Cafe Deluxe closes Cathedral Heights location after 25 years

Cafe Deluxe’s popular Cathedral Heights location on Wisconsin Avenue Northwest closed its doors following Sunday’s dinner service, ending a 25-year run.

The lease was up, and the restaurant’s owner said renewing for another 10 years didn’t make sense.

“You’d have to spend a couple of million dollars on mechanical, electrical and plumbing, and all the un-fun things,” Geoff Tracy, president of Chef Geoff’s Deluxe Hospitality, told WTOP.

“The rent would be about $35 per square foot more than our Chef Geoff’s location on New Mexico Avenue. When you plug in the numbers, renewing the lease was not viable,” Tracy said.

Tracy said the decision not to renew the lease was made about a year ago.

The Wisconsin Avenue Cafe Deluxe employed between 40 and 50 people, many who had been there for years. Chef Geoff’s Deluxe Hospitality, which includes three other Cafe Deluxe locations, as well as Chef Geoff’s, Lia and Tortilla Coast, expects to find jobs at its other restaurants for those affected by the closing.

Tracy himself worked as a waiter at the Wisconsin Avenue Cafe Deluxe in 1996 while in college at Georgetown.

Tracy, who said he was at Cafe Deluxe’s Sunday evening closing with his children having milkshakes, called the closing bittersweet.

“They don’t last forever. Either the building starts to fall apart, or the lease runs out and the landlord wants to do something different. It is the nature and flow of the restaurant business,” Tracy said.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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