For 40 years, Jenny’s Asian Fusion has been the staple of the Southwest neighborhood. Please know that when we say that, we choose our articles carefully. During that time, Jenny’s has dealt with change and adversity to continue providing an affordable dining option in Southwest, including various relocations: Waterside Mall, above Capital Yacht Club by the Fish Market, and the current (and temporary) location in the old Channel Inn.
On June 30, The Wharf plans to end that.
Jenny’s is not simply a neighborhood restaurant, it’s the staple of Southwest. After our quiet Southwest neighborhood has opened up to change like no one can remember, we must recognize that Southwest has lost more than a host of neighborhood hubs, to include Hogate’s, Phillips, Pier 7, and the Channel Inn, or even H2O and Zanzibar. As far as institutions go, we do not have anything beyond a lot of brutalist architecture. Jenny’s is an institution.
As former Councilmember Tommy Wells noted, Southwest is “the newest quadrant”—rebuilt by the federal government in the 1960s—and the community needs its historical reference points. (Wells almost single-handedly kept Bufus’s King Ribs in Southwest.) Places like Jenny’s are reference points. Name another place that isn’t just bricks and small windows that has 40 years of history in the neighborhood—you can’t.
While The Wharf has been a success so far for the city, the Southwest community has most benefited from its neighborhood-serving retail like District Hardware, DC Row, Pearl Street Warehouse, Yoga Factory, and Anchor. What’s noticeably absent is a neighborhood restaurant—an area that Jenny’s has served in various formats over the past four decades.
By June 30, Jenny’s has been told they must vacate their temporary location within the old Pier 7 restaurant in order to make way for Phase 2 of The Wharf. What has not yet been provided is an acceptable offer that would allow Jenny’s to remain in Southwest.
With Belgian restaurant Florentijn failing before it even opened, we call on The Wharf, as the new neighborhood staple, to make the case—however it needs to happen—to incorporate Jenny’s, the old neighborhood staple, to continue its legacy for at least another four decades.
By: Shannon Vaughn, Christy Vaughn, Julia Cole, Katelynd Mahoney Anderson, Jason Kopp, and Ian Callender