Food & Lifestyle

This Bloomingdale favorite is planning a big expansion, new rooftop

By Rebecca Cooper  – Senior Staff Reporter, Washington Business Journal

Apr 28, 2017

Big Bear Cafe is about to get a lot, er, bigger.

The restaurant plans to expand into the second floor of its building at 1700 First St. NW, as well as add a rooftop, according to an application filed with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration.

The expansion will nearly quadruple the size of Big Bear, taking it from its current capacity of 49 inside to 194 between the interior and the roof. The proposed second floor will have 65 seats and the rooftop will have 49 seats. Big Bear also has a 68-seat patio.

We’ve reached out to owner Stuart Davenport for more information about the expansion, and will update this post as we learn more. Judging from some photos posted under the heading “rooftop images” on Big Bear’s website, the rooftop will continue the ultra-green vibe of Big Bear’s patio, which is surrounded by plants that the kitchen harvests for the menu.

The project comes as Big Bear just celebrated its 10th anniversary; the coffeeshop opened in 2006. It also comes as the stalwart cafe, which used to have the market pretty much cornered in the redeveloping neighborhood, is getting a lot more competition.

The Royal, Truxton Inn, Anxo, Red Hen, DCity Smokehouse, The Pub & the People, Boundary Stone and El Camino, among others, have all opened in the neighborhood in the past few years, and more restaurants are on the way, including Tyber Creek Wine Bar, opening later this year in the former Rustik restaurant space.