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


  1. Interesting list. Any time that vacant buildings/lots can be filled by businesses, I'm in favor! My reactions to a few of the ideas:

    We now have a movie theater at 9th & U, and Suns Cinema opening soon at 16th & Irving. When you consider the megaplexes at Gallery Place and Silver Spring it seems like we're in good shape for movies.

    A good, non-chain deli would be most welcome!

    We seem to have plenty of barbers. Love Qualia, but one along 14th would be nice. Two good bike shops in AdMo/Mt. Pleasant (a short bike ride away!) so we seem okay there.

    Property values make a brewery on 14th or Georgia unlikely; 3 Stars is just 2.2 miles up Kansas from the Georgia Ave metro, and we have many places with impressive draft lists (Meridian Pint is top-notch, Slash Run, DC Reynolds, etc.).

    Upscale restaurants were lacking in the past, but we have Chez Billy, and a bunch on Upshur, Room 11, Bad Saint, Thip Kao, and more on the way.

  2. The question is what can the neighborhood do to make this a reality? How do we recruit businesses and help to get this information out to decision makers? Thanks for conducting this poll!

  3. Anon: that's a good point. If you know any business owners or developers, let them know!

  4. A coffee shop around 14th and Spring!!! I've been praying for this forever and I think it would be a homerun, as the area seems very under-served for this need.

  5. What about a live music venue ... something like R&R Hotel or DC9.


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