Friday, September 21, 2018

Neighborhood-wide yard sale on Saturday; Tubman School accepting donated items to sell too

This sounds fun: this Saturday there's a neighborhood-wide yard sale, with multiple yard sales around the neighborhood plus one to benefit Tubman School (poster above), and there's a concert afterwards at the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza.

The map is here at the bottom of the page, there are a few sales along Monroe plus one on Fairmont, one on Perry, one on Park and the Tubman School sale.

Tubman is also accepting donations of things to sell: you can drop them off today, Friday, between 3:30 and 5:30pm. You can also submit your yard sale to get on the site.

The event runs from 10am-2pm, with the concert from 4-6pm.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Lebron James, Drake spotted at U Street salon

Superstars in the building! Basketball star Lebron James and rapper and actor Drake were spotted at Immortal Beloved, a salon at 14th and T yesterday. Reporter Robert Costa spotted the pair and was told they were shooting Lebron’s HBO show The Shop, which is about barber shops. The Barber of Hell’s Bottom shares the same building, so it’s possible they went there as well.

If you recall, Drake has visited our area before: he got dinner with a friend at Z-Burger a couple of years ago when he was in town for a show. It’s not every day you see a hip hop superstar at a burger spot in our neighborhood. As far as I can tell this is the first time Lebron has visited our neck of the woods.

If you'd like to see other celebrity spottings in our area, check out the "famous people" series!

Here's Drake at Z-Burger a few years ago.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Awesome! Moroccan tavern Marrakech coming to Walter's space between DC Reynolds and Looking Glass

This is pretty great news: Park View DC reports that Marrakech is coming to 3632 Georgia Avenue NW, the space that has formerly been Walter's, Park View Patio and the Blue Banana. It will also be next door to an Ethiopian restaurant coming to the former Gena's salon seen above.

It's possible this is the new location of one of the two separate places called Marrakech -- a bistro and lounge in Adams Morgan and the recently-closed restaurant in Dupont known for its food and belly dancing. The two places were not related to each other, and I'll update if I confirm.

In any case, it's nice to have something fill the Walter's space, and I hope it's successful. One of the issues before was a lack of a kitchen, we'll see if they change that.

According to their liquor board filing (scroll down), they'll have 82 seats total, including 20 outside. I assume that would be out back.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Heights at 14th and Kenyon is now Choong Man Draft House, a Korean chicken restaurant

This came out of nowhere: The Heights Taproom at 14th and Kenyon is now a Korean spot called Choong Man Chicken Draft House. Choong Man is a local chain of Korean chicken spots with locations on H Street NE, Fairfax, Centreville and Baltimore. (Confusingly there are two websites for Choong Man with different info, but they both have the same logo.)

The signs say coming soon, so we'll see if they keep the pour-your-own-beer taps that The Heights Taproom had or what else they'll change. The location itself changed a few months ago from The Heights to a more burger and beer focused place. Let's hope it stays Choong Man for a while.

Anybody been to another of the Choong Man spots? I do love me some Korean fried chicken.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

New tavern with patio coming to 3549 Georgia Avenue NW, between Newton and Otis

Bar time! Park View DC reports that a new tavern has applied for a liquor license at 3549 14th Street NW. The name seems to be not chosen yet and I can't find much more about it, but the contact on the permit, Adanech Gebremeskel, is also mentioned in association with a place called Allure Lounge at 7th and H NE which apparently has not opened.

They've applied for a "summer garden" (i.e. patio) with 13 seats, plus 20 inside seats, and plan to be open 7am-3am, which implies they might also serve food or coffee. I assume the hours will change when they talk with the ANC. (That's what usually happens with liquor licenses.)

The building has been empty for some time, so this seems like a good thing. Before it was apparently Fred's Tax Office and some kind of studio. It's the white and red building above.

I'll write more once I find out more.
image from Google Streetview

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Neighborhood cleanup Saturday, Sept. 1 at Park Road and Warder

Here's a great way to meet your neighbors and help keep our area clean: Georgia Avenue Thrive has scheduled its next cleanup for this coming Saturday. Here's more.
Hi friends, neighbors and community leaders --  Georgia Avenue Thrive will hold its next cleanup at 10 a.m., Sat. Sept. 1 at the corner of Warder Street and Park Road.
Our wonderful neighbor Jason Cohen, a Compass real estate agent, will be thanking volunteers with donuts and cold drinks. 
Our cleanups have been recognized by Mayor Bowser. "Your good work is key to keeping your community safer and stronger," she wrote in a recent letter recognizing Georgia Avenue Thrive. 
I hope to see you on the 1st! 
Georgia Avenue Thrive is a volunteer-led nonprofit making our neighborhood more connected, inclusive and vibrant. We advocate for the neighbors, businesses and visitors of Lower Georgia Avenue. We formed in 2015 as the Georgia Avenue/Lamont Street Public Safety Task Force, due to increased crime. After helping the community address these concerns, we broadened our efforts.  We’re excited to get to know you!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Another new Vietnamese spot opens in the area: Pho Viet at 11th and Fairmont

If you like Vietnamese food, you're in the right place. Our area has at least 6 Vietnamese spots, with old favorites Pho 14 on Park Road and Pho Viet on 14th plus newcomers Bún DC on Sherman, Vietnamese Chelsea on Park, Pho Viet USA on New Hampshire Ave, and now another similarly-named one: Pho Viet at 2628 11th Street NW.

The newest Pho Viet recently opened in a former corner store (see above), and has good reviews so far from a few Yelpers. News site Hoodline has a positive review too and they've also applied for a liquor license.

I think, but am not certain, that this place is related to Pho Viet USA, the one on New Hampshire Avenue, mainly based on the fact that their liquor license application says Pho Viet USA Inc. as their trade name, and a company with that name shares an address with the Pho Viet USA on NH. Confusing!

Has anyone been? How was it?

Photo from Google Street View

Thursday, August 23, 2018

First look at Little Havana, new Cuban restaurant on 14th Street; plus photos!

Cuban restaurant Little Havana has just opened on the budding strip of 14th Street where the Red Derby, Lyman's, Mescalero and Taqueria Habanero are -- we were able to visit for their opening a bit ago and really enjoyed it.

From Alfredo Solis, who also does Mescalero and El Sol, the inside is covered in murals of famous Cubans and Cuban Americans (singer Celia Cruz, Nats pitcher Gio Gonzalez, and so on) and has a really pretty open kitchen.

The spot has 60 seats altogether in the dining room, bar and patio seating. Currently it's only open in the evening for dinner (the bar opens at 3pm, the kitchen at 4pm) but they're hoping to extend the hours.

Ment items range from about $10-12 for appetizers and starters to about $20 for entrees, and everything was delicious. The Cuban sandwiches were excellent, and with the open kitchen you can watch the chefs make and press them. Other highlights were yuca fries, empanadas with corn and cheese, a type of fish toast (fish on grilled bread) as well as croquetas with jamón (ham.) Other items include braised beef tongue, oxtail, tortas and paella.

There's also a wide drink selection, with a very fresh and delicious piña colada in a hollowed-out pineapple, pineapple and lime daiquiris, mojitos (both blended frozen and fresh) plus beers and wine.

Scroll down for more photos!

Photos by Victoria Johnson and Franny Thomas

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

New ice cream shop from Maine, Mount Desert Island Ice Cream, opens in Mt. Pleasant

If you're an ice cream fan, here's something awesome: two employees of Dischord Records have opened an outpost of Maine's Mount Desert Island Ice Cream, based in Bar Harbor. The ice cream has had rave reviews over the year, including from President Obama.

DCist has the story: the owners Brian Lowit and Melissa Quinley discovered it on regular trips to Maine and made friends with the owner, who suggested they open their own branch. The ice cream is made on site with the same recipes as the Maine locations, but with more local ingredients. There are 24 flavors including vegan sorbet, plus some seasonal ones as well as coffee and espresso. And given the connection with Discord Records, they may do music events too, like album releases or listening parties.

They're open now at 3110 Mt. Pleasant Street NW, and there is outdoor seating. The location used to be Pupuseria San Miguel.

Summer hours: Sun-Thu noon-9 p.m.; Fri noon-10 p.m.; Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Kraken Axes axe-throwing bar temporarily moving; getting renovations, adding outdoor beer garden, food

Kraken Axes was a big surprise when it opened in the old Murry's grocery store at Georgia and Morton: it's a bar with axe throwing, a popular pastime in Canada, but not too well known here. I went a few months ago and had a blast, and heard about lots of other plans for the owners.

And now, Eater reports those plans are underway. The space on Georgia is temporarily closed as they're renovating the inside, with the axe-tossing moving to 1901 1st Street SW, near the new DC United stadium.

The plans for the current Kraken space sound pretty awesome: Kraken plans to add a 5,000 square foot beer and wine garden outside (facing Morton Street), which we previously heard would be Viking-themed. They're also adding a bar food menu with things like burgers and wings, as well as cup holders for axe-throwers. They're also considering a dance floor, a scotch whiskey library, a sports bar with rugby, cricket and soccer on TV, plus outdoor fire pits. Sounds ambitious and awesome.

They're aiming for opening in the fall for Oktoberfest.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Outdoor documentary movies on gentrification screening tonight at Sankofa Books, 2714 Georgia

This is neat: there's an outdoor movie series tonight at the parking lot next to Sankofa Books at Georgia and Fairmont, where District Bridges and Howard University are showing two documentaries about gentrification: Brick by Brick from the 1970s and What Happened 2 Chocolate City, currently finishing production. There's also a panel discussion before the films. Read on for more!
Bring you chairs, blankets, picnic dinner and inquiring minds to a neighborhood summer movie night on Georgia Avenue that will take place on the Howard University parking lot beside  Sankofa Video, Books and Cafe in the Pleasant Plains community.  
In partnership with Howard University, District Bridges is hosting a panel discussion with two local documentary filmmakers, whose films examine issues of gentrification in Washington, DC. Filmed in the 1970s, Brick by Brick is by Writer, Director, Producer and Howard alumna, Shirikiana Aina of Sankofa Video, Books and Café. The second film, What Happened 2 Chocolate City focuses on current dynamics and is in its final stages of production (donations to get it over the finish line are happily accepted online). Free popcorn will be provided by our partners and volunteers of Encounter Church. 
This is District Bridges'  4th Community Outdoor Movie Night this summer and we welcome volunteer assistance, so please reply to Jennifer Kuiper, Neighborhood Director, Lower Georgia Avenue Main Streets at:  or (202) 450-4409 if you are able to help with the set-up and/or clean-up!  See details below. 
6:30pm Set-up
7:30pm Gates open to the public
8:00pm Panel Discussion
8:45pm Movies start
10:30pm Clean-Up 
We are fortunate to have several popular restaurant options nearby, including right next door at Sankofa Cafe and within a block at Salt & Pepper Grill (Indian/Pakistani Cuisine), Dulcinea (Mexican Food), Sweetpea's (Classic Soul Food) and Howard China Take-Out.
LOCATION: Howard University parking lot beside Sankofa (2616 Georgia Ave NW)
DATE: Friday, July 20

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The History of Cannabis Museum now open on Georgia Ave.

A few months ago, we heard about The History of Cannabis Museum coming to Georgia Avenue near DC Reynolds -- it was a museum about doobies, plus (my guess) a shop of some kind. (Get it THC Museum?) We didn't hear much since, but now it's opened in a new spot at 2822 Georgia Avenue NW, near Girard Street.

Their website doesn't say much, but does mention that there are tours for $10, and their social media talks about various products they have. A video about the spot (below) shows exhibits about the usage of cannabis through time, from the Egyptians to George Washington (presumably that he grew hemp) through the scary movies about weed in the 30s and through the modern day.

Has anyone been? How is it? It looks like Flavor Flav paid them a visit at some point. If it's like other weed shops in DC, to comply with the city's marijuana laws you can't actually buy weed directly -- places will have people buy something else random and then give you free doobies. The city has also raided a few pop-up shops lately.

The museum is run by Grow Club DC in Adams Morgan, which focuses on tools and techniques for growing weed yourself.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Postcard writing at the Midlands on Wednesday: help write to voters in swing districts

A couple weeks ago I wrote about an event at Midlands, 3333 Georgia Avenue NW, where you could write postcards to encourage Democrats to vote in a tight special Congressional election in Ohio. The organizers are planning to do them every two weeks going forward, and they've scheduled their second one to be held this Wednesday, July 18 from 6-9:30p. And from 6 to 7 pm it's buy one-get one free with some of the beers on draft!

I went last time and it was fun and pretty straightforward -- you get a list of addresses (which is public record) and a script and you write them up. 

In case you need a reminder, Congressional elections are important for the country of course, but also to DC, as Congress controls DC's budget and has the power to block things that local voters have supported -- in the past they've blocked medical marijuana, reproductive rights, and a lot more.

Here's more information. Bring your friends!
Dear Neighbor, 
We hope you can join us for our second ‘Vote Them Out’ postcard writing event at the Midlands on Wednesday, July 18 from 6-9:30pm.  In light of recent events, it is more urgent than ever that we work together to support Democratic candidates in the upcoming Midterm Elections.  This event is  organized by a small, concerned group of neighborhood friends. We know folks are looking for ways to get involved, and this is a great, low-commitment way of doing so. Did I mention there is BOGO free beer until 7pm? 
If you could please join the Facebook group here we would greatly appreciate it:  If you could also please RSVP on the events page so we can get a headcount for the Midlands that would be very helpful. Please feel free to add your friends into the group.   
We are working with an organization called "Postcard for Voters" to get the address.  Each night we will usually be supporting a different candidate, writing to known democratic supporters in their district, and asking them to remember to vote.  
We hope to see you at the next event!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Boil water advisory in effect, maybe for a day or two: smaller area than before, check the new map

It's been an interesting day or two -- a brief water outage, followed by nothing, and then this morning the word came out that you should boil water you use to drink, cook, brush teeth, use in baby formula, give to your pets and more. Even for making coffee, a coffee maker won't get it hot enough.

DC Water does say it's precautionary, it's possible contaminants got into the water supply, but there's no evidence that happened -- to be on the safe side you should boil.

The original area for the boil advisory was nearly half the city, but DC Water just released a new interactive map with a smaller area. It's useful to be able to zoom in and see if you're in the area. It still includes most of our area, but at least it's smaller than before.

It's unclear when the issue will be resolved, but the Washington Post says it's expected to last a day or two.

Follow DC Water on Twitter to get the latest -- they're actually updating it now, unlike last night.

The full advisory is below. Note that the map above is the most up to date.

DC Water Issues Precautionary Boil Water Advisory

July 13, 2018

The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) advises customers to boil their water for cooking and drinking until further notice if they live within the area that is bounded by the following:
* The north is bounded by Western Avenue to Massachusetts Avenue to Nebraska Avenue to Military Rd to Missouri to New Hampshire Avenue.
* To the east by Eastern Avenue
* To the South by New York Ave to K St to Whitehurst Freeway, and
* To the west by Canal Road to the Clara Barton Pkwy.
Map of Affected Area:
They should also boil their water if they experienced low water pressure or had no water after 8:30 p.m. on July 12. If customers do not have water service, they are advised to boil water when service is restored. If customers did not experience low water pressure and do not live in the affected area, customers do not need to boil their water.
On Thursday, July 12, at approximately 8:30 p.m., an open valve at Bryant Street Pumping Station resulted in a loss of pressure in portions of our distribution system for about an hour. A loss of pressure in the pipe system makes it possible for contaminants to enter the water. Due to this loss of pressure, as a precaution, affected customers are advised to boil their water until further notice. To minimize risk, customers should follow the instructions outlined below.
Customers should:
* If water is discolored, run the tap until clear, prior to boiling.
* Bring water to a rolling boil for 3 minutes.
* Allow water to cool before using.
* Store cooled water in a clean container with a cover.
Customers should use cooled, boiled water or bottled water for:
* Drinking
* Brushing teeth
* Preparing and cooking food
* Making ice
* Preparing infant formula
* Giving water to pets
 The valve problem was corrected and pressure has been restored. Our teams will continue to test samples of the water and we will lift the advisory when we determine the water is safe. Customers will be notified immediately when the advisory is lifted. If you are concerned about your health or the health of your family, please consult your health care provider. Please share this information with everyone who drinks this water, especially those who may not receive this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses).
For more information, visit, or read the FAQs at You may also contact DC Water Customer Service at 202.354.3600 or the 24-Hour Command Center at 202.612.3400.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

What’s the best delivery pizza to our area? Let us know

Now that Pete’s Apizza at 14th and Irving has closed (to be replaced by Wawa), a few people were asking what’s the best pizza that delivers to our area. Do you have any favorites?

I’m a fan of Italian Kitchen on U (great sandwiches too), Duccini’s and Pizza d’Oro. If you’re looking for fancier pizza, Pizzeria Vetri on 14th delivers via some of the delivery apps such as Uber Eats or Caviar, but it’s not cheap.

But that's just my opinion, what do you think? 

Monday, July 9, 2018

"He dipped out during Butt Drugs": former Trump lawyer Ty Cobb spotted at punk rock show at Slash Run

This isn't something you hear every day: former Trump lawyer Ty Cobb was spotted at Slash Run, the bar and restaurant on Upshur Street NW, where he watched part of a punk show featuring local band Copstabber.

First posted on Facebook, the Washington Post picked the story up too. Local photographer Chris Suspect posted a few photos of Cobb rocking out with this caption:
Last night Ty Cobb, former Trump lawyer who handled the Mueller investigation before resigning in May, attends a punk rock show at Slash Run in DC. The band playing was COPSTABBER. Cobb played air guitar and rocked out especially hard to the song "I Love Cocaine." Only in DC. LOL
The Post reports that Cobb and other people dressed much more formally than the rest of the crowd walked in mid-show and hung out for a bit. Suspect told the Post that people identified Cobb to him and he searched the web to be sure.

In later Facebook comments, concertgoers report that Cobb and crew stayed for a few songs, high fived a few other concertgoers and then made their way into the night.

Copstabber singer Dave Poole had this to say on Suspect's Facebook post:
I threw beer on him, called him “ whiskers”, got a high five from him...I just thought he was an old wildman but it turns out he is a RICH old wildman!
And further reported:
he dipped out during “Butt Drugs”, hi fives me and stepped up on the stage and walked across the stage mid song and left.
Pretty awesome. I love our neighborhood.

Screenshot from Suspect's Facebook page

Market with tobacco and vape shop coming to former Cooper Hardware store at 3459 14th Street

Good news if you are a smoker or vaper: a reader sent this photo of 3459 14th Street NW, a vacant storefront that formerly was home to Cooper Hardware. Cooper has been closed for some time and the building was considered vacant and blighted by the city.

The reader noted that the windows are covered over but the lights were on and there seemed to be work going on inside. The business licenses for the building say grocery, tobacco and "patent medicine" (as in over the counter) so I am guessing it's a convenience store that will also sell tobacco and vape products.

I'm not really a smoker or vaper but lots of people are, so it makes sense there would be a place to buy related things. I would assume this means the non-marijuana variety of smokeables. As the tipster said it's not the fanciest use of the building but it's also always nice to have an empty building get filled with something productive.

Here's the building before. Looks like they reused the Cooper sign.

from Google Streetview

Friday, July 6, 2018

City opens Petworth Meditation Garden in triangle park at Kansas, 13th and Quincy

Photo by DCDPR
As readers of this blog know, the city has a lot of small triangular parks where diagonal streets meet the grid. Often these are pretty underused, maybe an occasional picnic or place to take your dog. The city just opened a new idea, a “meditation garden” in the triangle bordered by Kansas, 13th and Quincy. I first wrote about it a few months ago when proposed, and the results look pretty nice. Some people were opposed at that time, saying they hadn't heard from the city in a while. The Post has an article about it, as did NBC4 and other local outlets, but no mention of any complaints since then.

There are permeable walking paths good for people with disabilities, a water fountain, bike racks, benches and more. The idea came out of community meetings where neighbors talked about wanting more usable than just a grassy triangle. Nice to see, and there’s been a lot of press about it too.

Have you tried it out yet?

Here’s the city’s press release with all the details:

Washington, DC – Mayor Muriel Bowser today celebrated the opening of the Petworth Meditation Garden. The meditation garden is a modernization of a triangle park at Kansas Avenue and Quincy Street, NW in Ward 4.
“The Petworth Meditation Garden is an example how we can transform a small space into a tremendous community amenity,” said Mayor Bowser. “We thank the community for working with us to create such a unique and innovative space.”
The new Petworth Meditation Garden includes:
  • permeable and accessible paths through the park;
  • a water faucet for plantings;
  • a drinking fountain for people and pets;
  • bike racks;
  • seating benches along the paths and central space; and
  • a vegetated buffer on the western edge along 13th Street, NW.
The new garden’s permeable paved paths make it ADA accessible while allowing reduced storm water runoff when it rains.
“We are excited about the new life that has been given to this lawn,” explained DPR Director Keith A. Anderson. “This will be something residents will gravitate to and we are excited about turning some of our other small parks into mediation gardens.”
The Petworth Meditation Garden is the result of a community driven process to create a usable and desirable space for the community. The Mayor was joined at the ribbon-cutting by Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, DGS Director Greer Gillis, DPR Director Keith Anderson, and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Bennett Hilley. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Grumpy jerk gets city to shut down annual family fireworks display on 13th Street; going since 1984

It's my belief that Columbia Heights is the best place around to watch the 4th of July fireworks -- we're high enough that we can see the big show on the Mall (especially if you're on a roof) and if you look in any direction you'll see tons of DIY displays -- some an occasional bottle rocket, others more impressive (and expensive) displays with almost pro quality incendiaries.

But the fire department had other thoughts -- yesterday the police and fire department showed up at the 3500 block of 13th Street NW to stop the annual display put on by the James family. They've been doing it since 1984. The large crowd present to watch started booing and chanting to let the family patriarch, Mack James, go. He was eventually released and not charged, but the fire department seized all the fireworks, which aren't legal in the city.

DCist had a nice article about the James family on Tuesday, who have been doing a big show every 4th of July since the 80s on the 3500 block of 13th Street NW. They originally did it for their family after they got back from the Mall show, but every year more and more friends would come to watch, and eventually lots of neighbors too.

The shutdown was apparently caused by a man name Dave Statter, a former WUSA reporter who now runs his own site that I refuse to link to. Statter started tweeting at various city and police officials asking them to shut it down, complaining about it and clutching his proverbial pearls. And apparently they heeded his tweets. (DCist, for their part, apologized, but I think they don't have anything to apologize for. It was a nice article and the James family was happy to talk.)

To me, this is extremely lame. Instead of reading the DCist article about the family doing their awesome show for more than thirty years and thinking "wow, how cool!" he thought "I should tweet at every local official I can think of and get this shut down."

This city is chock full of people doing their own fireworks during the 4th of July -- it's part of the charm of the holiday, especially around Columbia Heights. And this display has been going on since 1984, and draws a big crowd of neighbors every year. People love it. I would argue it's part of our city's culture.

In my opinion, the fire department and police had to know about it and chose to do nothing about it until this keyboard commando vigilante nerd starting making a fuss. They probably have more important things to do otherwise.

Luckily there were enough other fireworks displays around our area. No thanks to Dave Statter.

Photo by Jonathan Coffey

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

You still have to tip: Initiative 77 passed, but it's not law and $15/hr doesn't kick in for a long time

Initiative 77 on the minimum wage for tipped workers passed, which as readers may know I was opposed to. However, there seems to be some misunderstanding about how it works: the City Paper has an article talking about an increase in the number of people not tipping since it passed. It seems to be a mix of people who never tipped anyway, some who are using it as an excuse to not tip, and some who just don't understand it. In any case, it seems to be hurting take home pay.

The short version is this: it's not enacted into law yet due to Congress's oversight of all DC laws, and it's not certain it will become law since most DC Councilmembers oppose it. And even if it were a law today, the minimum wage will increase in eight increments until 2026. So people are not suddenly taking home $15 an hour. The tipped minimum wage is currently $3.89 an hour, which went up from $3.33 on Sunday -- an increase due to another law, not 77. So you still need to tip, please.

In one anecdote, a party of eight at a fancy restaurant said "congratulations on the raise" to their server and tipped $50 on an $1300 bill. It's hard to tell if they were sincere and just didn't get it or what. Other servers and bartenders talk about customers asking how tipping works now, which is sort of an awkward conversation -- it's not really good to tell someone how much to tip you.

Still others talk about a more mundane but still bad pattern of an increase in people not tipping on smaller bills. One bartender in the City Paper article says two people directly told him they won't be tipping due to Initiative 77 and another say that multiple people told him think they banned tipping by voting for 77. It's not big money like the $1300 bill above, but small amounts add up and sometimes people need every little bit to get by.

As a bartender at Jack's American Grill says:
"When you don't tip at all or you're waiting on this $15 an hour [change], you're slashing people's income by 75 percent or more."
Part of the reason may be how the law was written, which was somewhat confusing: 2/3 of the text on the ballot were already law, but it made it sound like by voting for it, you are getting a minimum wage increase plus increased wages for tipped workers. The City Paper talked about this too before the election. It's also part of the reason why the campaign against Initiative 77 used "Save Our Tips" as their slogan.

So if you're confused, or know someone who is, please set them straight. Tip like normal.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Help get out the vote: midterm elections postcard writing party (and BOGO beer) at Midlands on Tuesday

The midterm elections are coming up, and some local progressives have put together an event at Midlands beer garden to help elect a Democratic candidate in an upcoming special election in Ohio. The event is on Tuesday, where you can help write postcards to local Democrats reminding them to get out and vote. The event is 6-10pm on Tuesday, and there is buy one-get one free beer until 7 pm.

In case you need a reminder, Congressional elections are important for the country of course, but also to DC, as Congress controls DC's budget and has the power to block things that local voters have supported -- in the past they've blocked medical marijuana, reproductive rights, and a lot more.

Here's more info from the organizers. Midlands is at 3333 Georgia Avenue NW.
Dear Progressive Friends: 
In light of yesterday’s news about Justice Kennedy's retirement from the Supreme Court, it is more urgent than ever that we all work together to support Democratic candidates in the upcoming Midterm Elections.  To meet this goal, we are inviting you to our first Midterm Postcard Writing Party, organized by a small, concerned group of neighborhood friends, and graciously hosted by the Midlands Beer Gardenon Tuesday, July 3rd at 6pm 
We know folks are looking for ways to get involved, and this is a great, low-commitment way of doing so. Did I mention there is BOGO free beer until 7pm?
The Facebook invite is here:  If you could please RSVP so we can get a headcount for the Midlands we would appreciate it. Please feel free to share the invite!  

This first night, we will be writing postcards in support of an August Congressional Special Election in Ohio. Polling shows the candidates are within 2 points of each other, and this is in a district where Donald Trump won by 12 points.  We will be writing to Democrats to remind them of the election and to encourage them to get out and vote.
This will be the first of what we hope to be a regular event, so if you can't make it this week, please note your interest on the Facebook invite, and stay tuned for the next invite. 
We hope to see you there!

"Have you seen these cats? They are fine, but very fat": funny signs at 14th and Kenyon

Good stuff -- two different readers spotted hilarious signs at 14th and Kenyon: they look like missing cat signs, but it turns out they're just talking about how fat these cats are. And there are pull tabs for "THICC" instead of the phone number.

The small text reads "I don't need you to do anything about it, I just wanted to see how they have gotten, WOW! Their names are Jack and Olive and they are very very chubby now! Don't shame them! They are still good cats! MEWOW THOUGH!"

Good stuff. Thank you to whoever posted them.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Did you see a car hit a bicyclist on Monday around 13th and W? Rider woke up in an ambulance, witnesses needed


This is a scary story: a friend of a friend was riding a Capital Bikeshare down 13th Street Monday morning around 8:30am -- and then he woke up in an ambulance after a crash. The police report filed about the incident says he was apparently hit by a car and found around 13th and W. Did you happen to see what happened there or know anyone who might have?

Here's more:
He has no memory of the accident and earliest memory is from inside the ambulance so all details are currently lost. (Even with wearing a helmet! Please wear your helmets!)

According to the 911 call, EMS was on the scene and picked him up before police even arrived, so their evidence at the scene is minimal. It seems like some kind person called 911 and perhaps the same, or another, person used a rag to help his bleeding as it's part of the EMS bag of personal effects and not actually his. 
Anyone catch a glimpse of any of this? Anyone know anyone in the area that might have surveillance footage? He's filing all the necessary reports, including with WABA, but any other advice would be much appreciated!
If you did see or hear anything, please email the rider's friend at brookester10(at)

He is in good spirits with no broken bones thankfully, but a lot cuts, scrapes and bruises. Here's him at the hospital on Monday with supportive friends.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Ethiopian restaurant planned for long vacant 3630 Georgia Avenue, next to DC Reynolds

Good news for fans of Ethiopian food, and hopefully a tenant for a long-vacant space: there's an Ethiopian restaurant coming to 3630 Georgia Avenue NW, the storefront between DC Reynolds and what used to be Walter's Sports Bar. The space had been Gena's Beauty Salon but it's been vacant for some time.

I saw a permit in the window and contacted the building owner, who said it would be an Ethiopian restaurant and put me in touch with the proprietor of that restaurant. However, they didn't respond to emails, so I don't have too many more details. The permit was issued in early June, so it may be some time before the restaurant opens. I'll keep looking for more details.

There are a few new things coming to this block: earlier we heard about the History of Cannabis Museum coming to 3626 Georgia (that's the other side of DC Reynolds.)

New Jamaican vegan cafe, Sweet Sosumba, open at 3501 Georgia

If you're interested in vegan or Jamaican food, there's a new option: Sweet Sosumba at 3501 Georgia Avenue NW. This space was formerly an Ethiopian market. The place only has one Yelp review so far but it's glowing, and I found an old fundraising page from the owner with more info:
My name is Loi Baker, I am a virgo who enjoys great food, good music and good books! I am fun-Ioving and enjoy spending quality time with friends and famliy. I was born in Jamaica and moved to DC five years ago. 
I have been a vegetarian for over ten years and one of my passion is creating and preparing mouthwatering vegan/vegetarian meals. I am now looking to transform my passion by starting a vegan restaurant by November, 2017. Sweet-Sosumba Jamaican Vegan Cafe will serve a classic vegan cuisine that features a distinct Jamaican flavor.
Sweet-Sosumba Vegan Cafe will be a cozy, creative green space where socially conscious community members and others can gather around tasty meat-free meals. 
Growing numbers of people are choosing vegan/vegetarian meal options for better health, for the earth and for the animals. Sweet-Sosumba Jamaican Vegan Cafe will be satisfying this shift in consumer taste preferences by offering healthier non-meat meal options.
Anybody stopped in yet?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Panera on Irving Street is closing for good today at 5pm

A reader just sent me this -- Panera on Irving is closing. I liked it pretty well, but it never seemed too crowded. I'd be interested in seeing what's coming next. There are a lot of changes afoot at DCUSA, I'll write a post about that shortly.

This is directly across the street from the incoming Wawa.

Monday, June 18, 2018

That time Anthony Bourdain visited Ben's Chili Bowl and other spots around our area

Anthony Bourdain, the beloved chef and writer, visited many places around the world through his career with No Reservations, Parts Unknown, A Cook's Tour, The Layover and more -- and in 2009, he came to DC for No Reservations, where among other things he visited Ben's Chili Bowl, the Maine Avenue fish market, and hung out with Jose Andres. He chatted with the owners of Ben's, among others.

As always, he had a thoughtful take on Ben's and the city, and also ate at Vietnamese and Ethiopian restaurants around town. You can watch the episode below, Ben's Chili Bowl is the first segment.

Bourdain also visited DC other times outside of his TV show, helping with fundraisers for DC Central Kitchen and giving a talk at DAR Constitution Hall. He will be missed.

Here's the direct link. Photo by DC Central Kitchen.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Columbia Heights Farmers Market now open Wednesday afternoons and Saturday morning til 1pm

If you like food fresh from the farm, you now have two options for the Columbia Heights Farmers Market: they're open on the Civic Plaza on Wednesdays from 4pm-7pm and Saturdays from 9am-1pm. The Civic Plaza is the triangular plaza where 14th, Kenyon and Park meet.

The market, if you haven't been before, has a wide variety of produce, meat, cheese and dairy, coffee, bread and baked goods, plus some snacks like tacos, popsicles and sandwiches. There's also often music or other entertainment plus arts and crafts vendors too. Worth a stop.

There are also markets in Petworth (9th and Upshur), Mt. Pleasant (Mt. Pleasant & 17th) and 14th and U which are all Saturday from 9am-1pm.

Councilmember Todd proposes Office of Nightlife for nightlife and community relations; he answers some questions about it

This is interesting: last year, Ward 4 councilmember Brandon Todd proposed an Office of Nightlife to help with community and nightlife relations. The Post says Todd described it as "a liaison between government, community leaders and business owners to ensure that all residents benefit from the proliferation of bars, restaurants and entertainment venues in the nation's capitol in recent years."

Other cities have similar programs, sometimes called a Night Mayor or Night Czar.

More recently, the office received some money from the city's budget, and Todd has talking about the idea at events and meetings, so I asked for more information. Here's a few questions the councilmember answered via email. The full bill text is here.

What are your goals for it? It seems focused mostly on residential neighbors’ concerns, is that the case?

The purpose of the Office of Nightlife and Culture is to serve as a liaison between nighttime economy establishments, residents living near such establishments, and the District government. This includes a variety of responsibilities. The office will serve as a point of contact for establishments to help them connect with District government agencies on everything from consumer complaints, to problems with District government agencies, to obtaining licenses, permits, or approvals. It will also serve as the intermediary when any issues arise between the District government, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, residents, and establishments, such as noise, littler, parking, or public safety. The office will also provide input to other agencies on matters important to the nighttime economy, identify and provide information on best practices in the nighttime economy sector, and work with the Commission on Nightlife and Culture (also created by this legislation). The Office of Nightlife and Culture will focus on building a vibrant nighttime economy for the District of Columbia that operates smoothly in the context of each neighborhood. They will serve as a resource to both the community and small businesses for any and all nightlife-related concerns. They will help bring more jobs to the District, and expand opportunities for residents to engage in fun, safe nighttime activities, which is so much more than just bars and clubs, but also restaurants, art, culture, music, and fashion.

How does it benefit owners of nightlife businesses and people who go to them?

The Office will benefit owners by providing a single point of contact on all matters related to their establishment. The Office will be open during nighttime hours when other Government agencies are not open, and will be able to help with obtaining permits or getting other concerns addressed by DC Government agencies. Patrons will benefit from the office advising establishments on safety and security best practices, including training programs to prevent sexual harassment and assault.

What kind of budget would it have?
I am delighted to report that we have secured $291,000 in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget for the Office of Nightlife and Culture. The funds will be set aside until the establishing legislation is passed into law. These funds provide for three full time staffers, including a Director, Staff Assistant, and Community Liaison, plus $60,000 to stand up the office.

Would it have enforcement abilities or legal authority?

No, this office would not have enforcement authority. Those functions would continue to be the responsibility of the respective agency. For example, the Metropolitan Police Department will still be responsible for addressing public safety concerns, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs will still process building permits, etc… The Office of Nightlife and Culture will just serve as a central liaison between establishments, the community, and the Government.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Cuban restaurant Little Havana at 14th and Spring making progress, from Mezcalero owner

Looks like another spot is soon to open on the 14th Street strip where the Red Derby, Lyman's, Mezcalero and Taqueria Habanero are: Little Havana, a Cuban spot from the owner of Mezcalero and El Sol in Shaw. I walked by the other day and it looks like they are making progress, and Eater has an article taking a peek at the inside and at the menu.

The spot has 70 seats split between a dining room in the front and a bar in the back, which chef Joseph Osorio says is a way to have the spot be family friendly but also fun for the late night crowd. Osorio's grandmother is Cuban and he's previously cooked at a lot of Clyde's Restaurant Group kitchens. The food will be Cuban and Cuban-inspired, like a planned Cuban sandwich spring roll. They're also looking at ways to use frozen pineapples as glasses for cocktails.

To start they'll be open 4pm-11pm with plans to add brunch on weekends and coffee and pastries in the morning, something sorely needed in that area.

Friday, June 8, 2018

4th of July celebration at the Old Soldiers Home: music, food, beer, kids activities, and watch the fireworks!

The annual Fourth of July celebration at the Old Soldiers Home is happening again, and it's a good time. The campus (officially the Armed Forces Retirement Home) is just east of Rock Creek Church Road NW and Park View and a good spot to watch the fireworks on the Mall, as it's on a big hill. It's a beautiful campus too with rolling hills and lots of trees.

This year's fest has a lot going on! The event is put on by the Friends of the Soldiers Home and a number of sponsors.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Local news site DCist relaunches June 11 run by WAMU, launch party on June 14

Not specifically Columbia Heights-related, but good news for anyone interested in local news: DCist, the long-running news site that was shut down last year by its new owner, is back! WAMU, a local NPR station, bought the site and rehired the previous editors and much of the staff.

The site covers local news, music, arts, local politics, transportation and a lot more, including the weekly Overheard in D.C. column. (Yours truly has written Overheard since 2007, which DCist started running in 2006.)

The closing in November came as a shock to everyone, and happened after New York staff voted to unionize (the parent company, Gothamist, owned a number of local news sites.) The billionaire former owner who closed it, Joe Ricketts, is famously anti-union and basically shut down the entire network to spite them.

If you've read DCist before, you're probably pretty happy, and if you haven't, it's definitely worth a look. I basically used to have it open all day to see what's new.

If you want to celebrate with staff and friends of the site, there's also an opening party on June 14. They also have a Kickstarter to help it get going.

Here's more info!

DCist to Relaunch Local News Site on June 11

After purchase by WAMU, DCist will begin publishing new content, celebrated with a launch party and aided by a Kickstarter campaign.

Three months after WAMU announced the acquisition of beloved neighborhood news site DCist, the station reports that the site will resume publishing content on Monday, June 11 at DCist will continue its tradition of reporting on local District news with the same witty, unique voice it has had since its inception.

“WAMU is thrilled to continue to invest in the local community, and we look forward to giving DCist the resources it needs to produce its distinctive, energetic content,” said Andi McDaniel, WAMU’s senior director of content and news. “It will be the same DCist the community knows and loves, now with new ownership and a wealth of resources at its fingertips.”

WAMU and DCist will host a launch party to celebrate DCist’s return, which will feature an interactive art experience, DJs, food trucks, games and more. The party is set for Thursday, June 14 from 6:30-11:00 p.m. at the Blind Whino art space in Southwest D.C. Tickets are on sale at and are $20 each. Attendees must be 21 years old or older.

“We are committed to connecting our vibrant community here in D.C.,” said Rachel Sadon, DCist editor-in-chief. “In a region that often gets overshadowed by national news, DCist will help fill the essential need for local journalism, and we look forward to hearing feedback from readers as to how we can best serve our community.”

Want to get involved? WAMU launched a Kickstarter campaign to help sustain DCist as an online news outlet and to help bring in freelancers and contributors on a regular basis. The goal is to reach $75,000 between May 22 and June 22. To learn more, visit

About WAMU
WAMU 88.5 is the NPR station in the nation’s capital and Washington’s source for local and national news, podcasts and smart, thoughtful programming. WAMU produces the nationally acclaimed program 1A, the daily local talk show The Kojo Nnamdi Show, the Diane Rehm: On My Mind podcast and award-winning regional news that spans topics from race and power to business and the arts. WAMU is member-supported, professionally staffed and licensed to American University. Founded in 1961, WAMU reaches an audience of nearly one million listeners on-air, online, and on demand. Learn more about WAMU or listen live