Thursday, December 31, 2009

Frozen Tropics has all the deets on H Street NYE events

Frozen Tropics: A Few Last Minute Local Options For NYE Little Miss Whiskey's, H St Country Club, and Rock n Roll Hotel are all already sold out, but there may be some room left at Argonaut (no cover), Granville Moore's (make reservations), Sticky Rice (make reservations), Red and the Black ($5 cover), and Palace of Wonders (lots of entertainment planned $20).

Happy New Year to all. 2009 has been a great year for this area and 2010 promises lots more exciting developments and openings to come. Have fun and be safe!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

LivingSocial: Sticky Rice $15 for $30 gift certificates today

Living Social features Sticky Rice (1224 H Street) for their Deal of the Day. For $15, you can have $30 of sushi, tater tots, or whatever else you might want.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Coming Soon/Newly Opened (Updated)

Starting from the east end and working to the west:

Duck Pin Bowling (1421 H St)
Angelico la Pizzeria (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; steaks/ribs restaurant
Uneeda Market (1356 H St) Farmer's Market & Public Event Space
Biergarten Haus (1355 H St) German beer garden (2,000 sq ft patio) and restaurant (brats, schnitzel, krauts) from Russia House folks. Shooting to open in March.
Gallery O on H (art gallery) (1354 H St)
Vendetta (1350-1352 H St) Red Sauce Southern Italian w/ Englert & Teddy Folkman. Also w/ Dolce (Cappucino/dessert/gelato spot) upstairs.
Star & Shamrock (1341 H St) Irish pub and Jewish deli from Pourhouse/Trusty's guys
Dangerously Delicious Pies (1339 H St) -- nationally-known Baltimore pie company. (pies available for pick up by preorder now, opening after finals inspections in January or February)
Drew (1245 H St) Afro-Latin cuisine from Andrew Agak
Toki Underground (1234 H St) Ramen/Dumpling bar -- opening above the Pug
Souk (1208 H St) Middle Eastern/Moroccan restaurant: falafel, shwarma, kafta, kebobs, etc. NOW OPEN
Unnamed Old Birdland Place (1118 H St) Chicken and Waffles joint (has been under construction for a while)
Tao (1110 H St) (Pan-Asian restaurant)
Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar (1104 H St) popular tavern/bar - NOW OPEN: Going Out Gurus calls it their favorite new spot
Liberty Tree brick oven pizza and New England Seafood (1016 H St) (late January or February)
Rita’s Water Ice (1014 H St) frozen treats (seems stalled)
H Street Connection (800-1000 H St) (high-end condos above two blocks of new retail, including outdoor seating patio at 8th St corner)
600 block of H St (South side) Washington Real Estate Partners mixed-use project that includes 234 residential units, 500 parking spaces and ground-floor retail
Pet Store? (500 block?)
Toyland(421 H St) (bar/restaurant with craft cocktails, 4 taps, and wine)(soft OPEN this weekend, Grand Opening 2/9)
Capitol Fine Wine & Spirit (415 H St) (high end wine & liquor)(NOW OPEN as of 1/2010)
Studio H (408a H St) (art gallery)
Ethiopic Restaurant (401 H St) (Ethiopian)
Acadian Restaurant (400 H St)
Apartments and Grocery Store (300 Block - North side H St)
Capitol Place (200 block of H St - South side)
Mixed use development with over 400,000 sq ft of retail, 300 condos, 380 parking spaces. The building will be several stories high at 2nd & H Sts, but will gradually scale back to row house heights of 45-55 ft as it reaches 3rd St to the east and G St to the south. Dreyfus Development.

Link roundup

DCUrbanturf provides details on the soon to be available Capitol Hill Oasis rowhouse development at 12th and K Sts

Citysifting enjoys their first visit to Little Miss Whiskey's

Voice of the Hill reports on last night's community meeting regarding the recent spate of carjackings on Northeast Capitol Hill.

Frozen Tropics offers some pictures and information about theatres that once lined the H Street Corridor

Ethiopic Restaurant (Coming early 2010 to 401 H St)

Ethiopic Restaurant goes before the ABRA January 11 seeking a Class C-Restaurant license for the Ethiopian restaurant coming to 401 H Street.

According to the application, Ethiopic will serve Ethiopian cuisine with live entertainment featuring Ethiopian traditional dancing. The restaurant will hold up to 40 patrons with outdoor seating for an additional 36. Owner Meseret Bekele attended ANC6C's past two meetings and a voluntary agreement was believed to be close at hand as of the December 10 session.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Capitol Fine Wine & Sprit (coming soon to 415 H St)

Capitol Fine Wine & Spirit had their Voluntary Agreement with ANC6C approved by the ABRA at its September 30 hearing, which cleared the way for renewal of their Class A license. Capitol Fine Wine & Spirit is to be run by Kefir Seyoum and will fill the rowhouse that once held Kelly's Liquor, which is next door to Sidamo and run by friends. According to Seyoum, he has noted the change in demographics in the neighborhood and accordingly planned to re-open as a high-end store, with an emphasis on wine and specialty liquor. Seyoum has engaged in extensive renovations to the building, which his family has owned since 1991, but which fell into disrepair when illness of the then-manager led to the prior store's closure. The prior store reportedly was a good neighbor to surrounding area residents. In addition to fine wines and spirits, the establishment aims to offers high-end cheeses, breads, and meats. Seyoum seems to be aiming to provide a more convenient option to Schneiders for local residents. Once open, Capitol Fine Wine & Spirit will pair with Sidamo and Ethiopic to provide a series of nice new additions to the south side of the 400 block of H.

Friday, December 18, 2009

ANC6A Chair Joe Fengler resigning as he moves to a new home

Joe Fengler who represents ANC6A-02 (Sherwood Recreation area south of H Street) and is the Chair of ANC6A just announced his resignation as Commissioner. Fengler has been an extremely active and forward thinking for his single member district and for the Commission as a whole and his resignation represents a loss for the neighborhood. It will no doubt require the work of many to attempt fill his shoes. His message to the community, including a call to service, follows.

My wife and I (and our dog Missy) purchased a home in the Lincoln Park community - just a mile to the south. Accordingly, I have resigned my position as ANC 6A02 Commissioner. It has been an honor to work with many of you over the last seven years to make our community a better place to live and work. If there is one thing I can leave with you, it would be to volunteer two hours a month to serve on an ANC 6A committee. Many of the accomplishments attributed to ANC 6A are a direct result of residents taking the time to get involved and provide insight on zoning, liquor license, and public safety issues. It is my firm belief that an ANC will only be as good as the volunteers that donate their time to make great things happen. I will be attending the ANC 6A meeting on January 14 to say my last goodbye (7pm at Miner Elementary School located at the 600 block of 15th Street, NE ). If you have a chance to attend so I can say farewell in person that would be great -- and you can volunteer for a committee!

Holiday Regards, Joe Fengler

Living Social: Half Off Gift Certificates to H Street Country Club

Living Social continues to show the love to H Street. Today's Deal of the Day is $25 for $50 Gift Certificates to H Street Country Club.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

THIH: H Street Shuttle Resumes Operation Tomorrow

Nichole over at The Hill is Home has this update announcing that the Shuttle resumes operation on tomorrow (Friday) evening.

For shuttle stops and schedule, visit the Atlas website here. Generally speaking, the shuttle picks up in Chinatown at Zengo (7th near H St NW) on the hour or at 35 minutes after the hour and drops off at the Atlas (1300 block H St NE) and runs from the in front of the Martini Lounge (1200 block H St NE) about 15 and 45 minutes after the hour to a couple of stops on H St NW near Chinatown.

Thanks to Councilmember Tommy Wells and Mayor Fenty for getting the shuttle quickly restored after a brief break in operations.

Liberty Tree (1016 H St): Coming early 2010

Liberty Tree aims to open at 1016 H St within the next month or two, bringing brick oven pizza and New England seafood restaurant to H Street. Liberty Tree comes from Scott Hamilton of Hamilton's on Capitol Hill and will fill the space previously occupied by Tropicana Eatery, which closed shop over the summer. Hamilton has reconfigured the restaurant to include seating for 35 and intends to open a summer garden for al fresco dining in the patio area along the building's east side.

Liberty Tree has put itself before the ANC where it has been subject of some concern regarding potential noise issues for some neighboring residents, but the property was previously home to another restaurant with a liquor license and Hamilton has indicated a willingness to restrict hours, construct noise mitigation, and make other concessions, which should help ensure that a voluntary agreement can be achieved to get this restaurant opened in early 2010.

Once open, Liberty Tree should provide a nicer, more upscale dining option than many of the establishments that have opened on H Street to date. With Biergarden Haus, Vendetta, and Joe's Coal & Ice House to follow over the course of the next year, it could signal the beginning of a new wave of better dining options along the corridor. Here's hoping the ANC members engage positively to reach a favorable agreement for all involved, which allows Liberty Tree's kitchen and brick oven to get up and running soon, while ensuring that its impact on the community is no greater than other establishments.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chow -- Asian restaurant coming soon to 1110 H St NE

Chris Willoughby hopes to open Chow at 1110 H Street early next year. Willoughby is the owner of Jin on 14th Street in the U Street Cooridor and proposes to open an upscale restaurant serving Asian cuisine.  Chow is seeking an entertainment endorsement and a summer garden on the patio out back and is currently going through the ANC/ABRA process.

Chow would be located at the Hubert Newsom Real Estate Building between Little Miss Whiskey's Golden Dollar (1104 H St) and Taylor Gourmet (1116 H St). That building was among several that were specifically highlighted for historic preservation designation as part of the recently-conducted, H Street Survey.

Coming Soon -- Arts District

H Street's restaurants and bars have received a great deal of attention lately, but the recent and coming development in the arts area is such that the area could soon be as well-known for its artistic offerings as well.

Starting at the east end:

The Loree Grand at Union Place (3rd & K Sts) will house 30 artists in residence at east end of cooridor. The Loree Grand will include over 200 residential units, a roof garden, a courtyard, a gym and ground floor retail with occupancy in mid-2010.

Studio H (408a H St) (already open, see details on current exhibit here).

Dissident Display (416 H St) opened in September 2006 and features avant guarde multimedia exhibitions.

Gallery O on H (1354 H St)

Evolve Urban Arts Project (1375 Maryland Ave). Housed on two floors of the beautifully refurbished Pierce School Loft Building. Evolve Urban Arts opened six years now and hosts five to six exhibitions a year in a variety of mediums to promote locally-based artists. Their current exhibition, "Divinely Irreverent", features paintings by local artist Dana Ellyn.

And 3 spots newly opened or coming soon to the east end of Florida Ave (just north of H St)

G Fine Art (1350 Florida Ave)

Conner Contemporary Art (1358-1360 Florida Ave)

Industry Gallery (1358 Florida Ave, 2nd floor) will be opening up galleries on the same block as Conner Contemporary soon putting at least 5 art galleries in the greater H Street cooridor.

Add all these galleries to the Atlas Performing Arts Center (1333 H St) and the H Street Playhouse (1365 H St)(whose current production is receiving lots of praise) and the Arts component of the H Street Arts and Entertainment District is well on its way to catching up with the what the restaurants and bars have done to date.

Half off Dangerously Delicious Gift Certificates from Living Social

Living Social features the soon-to-open, already-taking-orders Dangerously Delicious Pies as their deal of the day. $50 gift certificates are available for $25 today. Dangerously Delicious is to open at 1339 H Street within weeks, but is available for pre-order holiday pies now. You can find a list of available pies (both sweet and savory) and quiche here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Argonaut (1433 H St)

(this is the first in a series of posts on H Street establishments, in which we will offer our comprehensive take on an H Street business and welcome your comments on them as well in hopes of creating an ongoing thread of information about the many exciting venues on H Street).

The Argonaut is both the eastern-most H Street venue of note and the granddaddy of the new establishments along the cooridor. Opened in 2005 by Joe Englert, the Argonaut has a nautical theme and is essentially a great neighborhood bar that features a very strong beer list and really surprisingly upscale and well-done pub food. Actually, calling it pub food isn't fair to the Argo -- the Argo is a dive bar with very good, reasonably priced, unfussy, yet seasonal and often organic or locally-sourced food. It's one of our very favorite spots.


Sweet Potato Fries (a must order every time)
Fish Tacos (does anywhere in town do them better?)
Nightly specials, including Fried Chicken night on Thursday, $2 Taco Tuesdays
Other specials: discounts to Results the Gym members and purchasers of Argonaut Pint or Shot Glasses who remember to bring their glass back to be refilled
Excellent beers by the bottle, strong if short list of beers on tap (Hint: ask what's on the fourth rotating tap)
Great patio for dining or drinking al fresco
Dark and Stormies
Surprisingly good, inexpensive wines by the bottle or glass (half priced bottles on Monday)
Football on a dozen screens every Sunday
Always recognizing a neighbor
Friendly staff
Children's menu for those with well-behaved little ones
Strong brunch option, including make-your-own bloody Mary's and bottomless Mimosas

Main Weakness:
Location - farthest walk/drive on H Street for the many of us who live to the west of it, which makes it less appealling, especially while the construction is heavy at that end and there aren't yet as many other new developments open.

So what do you think of the Argo? What do you go there for and what are the best things to order or to avoid?

Great Streets Construction/Transportation Update

On Monday, Mayor Fenty and DDOT Director Gabe Klein announced the substantial completion of construction work on Benning Road, NE, from 16th Street to Oklahoma Avenue, declaring that crews met the accelerated December deadline set by the Mayor earlier this year to minimize the impact of the reconstruction on the surrounding community.

The Benning Road Great Streets Project began in December 2007 and Mayor Fenty asked DDOT to speed the project up after utility-related delays had slowed progress earlier this year. Fenty announced yesterday that the heavy construction was complete and that the entire Benning Road Great Streets Initiative is scheduled to be completed in April 2010 linking it to the ongoing H Street Great Streets Initiative, which began 15 months back. The final portion of the Benning Road project will be the completion of the Starburst intersection where H Street, Benning Road, Bladensburg Road and Maryland Avenue come together. That work will include: the construction of a plaza with a fountain wall; the “Cornerstones of History” mural portraying Duke Ellington, Bessie Smith, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks; and other outdoor attractions for the neighborhood.

For the latest H Street construction updates, check DDOT's weekly update here.

Update: WTOP is now reporting that our Streetcars have arrived in the U.S.

Tommy Wells Office Hours at SOVA, Thursday, Dec. 17, 8-9:30 am

Ward Six Councilmember Tommy Wells will host H Street Community Office Hours this Thursday, December 17, from 8:00 - 9:30 AM, at SOVA (1359 H Street).

This event recurs the fourth Thursday of each month, but is being held a week early this month because of the holiday schedule. Councilmember Wells office provided the following update for those unable to attend.

• A new "reimbursable detail" has been started for the east end of H Street, NE. The "detail" works by having businesses partner to hire off-duty MPD officers to add to the existing MPD patrols in the area – putting more officers on the streets. PSA 102 volunteers, with support from Tommy and ANC 6A, worked with business owners to create the new "detail." The "detail" will add officers on Friday and Saturday nights, between 11:30 pm and 3:30 am, in the areas between 11th and 15th Streets.

• Councilmember Wells has successfully worked with the Mayor's office to secure funding to continue the H Street NE Shuttle. The shuttle, which runs an express route between Gallery Place and Minnesota Ave Metro stations, is critical to providing alternative transportation options to the H Street corridor during the disruptive streetscape construction project.

Friday, December 11, 2009

H Street Country Club to expand with roof deck, 9 more holes of golf

H Street Country Club is seeking to make use of their roof. The roof would be extension of upstairs with restaurant seating (99 seats), an additional bar, and 9 more holes of minigolf.

Proprietor Joe Englert reached a Voluntary Agreement with ANC 6A to limit the hours of use, prohibit sound amplification, and install noise mitigation materials to insure that the roof patio does not disturb area residents. The Voluntary Agreement also permits entertainment inside the establishment on four holidays (Independence Day, St. Patrick's Day, Haloween, and New Year's Eve), but on those days only and the entertainment endorsement is limited to the interior of the the building.

Englert is also expected to seek use of the roof at the Rock and Roll Hotel where he would put an additional 79 seats.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Studio H Gallery launches second exhibit Saturday

Studio H Gallery and Workshop Presents Its Second Exhibit, “Wonderment, an Exploration of the Indeterminate” a group show by: Katherine Mann, Kim Manfredi and Jenny Mullins Saturday, December 12, at 6 pm. Event and exhibit details from the press release below.

WHO: Exhibited artists Katherine Mann, Kim Manfredi and Jenny Mullins will meet community members

WHAT: “Wonderment, an Exploration of the Indeterminate” Exhibit at Studio H Gallery and Workshop

WHERE: Studio H Gallery and Workshop
408a H Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002

WHEN: Saturday, December 12, 2009, 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Ongoing Exhibition Dates: December 12, 2009 – January 2, 2010

About the Exhibition:
Visitors to “Wonderment” will find a selection of work from Katherine Mann, Kim Manfredi and Jenny Mullins. All three women graduated this May with MFAs from the Hoffberger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, MD. Katherine Mann's work depicts ever-changing fantasy worlds where blood cells, rainforests and coral reefs collide and intertwine. Kim Manfredi's work emphasis on bulges, bumps, and contaminates, primarily illustrates boundaries - boundaries respected and boundaries crossed. Jenny Mullins' large-scale paintings explore notions of commercial mythology and low budget mysticism. Visitors will note both the distinct style of each artist as well as the influence this emerging trio had on each other during their time at Hoffberger.

Studio H Gallery and Workshop was founded by Washington, DC native and Capitol Hill resident Philip Hutinet.

H Street Entertainment District Reimburseable Detail MPD deal reached

At last night's PSA 102 Meeting ABRA(Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration)Director Fred Moosally, MPD, ANC6A, H Street Main Street, H Street Establishment Owners, and residents discussed a Reimbursable Detail of police and have scheduled implementation of that plan to start this weekend.

As a result of the partnership, police will be patrolling H Street from 11th through 15th every weekend night. This is one of several ideas proposed and implemented with the help of businesses to improve public safety and increase police presence in the area. The PSA 102 Neighborhood Public Safety Committee continues to seek additional police to patrol the communities served by PSA 102, but the agreement should go a long way toward addressing any safety concerns along the main entertainment district cooridor. Kudos to the business owners on those blocks, including Joe Englert, and to the PSA and ANC folks who helped make this happen. Reimburseable details have been implemented to great success in Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, and other areas in recent years.

Fitness Together featured Groupon Today

Fitness Together - Capitol Hill (408 H St) is the featured Groupon Coupon of the day with $75 buying 3 sessions of personal training (a $225 value).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

H Street Shuttle to Continue

Thanks to Councilmember Tommy Wells and Mayor Fenty the H Street Shuttle that runs from the Atlas District/H Street Entertainment District to Chinatown and back will resume operations shortly. Tommy spoke with the Mayor about how important the shuttle has been on Sunday and soonthereafter the Mayor lined up funding for the year ahead. The shuttle is expected to resume by December 21 and to run for at least another year. Kudos to Tommy and the Mayor! Both have been increasting their focus on the H Street area from the forthcoming streetcars, to nuisance properties and crime, to the shuttle and the extention of the shuttle is another benefit of their efforts to boost the region while the streetcars and the forthcoming residential developments continue under construction.

More information about the shuttle and its stops can be found here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Half-Priced Gift Certificates to Dr. Granville Moore's (via Living Social)

Living Social's Deal of the Day offers $50 gift certificates to Granville Moore's for $25 a piece.

DCmud: Debate over planned development at 1242 H St

DCmud has a post on an ongoing debate over planned development at 1242 H St. The owner is seeking to develop the property for office space and does not want to comply with the Historic Overlay plans for retail and higher ceilings on the first floor. Thus a Zoning variance is required and ANC6A is provided a chance to weigh in. To date, it seems the developer has been unwilling to negotiate with the ANC. Some additional persepective on the proposal is provided here. It will be interesting to see whether the Developer decides to engage and negotiate with the ANC as other developers on H Street have done or whether this gets bogged down as a result of their unwillingness to do so.

The proposed design does not compare favorably with those prepared for other coming projects including the H Street Connection development coming to the south side of H Street between 8th and 10th Sts.