Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Twisted Horn changing name to Hank's Cocktail Bar, tweaking menu options and lowering prices

This is interesting news from Upshur Street: cocktail bar and restaurant Twisted Horn is changing its name to Hank's Cocktail Bar, to reflect that it's part of the Hank's Oyster Bar family, and also lowering prices. According to Petworth News, they wanted to be more of a neighborhood restaurant.

They recently lowered prices and added some new menu items, which will remain, and some of the decor will change, specifically the animal horns will come down. To be honest I didn't even know they had food, so it sounds like this is a pretty good idea. (I've only been once or twice, admittedly.)

Here's more from their press release:
Hank’s Cocktail Bar will continue to offer the same seasonally focused, high-quality food and drink menu, the same affordable prices, and the same great neighborhood vibe that guests have come to know and love at The Twisted Horn as well as JL Restaurant Group’s sister venues, Hank’s Oyster Bar & Hank’s Pasta Bar.
Anyone here a fan, or not a fan?

Hank's Cocktail Bar is at 819 Upshur Street NW.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

BBQ restaurant, Jenkins Capital BBQ, coming to old Ruby Tuesday space

We now know what's coming to the old Ruby Tuesday space at 14th and Monroe, and my guess of Red Lobster was wrong (sorry, lobster and cheesy biscuit fans.) The tenant is something called Jenkins Capital BBQ according to a now hiring sign posted in the window that a reader sent me. (It actually spells it "Captial" but I assume it should be "Capital".)

I can't find anything about this place online -- there is a Jenkins Quality BBQ in Jacksonville, Florida and another called Tom Jenkins BBQ in Fort Lauderdale, but I can't confirm if they're related to this restaurant. The website listed on the flyer,, doesn't work, nor does the email address listed or another I found online.

Oddly none of the domain name registration services I looked at have that site listed -- so it seems that nobody actually owns that website. One actually offers it for sale, even.

So, we shall see what happens. You'd think a business trying to hire staff would have their email working, but maybe this is a brand new business.

Ruby Tuesday, if you recall, closed in late 2014, and the space has been empty since. I hope this place is successful, and tasty.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Work in old Ruby Tuesday space, developer says restaurant coming: my guess is Red Lobster

Looks like we are finally getting something into the empty space where Ruby Tuesday was. A reader tweeted me that some work was happening inside, and a few days later another reader emailed that they had called the developer, Rappaport, who said it was a restaurant, but declined to say which one. Apparently they are waiting to reveal it to another blogger.

It's good news that there's something finally coming -- Ruby Tuesday was ok but didn't get many people, so I hope the next place does. I would assume this has to be a major chain, something like a "national, S+P rated tenant" which is something many lenders require -- which is also the reason we got a 7-Eleven at 14th and Spring, the bank required one of those kinds of tenants rather than a local business.

Here's some of those tenants, and another biggest list of those rated tenants, a lot of which will look familiar from DCUSA and the area: IHOP, Chipotle, Panera and the closed Applebee's. Other restaurants on the first list that might be similar to Applebee's would be Red Lobster and Cracker Barrel, while the second list includes Joe's Crab Shack, Outback Steakhouse, PF Chang's, Chili's, Applebee's, Benihana, and so on.

As you may remember, the space across 14th Street was supposed to be a TGI Friday's, which never ended up happening. Here's the whole saga from that.

Any chain restaurant you'd like to see in this space? My guess is it's going to be a Red Lobster.

Friday, November 18, 2016

New Belgium, Acre 121 launching beer to support DC voting rights tonight!

Beer time! A few weeks ago we heard about a new beer brewed by New Belgium (the folks who make Fat Tire) and the staff from Acre 121. The beer is called WetHopnation Without Representation, referencing DC's lack of voting rights in Congress, and considering it's made by New Belgium it's probably pretty tasty.

Sadly the event was delayed before, but now it's time! The event is happening today starting at 5 pm at Acre 121 and a portion of the proceeds go to DC Vote, the nonprofit that advocates for voting rights.

Here's the details and their Facebook event page:
Acre 121, in collaboration with New Belgium Brewing, is excited to announce the release of our own special pilot brew, WetHopnation Without Representation, using only the freshest wet hops and red malts. Designed by the staff at Acre 121, this limited release will only be available for short time! Join us for the tapping party this Friday and grab a pint starting at 5pm when we open and going until supply runs out, and a portion of the proceeds will go to support DC Vote! 
We’ll also have the New Belgium seasonal Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough on draft, and New Belgium will be giving away free samples and swag.wethopnation-launch_coverOur Friday night live music will begin at 10:00pm with a two amazing bands who will bring the house down:  The Perfectionists and Fellowcraft!  Get your free tickets and RSVP now for that show here, otherwise tickets will be $5 at the door.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Anti-Trump organizing meeting happening today at St. Stephen's Church, 16th and Newton

If you were opposed to Donald Trump and want to do something in the neighborhood, here's an option: a local social justice group called The Movement is organizing a planning session at St. Stephen's and the Incarnate Word Church:
Let's take a few days to grieve and reflect.
And then let's meet on Wednesday to brainstorm what we, activists and organizers, can do in the next months and years to not just resist fascism, but to continue making our country a more progressive, just, democratic place.
The meeting is from 7-9 pm at 1525 Newton and here's the Facebook invite. 846 people are interested  already!

The church is a frequent meeting place for progressive groups and others, so I don't expect this to be a religious event.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

New pickup and delivery laundry service in the area, Cleanly, is pretty cool

I don't like doing laundry -- lugging it around, waiting around having to fold it and all that stuff. Sure, there are worse things in the world, but there are also a lot of other things I'd rather do.

A new laundry service named Cleanly reached out to me the other day and offered a trial, so I gave it a shot -- and I liked it.

They pick it up, return it within a day or two, and do wash and fold as well as dry cleaning. They'll do non-clothes too, things like bedspreads, tablecloths and sheets.

The rates are pretty straightforward, $1.99 per pound for wash and fold, $2.75 for laundered shirts and then other rates for different kinds of items: a dry-cleaned shirt is $6, for example. There's a $4.99 delivery fee if you have an order less than $30, otherwise it's waived.

In my case, the two guys showed up promptly when they said they would and returned the items also when they said they would -- something that I can't say for when I tried Washio a couple of years ago.

I had about two hampers full of various wash and fold laundry and 6 button-up shirts which I figured would go in wash and fold, but when the driver arrived, they separated them. This meant it cost a bit more and also added a day to the return. I was ok with that, but when I asked the customer service person about it, she said I could have asked for them to be wash and fold instead -- they aren't formal shirts or anything, so I would have been fine with that. I'll do that next time.

The folks who came (two friendly guys) brought some garment bags and such for me to keep and use, we filled them up and they were on their way.

Then they were back in two days right on time, and everything was clean, pressed and hung or folded with a light fresh smell. The wash and fold stuff was kind of interesting, it came tightly packed in some plastic, but wasn't wrinkled from what I can tell. The laundered shirts were on hangars and pressed.

The total was $49, but would have been a bit less if I had done the laundered shirts as wash-and-fold.

It's not inexpensive, but it's definitely convenient and they did a nice job. Your rates may vary if you send out a lot of dry cleaning with them.

Here's a photo of the hanging shirts and the bag that the wash-and-fold came in:

Monday, November 14, 2016

Second annual Tamal Fest, big Latin American tamale and cultural festival, coming to Columbia Heights Dec. 4

Whoa! This sounds awesome. Last year local nonprofit Hola Cultura organized Tamal Fest DC to bring people together to sample the many varieties of the Latin American dish, the tamal (also called tamale) with meat or other fillings inside corn dough.

There's a wide variety too, from the moister Central American varieties to the flakier Mexican kind, plus tons of other options for filling and sauces -- Peruvians include pork, olives and boiled eggs, for example.

The event was a huge hit, so much so that they ran out of tamales. So this second version is planned to be bigger, located at Bell High School in the Columbia Heights Education Campus at 16th and Irving on Dec. 4.

As well as the food, there's also contests, stories and more. Sounds like fun.

Here's more info.

WHO: Hosted by Hola Cultura, a Columbia Heights-based nonprofit group and online community. Please visit us on the web:
WHENSunday, Dec. 4, 2016,  1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
WHERE: Bell Multicultural High School, 3101 16th St. NW, Washington DC 20010
GETTING THERE: Metro: Columbia Heights; Buses: S2, H4, 42
TICKETS: $12 online before the Fest or $15 at the door
SOCIAL MEDIA: FB: HolaCulturaDC   T: @dccultura

Part culinary fiesta; part cultural exchange
Tamales have been around for centuries. It is a truly a pan-American dish passed on for generations across Latin America—and more recently in the United States, where Latino immigrants and other tamal lovers are establishing new traditions.

Last year HOLA CULTURA had the idea of bringing residents of Washington DC together for a new twist on a tamaliza, or tamal party. The first annual TamalFest DC took place on April 19, 2015 at St. Stephen’s Church in Washington's traditionally Latino Columbia Heights neighborhood, and featured tamales from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Peru, and Colombia.

The outpouring of public enthusiasm was an inspiration. Before selling out, we served 400 people, twice the number initially estimated. Still, TamalFest organizers had to turn away hungry people lined up around the block despite the springtime rain. This year, we're holding an even bigger and better TamalFest on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. We’ve lined up a stellar group of local tamal makers—both amateurs and professional chefs—who will complete for People’s Choice Awards! Stay tuned to for our interviews with the participating cooks in the coming weeks.

Video Booth: Last year, we were moved by the outpouring of excitement and the sharing of stories and memories people have about making or eating tamales at home or in their home countries. So this year, with the support of Humanities DC, we will launch "Hablemos del Tamal | Tamal Stories”, a Video Both at the TamalFest, where people can record stories, memories, comments, and family or community lore about this "comida típica" (traditional cuisine). After capturing these stories in the form of videotaped oral histories, Hola Cultura will process and edit the raw footage into a short bilingual video for publication on

Thursday, November 10, 2016

District Dogs doggie day care opening Nov. 18 in the old Petworth Liquor space: open house all day

Here's some good news: District Dogs will be opening Nov. 18 at 3210 Georgia Avenue NW, the old Petworth Liquors. The liquor store was a bugbear for neighbors for years with public drunkeness, public urination, customers harassing passersby and more. It finally closed when the owners, the Zuckermans, refused to renew their lease.

The new spot is really nice looking, too -- new paint and more.

District Dogs is a pet-sitting, boarding, doggie day care center and pet shop, and they're opening next Friday. They'll be hosting an open house event all day there with a 10% discount off retail items and free light refreshments.

Nice to see some new retail on the Georgia Avenue strip -- I hope we see more.

Here's more from them:
We’ve been talking about it for months and we are thrilled to announce that District Dogs’ brand new brick-and-mortar space at 3210 Georgia Avenue NW has cleared the final hurdles and will be opening next week! Read on for details about our open house celebration and the official start dates for daycare and boarding services. 
Our mission is all about helping busy owners provide excellent care for their furry family members and we look forward to bringing you the same level of thoughtfulness and attention you expect from District Dogs in a whole new environment. This new facility features separate play areas for large dogs and small (or senior) dogs, private feeding space, and a retail boutique stocked with necessities as well as thoughtful gifts and treats for dogs and dog lovers alike.

Join us Friday, November 18th from 9am till 9pm for an open house to celebrate our new space. Humans and dogs are invited to check out the new facility while enjoying light refreshments and a 10% discount on retail items purchased during the open house event.
We will begin taking daycare clients on Saturday, November 19th and for our first couple of weeks, we will only be taking daycare reservations. Boarding reservations will be available starting Thursday, December 1st. 
As a reminder, all dogs need to complete a two-hour evaluation before they can officially be registered for daycare or boarding services. This evaluation is complimentary and consists of a play period during which our staff can observe your dog play and interact with others. Not sure if daycare is a good fit for your dog? Check out our recent look at the benefits of daycare and schedule your evaluation today!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Don't forget to vote today! Our recommendations for who to vote for, and lots of events and deals around the neighborhood

Today is the last day to vote in DC! A lot of local establishments are doing things for it, either deals or just hosting a watch party.

In addition, here's my bigger post on who I recommend voting for. In short:

And on to the deals and events:

The Red Derby is doing a party with a big map, election games and specials.

Looking Glass, which recently dropped Yuengling after their founder's support of Donald Trump, is hosting a watch party and a new combo, the HRC: a Highlight and a shot of Old Overholt.

DC Reynolds has their normal Taco Tuesday.

The new Midlands beer garden at 3333 Georgia is doing an all night happy hour: one free Miller Lite plus $6 and $8 shot and beer combos starting at 5.

Morgan's Seafood is offering half off ice cream for folks with an I Voted sticker, plus free veggies.

Any other deals out there? Let us know in the comments!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Preview: The Hilltop, American bar and restaurant on Sherman, opening Nov. 11 and it looks awesome

Last week we heard that The Hilltop, the bar and restaurant from Sam Jahabeen of the Saloon, had an opening date: Nov. 11 with a soft opening the day before. I've been looking forward to the spot for some time and Sam invited me to check it out last week. I was really impressed, it looks great.

The inside is a lot of warm wood and seats about 30, with about 30 more outside, at the bar and at some tables. There's also an upstairs area but that won't be open until later.

The original idea was that the spot would focus on German and Belgian beers, but Jahabeen said after he met with beer distributors and tasted a lot of really delicious local beers, he decided to go with mostly those. Some of the beers on draft when I visited were RAR's Nanticoke Nectar, an IPA, and one from Berley Oak, a sour-beer focused brewery from Maryland. There was also one from Victory, plus Erdinger, a German hefeweiss, plus more in cans and bottles like Striped Bass Pale Ale from Virginia's Devil's Backbone.

As for the food, chef Angel Franco, who formerly worked at Compass Rose and Minibar, has a wide-ranging menu with small plates like homemade cheese puffs and boquerones (fish similar to anchovies) and bigger dishes like a grilled cheese sandwich that Jahabeen raved over, duck confit, a brat, salmon pastrami and more. The prices were moderate, about $12-17 for entrees.

To begin with they'll be open for dinner every day except Tuesdays, opening at 5 pm and plan to start a brunch in the winter.

Jahabeen had some neat plans too, like finishing out the upstairs into a lounge and event space and holding block party type events on the patio in spring and summer -- he mentioning bringing out a smoker.

As for the long wait, Jahabeen said it was a combination of permit frustrations (a common theme in the city) and other management delays. He was formerly in a partnership with Kaleabe Getaneh, also of the Saloon, but now it's just Jahabeen.

The inside itself is really beautiful too -- sadly my pictures don't do it justice, but I really liked it. It looks like a good spot for a relaxed drink with a friend or date and a nice, but not too fancy, meal.

Their Instagram is @thehilltopdc. The first two pictures here are from there, the rest for me.

Another reason to not vote for Ashley Carter for school board: attacks Mary Lord on message board as "old and crazy"

Last week I wrote about the State Board of Education election coming up tomorrow -- similar to a school board, it pits incumbent Mary Lord against Ashley Carter and Howard freshman Tony Donaldson.

Carter, it turns out, is an organizer for Independent Womens Forum and Independent Women's Voice, two very conservative, Koch Brothers-aligned dark money groups. In the past, her group opposed the Violence Against Women Act, food stamps, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Title IX and feminism in general and advocated for lowering corporate tax rates, for fracking and against gun control. Carter also spoke at a recent "Women for Trump" event. Most of her donors come from out of state as well, and her campaign site mentions none of these things.

But if that weren't enough reason not to support her, Carter, or someone using her email and password, mocked her main opponent Mary Lord on the DC Urban Moms and Dads message board, a popular forum, calling Lord "old and crazy," saying she had a "turkey neck" and that she "dress[es] like a homeless party."

The message was posted from an account named "carterab" (Carter's initials) which Carter had previously used. Part of the message was later deleted, but others copied the text and confirmed it. At first denying it was her, carterab later posted it was Ashley Carter's account, but that an unnamed campaign volunteer had posted it while logged into the message board.

A likely story. And even if it's true, it speaks to a pretty big lack of judgement. It sounds to me like Carter (or this anonymous volunteer) tried to endorse Carter and insult her opponent but forgot to log out of her account.

The thread itself is hilarious, and was later picked up by the City Paper and the Washington Post. Carter claims she no longer supports Trump, so I reached out to her with a number of questions. She has not responded.

I believe that Ashley Carter is trying to hide her beliefs and sneak her way onto the school board. Her website says nothing about her work and most of her campaign material is extremely bland. She's talked some of my friends waiting to vote and all she talks about is her slogan, "Smarter with Carter." Other friends have talked to her volunteers and they all seem to know nothing about actual DC school policy or issues. And most of her donors are from outside DC. It all stinks.

And I can't confirm this, but another person claimed her husband, a former Republican, received this email:
"Smarter with Carter"

Dear Fellow Republican:
My name is Ashley Carter and I am running to serve on the DC State Board of Education as the At-Large Member. As a Republican, I have spent my career working for right-leaning causes like parental choice in education and would like to see a Republican elected in DC citywide. I write to you to humbly ask for your vote to make me the second Republican ever elected to the DC State Board of Education.......
Vote for Mary Lord. She's actually competent, experienced and talks about what she does and wants to do.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Help the Columbia Heights Night festival happening Dec. 2: music, "Taste of Columbia Heights" and more

This sounds like fun: the Columbia Heights Initiative is holding their first annual Columbia Heights Night, a holiday festival and fundraiser for the group with a Taste of Columbia Heights food festival, music, a silent auction, drinks and dancing and more! The event is Dec. 2 from 7 to midnight.

The event also serves as a fundraiser for the Columbia Heights Initiative, the nonprofit that organizes Columbia Heights Day and more events. They're also organizing the Columbia Heights Tree Lighting the next night, so this helps fund that too!

Here's more info:

First Annual Columbia Heights Night Set for December 2nd

Neighborhood celebration will additionally raise funds for local growth and pro-business initiatives

WASHINGTON, DC -- October 18, 2016 -- The Columbia Heights Initiative will host its first annual Columbia Heights Night on Friday, December 2nd 2016 from 7pm to Midnight. The inaugural event will celebrate the neighborhood’s diverse businesses and residents, as well as raise money for initiatives that greater enhance and promote commerce within Columbia Heights. Expect a festive evening of food, dancing, live music and entertainment for one of DC’s oldest and most popular neighborhoods.

Columbia Heights Night follows the decade-long success of The Columbia Heights Initiative’s signature event: Columbia Heights Day. Columbia Heights Day draws tens of thousands of DMV residents to the community, while shining a light on local businesses and services. Much like Columbia Heights Day, Columbia Heights Night invites the entire region to explore the best of the neighborhood in one venue, on one evening.

"We’re here to celebrate our incredible partners, residents, businesses, board members, and the many volunteers who help make it all possible. We’ll be raising a glass to some of this past year’s achievements, which include implementing community clean-ups, monthly networking events, and growing the overall support and voice of our local businesses.” Says BrianneDornbush, Executive Director of the Columbia Heights Initiative.  “With the success of Columbia Heights Day, our goal is to use Columbia Heights Night as an opportunity to once again brings our neighborhood together to join us as we cast a vision for the future of our organization and the neighborhood of Columbia Heights.”

Highlights throughout Columbia Heights Night include ‘A Taste of Columbia Heights’, which will feature a bevy of popular cuisines from some of the corridor’s most beloved restaurants and food vendors. Cocktails will flow and the dancing will commence with live entertainment and music featuring The Harry Bells. A silent auction loaded with tailored gifts, spa treatments, dining destinations, and more will also be held during the evening. The annual Columbia Heights Tree Lighting Extravaganza will be held the following day, Saturday, December 3rd, 2016 at 6:30pm in the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza.

Tickets for the evening are $75 and are 100% tax deductible.  A ticket gains access to the event, four (4) drink tickets, an amazing dinner buffet served up by some of Columbia Heights’ best restaurants, silent auction access, and a swag bag full of goodies.

Guests can register and purchase tickets for Columbia Heights Night via Eventbrite: 

The Columbia Heights Initiative is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that celebrates the diversity and unity of Columbia Heights through economic and community development so that all businesses, nonprofits, schools and residents can thrive. The organization strives to promote values of diversity, service, character, compassion and unity within Columbia Heights.

Connect with The Columbia Heights Initiative via the social handles below:
Facebook:, Instagram & Twitter: @CoHiInitiative

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Whoa! Midlands beer garden on Georgia doing test run tonight!

Whoa! Midlands, the long awaited beer garden on Georgia Avenue from the Kangaroo Boxing Club guys, has announced via their Indiegogo page that they're running a test tonight. That sounds like they're pretty close to opening.

I walked by today and the bar was installed and ready and what I could see inside it looked pretty nice. The outside area looks good too, very beer gardenish.
Hey friends and neighbors. We are going to open our doors tonight for a few hours starting at 6pm to test out our systems. We will have two types of beer from local brewery, Denizens Brewing Co. Lowest Lord english-style & Mixed breeds an American-Belgo Blond ale. We will be Credit Card only for tonight! Hope to see you and info on our grand opening soon. We will have al the info on the perks you bought this week too!
They're at 3333 Georgia Avenue NW. Here's their website.

Things are really happening! Recently we also heard that The Hilltop is opening soon (more on that tomorrow!)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Soldiers Home neighborhood cleanup this Saturday morning!

Here's another opportunity to meet some neighbors and help the Armed Forces Retirement Home (popularly known as the Old Soldiers' Home) -- Georgia Avenue Thrive and Friends of the Soldiers Home have organized a cleanup this Saturday.

The event starts at 10am on Saturday, Nov. 5 and supplies will be provided. Meet up at the corner of Rock Creek Church Rd NW and Park Place NW (near 5th Street NW) and then we'll head south towards Kenyon Street.

At previous cleanups there have been coupons for free coffee or baked goods, so there may be goodies this time too.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Hilltop restaurant and bar opening Nov. 11 on Sherman Ave with chef from Minibar

Great news! The Hilltop, the long anticipated bar and restaurant on Sherman, posted on their Facebook that they're opening Nov. 11. My neighbor was walking by the other day and spoke to someone there who said the same thing, so that's good!

The spot, from Kaleabe Getaneh and Sam Jahanbeen, alums of the Saloon on U Street, will have American food and a lot of beer, especially German -- which is similar to the the Saloon, a laid bake place with lots of Belgian beers (and some Germans too.) The chef is Angel Franco, formerly of Minibar and Erik Bruner-Yang's restaurants like Maketto, which is an awesome sign. They've been posting on their Facebook that they're getting their beer and wine list together.

Based on their Facebook, the food looks pretty tasty too: roasted brussels sprouts, burrata and more.

The space is two floors plus a front patio area and I'm excited to check it out. Last we heard, they'll have about 80 seats total.  It looks great inside too, based on the pictures from FB.

The spot has been in the works for a long time, at least since 2013 -- but that's not uncommon in our city thanks to permit delays from various government agencies.

I'm a big fan of the Saloon, which is a relaxed, friendly place, and Kaleabe is a super nice guy.

I'll post more once I hear back from them.

Here's a few more shots from Facebook:

Crazy new solar powered wifi hotspot, phone charger and bench installed at the Civic Plaza

This is pretty cool: the other day I was strolling through the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza, the triangle at 14th/Kenyon/Park, and spotted this gizmo. It's a bench that has a solar panel that powers a wi-fi hotspot and USB slots for charging your phone.

WTOP reported about it earlier in October, it's called a Soofa bench. The Department of Parks and Rec installed this one as a pilot project for 6 months and if enough people use them and they don't break, DPR will install more around the city.

Pretty neat idea. Has anyone used it?