Thursday, October 29, 2009

Souk Opens

Souk opened at 1208 H Street on Monday night, bringing affordable Middle Eastern/Morrocan cuisine to H Street. Souk is owned and operated by Alami Rahim and offers dine in and carry out with a menu featuring various Middle Eastern dishes. The restaurant is lovely and quite small, with seating for about 25 in house. The open kitchen is small and the entire spot was staffed by three people on a recent visit. Souk is already doing more business than anticipated in this their opening week.

Our early impressions of the food were quite favorable and suggest that this place will continue to do very well. The Falafel sanwich ($7) was lightly fried and served with bright accompaniments, including red onion, green onion, and pine nuts. The Chicken Schawarma ($8) was a bit mushy, but both sandwiches came on thin, fresh pita. The Hummus ($4) was creamy, smooth and covered with a thin layer of paprika and oil, while the Grape Leaves ($5) were a real standout with lots of flavor of mint, lemon and parsley coming through. The menu is very reasonably priced with only two items costing over $10 (updated: see below). There are already a couple favorable reviews on Yelp. They do not have a liquor license. Give it a try and let us know what you think.

Website coming soon at

Saturday, October 24, 2009

WaPo features H Street neighborhood: H St. NE draws influx of young home buyers

From the front page of today's Home Section.

Notes the high percentage of young professionals and first-time home buyers as among the draws. I did not know that former Mayor Williams lived at Senate Square. Between him and Robin Givhan (fashion editor for the Post's Style section), we've got at least a couple of local celebrities here.

Friday, October 23, 2009

DDOT: H Street Construction Advisory (H st btw 3rd & 7th)

Eastbound North lane construction between 3rd and 7th Sts beginning Monday for three weeks. Check here for updates on construction progress for the overall project.

One-Lane-Only Restriction In Effect
Eastbound H Street, Northeast From 3rd To 7th Streets

(Washington, D.C.) – The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will be restricting eastbound traffic on H Street in northeast between 3rd and 7th streets to one lane starting 9:30am Monday, October 26. The lanes closures will be in effect through Monday, November 16.

Crews will be excavating and repaving the north center lane in this section.

During this period, delivery vehicles will be unable to load and unload from the eastbound curb lane between 3rd and 7th streets. Loading and unloading will be permitted on the nearby side streets including 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 7th streets.

The work is part of DDOT’s H Street Reconstruction Project.

DDOT announces plan for eight streetcar lines

Last night was the first of DDOT's public meeting tour through each Ward. At the Ward 6 meeting just off of H Street NE, DDOT offered a proposed map showing two separate phases culminating in eight lines of streetcars running across the District. The first phase would include the H Street line connecting NE Capitol Hill to downtown, along with lines from Anacostia, and from Petworth. The second phase would extend the H Street line to Georgetown and also add a line that reaches Woodley Park.

Councilmember Tommy Wells recently secured a commitment from Mayor Fenty to expidite the H Street line. Wells said that he expects the H Street line to be a boon for the retail outlets expected to open on H Street over the next few years.

In a recent interview with DCmud, DDOT Director Gabe Klein responded to a question about when Streetcars will be operational on H Street, noting that the Mayor has challenged him to accelerate that aspect of the project, explaining that:

GK: Well, right now we’ve said about 2012. But we’re working very hard now that we have a team in place to speed that up - pretty dramatically. So hopefully, you’ll see an announcement in the next 6 months that gives people an update and hopefully it will be a good update - that we’re going to get up and running more quickly. I actually spent the morning out touring the city looking for maintenance facility locations near H Street. We have a number of places we’re looking at, existing infrastructure we can use - so we’re very focused on this project, we’re putting a lot of our own in-house resources into it. We want this to be, you know, a real win for the city.

The open houses will hit each Ward in the District over the course of the next two weeks.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Napa 1015 closing restaurant (at least temporarily)

Frozen Tropics: Napa 1015 Closing Restaurant

Frozen Tropics follows up on an ANC-6a email over the weekend to confirm that Napa 1015 will be closing the restaurant for the time being, while continuing to operate its catering business. She remains hopeful that they will reopen as the economy picks up and as the expected developments on this block and in the area come in the months ahead. She explains:

As many of you already know, Napa 1015 is closing the doors of its restaurant operations October 24th. I think this a huge loss to H Street, but I hope (knowing that they own their building) that they will reopen once the economy improves, and that stretch of H Street matures a bit (i.e. gets more businesses). This is a very tough time for most of us, and local restaurants and bars are really feeling the hit as people scale back.

Stay tuned for details about a new and excited business expected to open near Napa 1015's location. Hopefully once that venture opens, the economy will have picked up and Napa will be able to resume regular operations.

In the meantime, what is the best dining option on H Street / NE Capitol Hill?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fenty & Wells: Streetcars for H St now coming first

HUGE news about streetcars coming to H Street. Tommy Wells deserves a great deal of credit for this, as does the Mayor for calling for the H Street streetcars project to be accelerated. Streetcars along with the streetscaping are going to make a huge difference throughout the corridor.

Wells also says he has a commitment from the mayor that the first cars will run on H Street....

"I called Fenty and asked Fenty and he said he would make H Street first," Wells said. "It completely transforms that whole corridor." Running a start line in a place where residents will embrace it was essential, he added. "It's probably the biggest decision about streetcars."

Gabe Klein, director of DDOT, confirmed that Fenty had directed an acceleration of plans for the H Street line, where trak construction originally began not to serve as a test route but to coincide with other street infrastructure work...

"What the Mayor has challenged us to do is to accelerate the H Street project, to make it operational faster," Klein said.

Streetcars coming to H Street. (via Wash. Biz Journal)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dangerously Delicious Pies coming to H St. this fall

Ex-rocker to open pie shop on H St. (WA biz journal)

Top pie producer's website now lists October 2009 as the anticipated opening of their new 1339 H Street outpost. Dangerously Delicious will be one of several new additions to the H Street cooridor in the months ahead, including an Irish Pub slatedt to open next door.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Grocery Store Coming to H Street NE

Along with residential development on 300 block of H - North side.

Per DCMud

The H Street corridor may soon have a new 6-story apartment building and full service grocery store, a boon for the up-and-coming neighborhood in northeast Washington DC. Steuart Investment Company has owned several of the lots on the northeast corner of 3rd and H Streets, and in 2005 assembled a developable site by acquiring the remaining portion from BP AMOCO (BP) for $1.5 million, scotching BP's plans for a giant filling station and truck depot. The developer plans to build a six-story building with over 200,000 s.f. of residential and 46,500 s.f. of retail designed by Torti Gallas. The mixed-use building, with neighborhood approval, calls for an anchor grocer and LEED- certified rental units, and will continue the reinvigoration of a corridor already known for its burgeoning restaurant, bar and entertainment scene.

The apartment and grocery store should pair nicely with the condo buildings at that end of the cooridor: Capitol Place Development coming soon on the south side of H and the already open Landmark Lofts (at Senate Square) on the north.

It will be interesting to see what it lands. Petitions calling for Whole Foods (here) and Trader Joe's (here) to open locations on H Street are already in the works. I think either one would be great for the gorgeous new H Street Connection between 8th and 10th makes perfect sense as Capitol Hill and the surrounding parts of DC East of Dupont can surely support either.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bring Whole Foods to Capitol Hill on H Street NE

I just learned that the P Street location of Whole Foods is one of its few busiest locations nationwide. They have locations in Virginia and NW, but those of us to the East need a better option. Join me in calling for a Whole Foods to serve Capitol Hill, NoMa, Penn Quarter, etc

The other name out there is Trader Joe's. Maybe one for the West end and the other for the new H Street Connection development between 8th and 10th? Either one would be the only location for those stores within a couple miles of the Hill and could also easily service NoMa and Penn Quarter.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Coming Soon

Over the past few years, some fantastic venues have opened up on H Street NE, on the northern edge of Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Over the next few years, there's much more to come. Here is a preview of some of the hot new coming attractions that are expected over the months ahead.

Starting from the west end and working to the east:

Angelico la Pizzaria (1387 H St) gourmet pizza from small, growing DC chain
Tonic(?) (1380 H St) owned by Tonic/Radius Pizza; casual/upscale (On Hold?)
Joe's Coal and Ice House (1358 H St) Ray's the Steaks type; beef/BBQ restaurant
German Beer Haus/Garden place (1355 H St) from Russia House folks
Vendetta (1350/1352 H St) red sauce Italian w/ Englert & Teddy Folkman. Also w/ Cappucino/dessert spot upstairs -Dolce & Gallery O/H
Star & Shamrock (1341 H St) Irish pub from Pourhouse/Trusty's guys
Uneeda Market Flea Market (?)
Dangerously Delicious Pies (1339 H St -- nationally-known Baltimore pie company expands to DC)
Drew (1245 H St) Afro-Latin cuisine from Andrew Agak
Ramen/Dumpling bar (1234 H St -- above the Pug)
Souk (1208 H St) Middle Eastern/Moroccan restaurant: falafel, shwarma, cous cous, etc.
Unnamed Old Birdland Place (1118 H St) Chicken and Waffles joint (though has been under construction for a long time, so this may be fuzzy/uncertain) Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar (1104 H St) popular tavern/bar - now open: going out gurus calls it their favorite new spot
Rita’s Water Ice (1014 H St. NE) frozen treats (seems stalled 8/09)
H Street Connection (800-1000 H St) (high-end condos above two blocks of new retail, including outdoor seating patio at 8th St corner - check out the great design -- this is going to be a huge development)
Ethiopic Restaurant (401 H St) (Ethiopian)
Undetermined Bar to Replace Pap & Peteys (421 H St) concept/naming contest
Toscana Cafe (2nd & G Sts NE) delicious, recently-opened Italian from Roberto Donna protege, formerly of Galileo. Great patio dining, good lunch options.
Expected, but undetermined date & location -- likely near East end GROCERY STORE