Popular theatre restaurant announces it’s taking an intermission
“Dear Friends”, 1409’s Facebook entry began this morning, and with that, Elsayed Mansour and Jeff DeMontier went on to announce that their restaurant, 1409 Playbill Cafe, the favorite DC hangout for everyone working in theatre for more 13 years, will be closing its doors on Sept. 30th.
Reached today, Mansour, who is also Playbill’s chef, explained that their building is scheduled to be torn down to build hi-rise condos. Meanwhile, the owner’s short term lease is so expensive, it became impossible for the partners to keep the doors open. “We’ve always tried to keep our food affordable for the actors. We couldn’t have passed the costs on to them. They don’t have that kind of money.” he explained.
“We were the Sardi’s of Washington, DC”, it went on, “It was our great luck to have become part of the theater community and to have contributed to its great causes.”
One of Playbill’s contributions was turning the space in the back into a tiny theatre which was home to readings from Solas Nua, Fringe shows, one unforgettable performance of Private Lives by WSC Avant Bard (then Washington Shakespeare Theatre,) and, of course, the place where DC went to get grossed out to the horror offerings of Molotov Theatre Group.
Massoud assured us they intend to reopen. The partners are presently scouting three locations, all in the neighborhood. “One of them has even more space than we have now.” He hopes they will be back by the end of the year.
But before they close, they will be throwing a huge party, which they are calling ‘New Beginnings’, on Sat, Sept 24th, starting around 8pm and running til 2am. “We’ll have a lot of fun”, he promised, “nothing sad at all. The art on the walls is all donated, and we’ll raffle the artwork off. And there will be karaoke.”
1409 Playbill Cafe is located at 1409 14th St NW in Washington, DC, just doors away from Studio Theatre.