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Coming to Clarendon: Oby Lee Winery and Coffee Shop

by ARLnow.com April 4, 2012 at 9:51 am 9,987 33 Comments

(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) The owner of a coffee and wine shop that won a loyal following at the Delaware beaches is moving his store concept inland to Clarendon.

Oby Lee Coffee Roastery had several locations along the Delaware shore before owner Oby Lee (real name) decided to close up shop. In 2010, the store’s marquee Rehoboth Beach — winner of several “best coffee” awards in the local press — was put up for auction.

Now Lee is planning to open a brand new Oby Lee location at 3000 Washington Boulevard in Clarendon, with a special emphasis on wine. The shop will serve wine from its Italian estate vineyard, as well as charcuterie, tapas dishes, and espresso and coffee roasted on-site. Oby Lee will have customer seating indoors and on an outdoor patio.

Oby Lee is located in a space that was formerly a Quiznos restaurant and the short-lived Ganges Grill and Ice Cream. The space has been expanded to allow more indoor seating, we’re told. Also working in Oby Lee’s favor: new traffic signals and crosswalks that will allow more foot traffic to flow across the busy Washington Boulevard from Garfield Street and the main drag of Clarendon.

Lee is hoping to open his new ‘Oby’ location at some point this summer.

  • OldTimer

    Definitely needed at this location with the new developments. LOTS of foot traffic early morning to Metro and back home again. Hope they open early as I need my fix EARLY.

  • Zach

    This is great news, assuming that “coffee roastery” is not just a misleading title and they actually roast coffee. This area desperately needs a reprieve from Counter Culture hegemony in the high-end coffee market and it doesn’t seem as if M.E. Swings is interested in stepping up to the plate.

  • Clarendon

    Should be a decent location and *maybe* there is room for one more specialty coffee house, although we do have some good ones already. Hot Shotz closing made some room. Hopefully it will liven up that plaza. I agree about the roasting bit – could be a discriminator for it if they actually do roast on site.

    • LP

      Maybe there is room for one more?

      How many are there in Clarendon? Northside and Boccato, are there others?

      This should be a welcome addition, hopefully a similar vibe to Northside – best of luck to Oby Lee!

      • Another


        • Clarendon

          Bakeshop has good coffee and of course, baked goods. Other places have coffee and espresso like South Block etc. I still think of Java Shack as a Clarendon business even though they are waaaayyy down there in Courthouse.

      • Anon


    • Quoth the Raven

      There is that other one too – can’t quite place the name, but I think the logo is a green mermaid or something…

  • Caffeine Queen

    I hope they don’t take twenty minutes to make a cup of expresso like Northside Social does.

    • CW

      But it’s an art, man…you dig?

    • Steamboat Willie

      Not to mention the attitude that I occasionally encounter at Northside Social checkout.

  • nunya

    i’d go just for the smell of roasting coffee beans. add a bakery actually baking bread…and i’ll be in heaven.

  • Karen Pena

    Why can’t we get a decent coffee place in Penrose Square??

    • x


      • MC 703

        It would have taken you less time to Google that than to add a comment.

        • Zazoo

          …or maybe they aren’t literally wondering where that place is and just posted that comment to point out the answer is within the person’s own question – the reason you can’t get a decent coffee place in Penrose Square is b/c it’s a non-destination.

  • meh..

    wish some of these places would take a look at The Pike……

  • Karen Pena

    There is a need for a good coffee place and a bagel shop. There’s plenty of empty store fronts. It makes you wonder if the landlords are charging too much.

    • FrenchyB

      Seems like most of Penrose Square’s prime retail spots adjacent to the Pike are leased. The 9th Street ones are going to be a harder sell, especially while the plaza construction is still going on.

    • Eric

      The problem, economy wise, is consumer spending is down and job uncertainty, and all of that. However, building owners jack up the rates non stop on rent. Building owners are practically forcing tenants out. It isn’t right and it isn’t good business-sense. They should adjust scales to the economy and other factors.

      • Southeast Jerome

        Eric my man- look at how many cranes are soaring in the sky in the area, the economy is booming around here. And that shows in the stock market, which is up 35% since October. Its not 2008 anymore- things are getting and have been getting better for a while.

        • Eric

          Market is bangin, you are right. I hope things improve. The only thing I am saying is that Landlords are out of touch when it comes to rent. That needs regulation big time.

          I have customers on M Street and WIlson Blvd. I see the numbers and on average, new leases to exhisting tenants go up anywhere from 40-110% every 3-5 years. That is crazy, right?

          • JBalls

            Yeah it’s cray, E-dog – but regulation? How about competition evens things out, it takes a bit of time, and you stop sweatin the man, I mean the market. The market is, after all, bangin.

    • Tabs

      Guessing you’re not a fan of Rappahannock.

  • Chris

    That’s next to the now closed Endo Sushi. I guess a glass of wine and a cup of coffee will console me on my loss.

    • Chris

      Wait, wrong Endo, my bad.

      • AllenB

        That’s what he said.

    • Clarendon

      Endo is closed ?! I guess I really don’t make it to that Plaza very often. When did that happen ?

      • Chris

        Mind lapse. I momentarly mixed up the Endo Sushi in Mclean with the one in Clarendon. But I’m all better now.

  • Ballstoni

    I concur with an earlier comment, I really don’t care for the taste of counterculture. It will be nice to have a different option (thats not starbucks).

  • R. Griffon

    Am I the only one that thinks it’s a terrible location? I hate playing Frogger across Washington, and avoid doing so if there is any other option.

    • LP

      Definitely not the best location, but crossing Washington has gotten much easier now with the new lights/crosswalk.

  • Amy

    I am so excited to have a good coffee shop in area. The service is great and the owner is exceptionally friendly. Try the quiche!


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