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Big Chair Cafe Bar & Grill, The Yimenu Family Reopens on Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and W Street SE in Anacostia

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One operating restaurant recently closed:  Big Chair Cafe and Bar in Anacostia at Martin Luther King Avenue:

"Big Chair Cafe Bar & Grill Closes in Anacostia" by Jonathan O'Connell on washingtonpost.com

The other that is still operating under its name but changed management is Toscana Grill.   The management between the operator and lease holder ended and the lease holder took it back.

In both cases the operators did not have leases.  They had agreements with the existing lease holders (former operators) to operate the restaurants.  It appears both agreements ended badly and quickly.

I knew of Big Chair through the bartending school as we provided them with a stream of bartenders.  They converted from a coffee house to bar/restaurant and had an excellent run.  From their Facebook page it appeared there was a lot of satisfaction with the operations.

I wanted Big Chair Cafe Bar & Grill to have its own thread, even though it's now closed.

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Michael Sterling, who converted Big Chair to a restaurant/bar while still maintaining a coffee shop early morning menu must have had a disagreement with the original operators of Big Chair and left suddenly.

He is now a "partner" of some sort down the street, at Mama's BBQ, Blues & Pizza at 2028 Martin Luther King Jr. Aven, in SE.  I think they'll be doing a lot of the same things they were doing at Big Chair in the evenings.

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I wanted Big Chair Cafe Bar & Grill to have its own thread, even though it's now closed.

So much verbage, so little realtiy.

Despite a *lot* of media in Feb, 2014 that Big Chair Coffee was back, what I've found is this:

1) The numbers listed on Google searches are all disconnected.

2) The Facebook page was last updated on Nov 10, 2013.

3) Their blog was last updated on Jul 15, 2010.

4) The last entry on Foursquare was on May 13, 2013.

5) Menupages lists it as closed.

6) The @bigchaircoffee Twitter account was last updated on Apr 13, 2011.

7) The website no longer exists.

So what signs of life are there? There's this on Google maps:


Noticing that an ANC-8A building was right next door, I Googled the two names, and found this document.

And other than that? There is this one, lone Yelp post from Mary S., written on May 17, 2015, which says:

"Just renovated! New owners with a new menu. Weekend brunch is great and is a much needed feature for the neighborhood. Also a great place to have a drink and watch a game."

If anyone has any more information on the current state of things, please share it with us. I've been quietly pulling for Big Chair for a long time now, and I hope it's still happening, in some form or another. I'd call them myself, except that every phone number I've tried to use has been disconnected.

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There's a Yelp post from 5/18 (3-star): "We heard that they we the best place in the neighbourhood to grab a quick bite n coffee.  It took a really long time to get our sandwiches s. The server was nice n actually comped our meal bc of the long wait. Which was unexpectedly kind. The sandwiches were good. Looks like they recently had a makeover. Looks good and has great potential."

On the flip side, the website included on the Yelp page does not work.

On the other flip side, there's a Facebook page for "Cheers at the Big Chair."

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