Residents Air Concerns About New Burger Place Across from Eastern Market

EAT BRGZ will own the Northeast corner of 7th and C – the owner hope to open in June.  See more menu details below.

Residents heard EAT BRGZ owner Brandon Gaynor’s concept for the new restaurant and raised potential concerns.

EAT BRGZ owner Brandon Gaynor, center. At right is ANC6B Commissioner Jerry Sroufe, in whose single member district the restaurant will reside. At left is attorney Matthew Minora, charged with shepherding the liquor license application through the approval process.

Residents Air Concerns About New Burger Place Across from Eastern Market

by Larry Janezich

Hoping to head off a lengthy and contentious ANC6B Alcohol Beverage Control committee meeting, ANC6B sponsored a community meeting last night to hear residents’ concerns regarding a new burger joint opening across the street from Eastern market.

Some 40 nearby neighbors and Hine project residents turned out to express concerns about what the restaurant might bring to the neighborhood besides burgers, i. e., noise, rodents, odors, trash and a clashing aesthetic.

Owner Brandon Gaynor, introduced his concept, engaged residents, and assured them that he had anticipated their concerns or would move to remediate them as they arose, stressing his desire to be a good neighbor and a part of the community.

The neighbors’ greatest concern – aside from the on-going battle against rodents drawn to 7th Street restaurants which residents have called upon the city to address with limited success – appeared to be noise; noise  well into the night from up to 60 patrons eating burgers and drinking beer seated outdoors.  The restaurant’s seating is primarily outdoors – seating for only 25 customers will be within.

Rodent concerns have been minimized in this case by indoor, temperature controlled, trash storage.

However, heightening the concern about – as one attendee put it, “raucous behavior” – the applicant is asking to serve alcohol until 2:00am.  Hours of operation and for serving alcohol are often scaled back by a voluntary settlement agreement in order to get ANC6B’s endorsement of the liquor license.  ABC Committee Chair Chander Jayaraman asked attendees to suggest appropriate limits for alcohol service before the ABC Committee considers the license in May.

Gaynor offered assurances that he had hired a sound engineer to address potential issues, and cited one planned mitigating measure – the use of broad umbrellas in the outdoor seating area to help contain noise of conversations.  There will be no music from outdoor speakers.  Residents appeared skeptical that this would fully address their concerns, and residents and Jayaraman urged Gaynor and his team to think more broadly about the issue.

EAT BRGA is a new model and the restaurant is Gaynor’s first foray into the hospitality industry. The concept setting it apart from its peers involves serving a “complex burger” – mixing and blending the ingredients into a locally- sourced chicken, beef, or veggie patty before cooking. Two examples Gaynor mentioned were a Greek burger and a Mexican burger. Buns, produced locally, will be delivered fresh daily. Also on the menu will be three beers and three wines as well as proprietary high protein, reduced calorie, all natural shakes – which Gaynor called a “little bit better for you product.” The restaurant will not offer table service or glassware – and will use all recycled material.

Gaynor anticipates 15 seats in front of the restaurant on Seventh Street and another 45 banquet seats  – read high end aesthetically pleasing benches and tables – alongside the restaurant on the sidewalk on C Street. The outside areas will be enclosed by planters and perhaps ropes.  Gaynor hopes to open in July.

One questioned the degree of Gaynor’s commitment to helping the community.  Gaynor cited the long history of contributing to charities nationally and internationally, and, referencing a local program under which restaurants donate food to homeless shelters said “will we will be part of that.”

ANC6B will consider the alcohol beverage license application at its meeting on May 9, at 7:00pm in Hill Center.  The committee will make a recommendation which will then be taken up by the full ANC at its monthly meeting on May 14 – also at 7:00pm in Hill Center.


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15 responses to “Residents Air Concerns About New Burger Place Across from Eastern Market

  1. CapHill

    How is this any different than the burger place on Pennsylvania and 3rd Street? I see no issues with that location – except for rodents, which is sadly a typical-qualm with big city and restaurants. I am confused with what the actual problem is – isn’t Tunacliffs (next door) open until 2am and they serve food and drink? Hmm … (to note – I am not even a burger person and who knows if I will venture into this one, rather commenting on the basis of: is there a real debate here? Happy to hear!)

  2. Gregory Turner

    the outside eating area is streetside mostly on C? enough room for that and pedestrian? Big umbrellas? any examples of something like this? This seems like a “ask forgiveness later” type of thing, no penalty of umbrella idea o well it didn’t work

  3. CapHill

    * NOTE: the burger place I referenced on Penn and 3rd is impeccably clean – to clarify, my comment about rodent issues is a general one, when outside in that corridor you can often glance around and see something scamper…

  4. Eric

    In response to CapHill, I think the major difference from Good Stuff is that Good Stuff closes and 10 p.m. and has no residents sleeping directly above or across the street from the business.

    The major difference from Tunnicliffs is that it is around the corner away from the residences with an enclosed patio.

  5. John

    Is anyone seriously against a new burger place? The real problem in the neighborhood is the open air drug market on the 400 block of 8th Street filled with people who harass passersby, drive businesses away, and, now, lead to several broken storefronts in the 500 block.

    Seeing as how there aren’t any businesses serving beer in the 400 block, one could argue that it’s the lack of alcohol service that causes problems. I’m being facetious, of course, but only to help drive home how misguided the neighborhood resistance to the new restaurant really is.

  6. Andrea

    Like most people I enjoy eating outdoors when the weather is nice. The concern that I have is wheelchair accessibility within the space and around it. Will there be sufficient space to navigate around all those tables and chairs? or to find a seat there? I believe that it is supposed to be 10′ from the curb which doesn’t leave much room.

    Elsewhere on the Hill outdoor seating has presented problems. For instance in the space left over for pedestrians, there is often only about 2 feet between barriers/ tables and chairs and the tree boxes. This means that a person using a wheelchair has to make a difficult, often challenging and even dangerous pass halfway in the tree box and half on the sidewalk.

    In other places like 7th Hill Pizza the “accessible” entrance was from the entrance to Montmarte and proceeding to the door of 7th Hill. That lasted about 2 weeks before it was blocked with tables and chairs, finally being permanently blocked.

  7. Eric

    In response to John, I wonder if the burger place being open until 2 a.m. with outdoor seating would cause the “open air drug market people” to move up to 7th/C because there would be a more people to ask for money there while they’re having burgers and drinking. They will move wherever there are people available to ask for money.

    • John

      Just the opposite, I suspect. Part of the reason that the 400 block is so popular with panhandlers is that there isn’t any outdoor seating to take away their gathering places. By comparison, the 500 block of 8th Street is right next door, much less problematic, and filled with seating.

      • Eric

        The restaurants with seating on the 500 block of 8th Street all close much earlier in the evening before midnight. The panhandlers are on the 400 block because the 7-11 has customers all night walking in and out with pocket change.

        The panhandlers outside Good Stuff, We the Pizza, and Santa Rosa are undeterred by outside seating. It does not take away their gathering places. To the contrary, it provides a captive audience for the panhandlers to ask everyone for money as they’re sitting outside eating.

        I suspect the same would happen outside a burger place on 7th/C. But instead of ending at 10 p.m., it would continue until 2 a.m. And all the panhandlers from other parts of Capitol Hill would begin to head to 7th/C because it will be open much later into the early morning hours with active customers with pocket change sitting on the sidewalk.

    • CapHill

      Again, Tunnacliffs is not even a block away – I am confused how the panhandling would be any different. That said, Tunnacliffs is never all that busy so perhaps why there’s fewer panhandlers, but still …
      Also weather this establishment opens or not, the bigger concern shouldn’t be about attracting the “open air drug market people,” rather the convo turned to: MPD – when will that corridor be managed in such a way there is no longer an “open air drug market”.

  8. anon

    Sounds like yet another fast food spot. As long as they’re not lowbrow chains ANC won’t care, but I really don’t see much difference between the voluminous trash produced by Taco Bell and that of District Taco, both of which use all disposable products for service.

  9. Golem

    I just looked at the space and there does not appear to be sufficient space for pedestrians to safely move around the outside eating area, especially on weekends when the Market area is crowded. Clearly there isn’t sufficient space for the wheel-chair bound. The impingement on pedestrian space by restaurants is already a problem on some areas of Pennsylvania Ave SE and downtown. The outdoor seating area would also effectively block access to the other shops on C Street.

  10. kandc

    No glassware? No one with any environmental consciousness will go there. Recyclables do not cut it environmentally, much less aesthetically. Who likes to drink wine from plastic, or beer?

    Three beers? Three wines? No one with any taste will be patronizing this place for drinks.

    No Service? Who would go there when you have Tunny’s or Boxcar?

    Too bad they are putting such a dump in such an attractive place. Everything is being done on the cheap.

    • CapHill

      Forgive me, but I haven’t ever met a person who refuses a restaurant based on the environmental factor of the waste. Alternatively, right or wrong, I have friends who are marginally bothered they can no longer have straws at many establishments. And, respectfully noted, I don’t think folks will be venturing here for the wine and beer – rather, that’s secondary and the food the primary. My initial thoughts.

  11. 9th Streeter

    I don’t get why no one was concerned (at least in this forum) about noise, panhandlers, “open air drug market people”, trash, outdoor seating, etc., when the liquor license for the wine bar down the street was discussed (with outdoor seating for 30). What is the difference? All of these issues associated with a “high brow” wine bar are ok but are not ok with a “low brow” burger joint? I’d rather this were not a burger place, but, truly, some of these comments (and the lack of equivalency) are ridiculous.