Hank’s also recently applied for and was granted termination of the voluntary agreement (V.A.) that they had operated under since opening in 2005. The request to operate without a V.A. was also protested by a group of neighbors, some of them the same ones who protested the expansion.

Hank’s Oyster Bar first notified the holders of the V.A. on January 26, 2010 that they would file a request with the ABC Board to terminate the V.A. Hank’s then filed the petition to terminate the V.A. on March 29. The ABC Board granted Hank’s request to operate without a V.A. on November 3 — a little more than seven months after the official request.

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- who has written 136 posts on Borderstan.

Hay covers a variety of business related topics in the area plus stories on local government. A superb researcher, he can dig up most anything. When not working on a story you’ll find him enjoying the great restaurants, galleries and shops in Borderstan and D.C. Contact Hay at tom[AT]borderstan.com and follow him on Twitter @TomOnSwann.

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7 Responses to “ABC Board Says Hank’s Oyster Bar Can Expand”

  1. Thanks for the excellent, detailed reporting on this story. So glad Jamie Leeds and Hank’s prevailed. As others point out, it can be hard to do business in DC given the obstacles placed by govt and some citizens’ groups, and I am happy that Leeds stood her ground and fought to stay in our neighborhood.

  2. LoganBoy says:

    So, when all is said and done… the expansion request… the request to get out of the V.A… it took almost an entire year. A lot of hearings, a lot of lawyers, a lot of everyone’s time. This whole process is ridiculous, regardless of which side you might have been on. Utterly ridiculous. What a waste of time and money.

    • Adam L says:

      I absolutely agree. It’s a wonder that anybody would choose to do business in the District. However, as a 17th Street resident, I can’t wait for the expanded Hank’s!

  3. Lee says:

    Congrats to Jamie and all who backed her. Thanks Tom for reporting the whole story!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] in DC more collaborative and less adversarial. (Disclosure: Borderstan is a member of MCBA.) Borderstan’s Tom Hay has written extensively about Hank’s Oyster Bar and its desire to vacate its Voluntary Agreement [...]

  2. [...] Street Girl has the latest on BBQ at American Ice Co. (opening Thursday); we told you Hank’s Oyster Bar was finally granted permission to expand and We Love DC reports DC9 is [...]

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alejandra Owens and Borderstan, Joel Lawson. Joel Lawson said: Hank's Oyster Bar allowed to expand, after mostly pointless 7 mo. battle w/protestants & DCCA: http://bit.ly/garyMR [...]