While 15th Ave E celebrates the return of one longtime business and the debut of a significant new one, a restaurant that struggled to catch on in the commercial village has closed its doors.
The windows at Sur 16 have been papered over and a sign went up this week thanking patrons and telling them to watch for “possible new openings or locations” for the restaurant its rookie owners hoped would celebrate the harmonies between flavors of the Old World and the New World.
UPDATE 10/31/2016: We haven’t heard from Sur 16’s owners directly but a comment posted over the weekend said the restaurants is going to “remodel” and “be back soon.”
UPDATE x2: We heard from owners Dalzell and Martos about the situation and we have good news to report for fans of the restaurant. Things have been worked out for an overhaul of the restaurant space and the couple is working on a revamp of the business and a menu. There is not yet a timeline for reopening but the restaurant is, indeed, ready to rise from the dead. Happy Halloween. In the meantime, the kitchen remains open if you’d like to order catering via sur16.com.
The “Latin American street food” focused project from first time restaurant owners Javier Dalzell and Mariana Martos debuted in winter of 2015 inside the overhauled giant space where the Bagel Deli closed after serving the neighborhood for more than three decades.
We’ve asked Dalzell and Martos for more information on the Sur 16 closure and if the restaurant business is up for sale. As is typical, a search of Craigslist for Capitol Hill businesses on the market yields a handful of turnkey restaurant opportunities including $230,000 for “a hidden gem in the heart of the ever vibrant neighborhood of Capitol Hill,” or $30,000 for this modestly described venue:
Restaurant – $30000
20 seat dinner spot.
The couple’s struggles to open Sur 16 were illustrative of the challenges many first time restaurateurs face navigating the city and county’s complicated permit and review process even as larger entities like Ethan Stowell Restaurants pump out a new opening per year. We talked to the couple about the challenges in late 2014 as they found costs and the planned opening schedule spiraling out of control in the process to rebuild the gutted insides of the old bagel business. “Now we’re here morning and night,” Dalzell told us back then. “It took weeks just to get permits. Contractors are the next challenge. I told my kid to become a plumber or electrician.”