Like many people, DCFoodies.com has been following the situation surrounding Murky Coffee and its tax difficulties with some interest. And although we promised not to mention it again for at least a week, there are some times when we learn things that are just too good to keep to ourselves.
Walking by Murky this afternoon, I noticed a panel truck parked outside and a pair of workers wheeling handcarts in and out of Murky's Eastern Market location at a steady pace. I walked up to the truck and took a look inside, where I saw much of what endeared Murky to coffee lovers (and aspiring novelists) - the espresso machine, a large refrigerator, assorted tables and chairs.
As sad as I was to be witnessing this dismantling of a Sunday morning favorite, I had the presence of mind to introduce myself to the gentleman who appeared to be supervising the operation. I asked him a few questions, to try to learn what I could about the future of Murky's equipment and the location itself. Later on, when I came back to take some pictures, the truck was gone but an employee of the building was there and he helped to fill in some additional details.
- Despite the published opening bid price of $10,000, the Office of Tax and Revenue ended up selling the contents of Murky Coffee for $7,000. Included in this figure were the espresso machine, which retailed when new for more than $12,000, and a water purification system whose estimated cost was between $3,000 and $4,000.
- Thankfully, the equipment was purchased by a local man who plans to open The Big Chair, a coffee shop located near the famous landmark in Anacostia.
- Of the more than 30 groups that have submitted proposals to occupy the space that will be vacated once Murky Coffee is formally evicted this month, the list has been winnowed to four contenders - and it sounds like most, if not all of them, are proposing new coffee shops. These bids are under consideration and a winner is likely to be selected shortly. It is going to be more than a few months before a new shop is open for business, though.
So what started out as a blow to small, local business has actually resulted in opportunities for two separate local businesses. I, for one, think it's great to see Murky's equipment going not only to someone who is eager to get started, but who is also going to be expanding the District's coffee culture into yet another neighborhood.
And those of us who relied on Murky Coffee for our java fix on the way to work or after a trip to Eastern Market on the weekends will have to settle for Port City Java (a North Carolina-based chain with franchises in seven states, Costa Rica, Saudi Arabia and the District) or - gulp - one of the Big Boys (Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks) who sit at either side of the entrance to Barracks Row on a direct sight-line from Murky's front door.