The Wydown pop-up on U Street ends Sunday

December 4, 2013

The Wydown, the McCracken brothers' specialty coffee shop, will come to an end on Sunday after an eight-month residency in the former Aroma Bakery and Market space on U Street. The siblings had hoped to remain open until their permanent space in the Louis at 14th was available, but the Development Gods were not on their side. The Louis is still under construction, and the owner of their pop-up space has plans to raze the structure.

Last call: The Wydown pop-up on U Street will wind down on Sunday. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)
Last call: The Wydown pop-up on U Street will wind down on Sunday. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

"This building is going to be torn down," says Alex McCracken, who co-owns the Wydown with brother, Chad. "We were originally supposed to get our space in the Louis building in May. Like, they'd give us our space, and we'd have a month or two to build it out. Then that was pushed back to June, and then July, and then October, and then November. And now we're supposed to start construction any day."

For the "developmentally challenged" among us, what that means is that Louis crews should start building out the McCrackens' space soon, then deliver a basic shell to the brothers, who will need another month or so to construct the interior necessary for a permanent Wydown. Alex McCracken is hesitant to suggest an opening date, but he suspects the Wydown will not find its second life until February or March.

Given the many weeks between the closing of the pop-up (which, to be honest, looked and operated more like a full-fledged business) and the Wydown's relaunch at the Louis, the brothers are hoping to host another temporary coffee shop in the U Street area. It's not just a matter of revenue, Alex McCracken says.

"I'm worried about employees," he says. "We have a unique situation ... We have two or three employees who have other jobs, so it's not the end of the world. But we have two main employees, so this is their full-time gig."

The McCrackens have had tentative discussions with nearby proprietors, but nothing is finalized on a mini-Wydown pop-up. The brothers hope to have a decision on a second pop-up in the next few days; Alex McCracken suggests keeping an eye on the Wydown's Facebook and Twitter pages for updates.

"I really hope to" host another pop-up, Alex McCracken says. "But I'm a little concerned that that  would ... keep us so busy that we wouldn't focus enough on the new place."

The Wydown will open at 8 a.m. on Sunday, its last day at its current location.

Further reading: Brothers McCracken test coffee program with Wydown pop-up on U Street.

Tim Carman serves as the full-time writer for the Post's Food section and as the $20 Diner for the Weekend section, a double duty that requires ingesting more calories than a draft horse.
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