CHAMPS announced the nominees for the 2011 HILLY Awards. H Street is well represented by the Atlas Room (Best Restaurant), Granville Moore's, Queen Vic, the Pug, and Little Miss Whiskey's (Best Bar/Tavern), Metro Mutts (Retailer of the Year), Spot on Training (Home Service of the Year), H Street Playhouse and the Atlas (Arts Business of the Year), SOVA and Sidamo (Cafe of the Year), Toki Underground and Queen Vic (Best New Business), Inspire BBQ (Community Service Award), and Beth Baldwin, Sharkey, and Ellen Cornett (Artist/Artisan of the Year).
Voting is now live. Atlas Room is the obvious choice for best restaurant as it is not only the only H Street representative in that group, but pretty widely recognized as the best restaurant for miles around here by others whose opinions matter much more than ours, like Tom Sietsema and Don Rockwell.
Tougher choices must be made for Cafe of the Year where Sidamo and SOVA are both terrific and are up against another of DC's very best coffee shops in Peregrine.
Good Bar/Tavern cases could be made for any of Granville Moore's (with its excellent kitchen and Belgian brews), the Pug (perhaps the area's best dive bar with the Tune Inn and Hawk n Dove closed), Queen Vic (a great new spot for a bite or a drink), or Little Miss Whiskeys (where you can quietly enjoy a craft beer with a neighbor on the back patio or dance away a late night upstair).
Queen Vic gets a second nomination alongside Toki Underground for Best New Business. Both have been terrific new additions and are well-recognized as good businesses. Queen Vic seems to get beer, food, service, and the right mix of a family friendly spot to eat while still being a fun spot for a few beers. Toki Underground may have generated more buzz this year than any new business across the city. The food is creative and delicious. The ambiance is unlike any other. And they keep turning out creative specials almost every night.
Metro Mutts is H Street's retailer of the year. They're doing such a good job at home on H Street that they're opening a second shop on Barracks Row today.
Spot on Training has won awards for its service across the city. Will it win one locally?
For Arts venues, we're lucky to have two terrific theatres in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, which seems to get better each year with recent additions of movies and more recently a jazz series and the H Street Playhouse, which pulls in some really provacative shows. Stefane Wremble's performance at the Atlas was one of the best shows we saw all year. The reunion of local band the Jaynettes at the H Street Playhouse was one of our favorite neighborhood nights of the year. We hope they're still planning on performing at the Hillys this year, which, by the way, will be at the Atlas on Sunday, November 13. It's going to be a lot of fun.
Aesthetic Answers is nominated for Professional Service of the Year and is a small design firm run on H Street by two neighborhood residents.
Finally, Inspire BBQ does great work with young people in the community and a few local artists with H Street neighborhood ties are nominated for Artist/Artisan of the Year: Beth Baldwin, Shaun Sharkey, and Ellen Cornett. Each is talented in their own respective art form.
Vote for all your favorites here.