Once upon a time, in a watering hole on Wisconsin Avenue NW, far, far removed from the clarity of the day, three intrepid souls stumbled, literally, upon a plan to open a restaurant and bar that appealed to their sense of taste and style.
This, of course, was met with a high level of skepticism by those familiar with the ever-demanding, ever-evolving restaurant industry. The elementary question that often was posed to them was: “Are you nuts?”
To which they had to concede: “Well, maybe. Possibly. Could be.”
Other experts soon surfaced to lend their free advice.
To their amazement, they discovered that countless Americans carry a vast wealth of knowledge about the restaurant industry. Not only that, so many were willing to pass along their precious insights at no cost.
Despite the help of mental-health prognosticators, industry experts and humanitarians, the three intrepid souls pursued their goal with conviction, going into neighborhoods all across the city to gauge the pulse and vibe of the commercial districts.
Not surprisingly, they found that many neighborhoods are not friendly to potential small-business owners seeking to purchase liquor licenses. The unfriendliness sometimes comes from Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and neighborhood civic associations, each group filled with those who purport to know what is best for the collective.
These groups endeavor to commercially engineer the store fronts, while sometimes forgetting the peculiarities of the marketplace. These groups sometimes want a dress boutique or shoe shop to take up residence in an empty space, as if the marketplace is inclined to respond to wishful thinking.
There is a reason why restaurants are a favored gambit of small-business types. People have to eat on a daily basis. And people like to socialize with a beer in hand. No one necessarily buys a dress or a pair of shoes everyday. But people do eat each day to sustain themselves.
As it was, the three intrepid souls decided against opening a dry cleaners, no matter the ANC and civic association members. Who wants to deal with a $54 million lawsuit because of a misplaced pair of pants? And they decided against opening a book store, antique shop, hair salon, hardware store and massage parlor.
Instead, they found this neat, little location in Adams Morgan and said: “That’s it.”
And so The Black Squirrel came to be over a three-month period that involved renovations and the occasional harsh word, because it would not be a partnership if there was not the occasional harsh word.
The three intrepid souls take it one day at a time at The Black Squirrel.
They welcome YOU to their humble restaurant.