Cafe Assorti in Rosslyn to Close

by ARLnow.com March 15, 2013 at 9:45 am 3,100 74 Comments

Cafe Assorti in Rosslyn (photo via Facebook)

Cafe Assorti, at 1800 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, will be closing its doors on Sunday.

The restaurant served Russian, Eastern European and Kazakh cuisine, as well as pastries, beer and wine. It was open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It’s unclear why Cafe Assorti is closing. A restaurant employee told us that the owners are looking for a new location in Rockville, Md. and hoping to reopen there in August.

Photo via Facebook

  • Steve

    Restaurants are dropping like flies in that area.

    • Lars Jones

      Perhaps. But this one is closing because it “served Russian, Eastern European and Kazakh cuisine.” Shocking that there wasn’t a market for that. Put in a pancake house or a diner and watch it thrive.

      • novasteve

        Maybe Borat can come save teh day?

    • Very Puny

      Has anyone notified the health inspectors about the insect problem…..

  • Hattie McDaniel

    It’s unclear why Cafe Assorti is closing

    Uh. because it was 9/10 empty most of the time? Just a thought.

  • novasteve

    It’s the outrageous rents in this area.

    • Socialist Steve

      Commercial rent control!

      • novasteve

        It’s more like because of the douches willing to pay such outrageous rents here. If there were a reality check, rents would go down. Businesses are failing left and right here.

        • Josh S

          Steve, do you even realize how ridiculous you sound about 90% of the time? I don’t think you even stop to consider whether your comments make sense. You complain that rents are high because people are willing to pay the rents? Then how do you know they are too high?

    • Polk

      Steve is outraged by the free market system.

      • J22C

        Actually this area isn’t free market. It’s propped up on the government subsidies…aka salaries and contracts. This area will start to get hit as they start to make cuts.

        • novasteve

          The DC area is an artificial economy like how Saigon was before and during the vietnam war.

  • Usually the case

    It’s unclear why Cafe Assorti is closing.

    Taking a wild guess that it has to do with financial underperformance.

    • DCBuff

      See postings by Hank and Locala to answer the question.

  • WM

    Beangood! Should move here (if rent is reasonable)

    • YTK


      • pemberton buttlestix

        too big.

  • Mike


  • Ballston Resident

    Is rent too high? Liked this place.

  • fedworker

    There’s restaurants over there?

  • TedFRERP

    Was this the Russian food/picture framing place?

    • piroshki

      No, that’s Rus Uz in Ballston.

    • Boris & Natasha

      No, that’s in Ballston. The Russian/Uzbek restaurant/frame shop seems to be doing OK. Whenever I go by and look in, there’s usually about 1/3 – 1/2 of the tables occupied. Not sure about the framing part of the business.

  • Stew Magnuson

    I’m shocked. Shocked that it last as long as it did. Place was empty most of the time. Went there once, the service and food was not good.

    • OX4

      I’m convinced this place was a front for money laundering or something. There’s no way it could’ve kept open for so long while being empty the whole time.

  • Locala

    This place use to have THE BEST value wine flight tastings on week nights. For $15 you could get 7 large glasses of select wines. I never made it past glass #5. Loved their appetizer pastries, too.

  • Hank

    I loved this place. There was a guy who worked there until about nine months ago that would fill your wine glass to the top and charge you for every other glass. He was an American hero.

    • Hero or Villian?

      He may be an important reason the restaurant is folding.

      It’s theft from an employer. A huge problem in the biz. Bartenders give away free drinks because they earn their income in tips. You give away drinks, you get huge tips. Your employer gets nothing. A lot of restaurants actually have microphones in their bar area to monitor this huge problem. It’s most likely illegal, but a dishonest wait staff can kill a restaurant, because it makes its margins on its liquor.

      Now, bartenders will defend this practice because it keeps the customers coming back. There is some merit to this, depending on the degree of theft. A nice pour? Yes, that can be rationalized. Every other drink free? No way. Also indicative of a person with larceny at heart, which will cause other problems (friends drink free; shrinkage, etc).

      • Costanza

        Agree that shrinkage is a major problem.

      • Vicente Fox

        Bartenders give away free drinks because they earn their income in tips

        Maybe if food service operations would pay an actual living wage and not force their employees to live off of tips it wouldn’t be an issue.

        • J22C

          Minimum wage was never meant to be a living wage. Might want to figure that out first.

          • Vicente Fox

            I said “living” not “minimum”.

          • J22C

            Again, food service is not a ‘living’ wage industry for anyone other then the chef and owners.

            Everyone else in there is working a ‘minimum’ wage like salary.

            You are never going to get a ‘living’ wage in the restaurant industry, retail, and so on. These jobs cannot exist at a living wage because the companies would have to charge very high prices for their goods and services which is not sustainable.

          • Jimmy Hoffa

            Funny that these businesses where able to survive in the days when they had unionized workforces that were paid a decent salary.

          • Tony Soprano

            The restaurant industry was unionized?

          • Jimmy Hoffa

            Hotel and Restaurant Employees and Bartenders International Union (AFL-CIO).

          • J22C

            They were able to survive back in the days because rent/costs/etc weren’t inflated due to easy money policy and credit like we’ve had the last 15+ years. That’s why restaurants can’t make it now…rents and costs are just way to high for a realistic survival for almost all new/small businesses in expensive/over-inflated areas.

          • Realistic

            Servers don’t get a minimum wage. Ask they what they make sometime. I did in TX, not here, and they were getting about $2.25 an hour.

    • Gordon Ramsay

      That’s probably one reason why they went under.

    • Bob

      I live nearby and never heard of this place till I read this article.

      • henry

        Not very observant are you?

    • Realistic

      No wonder they are closing. They should have fired him.

  • Otis Cambell

    everyone knows once the ABC store closes there goes the neighborhood.

    • pemberton buttlestix

      Respectfully disagree.They will back-fill in a heartbeat. Problem is the family needs to sell the strip center to a developer. It is an investment trust who owns it and doesn’t have a clue to what they are doing. It’s a “tweener market” now but give it two year and it will be a juggernaut.

  • moony

    Rays Hellburger should take it over so Landrum could moon his former landlady across the street.

  • OX4

    There is something clearly wrong in Rosslyn, because most of the ground level retail space is empty all up and down the hill. I wish the Rosslyn BID would change tactics or try something different because it’s crazy that so much can be so empty near a metro station and hundreds of residential units.

    • J22C

      Rosslyn is considered a ‘day’ location for businesses/traffic. Plus the ‘hill’ location is not good for foot traffic. If it wasn’t for Piolo and CA, I doubt there’d be any business down there at all at night.

      Ballston use to be this way also…it’s only recently with the newer restaurants that Ballston is becoming more of an ‘evening’ destination now.

  • Hellburger resurrection (the sequel)?

  • nom de guerre

    I heard from someone who knows the owners of Leek American Bistro in Ballston/VA Square that their rent is $20K per month.

    • pemberton buttlestix

      They are out of 4,200sf though. That’s $57/sf which is high but not insanely high. I’m sure that number includes his common area maintenance, real estate taxes and insurance. He actually rent would be in the low $40’s. Hopefully that isn’t true though because he will have to do over $3 mill in sales to survive.

    • Ballstonian

      I heard somewhere that Leek American Bistro has a huge problem with shoplifting – people go in, ask for the bathroom, and take a leek while they’re there.

      • speonjosh


        But, an excellent send-off on a Friday afternoon…..

      • ML

        Leek’s could be fine but it will not make it if they don’t train the waiters. Mine was sucking a lollypop leaning on the podium as you come in the door. He cleared the table one fork at a time and needed a change of shirt. Ambiance great otherwise; food fairly good.

  • YTK

    Is that a sculpture or a loudspeaker? Or maybe a red light camera…….

  • kalashnikev

    I always used to say how great the space was and how I really liked the place- but that it was always at 5% capacity (seriously). I’m sad to see it go!

  • The boy who cried wolf….

    Ben was the best thing that could happen to that place! Once he left, it went down hill. His customers followed him….. The company I work for still does HH there, but it is not the same. We are celebrating one last time today for the closing, hopefully they go out with a bang……

  • novasteve

    Maybe Taco Bell can move in?

    • pemberton buttlestix

      You’re kidding right?

    • J22C

      Damn I wish TB was back. Never will forgive that new high rise for ripping it down and then taking 5+ years to even get going to construction.

  • DL

    Too bad. It was listed in Washingtonian’s Cheap Eats for 2013.

  • gnushell

    I ate there once and was severely underwhelmed. I’m shocked that it lasted as long as it did.

    • Zelora

      I ate there twice and totally agree with you. They would advertise something like a vegetable-filled something-or-other and it would be 99% bread. Overpriced and far too bread-y. I kind of liked their beet salad, but you can’t build a restaurant on that!

      • Sonny

        So you are saying that I shouldn’t open the first of my “The Beet Goes On” chain in this location ??

  • drax


    • Kill the Trolley

      Bardo sucked!

      • ML

        It was a disgusting pit and patrons peed on my building and took up all the parking. Down with Bardo’s, Dremo’s and the like.

  • Other Side of the River

    From the name, I never would have assumed it was Russian/E. European.

  • pemberton buttlestix

    It’s been on the market for awhile (close to a year). The last offer a week ago was “best offer”.

  • Kdub

    I’d like a delicious deli there please!

  • Nova Lulu

    Oh, yeah, like anyone would go to Rockville! Haha!

  • Meggsicle

    That kdub has a great idea-we need a delicious deli around these parts please!

  • Gibberellin

    Sad! It was the best deal in Rosslyn by far and could easily cater to large groups, so my group went there about 6 times in 2011 -2012, especially for the flights of wine and the friendly wait staff, but I’ll agree it was never full. We all voted it our as our favorite meeting place. However except for one we have all left the DC area. See review in Trip Advisor, but I guess not enough people did.


Subscribe to our mailing list