A few months back, we brought 1805 Washington Ave. to your attention, noting that two buildings were being renovated and signage had appeared that announced a new restaurant called Chick’s. A reminder, most recently, the western building had been home to a restaurant called Tasty Asia while the larger eastern building had been used as a produce warehouse. Those buildings have both gotten a major upgrade, inside and out.
Chick’s officially opened for business a few days ago and since our office is so close by, we figured we’d dodge the raindrops and go check it out. Our first impression was that owners Philip and Gina Narducci did a very nice job with their restaurant- we’re optimistic about its chances. The main restaurant is housed in the eastern building, with about 100 seats, 24 beers on tap, and a gastropub menu that runs from lunch to late night. We don’t know whether sit down lunch business will be viable in the long term, but we understand that they’ll eventually be opening a sandwich and take out beer place in the western building, which would seem like a slam dunk. The different businesses sharing a central kitchen would scratch two itches in this area, serving the take out lunch crowd as well as the dinner time drinkers.
We imagine that customers will come to Chick’s from both sides of Washington Avenue, though it’s certainly a nicer walk from Graduate Hospital than it is from Point Breeze. That’s because Washington Avenue is still more like a highway than a city street, only if highways also had forklifts. We’ve been saying for a long time that new businesses on Washington Avenue could force it to become more friendly to pedestrians, but as time passes, we’re more inclined to think that mixed-use development will really be key to driving that forward. The good news is that Lincoln Square is just a few blocks to the east and that project is proceeding apace. Any other project that happens to the west could really lead a push toward a more pedestrian friendly corridor. Surely, an influx of new customers on Washington Avenue would not only improve the street for people who live on either side, but it would also do wonders for the bottom line at Chick’s. And, uh, more foot traffic for a certain real estate company nearby wouldn’t be terrible either.