Friday, February 5, 2016

Results: what you think about what we're missing in the neighborhood

A few weeks ago, after Walls of Books opened, I posed the question of what are we missing in the neighborhood? 

I did a little survey and about 25 people responded with about 70 ideas -- some of them funny, some of them sarcastic, some of them things we already have, and a lot of them really interesting.

So here are the results. They were grouped roughly into food and drink (the majority), retail and services and then more broad topics (less crime, no more national chains like bank branches, 7-Eleven and cell phone stores.)

Lots of folks suggested a deli or bakery, specifically a Jewish, Italian or Greek one with good sandwiches. I think that would be great. A number of people also suggested a coffee shop around 14th and Spring, which is something I had mentioned in the post -- to me, that means it really would be a good thing to have.

A brewery was mentioned by three people, which would be awesome, especially on Georgia, and three mentioned a higher-end neighborhood restaurant -- three people said specifically something like Red Hen, a nice restaurant in Bloomingdale. Another good idea was fast casual near the Petworth Metro, like Taylor Gourmet. That empty space in the new building there is sadly under utilized, though it seems like it's making progress.

A few people also mentioned more types of eateries: multiple people mentioned ramen, plus others suggested sushi, Indian, BBQ, Greek and Ethiopian. Yes to all that.

As for non-food, multiple people mentioned a movie theater or venue like the Source or Studio Theatre. Maybe Suns Cinema in Mt. Pleasant, which is still nascent, could address that.

A couple people mentioned a running store, which sounds good, and others mentioned evening Spanish-language classes "so i can be a better member of my neighborhood," which is a great idea and admirable. Someone mentioned Salt & Sundry, which is a fancy kitchen store, and others suggested a paper store and small, interesting retail.

In the comments and in the survey, two people mentioned retail in Park View -- to me, Georgia Avenue could really have some interesting retail and food destination -- there are so many empty buildings and lots of new housing going in.

Someone also suggested child care, which is a good one. Two people also suggested a full-service gym. There was also Trader Joe's, a florist, and a local ice cream shop.

As for bigger ideas, some seemed kind of bitter: "less public housing, less crime, better restaurants" and some more tangible like more retail and fewer chains.

There were a couple of sarcastic responses too, and a couple of funny ones: lasers, a 300 foot cotton candy statue of Hall and Oates, and your mom.

Here's the full list of responses. Each person could put up to three. What do you think? Good ideas? Anything else you'd suggest? I'm planning to send this to a few local developers and business owners I know to see if it spurs any ideas, too.
Trader Joe's
Movie theater
Diner (because remember when Slim's was going to open?)

less public housing
less crime
better restaurants

theater venue (like Studio/the Source, etc) 
Good bread bakery/sandwich shop
Running Store
Local ice cream shop

Indian food in Columbia Heights (DCUSA area)
Non-chain deli sandwich shop in Columbia Heights (DCUSA area)
Evening Spanish language classes so i can be a better member of my neighborhood
Upscale neighborhood restaurant like Red Hen
Jewish or Italian Deli, BBQ, Ramen, Paper Store, Salt & Sundry
A good, traditional deli (not subway or panera)
Coffee shop at 14th and Spring 
brewery on Georgia above NH, or 14th n of Spring
A higher-end neighborhood restaurant like Red Hen or Mintwood Place; more fast casual near the Petworth metro, like a Taylor Gourmet
women’s clothing/boutique 
Affordable food between the blocks where Target and Florida ave are.
300' Cotton Candy Statue of John Oates
Trampoline Basketball against local Bears, Raccoons, & Opossumes
Your Mom

more lasers

coffee shop - like your idea at 14th & Spring
another restaurant or two
honestly I would take any business, even a 9-5 office, to fill in some of the vacants! surprised more nonprofits don't take advantage of the cheaper rent

bike shop
full-service gym
ramen shop

small interesting retail
Dairy Queen

Green spaces  
barber shops/braiding salons
corner stores that sell crap
areas for folks to loiter 
Developers interested in renting to non-national chains
local restaurants, higher end retail
no more bank branches, CVS and 7-Eleven

Movie theater
bike shop
book store

Salad Place
minority owned business

theater north of Shaw

Retail in Park View

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Beer garden and restaurant coming to Georgia Avenue from Kangaroo Boxing Club folks!


Whoa!! The folks behind Kangaroo Boxing Club on 11th Street are opening a beer garden in Park View, at 3333 Georgia Avenue NW! This is the same shopping center as the US Post Office and the new Walls of Books used bookstore.

Eater reports they'll have a restaurant and outdoor beer garden, so I assume they'll be inside the shopping center and then in the parking lot.

The spot is going to be called the Midlands, and from their website they say they'll have 15-30 beers and "totally not pretentious" sandwiches.
Patrons will have draft selections of greater than 15 and less than 30 taps, wine of the fermented grape variety, featuring red, white and pink. The menu will feature hand-crafted, gourmet, chef-driven, small-batch sandwiches from the future, that are totally not pretentious.
Here's the space now: it's the second from the left, next to Beau Nails, which I believe is closed.

Eater says they're aiming for spring. Awesome. What with Alfie's just opening down the street and Walls of Books a couple of weeks ago, Georgia really seems to be heating up.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

City studying how to improve travel between Columbia Heights and Brookland, NoMa: buses, bikes, new Circulator, more

If you've ever tried to get from Columbia Heights to the newly happening areas of Brookland or NoMa you may have found it's a pain -- aside from a cab or Bikeshare, there's no great direct route -- the H buses mostly run for commuting hours.

The city is working to fix that, undertaking a study on transportation between Wards 1 and 5.

Calling it the DC Crosstown study, they had their first public meeting yesterday, and Park View DC has the rundown: a lot of people asked for dedicated bus lanes, enhanced pedestrian crossings, and protected bike lanes, for example.

There's also an interactive map where you can give your comments about things you'd like to see changed or added. It's pretty neat -- I added that I'd like more buses to Brookland, for example. Others talked about dangerous intersections, bad traffic, and a lack of public space. (It doesn't seem to work on Safari, though.)

The city is also looking to create a new Circulator route that goes to NoMa, and last year asked for help on which route: two of them include Columbia Heights as the destination -- one route runs from NoMa up to the Washington Hospital Center then over to Columbia Heights, while another ran from NoMa up Florida, 9th and 11th to Monroe Street. That comment period is over, so we'll see if Columbia Heights is the winner.

Nice to see the city focusing on this. Now if only we could get some way to get to H Street easily.

Valentine's party this Thursday at Willow, the neat clothing and gift shop on Upshur

A bit ago I wrote about Willow at 843 Upshur, which has all kinds of neat clothes, gifts and more for adults and kids -- it's a great spot. If you haven't been, you should go.

And here's a good excuse to go: they're hosting a Valentine's Day party all day tomorrow on  Thursday, February 4. It sounds fun: there's deals on clothing, a happy hour with chocolate adult drinks, more more. Read on!

You're invited to our
Valentine’s Day Party! 
Thursday, February 4  - All Day - 12pm-8pm

Mini Valentine's Day Photo Session with local DC photographer Paola Nazati Photography
Decorating Station where you can make your own Valentines
Chocolate Treats ALL DAY!
6-8pm HAPPY HOUR with an array of adult chocolate drinks
20% off Winter Clothing Racks
New Inventory

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Alfie's, new Thai pop-up from Food Network's Alex McCoy, opens today in Mothership space


Great news! Alex McCoy, who was a finalist on Food Network Star, will open Alfie's today in the old Mothership space at 3301 Georgia Avenue NW.  McCoy was previously chef at Duke's Grocery.

The place is technically a pop-up for roughly nine months, but McCoy tells Washingtonian that he may stay in Park View if it's going really well. Otherwise, they plan to move to 845 Upshur Street NW, which was their original plan. That space, formerly China American Inn, required more work than they anticipated.

The Washingtonian and Petworth News report the menu sounds pretty diverse (and delicious) with various curries from different regions, laab salads (Thip Khao has something similar) plus an Aussie burger, referencing the many Australian expats in the country. They'll also have fermented Issan sausage, which is from northern Thailand. Other dishes include goat stew, khao soi beef rib in curry noodles, and Thai grilled chicken, plus rotating seasonal dishes, vegetarian items and snacks like fried grasshoppers, durian chips, and cashews stuffed with peppers.

From the descriptions, it sounds pretty spicy, but thankfully there will be lots of beer and cocktails to help cut the spice. They'll have Asian beers and regionally-inspired cocktails, like one with herbs, coconut milk and Mekhong whiskey, and a Tiger beer shandy with house made ginger, cardamon, lemon grass, cilantro root and lemon juice simple syrup. Yowsers.

From the Washingtonian and Petworth News articles, the space looks pretty much like it did in the Mothership days, with some nice touches.

It sounds pretty great. I hope to go soon.

They're open Tuesday-Saturday, 5-10 pm, and there are 39 seats. They also take reservations.

Photos from their Instagram

Monday, February 1, 2016

Restaurant coming to the old Getaway space will be Jamaican

Some more news about the restaurant and bar coming to the space where the Getaway used to be at 14th and Meridian: it's going to be a Jamaican place. A reader stopped by the other day and chatted with workers, who had just painted a Jamaican flag on the wall.

Sounds good to me: we are experiencing a lack of Jamaican food after Sweet Mango at Georgia and New Hampshire closed.

A couple of weeks ago I found out from other workers that it would indeed be a bar and restaurant. Presumably it would be in the basement and first floor, like the old Getaway and Social.

When I hear more, I'll update. Here's the building.

Friday, January 29, 2016

New condos planned for 14th and Spring: meeting Tuesday to talk about it

Developers are planning more condos for the 14th and Spring area: this time, at 3701 14th Street NW, which right now is a house and a barber shop.

The plan is for a 4-story building with retail on the ground floor. There's a meeting on Feb. 2 at 7 pm to talk more about it -- for example, I hope they don't just go for a national chain.

This is by my count at least the 4th new residential building in this area -- there's already ones on two of the corners of 14th and Spring, plus about a half block up where the new 7-Eleven is. The other corner is where Carolina is, the now-closed nightclub and restaurant that had a few problems with crime. The rumor is that corner will be condos too.

Here's more info from Zach Teutsch, ANC commissioner for the area:
ERB Properties (and their counsel Marty Sullivan) are proposing some changes at the northeast corner of 14th and Spring Streets NW. If you'd like to learn more, ask questions, share your concerns, or offer support (or some combination of those things!), this meeting is for you! It'll be 7pm on February 2nd at Premium Title. Full details are below. If you have any questions, please address them to Marty Sullivan, the event's organizer ( I asked Marty and his team to alert nearby residents who may not get these emails with flyers and they assured me that they have.

ERB Properties is proposing to redevelop the property located at 3701 14th Street, NW, at the northeast corner of 14th and Spring Streets. They are proposing to do a mixed-use development with ground floor retail use and residential use on the 2nd – through 4th Floors. ERB has applied to the Board of Zoning Adjustment for variance relief from the three-space parking requirement and for relief from the rear yard setback requirement. They have planned a meeting for the local community to discuss the project with representatives of ERB.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 2nd, at the offices of
Premium Title & Escrow, LLC
3407 14th Street, NW
Washington D.C. 20010 
Event Organizers: Marty Sullivan
Martin P. Sullivan
Sullivan & Barros, LLP

Buses back on regular schedule, but with some delays

Good news for bus riders: Metro says they're back on their regular schedule on all routes -- no crazy detours or changes or cancellations. However, they did warn that there are still some delays due to road conditions but nothing in particular about any routes in our area. So that's good.

The bus stops, however, are in varying degrees of being dug out, so be careful out there.

As for Metrorail, they're back on the normal service too, though there are currently (at noon) delays on the Green line due to car testing. There's also track work on the Red line, but that is pretty much the normal situation on the Red line. Check back on their site to see if that gets worked out.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Magic Ground, indoor park and play area for kids, now open in DCUSA

If you've got kids, here's a good indoor option. The other day I was walking around DCUSA and saw a sign for "Magic Ground: now open."

Located on the top level, it's an indoor playground, game room, art space, and more for kids. There are ball pits, climbing areas, slides, trampolines, toy cars and trucks, swings, and such. There are also Nerf-type air guns, which to me sounds awesome.

It doesn't get great Yelp reviews, but I remember always enjoying these kinds of things when I was a kid, and my friend who has a three year old says he's been 6 or 7 times and she loves it. (He recommended bringing a friend, otherwise it's kind of boring just watching kids run around.) Others on Yelp said it reminds them of Discovery Zone, Port Discovery and similar things but can be a little chaotic.

It's $10 for an hour or $15 all day if the parent or guardian sticks around, and there's also a $20-two hour drop off -- although Yelpers say there aren't many staff so maybe dropping off isn't the best idea. There's also apparently a restaurant and coffee shop but reviewers report it not being open. They also host birthdays and other parties.

Magic Ground is on the third floor of DCUSA. Here's their website.