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Cafe coming to vacant Capitol Hill space

Preliminary plans submitted to the DC Board of Zoning Adjustment for the cafe at 1247 E St SE

Work is progressing on 1247 E St. SE, the house on the corner of 13th and E destined to become an upscale cafe.

Owner/developer Hatem Hatem is currently performing "heavy renovation" on the historic building, renovating the facade, restoring a door on the east side of the property, and more, and searching for an operator for the cafe, which Hatem envisions as "something like Big Bear" in Bloomingdale....more than a coffee shop, he says, but less than a restaurant. At 950 square feet on the ground floor, 950 in the cellar, and room for sidewalk  tables, the cafe could be a significant addition to this part of Capitol Hill.

The building also has four existing apartments above, which Hatem is also renovating.

Hatem was inspired both by conversations with neighbors, many of whom said that their neighborhood needed another public gathering place and eatery, and by his experiences in European cities, "where I have enjoyed the presence of small retail shops in every street."

The building, he says, is also perfect, with large windows and multiple entrances. It's also located near to Watkins Elementary School and a rec center by the same name, which brings foot traffic to the area.

The cafe could be open by the spring -- Hatem won't apply for a building permit until an operator is in place.

"I... think it's a very interesting neighborhood," he adds. "It's a neighborhood in transition. [It has] the mix of people that can support such an endeavor." 

Read more articles by Rachel Kaufman.

Rachel is the managing editor of Elevation D.C. She also covers tech, business and science for publications nationwide. She lives in Brookland.
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