Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Restaurant/beauty shop/skating rink (!?!) coming to 3630 Georgia Ave!?


This is pretty wild. The other day I walked past 3630 Georgia Avenue NW, the long vacant storefront between DC Reynolds and what used to be Walter's Sports Bar and noticed a lot of new permits in the window. They were for an incoming restaurant, beauty shop, and skating rink. Yes, a skating rink. The permits are below.

We heard earlier in the year that an Ethiopian restaurant had applied for permits for this space, so I wonder if they'll also having skating?

The place is two floors, so maybe the restaurant/skating rink is going on the first floor (and basement, if there is one?) and the beauty shop is upstairs? That's how Looking Glass is, with an upstairs beauty shop. According to the city's records, the building was sold in May to "JAMAL'S GEORGIA ROW LLC" which seems to be a misspelling of Douglas Jemal, who runs Douglas Development Co., which also owns neighboring 3628 Georgia, which is DC Reynolds.

The permit applications are all filed by 3632 Georgia Avenue LLC, which also ran the now-closed Walters Sports Bar that was next door, which is odd. The former Walters Sports Bar next door has permits in the window for what is soon to be Marrakech Moroccan restaurant.
I've reached out to Douglas Development for more info.

UPDATE: Walters was a slightly different LLC, 3632 Georgia Hospitality LLC, so they are unrelated. My mistake. It's also possible someone goofed with the skating rink permit, but we shall see.




Monday, December 3, 2018

Sundevich on Georgia Ave has closed, sandwiches available at Union Drinkery during evening hours


Sad news for sandwich fans, Sundevich has closed its location at 3212 Georgia Ave NW. Announcing on Twitter, they said the sandwiches will still available at neighboring bar Union Drinkery, which is owned by the same folks. However, they won't be available during lunch time during the week anymore, just 5-9pm Tuesday-Saturday.

I'm not too surprised, the place was pretty empty often, although quite tasty. In my opinion the sandwiches have been getting better over time too.

There are still plenty of good weekday lunch options in the area, such as the Coupe and Red Rocks on 11th and Heat da Spot, Call Your Mother and DC Reynolds on Georgia Avenue. DC Reynolds has a nice $9 sandwich, soda and side deal, for example.

The Georgetown and Shaw Sundevich locations are still open too. I've reached out to see what they plan to do with the space.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Dunkin Donuts at 14th and Fairmont has closed


Sad news for Dunkin fans, the location at 2750 14th Street NW has closed. A friend posted an Instagram story today showing it empty with no sign and a paper on the window saying this location has closed.

There are other nearby locations at Georgia & Quincy and at 14th and U.


Instagram snaps from Jason Bowers, street view image from Google

Free classical music concert at All Souls Church Dec. 5: Rachmaninoff Vespers


This sounds cool! Read on for a neat event that's free and open to everyone.

Rachmaninoff Vespers features in unique event at All Souls Church, Weds., Dec. 5

Embark on the holiday season with mystery, music, and mindfulness at a unique event on Wednesday night, December 5, at All Souls Church, 1500 Harvard Street NW at 16th Street NW.

Starting at 6:30 pm, attendees may participate in an open tea service; a walking/meditation labyrinth created with natural elements; and individual anointing/blessing with oils and herbs for those who wish to partake. 

At 7:30 pm, Sergei Rachmaninoff's iconic choral masterpiece, the All-Night Vigil (Opus 37), also known as the "Rachmaninoff Vespers," will be performed in the sanctuary by the All Souls Choir. Exquisitely rich harmonies, based on Russian Orthodox chants, have made it a cornerstone of a cappella choral music and enchanted audiences since its premiere in 1915.

Immediately after the performance, all are invited to stay for yoga nidra ("sleep yoga").

"As we approach the darkest season of the year, we invite you to kindle and nurture the light within," says Director of Music & Arts Jen Hayman. She may be contacted at jhayman@allsouls.ws for more information.

This event is free and open to the public.  

Monday, November 26, 2018

Bombay Street Food, new Indian restaurant, opening Friday, Nov. 30 on Park Road


Whoa, this is awesome! The already diverse Park Road strip is adding Bombay Street Food, which as the name implies will serve Indian street food. Their menu is pretty extensive and includes traditional Indian dishes, street food and Indian Chinese, a mix of the two cuisines popular in Mumbai.

Their website says restauranteur Asad Sheikh was inspired by the street food he ate growing up in Mumbai, and chefs and partners Pradip Shrestha and Dolly Khan just visited the city to try more food and get inspired. Sheikh also opened other Indian restaurants in northern Virginia: Curry Mantra, London Curry House and 1947. You can follow Bombay Street Food on Twitter for updates too.

On Twitter, they say they're opening Nov. 30 at 1413 Park Rd NW, which was formerly Vietnamese Chelsea. I never went, did you like it?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

DC election results: who won in our area and find your new ANC rep

The election results are in, and thankfully for us, there are no recounts or rumors of ballots sitting in post offices (I'm looking at you, Florida.)

Here's the rundown of who won in our area from the DC Board of Elections.

Citywide races were mostly landslides, with only a few competitive races.

Elissa Silverman (who I recommended) was reelected to the At-Large Council seat, beating challenger Dionne Reeder with about twice as many votes. And in the Ward One Board of Education race, Emily Gasoi beat Jason Andrean and Callie Kozlak with over 50% of the vote. This was a bit of a surprise, as Andrean raised $60,000 for this race -- which made me a little suspicious of his motives, to be honest.

Locally in Ward One there were a number of ANC races -- the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, which advises the city on planning and development issues and can stop or change liquor licenses.

I intend to do a series of blog posts interviewing those who won about their plans. Here are the ANC1A and ANC1B winners -- ANC1A covers northern Columbia Heights and Park View while ANC1B covers southern Columbia Heights. Click those links to see which one you are in.

ANC1A01: Layla Bonnot beat Ernest Johnson
ANC1A02: Teresa A. Edmondson bear Amr Kotb
ANC1A03: Zach Rybarczyk (unopposed)
ANC1A04: Matthew Goldschmidt (unopposed)
ANC1A05: Christine Miller (unopposed)
ANC1A06: Angelica Castanon (unopposed)
ANC1A07: Jen Bundy (unopposed)
ANC1A08: Kent Boese (unopposed)
ANC1A09: Michael Wray (unopposed)
ANC1A10: Rashida Brown (unopposed)
ANC1A11: Dotti Love Wade (unopposed)
ANC1A12: no candidate, a write-in won

ANC1B01: Anita Norman (unopposed)
ANC1B02: Dan Orlaskey beat Caleb-Michael Files
ANC1B03: Sedrick Muhammad (unopposed)
ANC1B04: Jon D. Squicciarini (unopposed)
ANC1B05: James Cordes beat Christopher Ede-Calton
ANC1B06: Jen Bristol (unopposed)
ANC1B07: Jessica Smith (unopposed)
ANC1B08: Joshua R. Mater (unopposed)
ANC1B09: James A. Turner (unopposed)
ANC1B10: Danny Delaney (unopposed)
ANC1B11: Robb Hudson (unopposed)
ANC1B12: Dan Winston (unopposed)

The other citywide races were not close.

  • Anita Bonds handily won the other seat for At-Large council, which is reserved for Democrats
  • Mayor Muriel Bowser easily won reelection, but with only 76% of the vote, less than I'd expect in a non-competitive race. Maybe people are getting frustrated with Bowser.
  • Brianne Nadeau easily won reelection for Ward 1 Council too with 78%.
  • Eleanor Holmes-Norton won another term as our non-voting Delegate to the House of Representatives.
  • Phil Mendelson got reelection as DC Council chair with 83%.
  • Karl Racine was reelected as Attorney General with 93%
There are some other smaller races too, mostly things like shadow senator. You can get those results at the DCBOE page.

Chase Bank coming to 14th and Park in old Vitamin Shoppe space; Old Navy going in next door


Well, more banks. Chase is opening a branch in the DCUSA corner space at 14th and Park that was formerly home to the Vitamin Shoppe. And I thought I reported this before but must have forgotten -- the space next door, formerly Children's Place, is going to be an Old Navy, but seems to still be under construction. They're hiring too.

I'm always frustrated when banks come to our area -- they never really generate foot traffic and are a lot less fun than restaurants, bars, shops, or other services that we could use. I guess they are stable tenants who can pay high rents, which is why retail space owners like them.

Anyway, if you are a Chase customer, you have another option.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Alley next to Allegro partially collapsed from all the rain



This is pretty wild, all this rain lately apparently made part of the alley collapse next to the Allegro at 14th and Meridian. It's not terrible, but still not great to drive on. A reader sent along the pics, thanks reader!

If you notice anything like this you can call 311 to alert the city.


Monday, November 5, 2018

Know your Advisory Neighborhood Commission candidates: 1B02, Caleb-Michael Files and Dan Orlaskey


Let's meet the candidates in our local ANC races! Next up we are meeting the two candidates in ANC1B02, which is roughly Florida Avenue to S Street and 12th to 8th Streets.

The Advisory Neighborhood Commission is a nonpartisan, elected body that advises city government on neighborhood issues and also has some power over liquor licenses. The ANC is made up of Single Member Districts that cover a few blocks and commissioners for those districts are elected to two-year terms. The opinions on the ANC are supposed to carry "great weight" at government agencies like the Planning Commission, Alcohol Board, Zoning Board and others, who hear applications for permits such as doing something outside of what's allowed (like maybe more square feet or fewer parking spaces for a building.) Commissioners can also help their constituents with city issues, such as missed trash collection or other problems, and can stop or force changes to liquor license applications and renewals as well.

There are two ANCs in our area: ANC1A covers northern Columbia Heights and Park View while ANC1B covers southern Columbia Heights, Pleasant Plains and part of the U Street and Shaw areas, and sadly only four races have more than one candidate -- the rest either have one or no official candidates. I sent the candidates in these contested races a questionnaire. Here is what Dan and Caleb-Michael had to say.

Dan Orlaskey

Tell us about yourself.
I'm an almost 10 year resident of the U Street neighborhood (1B02). I'm an attorney with the Department of Transportation where I work on infrastructure project development, environmental law, and open government law. I also volunteer as a lacrosse coach for School Without Walls and with the DC Arts Center and am the Treasurer for the Ward One Democrats. I'm originally from New York, but spent over a decade in Baltimore before moving to DC in 2009.

Why are you running for ANC?
Put simply, I want to ensure my neighborhood grows in a way that benefits the people that live here. 1B02 is one of the fastest growing districts in DC and I want to ensure that this enormous amount of development doesn't hurt current residents through forced relocation or pricing people out. I want to ensure that new developments are directly beneficial to the community. I also want to help create a greater sense of community through increased community events and help manage the increase in traffic congestion.

What are your main priorities that you plan to work on, if elected?
I will focus on ensuring that residential displacement stops in my district. That affordable housing is actually affordable and accessible and not just a means for developers to get handouts from the city. I will ensure that new developments are in keeping with community character and directly benefit neighborhood residents. Finally, I will work to implement new dedicated bus and bike lanes to help alleviate traffic problems and accidents.

One of the ANC's main duties is to regulate liquor licenses. What are your thoughts on these issues?
My neighborhood has quite a few bars and restaurants in it...which may be an understatement. The service industry in the U Street corridor is a major economic driver and employer. That being said, I believe we have reached a "critical mass" and will be careful to thoroughly review new liquor license applications to ensure that we are not encroaching on residential areas more than we already are. I will be taking a balanced approach, weighing each application on its merits to ensure that the community is being served while not unduly restricting small business growth.

How can voters get in touch with you?
Voters can email me directly at dan4anc@gmail.com. They can also visit my facebook page (www.facebook.com/dan4anc) or on Twitter @DanielOrlaskey.


Caleb-Michael Files

Tell us about yourself.
I am Caleb-Michael Files, a senior digital strategist for the AFL-CIO here in D.C., and reside at 8th and U streets with my husband, Gerardo, and our two dogs, Blizzard and Scout.
I have worked in political organizing for the last 10 years of my life and we are excited to be settling down in the district and build my family here.

Why are you running for ANC?

Because our SMD has issues and I believe that my community building efforts and bringing everyone to the table will be the way we solve the issues facing our SMD.

What are your main priorities that you plan to work on, if elected?
Crime and ABRA regulations. We desperately need impact settlement agreements established with a number of our nightclubs and bars and I believe I can help to do that.
We also need to jump on the opportunity that JBG has provided with seed money for a BID and work to keep our community safe and clean.

One of the ANC's main duties is to regulate liquor licenses. What are your thoughts on these issues?
We have to do more. As the ABRA commission for 1B recently disbanded from my understanding I will make it my priority to represent our SMD on the ABRA commission.

How can voters get in touch with you?
They can call me, they can text me, they can find me on social media. All of that information is available over at calebforanc.com

Know your Advisory Neighborhood Commission candidates: 1A02, Amr Kotb


Let's meet the candidates in our local ANC races! Up next is Amr Kotb, who is running in ANC1A02 (see map.)

The Advisory Neighborhood Commission is a nonpartisan, elected body that advises city government on neighborhood issues and also has some power over liquor licenses. The ANC is made up of Single Member Districts that cover a few blocks and commissioners for those districts are elected to two-year terms. The opinions on the ANC are supposed to carry "great weight" at government agencies like the Planning Commission, Alcohol Board, Zoning Board and others, who hear applications for permits such as doing something outside of what's allowed (like maybe more square feet or fewer parking spaces for a building.) Commissioners can also help their constituents with city issues, such as missed trash collection or other problems, and can stop or force changes to liquor license applications and renewals as well.

There are two ANCs in our area: ANC1A covers northern Columbia Heights and Park View while ANC1B covers southern Columbia Heights, Pleasant Plains and part of the U Street and Shaw areas, and sadly only four races have more than one candidate -- the rest either have one or no official candidates. I sent the candidates in these contested races a questionnaire. Here is what Amr had to say. His opponent, Teresa A. Edmondson, did not respond to my emails.



Tell us about yourself.I am a 31 year-old DC resident who loves Columbia Heights and proving to people that Washington, DC is much more than lanyards, government jobs, and Farragut Square (not that I take issue with these things). I host/produce my own podcast, work in foreign affairs, and enjoy DC’s museums, running/playing soccer, reading, and meeting new people.

Why are you running for ANC?I’ve spent much of my adult life moving around in search of the lifestyle, city, and community that will bring me happiness. Columbia Heights (and Washington DC more broadly) is the place where I found my dream job, married my wife, and finally decided to put down my roots for the foreseeable future. Now that I am part of a community that means so much to me personally, it’s time to take this affinity to the next level by serving it and playing an integral role in preserving its unique identity and diversity.

What are your main priorities that you plan to work on, if elected?1. I want residents in my SMD to feel they have the power to make their voices heard on issues in our neighborhood. There are so many people out there that are unaware of the tools they have to assert themselves over what happens in their own community, so my top priority is to not only create a space where all of us can engage by holding regular town hall style meetings, but to also ensure that everyone is aware of the tools at their disposal through regular outreach.

2. I want to play an integral role in questions of business and residential development and am enthusiastic about ensuring that smart, equitable development, rooted in an understanding of our community’s well-established identity, is the only kind that takes place. For example, new businesses that come to the neighborhood should prioritize hiring vacancies for local residents that are directly affected by the presence of such businesses.

3. I believe in the value of public space and the implications it holds for safety and security. The more thriving, diverse, and accessible a neighborhood, the safer we all feel because we have a place in it within a larger community. As such, I will push for more parks that are sufficiently equipped with accessible recreational and leisure activities for all of our residents. My top priority for public space is the park at 14th and Oak/Ogden; not only is it practically devoid of greenery, but the available seating is incredibly inhospitable and uncomfortable.

One of the ANC's main duties is to regulate liquor licenses. What are your thoughts on these issues?A liquor license is a double-edged sword. On one hand, an establishment’s possession of a liquor license can potentially equate to long hours of operation that disrupt the neighborhood with respect to noise, overcrowding, and the risk of intoxicated patrons destroying property. On the other hand, development via private businesses serving alcohol attracts economic activity to our neighborhood, and can be good for other local businesses. As such, I will seek to regulate liquor licenses on a case by case basis, prioritizing the existing community’s needs and concerns over all other issues, while also being mindful of the potential for equitable economic development. Businesses seeking liquor licenses are expected to respect the role of the ANC, so I will also be looking to see if they approach our commission from the get-go and are amenable to the community’s feedback.

How can voters get in touch with you?
Phone Number: 804.516.9805
Email: AmrouKotb@gmail.com
Address: 1435 Newton St. NW Apt. 109
Facebook Page: ‘Amr for ANC’ or search for ‘@AmrforANC1A02’
Twitter: @amrqotb