Goodbye KFC!

Kentucky Fried Chicken, at Florida Ave and North Capitol St, has closed its doors after 28 years (see image below) in business. It is a very good sign that property values for the area have increased to the point that even a well-established national fast food chain cannot justify occupying such a large swath of land.

This is not to suggest that there is no place in city retail for fast food restaurants, but does, in a very positive sense, reflect the fact that developing areas, such as NoMa, reach a tipping point: revenue cannot support unused or marginally productive land such as grass lawns or parking lots.

Wendy’s will at some point close its doors due to DDOT’s fix of New York Ave, and McDonald’s will find it especially hard to continue operations where more than half of its property is pavement. Further applying pressure will be the upcoming arrivals of Five Guys, Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli, and Sister’s Pizza & Mussels adjacent to the new ATF headquarters.

As for the KFC site, it would be nice to see someone convert the restaurant into an establishment that can both serve good food (and beer) and pay homage to the fixture that this facility was in this area. With permission from Yum! brands, keeping much of the outside red/white decor and the Colonel’s logo (albeit, with maybe some artistic modifications to his look) would be step one. Converting the existing “patio” into fenced outdoor seating that will still allow patrons to be visible and interact with pedestrians (nothing fancy needed) is step two. Converting the counter into a small bar is step three. Producing a simple, yet original, menu is step four.

Our former neighborhood, East Nashville, was very clever about such transformations, and potential developers could look in its direction for inspiration–a good example is the Alleycat Lounge & Tex-Mex Grill.

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12 thoughts on “Goodbye KFC!

  1. I was absolutely shocked. Although I was not a regular consumer, I thought there were enough folks to keep it going on forever!!!! I am just as happy to see the demise of the “corner” store next to the “up and coming” EC-12 on North Capitol.

    Marsha

  2. This morning (yes, two-steps behind again) I got the skinny on this latest breaking news about neighborhood development in NOMA/Eckington/Bloomingdale. I cannot tell you how happy I will be not to see empty KFC “to go” packaging littering the streets. While I agree that it would be an easy transformation to make this site another eating establishment, I wonder if that would be the best use of one of D.C.’s busiest intersections. My wife and I have routinely debated with one another on what type of business we feel would ideally serve the neighborhood. Here are some examples:

    Drive-through dry cleaners. The only cleaners that comes to mind near R Street and North Capital is located all the way up at Rhode Island Ave. and 1st NW.

    Starbucks. Yes, you heard me right. Now before you denounce me as just some yuppie scum that craves large corporation sponsored enterprises, consider this. Starbucks would survive the weathered storm. The restaurant business has an extremely high failure rate. With a drive-through Starbucks commuters coming into the city Westbound on Florida Avenue and those headed North on Capital could pick up their morning jolt of caffeine. In the evening the store would capture those leaving the city. If anyone has been to Big Bear Café recently with all its success, they would probably agree that this area could easily support another espresso/coffee shop. I think that Pound located in the ATF would experience little loss of business if any to the giant due to the distance from one another. Starbuck’s offers good benefits to its employees and excellent opportunity for promotion from within. Maybe there would be one less person on the streets as a result of it coming to the area.

    A CVS or Rite Aid with a drive-through window for prescription pick up. Please name one full-service drug store that is close by. How about a nice walk to 4th NE and Rhode Island Avenue or 7th NW and Florida? Please correct me if I am drawing a blank on something closer.

    Anyway that was my two-cents. Have a great weekend everyone!

  3. I personally don’t want a drive-through anything. Why promote more car traffic in the neighborhood? It would add value for commuters on their way to maryland but that’s about it. I wouldn’t be pretty neutral to a non-drive through starbucks.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing a bar like Mt Pleasant’s wonderland move into the spot to bring some nightlife counterpart to EC-10

  4. Agreed with the last Anon. There was some talk on the listserve about the gov’t taking back the land and brining back the traffic circle. I would be all for that personally.

  5. East Nashville huh? As a former Nashvillian I’m thrilled that you tip your hat! Gotta love the artistic and neighborhood feel of East Nashville – here’s to encouraging a similar vibe in Eckington and other parts of DC.

  6. In my opinion, closing a KFC is a public service and the closure this one dramatically improves Eckington. Now if only the Wendy’s and McDonald’s would close as well. None of these places sell real food, which is what we should be eating.

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