Thursday, February 3, 2011

Western end updates: construction progress, Sidamo sidewalk cafe, Tru Orleans, and more

The streetscape construction has made substantial progress along the 300 and 400 blocks of H Street and is moving steadily to the east, with tracks, new curbs, and new sidewalks finally installed.  Unfortunately, paving is on hold pending warmer weather, so other than the new sidewalks along the south side of the street, there isn't much to enjoy yet.  A bulb out was installed in front of Sidamo where a streetcar stop will eventually be placed.  Sidamo plans to seek a public space permit for a small sidewalk cafe.

Some exterior construction has started at 400 H St, the future home to Tru Orleans.  Tru Orleams recently applied for a liquor license and is seeking a great deal in terms of outdoor dining (nearly the entire second level of the restaurant appears to be intended for outdoor dining), which will be intresting to watch as the ANC reviews the application and negotiates a way to mitigate noise on the surrounding commmunity.  We did not attend, but understand  many neighbors were at the ANC6C Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee meeting on Tuesday.  While everyone wants to see a thriving restaurant with a nice outdoor patio, no one wants nearby neighbors to lose sleep due to late-night outdoor dining, so hopefully an agreement can be reached to limit the hours and noise that is produced. 

409 H Street -- an inhabited, but otherwise somewhat blighted building, has also begun construction to renovate its first floor for retail use.  This building is one of a handful between Ethiopic and the next operating business on the block that appear blighted, but this one is actually inhabited upstairs.  Keep an eye on it for a new ground level retail tenant in the coming months. 

409 H St ongoing ground level renovations

Unfortunately, Toyland experienced a bit of a setback with a dispute among owners.  Co-owners and managers Erin and Garrick appear to have been ousted by the property owner who also had a seemingly silent ownership stake in the business.  Erin and Garrick are missed already, but promise that if they aren't back running the business they created and nursed to good health at Toyland, that they'll be with us on H Street in another spot eventually.  We're counting on it, but also hope the new team in place is able to produce a worthy successor.

We're also hearing rumors that another restaurant has signed a lease in a currently vacant building at the western end, but we cannot confirm any details on that at this point, but think the western end is ready for another restaurant/bar option, especially with groundbreaking at the Steuart Development site that will house a Giant grocery store and hundreds of residential units slated for this spring.

Could a restaurant be in the works for one of these long-vacant buildings?


  1. Thanks for the roundup, particularly the important info on Toyland. A sign noting "under new management" appears appropriate in this circumstance, particularly if they are going to keep the decor and name the same...

  2. Love hearing the west end updates, thanks very much for this. Hope Tru Redding and Avon Barksdale come up with a good plan cause I'm ready to get after it at 400 H.