On Barracks Row:  Spring Mill Bread Going – “Jew-ish” Deli Coming  

Spring Mill Bakery departs 701 8th Street, SE, Friday afternoon, circa 4:15pm –

and a few minutes later, DCFD determined there was no cause for alarm.  

On Barracks Row:  Spring Mill Bread Going – “Jew-ish” Deli Coming

By Larry Janezich

Capitol Hill Corner went to check out Spring Mill Bread’s last day on Barracks Row yesterday.  Owner Katherine Rurka was on site, cleaning out the store.  The company’s logo had already been removed from the front of the building.  Asked why they were closing, she replied simply, “Our lease was up,” adding, “I’ve got to call the fire department, we’ve got smoke.  Where’s my phone?”  CHC offered a phone, but Rurka found hers, exclaiming, “On our last day,” and made the call.

Three DC Fire Department vehicles arrived within minutes and located a faulty breaker switch in the basement and no cause for alarm.

It didn’t seem like an opportune time to press for additional details.  Spring Mill Bakery closed their Bethesda location when their lease was up in January 2018.  Outlets in Arlington, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Takoma, and Spring Mill, Pennsylvania remain open.

As first reported by Popville, the popular “Jew-ish” Deli Call Your Mother will open in the space vacated by the bakery this spring.   It will join Bullfrog Bagels near Eastern Market, giving Capitol Hill a second source of bagels.  Here’s a link to Eater DC’s report http://bit.ly/2RPoeis and here’s a link to Call Your Mother’s menu https://www.callyourmotherdeli.com/menu.



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14 responses to “On Barracks Row:  Spring Mill Bread Going – “Jew-ish” Deli Coming  

  1. David MacKinnon

    And VERY expensive bagels and sandwiches David MacKinnon

  2. Wendy Blair

    A few days earlier than Larry Janezich, whose post I now see, I too went for the regular whole wheat honey loaf I love to find that our wonderful Spring Hill bakery had closed. The manager was there starting to dismantle the counters and shelves. I was shocked and aghast, and asked why? Surely you had enough customers. “Oh, the rent went way up,” she said, “And management made a business decision on this location.”
    Their baked goods, lunch sandwiches and soups, large variety of breads, were all topnotch. She mentioned “a new bagel store coming”. THAT WILL NOT HELP ME.
    Why is it always true that small businesses, which we need, cannot survive the gouging Capitol Hill rents? Why can’t Barracks Row put pressure on the city to curb 8th Street and PA Avenue real estate owners? Is it ONLY about tax income for the city? And look at the high end tenants that Stanton real estate has subsidized (Trickling Springs; the linens store, both on the new C street) to fill their new development — several of which still could not migrate to the high market rent rates and had to close!
    Look at Lustre Cleaners, Sizzling, the empty Indian restaurant on 8th — they have been empty for many many months, unable to find tenants who will pay these rents.

    • Sam

      But by what definition is Call Your Mother not a small business as well? It’s not like it is changing to a bank or a Verizon store…

    • 9th St Mom

      Trickling Springs closed because of fraud committed by the company’s owners. It had nothing to do with rent at its C St location. The whole company abruptly shut down.

      • Wendy Blair

        Thanks for two corrections to my criticism of super high rents on Barracks Row and Pennsylvania Ave SE. I am taken aback by sympathy for rent-gouging landlords. I knew about the trickling springs fraud, yet am not persuaded its rent was fair. Glad you’re happy that a new Bagel place can afford the high rent it must pay — I’ll still be missing a great bakery. What about my other four examples of high rents? The closed linens shop on C St., the Tandoor Indian place still empty on 8th, Lustre Cleaners has been shuttered for years, and Sizzling — both on Penn. Sizzling Express rent shot up — the operators called it a day, embracing retirement. Many still miss that unique neighborhood eatery. It’s been empty since July 1.

      • Hillyek

        Wendy Blair, rent gouging landlords are only able to gouge…what tenants are willing to pay. And everyday that the landlord is not renting their property they are losing money. And most Capitol Hill commercial real estate owners are also small businesses themselves.

        As a matter of principle, I don’t quite know whom you expect to absorb the below-market rate that you seem to think that tenants ought to be charging. What criteria do you use to decide what level of rent is far? Do you charge below market rate for your professional services?

        I think a reasonable and realistic solution is for you and a coalition of like-minded citizens to raise money to subsidize the rents of the businesses that you want to see on the Hill.

        Or perhaps the best approach would be to form a coalition that raises money to buy a building (they can be had for $1-2 million before legal fees, recordation taxes and other expenses absorbed by the landlord) which you can then rent at below market rate as an example of responsible and successful property ownership for the community to emulate.

        I wish you every success!

      • Wendy Blair

        What even this market will not bear, at present, and mostly, are too-high rents. Exorbitant, if you like. Consumers do not benefit, a greedy city treasury and greedy landlords do (along with online shopping, of course). Many cities design rent ceilings and other laws that encourage small businesses — a variety of small tenants other than primarily bars and restaurants (that’s the other sign capitol hill rents are too high). You don’t have to be a socialist to favor vibrant small businesses, they are what create vibrant neighborhoods.

      • Hillyek

        Right. The market won’t bear rents that are too high. Which is why a rented property doesn’t have rent that’s too high. If the rent were too high for the market to bear the tenant wouldn’t pay it.

        Rent ceilings are just another name for rent control which is just another name for centralized planning. No thanks. It doesn’t work. Planners, no matter how well intentioned, sincere, and sure of themselves (as almost all of them are!) just don’t have the knowledge of the zillions of decisions that go into meeting the needs of a complex market the way that lots of tenants and landlords do.

        There are lots of vacancies on 8th street right now. Maybe Hill residents are letting restaurateurs know that they want more retail and fewer restaurants. Or maybe Hill residents really want national services like banks and financial planners. Or maybe a mix. Or maybe they will become offices.

        Who knows? Do you? I don’t. And because I don’t I choose not to impose my almost certainly deeply flawed ideas for bringing my vision about upon other people.

      • Wendy Blair

        Take a look at Toronto, with 100 neighborhoods with truly vibrant little businesses in every one and fewer national chains. It didn’t “just happen” because of “the market”.

      • Facts matter

        Not sure how stating a fact indicates “sympathy for rent-gouging landlords”. In the current environment, more than ever, facts matter.

  3. Roger Tauss

    If I read their menu correctly, the only sandwich option is a bagel. Nothing “Jew-ish” about a place that doesn’t offer Jewish rye bread. Big disappointment.

  4. Elizabeth eby

    That’s the “ish.” They do have good bagels and challahs.

  5. Eternal Pessimist

    Jeni’s Ice Cream coming to Barracks Row.