Market Tavern in Clarendon Closes

by ARLnow.com May 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm 18,679 284 Comments

Seven months after opening, Market Tavern in Clarendon (2800 Clarendon Blvd) has closed its doors.

The steak-centric restaurant opened last year over Thanksgiving weekend, following extensive renovations to the former Harry’s Tap Room. The revamped restaurant featured a bar and lounge area downstairs and a dining area called the “Chophouse” upstairs. Overall seating was reduced during renovations — from 275 to 155 — and pricing was raised in conjunction with the eatery’s more upscale vibe.

Market Tavern’s menu included steaks, burgers, flatbreads, and other entrees, in addition to 26 beers on tap, 70 wines by the glass, and a selection of hand-crafted cocktails. There was also a self-serve “bread bar” upstairs.

Owner and restaurant industry veteran Michael Sternberg acknowledged that the pricey renovations left him with little financial wiggle room once business did not meet initial expectations, but he says he’s still not sure why Market Tavern never quite caught on with diners.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time and I thought this was a terrific restaurant,” Sternberg said. “I liked the service, I liked the food, I liked the decor, and I don’t know why we didn’t catch on in this neighborhood. I spend my nights awake just wondering about it.”

Reviews of Market Tavern were mixed, at best. The Washington Post’s Tim Carman said he’d go to the nearby Ray’s the Steaks over Market Tavern “nine times out of 10,” and Yelp reviewers gave the restaurant 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Market Tavern served its final customers last night after Sternberg reached an agreement to sell the restaurant last Friday, May 11. The restaurant is expected to remain closed for several months while the new owners obtain permits and make changes to the space for a new restaurant concept.

Sternberg declined to identify the new owners, except to describe them as “local, well-established restaurateurs.”

Market Tavern has been in bankruptcy since February. A bankruptcy court must approve the sale before the restaurant can officially change hands, Sternberg said.

  • Ballstoni

    Its a good location if someone has a fun idea.

    • Hung Like Jesus

      a Hooters would work there just nicely.

  • BirdCageDrinker

    Maybe it will be Dr Dremos coming to Clarendon!!!

    A brother can dream!

    • sad

      my company tore down dremos

      • pitchfork wielding mob

        we will get you for this!!!

        • sad

          I know. Sorry about that. I didn’t do it personally though. I spoke to the project manger and even did several walkthroughs after it closed. They pulled out lots and lots of big dead rats from behind the fryers and the other appliances. I’m not lying either. So in a way, we did everybody a favor.

          • HighViewPunk

            Those were historic rats. Irreplaceable!

          • jackson

            They gave the food that tangy flavor.

          • JamesE

            People actually got food at Dremos?

      • Clarencarry

        So your company also took away my chance of picking up a Doritos Locos Taco on my walk home from 4 Courts. That’s the real travesty.

        • sad

          that is true. taco bell was torn down. Believe me, i was bummed about that one. No longer could i semi-drunkenly drive thru to get tacos at 2am.

          • chihuahua

            Can your company just turn the lot to open greenspace? It’s so nice the way it is now (except for the construction in the adjacent lot). High rents kill dreamos.

          • chihuahua

            … and landlords here are bloodsuckers.

          • sad

            eh, that whole space is being developed right now. I think they finally started construction last month. Took like 3 years longer than expected. Sorry about that.

          • chihuahua

            What kind of retail will you have there? When will construction be done? What will your apartments rent for? I live nearby and I would like to know.

    • SamsontheCat

      My vote for a new Dremos – The old Eads post office in Crystal City. A block from the meto and lots of space and room for an outdoor deck/parking

      • Dream On

        They’re building condos there 🙁

        • SamsontheCat

          I know. I saw the story a few months ago. Total waste of a good opportunity.

    • BeerO

      Yep, I got Selmonila there!

      • yum

        I love semolina!

    • i will always dream!

  • Good Grief

    Jewish Deli!!!

    • Bluemontsince1961

      That has my vote!

  • Justin Russo

    he’s still not sure why Market Tavern never quite caught on with diners

    Uh, because it sucked.

    • Abe Froman

      Exactly. We went once. The food was below average and the service was beyond strange. I don’t know who ran this place, but they had no idea what they were doing running a dining establishment in a competitive market like N Arlington.

    • arl2012

      Because it is the same cuisine offered at 98% of all dining choices in Clarendon. Can we steer away from Americana food…how about some variety?!!

  • novasteve

    How about a freaking dive bar for once? Or will they replace this Tavern with another “Tavern” place where all the arlisnobs can boast about about sophisticated they are?

    • Bluemontsince1961

      I think I’d rather have a real old fashioned deli.

      • novasteve

        This isn’t New york. IF they put in a deli, it would suck.

        • Pedro

          “Authentic” New York delis are now manned with Salvadorans in the kitchen, just as they are here.

    • A Hokie

      How do you open a dive bar? It has to be a bar before it becomes divey.

      • craig


      • el jeffe

        exactly. see, “Jays Saloon”

  • Bender

    **he says he’s still not sure why Market Tavern never quite caught on with diners**

    Here’s a clue — OVERSATURATION and, because of hyper-density, driving and parking are extremely inconvenient for outsiders.

    • Harry

      The giant parking garage in the Market Commons not enough space for you?

  • restaurant critic

    Thankyou for you detailed nsightful and nuanced critique of this establishment.

  • KARLington

    If your business fails and you don’t know why, you didn’t have sufficient reason to open the business in the first place. That’s an expensive way to see if your hunch is right.

  • novasteve

    How long until Mad Rose Tavern closes?

    • craig

      Hopefully soon. I HATE that place. Sorry Ms. Rose.

      • Non Sequitur

        “I HATE that place. Sorry Ms. Rose.”

        …..and you wonder why she is MAD……

        • Allie

          I hope they don’t. Their Basil Gimlet and various other martinis are fantastic, and $6 during happy hour.

    • I know that place is the WORST!

  • craig

    wait, harry’s tap room closed?

    • Aaron

      Well, several years ago the owners “divorced” and then there was another ownership/management change a couple years ago and then it was sold/reformatted as “Market Tavern” last year. It’s been just a steady downward skid from ~2005 on, coasting along on what had been a great concept (reasonably priced, locally sourced, upscale yet accessible) from when it first opened.

      Oh, and the once excellent service plummeted to crushing depths somewhere in there.

      • craig

        oh. Okay, thanks aaron. I used to stop by there every now and then when i lived in clarendon and worked out at the golds across the street. That area does kind of suck. Parking and driving through is a major pain in the ass. I know there is a parking garage behind The market tavern, but, it was always like 3 bucks minimum. And the car lines would back up a level or two sometimes….i’m over it.

  • novasteve

    Here’s a clue for any possible restauranteur in Arlington: Make something DIFFERENT. All of these places are exactly the same. Calling something Tavern, and offering 20 beers, and then PBR to get hipster douches doesn’t distinguish you from the 20 other places exactly like it. Take a freaking risk, do something DIFFERENT.

    • craig

      even though i generally hate novasteve. I do agree with him here.

    • WeiQiang

      hipster douches … ouch

    • Vinh An Nguyen


    • Corey

      The high rents ensure that only a narrow band of businesses can afford the space. You want old Arlington back? Join me in my quest for more buildings and more density.

      • novasteve

        Where do I sign up Corey?

      • Aaron

        Are you sure about that? The downfall of Clarendon seems to coincide with the sudden emergence of the interchangeably ugly ghettolux high-rises between Courthouse and Ballston.

        Nothing but low, garden-style homes in the R-B corridor = ethnic restaurants and Dremo’s.

        • Corey

          In both cases the cause is supply and demand.

          Low demand, adequate supply = cheap rents, dive bars, Dremo’s.

          High demand, huge shortfall of supply = Crate and Barrel, high-margin cupcake and yogurt shops, Cheesecake Factory.

          The relatively small increases in density – designed to capture the overwhelming demand for residential space on the orange line corridor – aren’t keeping pace.

          • drax

            Which is why Dremo’s is going to H Street in DC.

          • pitchfork

            Problem is that there is too much residential density (and of the wrong demographic) it was way better before the condos went in – there were actually original bars that could afford the rent like roratanga rodeo and strangeways.

          • Corey

            You’re confusing the symptom and the root cause.

            “Density” doesn’t drive higher rents. “Demand” does. Density is a way of increasing supply and coping with higher demand. The problem is, density hasn’t caught up with demand (in part due to silly regulations and NIMBYs).

          • pf

            but adding residential density only adds demand for services…especially if most of the added residential density is for the type of demographic that has to eat out all the time ..that;s what is wrong with your theory

    • novasteve

      Here’s a brilliant idea, it would be UNIQUE. Make a cigar bar out of the space.

      • Richard Cranium

        1996 called – it wants you back!

        • marie antoinette


      • CaughCaugh

        Keep your lung cancer causing smoke to yourself, inside your house.

        • marie antoinette

          Polly, want a cracker?

      • Bum

        And stay off my lawn!

      • drax

        There’s already one at Virginia Square.

        • CW

          Note to area entrepreneurs – “There’s already [X number]” is, contrary to the rest of the world, NOT a deterrent to opening an establishment in this area.

          • WeiQiang

            … but there is no substitute for creating a revenue model that takes in to account the competition.

          • CW

            That’s the thing though – around here, until you’re the poor sap who finds out that he’s the inflection point on what the market will bear, competition doesn’t seem to matter. It’s like the customer base just grows, rather than being subdivided amongst competitors. See: pizza.

          • Harry

            That’s true. That sad thing about this is that Harry’s Tap Room was one of the first american/steak house restaurants to come in, but all of the management changes chased customers away to all of the other options in the area.

      • KalashniKEV

        I doubt anyone would go inside a cigar bar. I support smoker’s rights, but would probably cross the street to stay away from it.

        • novasteve

          Funny, people who enjoy cigars would go to cigar bars. They even have cigar bars in DC. Quite popular sinc ethey are they only place you can smoke in DC.

          • SoArl

            I love Shelley’s Backroom.

        • Harry

          Plus you’d get complaints from neighboring businesses. Who would want to have outdoor seating right next to a cigar bar?

      • Max

        Haha. Calling out hipster douches while claiming insisting everything about you is special. Love ya Steve. In a gay way.

      • Allie

        Please don’t. There’s a cigar bar on the corner of my street in Ballston and it reeks every time I have to walk by it.

        • JamesE

          I find that smell refreshing from time to time, but would not want to be in there for prolonged periods.

    • speonjosh

      How bout take your own advice and develop a new rant.

    • ComeOnMan

      If only the infill builders would take this advise.

    • J

      Best comment ever

  • Clarendon

    Never went to the Market Tavern, but if it was steak-centric, the Ray’s down the street is hard to compete with. Not to mention the other beef-related eateries. Personally, I’d rather see Little Viet Garden move back but if it has to be “high-end”, how about a good, fresh Seafood restaurant ?

    • chihuahua

      How about the return of Queen Bee or Cafe Dalat.

      Next to go is Sushi Rock- how does this place stay open?

      • novasteve

        Queen Bee wasn’t “sophisticated” enough. You need to appeal to the N Arlington snob demographic.

        • Harry

          Back then that wasn’t a great location. Northside, Liberty, and Spider Kellys have moved traffic up there now, but a few years ago that was a ghost town.

      • Clarendon

        Dalat was one of my favorites but I think the owner is out of the game. LVG reestablished in DC and a quick look at the menu looks like the prices have gone up considerably which means it isn’t such a bargain now, but might actually be able to afford Clarendon


        • Please think of the animals, look at the eyes

          g*d damn high rents.

      • Arlington, Northside

        Yummm, Queen Bee! Its return woud be welcome.

    • Blomster

      How about a place that serves crabs but is a Vietnamese place that looks like a boat?

      • Clarendon

        They had a dish that was a grilled pork chop, topped with a ground pork mixture that was awesome.

        • Blomster

          I wonder how many others here remember it.

          • ArlLiving

            Loved that pork dish. I still live in the area but it really is getting too upscale and generic. Many of the American restaurants are just copies of the others

          • nom de guerre

            [ Raises hand and waves ]
            I do, I do. Location was on Wilson Boulevard near VA Square.

  • Swag

    Also putting in my vote for a legit deli. Can’t get a decent sub around here.

    • novasteve

      Subway is a really great place. I love cardboard bread.

      • Maria

        And three tiny pieces of meat.

        • Cajun

          That’s not meat.

    • sammy

      You better watch your mouth! Jared Fogle would be very unhappy with you right now!

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Back when, there was a pretty good Greek place on Clarendon between Highland and Garfield. I wouldn’t mind a Greek restaurant – as far as I know, there aren’t any Greek restaurants in Clarendon. A good seafood place would work for me. Still….a real old fashioned deli with corned beef, pastrami, knishes…….a place with great subs and sandwiches where you could eat in or take out.

      Shoot, I’d better stop, I’m about to munch on my keyboard.

      • Clarendon

        CAVA is Greek in Clarendon.

        • DeliciousGreek

          And CAVA is delicious! I want the flaming cheese right now.

          • malaka

            Cava is as greek as Sine is Irish

          • Clarendon

            Maybe, but it’s loud in there like a Greek restaurant. And, the food is still pretty tasty I think (e.g. mini Lamb burgers). It’s Greek-esque.

            I liked how the Aegean Taverna used to roast a lamb outside on some holiday. I guess that was Easter.

          • Southeast Jerome


      • Harry

        Aegean Taverna! I loved that place…

    • nom de guerre

      Sam’s Corner is featuring an Italian style sub as its Friday daily special-thinly sliced cappicola, sopressata and proscuitini with aged provolone cheese on a crusty artisan baguette with lettuce, tomato, hot and sweet peppers and a zesty Italian vinaigrette. Trevor Frye’s are $1 extra. Only while supplies last.

      • marie antoinette

        That place next to Liberty Tavern? I thought that place was a cover for mob activities. I think ive seen one person in that joint in 10 years.

        • Richard Cranium

          Hi! Welcome to Arlnow! Allow me to introduce you around . . . karzai? karzai? Where’d he go?

          Never mind, he’ll show up sooner or later.

          • Clarendon

            So rude of him not to say when he would show up ! :O

          • nom de guerre

            He’s busy making bagels at his new dream store.

          • karzai

            Anything I can do for you?

        • karzai

          Let’s let Sam’s pass gracefully into that good night, and look forward to the vibrant, explosive bagel place that will be replacing it. Complete with fresh lox, freshly made whitefish salad, matzoh ball soup, all sorts of cream cheeses and cheeses, and homemade bagels. yum yum

    • Lee-n-Glebe

      Ummm . . . Italian Store? Best subs around, hands down.

  • Corey

    It must have JUST closed. Walked by last night and it was reasonably full.

    • Andrew

      Yes…last night…did you read the article?

  • KalashniKEV

    I want a Vapiano in Clarendon.

    • chihuahua


      • KalashniKEV

        I like it. It’s like a cafeteria. We need more counter service and places like that.

        • JamesE

          I love their billing system

        • yeah

          You probably get nostalgic over the german army mess hall ambience

    • speonjosh

      I’m not endorsing your idea, but I went to the one in Ballston once and really liked it.

    • Tre


  • Tabs

    Wasn’t that where the scumbags who stole CC info and sold it worked, and one of the ringleaders was supported by the manager because — oh, she’s such a good trainer. I’ve worked in the business. I doubt it was her ability to train.

    • Aaron

      You have an excellent memory Tabs.

      “Payne’s boss, John Cosgrove, was quoted in court documents as saying her work was invaluable and she was an exemplary employee.”


      • But…

        Technically, she didn’t work at that location. Doesn’t make it better, but I believe the article lists the Clarendon address when the GM and employee were Pentagon City based.

    • John

      Hey smart guy,
      The court document was a reference letter that she was given to rent an apartment; it was submitted to her PO and used in court without permission. We were unaware of her criminal past.

      … and for the record, she was an excellent trainer.

      • 2nd that

        She was a good trainer. And she had loyal customers. I just hated that she thought it was her own grocery store… We ran out of condiments A LOT faster when she was on-board. 😉 But I have a rule where I keep my mouth shut and mind my own business. Sorry!

  • SomeGuy

    I thought Harry’s was good. Food was pretty good, and value was decent too. But Harry’s opened into a much different Clarendon climate back in a day when options were scarce (i.e. when Ballroom, Grill, and Mr. Days were about the only things going on weekend nights). Any loyalties people might have built to Harry’s were built back then. But the Harry’s formula probably wouldn’t be the (moderate) success today as it was then. And opening a nearly identical restaurant, Market Tavern, into the modern Clarendon landscape demonstrated that.

  • JohnB2

    The “local, well-established restaurateurs” bit screams of the Liberty/etc folks.

    • chris

      I’ll bet it’s the Clydes Group.

      • John Fontain

        And I’ll go with the Grill/Ballroom/Eventide/Kelly’s group.

      • In the Know on this One

        Clyde’s won’t do anything that doesn’t have a lot of surface parking.

        • Maria

          Yeah, that huge parking lot in Chinatown is so conveni…. wait.

          • clrdon

            Beat me. Damn.

        • clrdon

          Like the Verizon Center?

          • Cajun

            Or M Street in Georgetown?

    • Hokie

      I’d love to see Great American Restaurants open a spot somewhere in the R-B Corridor… How about a Sweet Water “Tavern” – great grilled foods, casual vibe and brewery – we have plenty of “tap rooms” but no breweries!! :o)

      • yuk

        we already have one and it sucks…american tap room

  • Lola

    I went recently and it was the same as Harry’s Tap Room — which I didn’t love to begin with.

    • speonjosh

      I think this is the missing link to why it failed. To the average passer-by, this place simply got a new awning at one point. Instead of saying Harry’s it said Market Tavern. Other than that, there was no reason to beleive it was any different. And if you didn’t already like Harry’s there was no reason to try a place with as generic and uninspiring a name and look as Market Tavern. I liked Harry’s, but never tried Market Tavern.
      On the other hand, you’d think on location alone the place could have survived. You can’t get much more centrally located in Clarendon.

      • Greg

        Agree. Many people believed they just changed the name. Not only is Market Tavern incredibly generic, it doesn’t even make sense… it’s like calling a place Store Tavern or Grocer Tavern.

        • well…

          They really did just change the name… I mean sure SOME aspects changed, but when the owners split, this owner lost the use of the name not the concepts he developed in the beginning. Not saying it didn’t need more, but if someone told me they only changed the name and nothing else I think the only other two things I could come up with was a) they also changed the chairs and b) the head chef stayed with the harry’s chain and moved to PC and other locations (which IMO was a huge lose cause he was awesome).

  • CW

    Established, local restaurateurs? Any guesses?

    Liberty tavern people?
    Cava people?

    Who else is expanding their “empires”? Isabella, or some mini-chain like Matchbox…

    D.C. people don’t seem to jump the river much.

    • craig

      maybe it’s Ray

    • Richard Cranium

      Nobody much likes to cross the Potomac Ocean in either direction anymore.

      • WeiQiang

        If that’s true, it’s sad. I’m in DC – just to eat or hang with friends – a few times per week.

      • Pedro

        District Taco is doing it with stunning success. The damn line for the place near metro center starts at 11:30 and is 20 people deep by 11:45.

    • Becoming indifferent

      We don’t want them anyway. And MD people, too.

      • V. Putin

        *Especially* MD people. Can’t drive.

        • HighViewPunk

          Can’t even drive automatics.

          • WeiQiang

            Drive? Don’t those people get here by Metro?

          • Dart

            Have you ever taken the Metro from MD to VA? Takes hours.

          • WestoverAndOver

            Exactly. If they hadn’t built that blasted Metro, then none of these DC/MD people would be over here.

    • Hokie

      Great American Restaurants (Carlye, Jacksons, Sweetwater)
      Neighborhood Restaurant Group (Tallula, Rustico, Columbia Firehouse, Vermillion, Evening Star Cafe)

      I’d love to see something from either of these “local established groups”… But, my guess is it’s the Liberty Gang or the Ballroom folks… which unfortunately will mean more of the same… Unless – maybe Landrum is finally going to open the elusive Ray’s Seafood concept! That would be great!

    • lastcall

      Rumor is that it’s the Passion Food group with a Mexican concept. Should be interesting!

  • courthound

    Wow. I had Mad Rose higher than Market Tavern in my death pool.

    Why did it not do well? Always seeing the place empty doesn’t really attract customers. It’s empty for a reason.

    • Clarendhund

      My death pool includes some of the purveyors of the sweet frozen stuff. Paciugo seems to not be making inroads against Bocato. And, Red Mango seems to be getting its clock cleaned by Pinkberry. I’m just going by walking by and seeing how many people are in the places on the same night (they may have decent product). Actually, the only place I go to out of the four I mentioned is Bocato. Their lounge and the whole vibe of the place is pretty cool – in addition to great gelato.

      • Tabs

        It does, doesn’t it.

        Gotta grab some Lactaid at Walgreen’s and give it a try.

  • Pablo

    Tear it down and build an outdoor-seating-only Weenie Beenie for North Arlington.

    • Richard Cranium

      An Ollie’s Trolley . . . with tables!!

  • CrystalMikey

    I only tried their brunch, and quite enjoyed it. Oh well…

  • drax

    “Market Tavern.”

    Most un-creative name ever, except maybe for American Tap Room. Doesn’t tell me anything.

  • Arlingtonian

    I actually really liked Market Tavern, but only for the bartender Zach. Otherwise, I went there this past Monday night and walked out because the bartender didn’t ask me if I wanted anything to drink while I stood there waiting at the bar. There were about 8 – 9 people at the bar. He was busy trying to chat with some ladies. I could see then why things didn’t work out there.

    I agree with either a divey bar or a Korean restaurant. Something similar to Mandu. Korean American restaurant with good service. It would be different and I think it would do well. Been saying that for awhile.

    • Please think of the animals, look at the eyes

      Great, more pork eaters… on the grill. Many pigs are raised in crates so small they can not turn around!!!

      for what? pork belly over kimchi!

    • A couple good ones

      Though the restaurant service really kind of stunk Zach’s a good guy and a good bartender… I’ve known him for years from other bars in NoVa he’s worked at. Andrew, at this place, was a good guy too. Always made a good drink and gave honest and good recommendations on things. I always feel bad for the staff when places like this go under… but I’m sure they can find something with places being busier in the summers and needing more hands than the off-seasons.

    • MC 703

      Was Zach the young guy, kinda sorta looked like Jesse Tyler Ferguson from Modern Family? If so I agree – he was great. Went in randomly on a Sunday Funday and he was super with suggestions and chitchat.

      • A couple good ones

        Actually, I think that’s Andrew, but I could be wrong.

        Zach was the most recently bar manager AND bartender… an Arlington local to which isn’t always easy to find. 🙂

  • novasteve

    Anyone been to Roy’s Place in Gaithersburg? Imagine that being in Arlington. Or is it not “sophisticated” enough?

  • JamesE

    I vote for a place that serves alcoholic froyo

    • Good Grief

      Mmm tequila sundaes 🙂

  • ItWasDescent

    I actually went there 2 weeks ago since they rebranded as Market Tavern, and it was pretty good. Actually had great HH specials on food and drinks.

    However, there was one glaring reason they failed that I quickly identified – they primarily served steak as entrees.

    Why would you ever try competing with Ray’s? Not a smart business move.

    • CW

      I’d think this place could support 2 steakhouses long before it could support 20 pizza places, but here we are.

      I personally think it was the sign on the awning, or lack thereof.

      The Descent PC games were pretty sweet back in the 90’s!

      • speonjosh

        it was the most boring restaurant sign awning I’ve ever seen.

        • jackson

          I saw one of their awnings pass by on the back of a truck in a pile about a month ago and thought, “This can’t be good for them.”

          Maybe a storm had damaged it or something, but it does seem like it was an omen.

          That, and the whole bankruptcy thing.

  • BeerO

    They should open a Wal Mart

  • Southeast Ben

    Market Tavern was terrible. Who likes a bread bar when the bread sits out and gets hard? Highly over-priced.

    I like the idea of a good seafood place in Arlington. One doesn’t exist today and I think could definitely do well. Bring some crabcakes, steamed shrimp, and some fresh fish.

    Mad Rose offers super cheap booze and appetizers so they managed to pull thorugh a little bit.

    • CW

      Since they are not legally allowed to do so, could you do us a public service and tell us when they offer this “super cheap booze”; some of us might be interested in this sort of thing.

      • Southeast Ben

        I believe MR has a good HH on Thursdays but don’t hold me to it. On weekends, beers are as cheap as $1 (at least during football season they were).

        Haven’t tried it yet, but have heard good things about Oceaniare in DC, so maybe something similar to that and Old Ebbitt Grill…even…though they wouldn’t have the lunch business needed to pay the high rent.

        • CW

          The thing about Oceaniaire, DC Coast, Kinkead’s, and all the other seafood places around here is that they’re expense account institutions. Very highly-priced but not a lot of value.

          Arlington doesn’t really have much at the high end save for Eventide. And I’m not sure if there’s a place for it. I think the money is to be made in hip, fast-paced type places catering to the condo dwellers. Can you make more $ off of one Lyon Village lawyer or 12 floors worth of 20-somethings?

          • jackson

            Depends on if you’re talking about food sales or bail bonds.

          • CW

            Well I bet some Lyon Village lawyer is going to make a killing off of Trev.

          • WeiQiang

            Hey, hey, hey … we have a higher density of lawyers in Arlington Ridge. represent.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      “Bring some crabcakes, steamed shrimp, and some fresh fish.”

      +10 Southeast Ben. If I can’t have the deli, I’ll take a good seafood place.

    • JamesE

      Daddy likes seafood. Not enough in this area.

    • Roycroft

      Seafood would be great and how about offering up some local oysters? A raw bar would be great.

  • BrianKal

    I can say why i never went there … pricey! Looked at the menu and was like, nope, not for a burger. It is Clarendon, but didn’t seem worth it, too many restaurants I liked

  • LP

    My bet is either Landrum or Great-American Restaurants has taken over the space.

  • AC Slater

    Service was horrible and the prices too high for mediocre food!

  • KalashniKEV


  • ClarendonDweller

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a Matchbox.

    • Vinh An Nguyen

      Yeah! More pizza is just what we need.

      • Trev

        … with garlic, brah

      • ClarendonDweller

        Ha – I guess I didn’t think of it like that. I like their mix of pizza/burgers/cocktails…okay, nevermind!

  • Barry

    Second restaurant to close in a week? Where were the Chamber, Economic Development, and Clarendon restaurant micro-manager Mary Hynes?

    • KalashniKEV

      Putting the finishing touches on the new Public Pool, no doubt.

      (I can’t wait to pee in it!)

  • charles

    What exactly is a “Chophouse”? I mean, other than a guy marketing term?

  • TuesdaysChild

    There was an article somewhere, maybe this site, a few months ago that said the Matchbox group was looking for restaurant space in VA. That would be good addition. But please, not another sports bar or over-TV’d restaurant (yes, you, American Tap (TV) Room!).

  • olé

    Can’t we please get another Tex-Mex option along the R-B corridor? The staff at Uncle Julios is growing weary of my margarita addiction.

    • Joan Fountain

      A commenter after my own heart.

    • CW

      Growing “weary” – as in they’re tired of making you so many margaritas?

      Or growing “wary” – as in they’re afraid of the consequences if they keep serving them to you?

  • Andy

    I think any of these would succeed in that space and round out the neighborhood nicely:
    –French Bistro similar to Lepic or du Coin
    –Non-Pizza Italian similar to Fiola
    –Seafood similar to Blacksalt

    • local restos

      –French Bistro similar to Lepic or du Coin – Village Bistro (next to Rays Hell and Pho 75)
      –Non-Pizza Italian similar to Fiola (as Sette Bello did so well)
      –Seafood similar to Blacksalt (not as upscale but ever been to Sobe in Clarendon?)

      • Greg

        Village Bistro should have been out of business years ago. They are rarely crowded; while their food is actually quite good, they had the worst service possible on the 3 occasions I went there.

        • frenchie

          of course it has bad service it’s authentic! (as is Bistro du Coin)

  • Pedro

    Thai restaurant, by the Landrums: “Rays the Thai-tanic!”

    • Andy

      …or a “gentlemens’ club” called “Ray’s the Skirt”

      • WeiQiang

        Well done, man. Someone’s had their coffee.

        • Tabs

          You can not Ray’s the Bar beyond our previous puns when this issue has come up (time and time again).

      • novasteve

        Or a democrat political campagin office called “Ray’s your taxes”

        • Queen of Grammer

          That would be “democratic” not “democrat”.

          • King of Spelling


          • KalashniKEV

            As they have not yet embraced democracy, I believe Steve is correct…

          • karl rove

            see! Thankyou my obedient slave!

          • karl rove

            you obviosly didn’t get the memo – we all use “democrat” these days. It was Rush’s idea first

      • marie antoinette


        • marie antoinette

          Oops, meant to give +100 to Andy’s comment!

          • speonjosh

            You did.

      • Andy

        Greek/Middle East place specializing in goat = Ray’s the Kids

        Internet Cafe with Microsoft on Computers = Ray’s the Gates

        College dorm-style cafetria restaurant = Ray’s the Tuition

        Bar with lots of free salty snacks = Ray’s the Blood Pressure

    • Hardy Har!

      Or a candy store, called Ray’s Cane!

    • girlFace

      bwa ha ha hah hahahaahahah
      awesome ! Thanks for the mid-day chortle!

    • Bloviator

      Ray’s The Level Of Discourse

      • speonjosh

        Amen, brother!!

      • WeiQiang

        testify, brah

  • YTK

    Sounds like they were offering the same stuff as all the other eateries.

  • Tre

    I think we can fit in another cupcakery there

  • novasteve

    Any betters here? I am almost 100% certain the replacement will be exactly the same, except with some food quirk. It will probably have Tavern in the name, it will be exactly the same, and if anything, it iwll try to appeal to even snobbier clientele.

    • Corey

      Have you ever met an actual snob, Steve? You won’t find them at “Market Tavern” or anywhere in Clarendon, really. (OK, maybe at Screwtop)

      • marie antoinette

        +10 lol

    • Queen of Grammer

      That would be “bettors” not “betters” though many here consider themselves your better.

      • Richard Cranium

        “Every internet post criticizing another post for an error in grammar, spelling or punctuation must, itself, contain at least one error in grammar, spelling or punctuation.”


      • chihuahua


  • Suburban Not Urban

    Yea but – walkable high end generic eateries will save Arlington and make it a world class place to live. Just don’t be the buisness owner since the high rents, poor non-live-in transit and monolithic resident base will put you under in a year.

  • Former Morton’s waitron

    I hate to see any business fail.

    However, a former Morton’s coworker went on to Sam and Harry’s in Tysons. His take: “You know how we all thought Morton’s was corrupt and political. ha. You should see these guys.”

  • marie antoinette

    Once Cheesecake was built, all was lost…

    • cheesecake

      what no love for huge portions of ciso prooducts served in turkish brothel themed architecture?

    • Andy

      I love that Cheesecake factory is there. It siphons a lot of people away from the restaurants in Clarendon I actually enjoy going to.

  • girlFace

    Stuff that would cool on that corner:

    Something with decent tunnel food and LIVE MUSIC that’s a step above ( re:older ) than the WoW crowd, jazz combo

    Good Seafood

    something with a noise level below shouting

    Cajun,Creole or French

    Ethiopian so we dont have to schlep up to U street

    *tunnel food = food from the giant tunnels that runs through the city and burbs through which most bar/restaurants get their offerings.

    • Corey

      Most of the good Ethiopian is actually on Columbia Pike, where actual Ethiopians live

      • JamesE


    • karzai

      French or Seafood is what we need to fill out the portfolio in Clarendon. I personally am very partial to Asian fusion and had tried to persuade the owner of Raku to open a branch in Clarendon, but he didn’t bite.

  • marie antoinette

    Studio 54

  • girlFace

    a Jose Andres place !

    and a Studio 54…sweet

    • Agreed

      Jose Andres place! Yes please, +100

      • jose

        mini tavern?

  • Clarendonite

    This one isn’t rocket science. They took a warm and inviting downstairs lounge and turned it into a cold and industrial open space. Then they took a good restaurant and raised the prices while making no significant improvements to the menu or quality. As a bonus, they made sure that the upscale upstairs and the metal downstairs didn’t mesh at all, making the place all around confusing for anyone walking by. Alienating existing customers + confusing and offering nothing appealing to new customers = closing.

    A renovated Harry’s would have done well had they gone back to what made Harry’s successful in the first place. It’s a great space and someone will be able to take it to the next level. As the rent for that space is sky high, that somebody is going to have to be a deep pocketed restaurateur that is likely going to be smart enough to do it right this time.

    • marie antoinette

      Couldn’t have said it any better.

    • Michael Sternberg

      Please let me hire you as a consultant.

    • Quoth the Raven

      You are exactly right. But the problem is that a deep-pocketed restauranteur probably means a chain restaurant, doesn’t it? The space might be too pricey for the independent guy to take on.

    • Tom Smart

      couldn’t agree with you more. i never returned after they became market tavern. and i told the manager that it would fail. he laughed when i told him. it’s a shame because it was a joy to go there and have dinner or to have a drink in the bar area.

      • That Manager

        I wasn’t laughing at your assertion that we would fail. I had just remembered something funny an acquaintance mentioned to me the previous day, and I chuckled at the recollection.

    • Pretty much. I’ve been to MT twice, once as a restaurant and another time as a bar. It doesn’t do either well, and it always feels like you’re eating in a bar, or drinking in a restaurant.

  • Justin


  • Don Draper

    How about a REAL steakhouse like Morton’s or Ruth’s Chris?

    • Tabs

      Compared to Ray’s? Nah. High-end steak houses have gone the way of the dinosaur.

      • Don Draper

        Been to Morton’s, Ruth’s Chris, Bobby Van’s lately? Classic style, never goes out of fashion.

        Ray’s is for rookies, JMU/VA Tech grads, etc…

        • rays fan

          or people who don’t want to pay $8 for a potato (that they first have to show you in its raw state – as if you have never seen a potato before)

          • MarceyRd

            That’s what the man said: rookies.

          • missing the point entirely

            it’s Mortons that treats you like a rookie (understandably as most of their patrons are – they just have a need to impress), Rays has excellent cuts of meat and includes unlimited and delicious sides such as potatoes and spinach – and no they do not have to show you a potato

        • JMU grad

          Mortons over cooks their steaks on that conveyor grill system they utilize and that goes for here and the one in San Fran.

          Ruth Chris is better than Morton’s but cant hold value to Rays. Rays cooks awesome steaks.

    • B-Rad

      I could really go for a Bob’s Steak and Chop House out here.

  • Ballstoni

    I foresee a Hard Rock Cafe.

  • Kelly

    I’m not surprised by this at all! I used to go to Harry’s Tap Room (it was great – not sure why they left/closed), but I stopped in one day to check out Market Tavern and it was sad. The menu was not as good and the atmosphere was bland. I can’t believe he says he spent a lot of $$ on renovations. He wasted his money in my opinion. It looked worse. It did not have the cozy feeling of Harry’s, nor did it go far enough into a modern look. It was cold feeling and from a design concept seemed disjointed. If he wanted a more urban feel, he fell short.

  • Ballstonian

    Bread bar = stupid. Overpriced, and way better options in Clarendon. In fact, Harry’s was better when there. Maybe they could put a high-end strip club there.

    • high end?

      “high end” strip club…as in they only take off their hats?

      • chihuahua

        “high end” you tip in fives instead of ones.

  • Kelly

    I just read Clarendonite’s comment… glad to see I’m not the only one who felt this way. We are on the same exact page! It was a great loss of a great space when Harry’s left. Hope someone gets back in there and fixes it.

  • Kelly

    We are in desperate need of a great Seafood restaurant in this area! Harry’s had a pretty decent seafood selection – I think that was part of the appeal.

  • Tom Smart

    I told a friend of mine, as well as the manager, before they even changed to Market Tavern, that they would not survive. I wish I got paid for my advice. I ate there at least twice monthly with friends and family when they were Harry’s. And I would go there occassionaly for a drink with friends. they were overpriced even while under the Harry’s name. But when they tried to go after the Mcormick, the Palm, clientale with this haute taute price menu, they were doomed. i wonder how much the guy was paid to tell them to change to market tavern. what idiots in this economy especially.

  • JohnB2

    OK we need to start coming down off of this discussion; we only have another 80 or so comments before it overtakes Trevor’s slot in the 2012 most popular list.

  • Arlington, Northside

    “pricing was raised in conjunction with the eatery’s more upscale vibe”
    The vibe is what should get your resturant to draw customers away from somewhere else. Once you use it to justify your price point you lose.

  • Sarah

    I have a gift card there. Am I just out of luck??

    • Tre

      Actually you are lucky you never had to use it

  • Novamom

    Come on Matchbox!

  • Airwolf

    Crab house!!

  • Just Saying

    Paciugo will be next to close!

  • Good Food Served Quickly

    Taco Bell
    Schlotsky’s (sp?)
    Ollie’s Trolley
    White Castle

  • KalashniKEV

    Olive Garden would actually be good too… I love their zuppa toscana… and the neverending pasta bowl… and the Tour of Italy!!!!!!!

  • Compassionate Connor

    Market Tavern was weird. The downstairs seemed like some factory floor. Not very inviting.

  • Scott

    In response to Mr. Sternberg’s “I liked the service, I liked the food, I liked the decor, and I don’t know why we didn’t catch on in this neighborhood. I spend my nights awake just wondering about it.”

    Um. Let me ease your sleep problems. I went to Market Tavern on about a monthly basis out of convenience. It’s location and atmosphere were perfect. Here’s some of the problems: The food wasn’t very good and everything was overpriced. That bears repeating: The food wasn’t very good and everything was overpriced. The menu was a disaster; either be an upscale restaurant or be a local eatery/lounge. Don’t try to do both because it results in an epic fail.

  • Zelora

    Actually there aren’t enough places around here where you can sit down and get GOOD sandwiches, salads, fish, etc. and maybe a piece of (diabetes-causing) pie, for a reasonable price. Also, there aren’t enough places that are quiet enough that you can talk, and where the service is respectful, and the prices are moderate….hey, maybe I actually don’t like it here!

    • Arlington, Northside

      Whitlow’s is such a place, but it might be too low brow for the new crowd of Clarendon. Us children of the 80s will still enjoy it.

    • Clarendon

      I’ve been going to Linthicum fro work recently and we eat at G&M Restaurant. To me, that is what you are describing:


  • Um my husband and I went to MT to try out a new local Clarendon spot. We were walked upstairs, brought water, and told about the “FREE bread bar.” We took one look at the prices on the menu and left. I have no problem spending money on great food, but I could tell this place was mediocre at best. Looks like I was right. Not surprised it is closed. Next time make less focus on the free bread bar and more focus on the menu and pricing.

  • JP

    There will never be good retail in the Ballston-Rosslyn corridor because there is a large concentration of high income young professionals. The demographics allow landlords to not only charge astronomical rents, but also only deal with established business owners. Landlords prefer large corporate chains because they are established and will have no problem paying the bills.

    Increasing the density will only increase the demand for services which will drive up retail rent. High density always=chain stores

  • Brian

    Market Tavern had the most generic-brand looking logo I’ve ever seen. Sorry, if you’re opening a restaurant you have to HIRE a graphic designer. A good one will make your business stand out from the local competition because a good designer looks at the competition and strives to make you unique. I’m a designer and I think it’s hilarious how a restaurant thinks it can thrive in an area that’s so focused on appearances and yet doesn’t invest in a designer. I’m looking at you next A-Town…

  • Great article! We are linking to this great post on our site.
    Keep up the good writing.

    • Richard Cranium



Subscribe to our mailing list