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Pound Coffee, Closed in NoMa - Coffee, Tea, and Occasional Thai Curry (!) on 6th and Penn SE at Eastern Market - Closed


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Posting a new topic for those who need some sort of food option while stuck in the no man's land area of dining near the Union Station-New York Avenue Metro station corridor. Came across this site while browsing discount coupon pages.

Mods - please feel free to move this elsewhere.

I have never been here, so cannot attest to it, but the falafel option looked good on their menu. Apparently they do office catering too.

Right across from the NY Avenue Metro.

Serving Kickapoo Coffee.

Pound Coffee (FB page)
1300 2nd Street NE
Washington, DC, 20002
Phone:202-408-5282

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Pound has slowly transforming itself beyond being a neighborhood coffeehouse. Last fall, they added a full-service weekend brunch (first on Sundays only, then also on Saturday). I've only made it there once, but the Huevos Rancheros I had were quite tasty, and a generous portion for the money. They recently revamped the brunch menu, so I can't speak to its latest iteration, but what I had before was promising.

Now they've gotten their beer/wine license, and as of this week are transforming their evening service into more of a bistro, with a modest menu of appetizers and entrees and a small, well-curated list of wines and beer. Bob and i went last night to their soft opening (at a 25% discount). Since they are still getting this up and running, I don't want to do a detailed critique of the food or service. Suffice to say that the dishes we had were at least decent, and the space does transform nicely to a pleasant place for a meal. My one thought is, trite though it might be, I think they would do better offering a menu of small dishes rather than two courses; it's a nice place to get a glass of wine or a good beer, and these would pair better with that sort of menu in this space. Nevertheless, I wish them well in their ambition and will be interested to see how this change works for them.

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We stopped by for the new (second attempt at) brunch menu last weekend. The server admitted up-front the kitchen was very backed up, so it seems they are still working the kinks out, but our food actually wasn't very delayed. I had the huevos rancheros (very good - right amount of spice, crunch and perfectly cooked eggs) and my husband the pastrami hash (pretty good). Great, strong coffee. It still has the "coffee shop with a server" feeling rather than a sit-down spot, so I dont know how that will play at night with the somewhat upscale dinner menu they are aiming for. Nonetheless, its a great neighborhood spot and I hope they continue on an upward paht.

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Pound is now a "wine bar and bistro" and offering dinner service, which I think started a month or two ago. We ended up here last night after failed attempts to sit outside at just about everywhere near Eastern Market... and I am glad we did. As neighbors, we love Pound as a coffee shop and very much want to see them succeed. Of note, we were literally the only table in the whole place - in or out. And 3 or 4 passer-byers commented "oh I didn't know they served wine now" after seeing us sitting outside. Hopefully this post will help spread the word! Menu is eclectic and its a little difficult to discern what the dish will actually be (case in point - coq au vin dumplings.. which I will get to in a minute), but a few questions to our very adept server cleared things up. After ordering, we were surprised to be brought an amuse bouche from the kitchen. Maybe they were bored, maybe they are attempting to be more serious than we realized but nonetheless the bite of queso fresco (and something else) was appreciated. We started by splitting the Cordon Blue Croquettes which were just what you would expect and very very tasty. I then had the previously mentioned dumplings and they were delicious - extremely moist chicken in wanton wrappers served in a broth with onions and morel mushrooms and porkbelly. Ate every bite. My husband had ratatouille, which is served in a carved out eggplant. Also tasty (mine was better). In general, we were very pleased. The price point is reasonable with most entrees around $15 (though with wine around $12/glass it can add up) and in general a great addition to the neighborhood. I just hope the word get's out and the concept sticks around!

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I hadn't been back to Pound for a meal since previewing their bistro menu back in January. Back then, my feeling was that the concept would lend itself better to a menu of small dishes. Since then, it appears they've dropped their brunch service and have added a weekday happy hour, 5 to 7, featuring four appetizers, four beers, and four wines for $4.00 apiece. Seeing the deal via Facebook, I decided this sweltering night was a good time to try it out. The Dogfish Head India Brown Ale was good though served a bit too warm for my taste, but the dishes--an Italian farmhouse pasta and chicken cordon bleu croquettes--were great. The pasta was particularly tasty--though perhaps not really a summer-night's dish, it was nearly a full entree size. The two croquettes were decent-sized and perfectly cooked, much better than I remember them being from the January preview. For $12 plus tax and tip, this was a bargain happy hour and dinner combined, worth returning for.

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Has anyone eaten at the Bistro recently? My friends and I are heading there next week and would love some tips on what to order. I haven't been in to see the space yet so I'm curious to check out the coffee shop/wine bistro transformation.

From the owner...

Friends!

I come to you at an increasingly difficult point in my life. While I may have been good at hiding it so far from most of you, I am coming face to face with the reality that my restaurant, Pound The Hill, may be forced to close.

I've somehow managed to build a restaurant that serves the food I love from around the world and does it in a local, neighborhood bistro atmosphere on Capitol Hill with great micro-brews and boutique wines to accompany it. It's a restaurant that has received rave reviews from nearly all customers who've dined with us and yelp, cityeats, etc show that! But unfortunately, as I have learned more and more every month over the last two years, the restaurant business is really, really tough. Nearly impossible when you throw in what DC does to keep you from doing business. No matter how many thousands of hours you put in and no matter how much debt you take on or how good of a restaurant you've built, failure is often just a couple of slow weeks away.

I want you to come experience what I've built and come enjoy an incredible meal with us! Unfortunately, our remaining time may be limited. Summer in DC is an awful time for restaurants and has been especially hard for our little startup concept. While I am doing everything I can to make sure we survive and eventually thrive, success can only be earned by getting customers in the door. So while I'm trying everything I can think of, I thought I would also reach out to you and ask a personal favor. Come and have a fantastic dinner with us, I'll give you 20% off of your meal to encourage you to get to the Hill, and in the long run, it may just save my little restaurant and get us through our most difficult times.

So while this email is written with equal parts pride, excitement, embarrassment and humbleness, I hope you'll see it for what it truly is: an offer to come have a great meal at a great discount, and one that will personally help my restaurant survive long enough to make it through rough times.

Whether it's for a date night dinner, a meal with friends or happy hour drinks with coworkers, I would absolutely love to have you join us.

You can make reservations here:
and put in promo code karl20 to make sure my staff gets you your discount.

FEEL FREE TO PASS ALONG THE PROMO CODE TO ANYONE AND EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!

You can also see our tasty dinner menu here:

Putting all pride aside, please help me save my restaurant!

With much admiration,

Karl
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Karl, for those Hill residents that can't make it in for an extended dinner, but could *easily* bypass Starbucks for a cup of morning coffee, how much would increased coffee sales help the restaurant?

One recommendation: grab-n-go pastries and sandwiches, sold right at the entrance. If you can't get people through the door, project your sales out onto the sidewalk. With each purchase, including each cup of coffee, hand people a coupon for dinner.

I wish people would come to me for help early on.

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I really wanted to love my meal and experience at Pound so I could fully root for them to get out of their slump and make it, but my friends and I came out underwhelmed by our dinner there last night. The space is really cute and they have a great back patio (although it was a bit buggy/mosquitoey last night). The food was decent, but the service was just really really slow and disinterested (despite not many tables occupied).

While waiting for my friends I enjoyed HH at the "bar" (literally 3 stools squished in at the end of the coffee counter) and tried the Cordon Bleu Croquettes (Crispy croquettes with chicken, prosciutto, gruyere cheese $4 at HH, otherwise $7). There were two round croquettes served with a Dijon mustard and piece of honey comb. I noticed my order in the kitchen window for upwards of 5 minutes before it was finally brought over to me by the harried bartender/barista, so they could've been a bit warmer, but they still had good flavor with a nice crunchy crust on the outside. The mustard and honey were a nice compliment as well.

Once we were seated we just waited a long time to have drink orders taken, to receive drinks, and to have food orders taken. The food itself didn't take terribly long to bring out (although one dish we ordered for sharing didn't make it to the table until we reminded our waitress), but then the waiting began again as we asked for the check and wrapped up the payment.

I had the BBQ Trio ($17 Glazed pork belly, short-ribs, crispy sweetbreads, pepper hash, cornbread), which I quite liked. The plate was nicely presented with a square of pork belly and a round of short rib meat, each topped with sweetbreads. This was accompanied by a square of cornbread and a small pile of pickles. Some sort of vegetable would have been nice on the plate to balance the richness of the pork. The pickles were good, but not quite a true side. Two of my friends had Farmhouse Italian Pasta ($15 Orecchiette, house-made fennel sausage, slow-roasted tomatoes, rapini, truffle cheese), and thought it was fine, but nothing worth ordering again. Apparently the sausage was the best part. The fourth had Crispy Duck Confit ($20 Preserved Orange, Valrhona chocolate, arugula, pistachio hazelnut butter). I didn't taste this but she said it was a bit fatty for her taste and she wished she had a side/vegetable of some sort as well. We also split an order of Duck-Fat Tater Tots (Caramelized apples, sour cream, horseradish $7 - or $4 at HH). At the HH price this isn't bad, but $7 is a bit much. I'm not sure I could've told they were fried in duck fat if it wasn't on the menu. The apples and horseradish dip were interesting alongside though and different from usual dippers.

One other thing I thought was interesting has to do with the menu's wine pairings. Each of the entrees on the dinner menu suggests a wine and beer pairing, but only one of the entrees suggested a white wine. In the heat of DC summer, it seems like some lighter dishes that paired with whites would provide some good options (says the girl that ordered a trio of pork).

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First, let me say a big thank you to all of the readers here that booked reservations with us recently. While my email was sent as a person letter to very close friends, and was then leaked by several people to several sources, I am happy if it results in more people getting to try out our restaurant. I hope others who have been in and had dinner with us can post their experiences as well.

To respond specifically to Jenny above, thanks for your very thorough review and feedback. It is much more constructive and informitive than 99% of negative reviews out there in YelpLand. While almost all restaurant owners hate yelp, the last few months have been especially kind to us in that regard as we have receive many, many 5 star reviews for our food and service at dinner. I sincerely do wish you could have had a better experience with us and I hope you can come in and try us again. Not every restaurant is for everyone and maybe our own unique style of cuisine just doesn't jive with your tastes, or maybe we completely screwed up and delivered you a bad experience.

But, if I may defend to some degree, the two dishes you mentioned were not exceptionally good, the farmhouse pasta and the duck confit, happen to be our two best selling entrees and ones that consistently receive very positive reviews, both privately and publicly. I hope others will try them for themselves and see if they agree or disagree. With regards to your slow and disinterested service, I have looked into this as it caused a bigger concern for me than anything else. We pride ourselves on having dedicated, professional and very friendly servers and staff. I spoke with our floor manager from that evening and we actually had an unexpectedly very busy evening and ended up being understaffed. While we may have had few tables seated outback,the inside of the restaurant was full most of the evening and it is our fault that we were ill-prepared service staff wise. Please accept my apologies for your experience, it shouldn't have happened...and even if it did, the floor manager should have pro-actively addressed and resolved the issue with your table without you having to say anything.

Again, thanks for all of your feedback and I hope you can come try us again sometime and we can get the chance to deliver you a much improved experience!

Karl

Owner, Pound The Hill

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Dinner at Pound tonight to celebrate Bob's return from Portland (using a Groupon). I hadn't been back here for a full meal since they had a preview of the Bistro menu in January 2012, and the changes are notable and good. Our server greeted us with a complimentary bowl of chili-cinnamon popcorn. The salad starters ($8 each) were good-sized and very lightly dressed, not drowning in vinaigrette. Bob's featured apple and walnuts (plus some bacon), mine was spinach and escarole with figs, and pickled onions and almonds. That salad at points was almost overwhelmingly peppery, but I could hardly complain, since it's so rare to find a salad that is so bursting with flavor. For entrees, Bob went for gnocchi with bacon, brown butter, and sundried tomatoes ($18). The gnocchi wasn't light enough for my taste, while the brown butter was a bit heavy, but it was a large portion. I opted for braised spare rib with potato puree and carrots ($17)--perfectly sized, tender meat, perhaps a bit oily, but so tasty. We each had excellent glasses of wine (sorry, can't remember the labels).

We were seated in the hallway, which is lit a bit too brightly for what is otherwise a nice atmosphere (I prefer the moodier back room). But that was the biggest downside. This isn't revelatory food, but it's well done and well priced--I dare say the best value on the Hill I've encountered recently, and maybe its best-kept secret. I'm glad they survived their August crisis to see another day.

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Pound the Hill is undergoing reorganization.  They have notices up that they are going to combine their cafe and bistro.  Starting on Saturday, May 31, they will no longer close at 4 and reopen later as the bistro.  They will stay open straight through, with a happy hour from 4-7 "every day at every seat in the building."  They will offer free wi-fi all day and night.

From the 26th to the 30th (i.e., Monday through Friday of this week), they will only be open until 4, using the evening hours for training and organization.

They will no longer take reservations and will also serve breakfast all day from open until close.   I have no idea what this means for the bistro menu if they're serving breakfast through all their opening hours.

(It also says beer, wine, and coffee all day and night, but I don't know what their license says about what time they can start serving alcohol during the day.  I guess I should have asked.)

I've been stopping in here for coffee and iced tea quite a bit recently and they seem to have a fairly good breakfast and lunch business (sandwiches, scones, etc.).  Most of the people sitting there during the day are there for the wi-fi.  Pound is the home office for quite a few people.

Everyone I've encountered who works there is really nice, and I hope they do well with this new(ish) venture.

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They will no longer take reservations and will also serve breakfast all day from open until close.   I have no idea what this means for the bistro menu if they're serving breakfast through all their opening hours.

Most of the people sitting there during the day are there for the wi-fi.  Pound is the home office for quite a few people.

Everyone I've encountered who works there is really nice, and I hope they do well with this new(ish) venture.

Yeah, that wasn't the most well-written news release; I'm still scratching my head over what they intend. The wi-fi at Pound is really inconsistent; I meet with a group there every week, and half the time we can't get on it. But yeah, the staff is very nice and it's perhaps the only coffee house on that side of the Hill that actually has space to accommodate larger groups.

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Yeah, that wasn't the most well-written news release; I'm still scratching my head over what they intend. The wi-fi at Pound is really inconsistent; I meet with a group there every week, and half the time we can't get on it. But yeah, the staff is very nice and it's perhaps the only coffee house on that side of the Hill that actually has space to accommodate larger groups.

Someone I know who uses Pound as an office also says that the wifi is inconsistent.  If they're going to use that as a selling point, they need to get the wifi connection up to speed.  They're located between two Starbucks on PA Ave. (8th and 3rd), so I wish them well.

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As many times as I've stopped in here for coffee or iced tea (their mint iced tea is quite refreshing), today is the first time I've ordered food at Pound. It surprised me a bit to realize that.

I was intrigued by the idea of a huevos rancheros breakfast sandwich (fried eggs, pepper jack, chorizo, and black bean salsa) but hedged my bets by getting it as a wrap (other options:  white or wheat bread/toast or , for +$1, a croissant).  For $7 I received what was essentially a delicious baked chimichanga.  It was quite spicy and I couldn't tell if that was all the chorizo and pepper jack or if there might be additional hot sauce.  I'm thinking this would be rather sloppy to eat as a traditional sandwich, but the wrap version was a winner.  The tortilla also just seems more generally compatible with huevos rancheros...

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