Thursday, April 19, 2018

Columbia Heights neighborhood cleanups this Saturday, the day before Earth Day

The weather this weekend is looking nice and Sunday is Earth Day: why not get out and help pick up some litter around the area? The "Great CoHi Cleanup" is this Saturday, April 21, from 1-3pm. The event, organized by local resident Jordana Merran and a few ANC commissioners, aims to bring people together and help make our are look tidy.

Here's more details, and there is an invite link too (mostly to remind yourself.)
Columbia Heights has a pretty serious trash problem. Plastic bottles, aluminum cans, straws, lids, and more line nearly every sidewalk. 
But on Saturday, April 21-- the day before Earth Day-- residents and friends will take to the streets and show the neighborhood (and the planet) a little love. Volunteers will go out in teams to pick up trash and litter at The Great CoHi Cleanup. 
Sign up to volunteer on Eventbrite and follow the Facebook page for news and updates leading up to the event. Trash bags and gloves will be provided; but bring a reusable water bottle and wear a green shirt if you have one!

Bad Saint looking to add 10-seat outdoor patio area!

Good news for fans of much lauded restaurant Bad Saint on 11th -- ANC commissioner and Ward 1 council candidate Kent Boese has news that the popular Filipino spot is looking to add ten patio seats. The spot currently has 24 seats and a long wait almost every day, so that's a good sign.

Eater confirmed the news with Bad Saint co-owner Genevieve Villamora. They aren't sure of a timetable but they've submitted the paperwork. Villamora told Eater they may have the same menu on the patio, or perhaps other options.
Nice to hear! I've been once and it's fantastic, but you have to get in line many hours before. I've even seen a guy who comes by and offers to sit in line for you (for a fee.)

Photo by Farrah Skeiky, from their Facebook page

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Whoa! Wawa coming to 14th and Irving, replacing Five Guys, Pete’s, Potbelly

If you’re a Wawa fan, you’re probably going to be thrilled — while if you’re a Five Guys, Pete’s Apizza or Potbelly fan, maybe not.

Wawa, the Philly-area convenience store know for their subs (or hoagies if you prefer) is coming the corner of 14th and Irving. It’s replacing Five Guys, Pete’s Apizza and Potbelly. A reader sent me a picture showing that Five Guys has already closed, and I expect the others to close soon too.

The next closest Pete’s locations are in Silver Spring and Friendship Heights. For Five Guys, its’s NoMa and Takoma, and for Potbelly it’s Georgia and Bryant near Howard U. (Oddly, a sign at Five Guys sign says they'll see you downtown, but maybe that's just where the franchisee has other stores.)

I’ve never gotten a hoagie at Wawa but the chain has some serious brand loyalty and hard core fans. This will be the third Wawa in the city, behind one on 19th Street and another coming to Georgetown. The rumor is this one will be open 24 hours.

I contacted the Pete's Apizza folks, they said they're closing Sunday and plan to extend the delivery area of their other locations to try to cover part of the 14th and Irving location's delivery zone, but won't be able to cover it all. They don't plan to open another location around our area. Too bad, I love that pizza.

The news was first reported by PoP and confirmed by the Washington Business Journal; which is good, because a previous PoP story about Wawa coming to 15th and P turned out to be wrong.

What do you think of this news? Hooray Wawa or sad to lose these three spots?

Monday, April 9, 2018

Bagel shop and deli Call Your Mother from Timber Pizza Co. coming to Alfie's/Tchoup's space aiming for summer

In January, we learned that the folks behind Timber Pizza Co. on Upshur were planning to open a Jewish-style deli called Call Your Mother in the space vacated by Tchoup's and Alfie's.

nd now WTOP reports that they're hoping to open in the summer. I walked by the other day and construction is underway.

They plan to have bagels made in a wood-fired oven that are a cross between New York and the denser, smaller and sweeter Montreal-style bagels. WTOP says they've been baking various test bagels for months to perfect them. They're calling them "New Montreal" bagels and jokingly call it "Jew-ish" as it's not all completely traditional.

We previously heard they'll have Jewish deli-inspired food like bagel sandwiches, latke fries and seared Matzoh ball soup. The nagel sandwiches may include egg, smoked salmon or smoked whitefish, and pastrami, egg and cheese. WTOP reports They also plan to have cream cheese made from scratch.

They also plan to have various themed dinners, like fried chicken, Peking duck, and a New York-style pizza night: "big pies, fried calamari, garlic knots — your stereotypical New York-style pizza dinner, but done really well," according to Timber's Andrew Dana. They plan to use the patio as well. Sounds like a nice spot for a morning bagel or lunch sandwich.

If you want to try their bagels in the meantime, they're available at the Dupont and Silver Spring farmers markets. You can also follow them on Instagram.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Howard U's week long student protest and sit-in is over; administration agrees to 7 of 9 demands

Howard University has recently been in the national news: students have staged a week-long protest, occupying the administration building. The protest grew out a recent scandal where university employees stole $1 million out of the school's financial aid budget. The employees were fired but students and others criticized the university for a lack of transparency -- the school learned of the thefts in 2016, which began in 2007, but didn't tell anyone.

The scandal also brought forth a number of long-simmering complaints by the students about poor facilities, a difficult and unclear housing selection problems, a dismissive attitude by administrators, increased tuition, health and safety concerns such as sexual assault, increased mental health services and the desire to disarm Howard University Police, the resignation of the university president, and more student say in decisions on campus. They posted their demands on twitter, and the university president also faces a no-confidence vote from faculty.

And just now, WAMU reports that the protest has ended with Howard agreed to 7 of the 9 demands: all but the president and Board of Trustees resigning were agreed to. Howard also released a statement about the agreement, and in an email, the chair of the Board of Trustees, called the protests "an inflection point" for the university.

Howard agreed to extend the deadline for a housing deposit (which was originally announced one day before it was due), a new student ombudsperson to help address issues, counseling and mental health services, looking at a tuition freeze, a new task force to look at whether the campus police should be armed, a grievance reporting system for conduct for students, faculty, staff and administrators, a sexual assault and gender harassment task force, and a food pantry for students.

The Howard statement is below:

Howard University Board of Trustees and Howard Administration Commitments
This Statement of Commitments, dated April 6, 2018, issued by the Howard University Board of Trustees and the University Administration, addresses concerns that have been raised about student life at Howard University. While the commitments may have been discussed with HUResist and HUSA leaders, in light of recent events, these commitments are meant to address the needs, and are for the benefit and welfare, of the entire Howard University community.
•    The deadline for submitting the institution’s $200 housing deposit was extended to May 1, 2018. A community wide announcement of the extension was already shared on April 1, 2018.
•    If the housing deadline extension results in a significant number of students requesting on- campus housing, the Quad renovation will be delayed to accommodate additional occupancy.
•    Howard will engage students in examining the adequacy of on-campus housing to meet Howard’s housing policy that states: “All Howard University first year (0 or 1 completed semesters of post- high school education) and second year (2 or 3 completed semesters of post-high school education) students under the age of 21 will be required to live on campus, unless living at home with a parent or guardian,” and measure against bed availability.
•    Students will have a voice in selecting the student ombudsperson. The ombudsperson will be a graduate student who will be located in the Blackburn Center, and will report to the VP for Student Affairs and is expected to attend the Board Student Life and Affairs Committee meetings to make reports.
•    The health and  well-being  of  our  community  is  of  critical  importance,  and  the  Board  and administration want to be supportive of the well-being of our students.  Howard will implement the Proposal for a Joint Student-Administration Task Force to Enhance Psychiatric and Behavioral Health Services, dated April 1, 2018. Counseling provided under this Proposal will place emphasis on helping students overcome the anxiety of reporting sexual violence to the authorities.  The Task Force will be co-chaired by a student and review the process for intake and will report to the Vice President for Student Affairs.
•    The Board recognizes the cost of tuition is an area of utmost importance to the entire Howard community. Howard will commit to making a recommendation to the Board to consider holding undergraduate tuition at current levels for the academic year 2019-20 while working with the Tuition Rates and Fees Committee, which already includes student representation, to assess tuition and fees for academic year 2020-21. As part of this process, the University will make comparative data used to inform its decisions available to the student body.
•    While Howard’s goal has always been to ensure the safety of our campus community, a separate task force, co-chaired by a student, will be created to undertake a comprehensive review of the Howard Department of Public Safety, focusing on its engagement with the Howard student body, the use of force, training and whether there is a need for armed officers. The task force shall be represented by administration, faculty and student stakeholders, will include experts in criminal justice, and will set forth the process and timeline for its work. The task force will be established by July 1, 2018.
•    The Board agrees to establish a task force, co-chaired by a student, with representation from the Howard student body and Howard administration to review existing grievance mechanisms at the University, and best practices at other universities, and establishing a grievance system that holds faculty, administrators and students accountable in their language and actions towards anyone in the Howard community. Any inappropriate behavior goes against Howard’s core values and will not be tolerated by the Howard community.  Howard will maintain the existing anonymous hotline as a channel to report such grievances. Professors will be reminded of their obligations to advise students of how to avail themselves of the grievance process for questioning grades.
•    The Board is committed to fostering and maintaining an academic and living environment that is free of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other forms of interpersonal violence.  As part of our commitment, we recently thoroughly assessed our Title IX policies and processes, gathered student, faculty and staff feedback during this process, and unveiled last year a new interim Title IX Policy on Prohibited Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment. To further support this critical area for our campus community, a task force, co-chaired by a student, will be established with representation from the Howard student body, faculty and administration for the purpose of examining the current climate on Howard’s campus around sexual assault, sexual harassment and interpersonal violence and providing feedback to the administration on changes in policy and process as appropriate to improve student safety and prevent sexual assault, sexual harassment and interpersonal violence.  Included in the scope of work of the task force, working with the Office of the Provost, is consideration of instituting a mandatory 1-credit course with a curriculum designed to emphasize prevention of sexual assault, sexual harassment and interpersonal violence.  Every reasonable action will be taken to start up the task force so that it can begin its work before April 30, 2018.  For the sake of clarity, the proposal to establish Howard University Hospital as a site for rape kit examinations of victims of sexual assault is a matter of local law and is not part of this commitment. The University will provide transportation to sexual assault victims to Washington Hospital Center, the location where rape kit examinations are administered.
•    Howard will  support  a  student-led  effort  to  establish  a  food  pantry  in  the  LeDroit-Shaw community and will allocate money for that purpose.  Student volunteer involvement in service to, and fundraising for, the food pantry will be encouraged. Students are commended for the concern shown for the greater LeDroit-Shaw community and at Howard, we always want to be good community stewards. A plan for the food pantry will be submitted by students to the VP for External Affairs by June 1, 2018. While the University has a long history of commitment to and involvement in the community, the University will consider by June 1, 2019 the establishment of a community development organization which might allow for more inclusive community engagement on select real estate projects where no contractual obligations currently exist (not involving existing real estate holdings or immediate core development opportunities).   The University’s Ethics Policy requires that it comply with “the requirements of [all] laws.”  As a party to eight collective bargaining agreements, the University is subject to the National Labor Relations Act relating to fair labor practices. The University will continue to draw on the resources of the School of Law’s Fair Housing Clinic to assist members of the community.
•    Subject to approval of the Board Governance Committee, a Board Committee on Student Life and Affairs will be established on which trustees, including student trustees, the President of HUSA and other appropriate stakeholders, will engage with the student body, providing a forum to convey concerns regarding all aspects of student life to the Board as needed. The Howard administration will create more opportunities for dialogue with students and the Committee will establish a mechanism for such engagement.

First Friday on Georgia Avenue is today: deals, freebies at local businesses, meet your neighbors

Today is the monthly First Friday event, where you can visit small businesses on Georgia Avenue and get freebies, specials, deals and more. This month includes live music at Colony Club and the Midlands, salsa dancing at Esencias Panameñas, 20% off at Mom n Pop Antiques, drink deals at Reliable Tavern, Ten Tigers and DC Reynolds, and a lot more. It's a lot of fun and a great way to learn about local businesses, meet your neighbors and get some deals.

The event is organized by Georgia Avenue Thrive and District Bridges. Here's more!

Continue to celebrate First Fridays in April with the neighborhood's small businesses on Georgia Ave NW in Park View & Petworth. Drink, food and retail specials, live music, art and more. Mark those calendars and stay tuned for specials and special events! And as always we are partnering with our friends from Petworth Arts Collaborative.

Special events: + @cultural_dc art installation at Bruce Monroe Park (5pm-7pm)
A map of all the businesses for easy reference:

Participating businesses:♣ Bravo Bar: BoGo♣ Colony Club: Gabi Schulte Live at Colony Club (Live) - Starting at 8pm ♣ Ana's Restaurante: TBD♣ Heat Da Spot Coffee Lounge♣ District Dogs: Write a postcard, take a photo of your dog with a home made "save the dog park" sign in support of the Columbia Heights Dog Park (11th&Park) (♣ Union Drinkery & SUNdeVICH: Cocktail special: $7 Old Pal (Rye, Dry Vermouth, Campari)♣ Ana's Restaurante: TBD♣ Walls of Books - Washington, DC : TBD♣ [Story District]♣ The Midlands: Dan Wolff and the Muddy Crows (Live) starting @ 9pm♣ Taste of Jamaica: TBD♣ Esencias Panameñas Restaurant & Catering: Salsa dancing♣ Yoga Heights: 15% off retail; Bring a (new) friend to class for free♣ Mom N' Pop Antiques: 20% off♣ The Looking Glass Lounge: $2 off on all drinks♣ DC Reynolds: BoGo♣ Reliable Tavern: $7 First Friday Punch♣ Ten Tigers Parlour: $6 First Friday Punch♣ Napoli Pastabar(Sherman Ave): TBD [NEW]

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Drunk lecture series Three Sheets coming to Wonderland: the Kardashians, Arlington Cemetery, and more

This sounds like fun: Wonderland is hosting Three Sheets, a short lecture series where the presenters have had a few, this Saturday at 8. It's also a fundraiser for a nonprofit that works with Peruvian women -- entry is free if you bring a backpack, graphing calculator or school supplies -- more below. Read on!
A live Drunk History. A Nerd Nite with drugs. A hilarious and educational way to donate. 
Our presenters will take you through some of the most interesting and educational topics of their choosing... But they will also be pretty trashed. The topics and presentations will be very, very real but whether the presenters can get through it will be part of the fun. 
The entry fee is one backpack OR a graphing calculator you no longer need/use OR any school supplies (no paper/notebooks please) for Peruvian Hearts, an organization that empowers Peruvian young women through secondary-school graduation and continued education at the post-secondary level in vocational institutes, colleges, and universities. 
Find out more about their work here:
Topics to be presented:
- Who Are the Kardashians?
- Productive Romantic Connection in the 21st Century
- YouTube Monetization
- The Creation of Arlington Cemetery
- The Colonial History of Mauritius 
and more! 
Saturday, April 7
Doors at 7:30
Show at 8 PM 
at The Wonderland Ballroom (second floor) 
Entry fee: one backpack OR an old graphing calculator you no longer need OR any school supplies (no paper/notebooks please) 

Monday, April 2, 2018

Flip It LJ Diner on Park Road is good; you should go

Today I finally got a chance to check out Flip It LJ Diner at 1432 Park Rd NW, and it's good.

It's a pretty small spot, maybe 20 seats, with a good sized menu: breakfast, lunch and dinner with traditional diner fare plus some Latin American items. I went for breakfast/lunch style and go a baleada, a traditional Honduran dish that's kind of like an awesome version of a quesadilla: a tortilla with scrambled eggs, avocado, refried beans, sour cream and parmesan. It was tasty (pictured below).

I also got a side of bacon which was perfectly made, and my buddy got the Early Bird burrito, a big breakfast burrito stuffed with home fries, sausage, cheese and egg, and he liked it. With two coffees, the total was $26, so not too bad.

The menu is big, with traditional diner breakfasts, plus omelets, burgers, wings, sandwiches, paninis, pasta, salads and Mexican food like tacos,  quesadillas and fajitas. We talked with the waiter a little bit, he said one owner is American, the other is from Bolivia and the cooks are central American, so they tried to get a mix of dishes.

And like a good diner, it opens at 7am all week, plus 8am on Saturday and 9am on Sunday, although it's not open too late. It's closed Tuesday.

Yelpers love it too, with a 5 star rating from 44 ratings -- so they're doing quite well. Definitely worth a visit if you want to some traditional diner grub. Here are the hours:

Mon 7:00 am - 3:30 pm
Tue Closed
Wed 7:00 am - 6:30 pm
Thu 7:00 am - 8:30 pm
Fri 7:00 am - 8:30 pm
Sat 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
Sun 9:00 am - 4:30 pm

Friday, March 30, 2018

Best of Columbia Heights: best places to eat and drink outside

I'm starting a new series: the Best of Columbia Heights, where I'll write about my favorite spots in a theme. And now that good weather is finally here, let's start with the best places to eat and drink outside. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments!

  • Wonderland: you can't go wrong with Wonderland's patio. You'll probably see somebody you know, or maybe a dog or two, and it's great for hanging out or eating. And the big tables mean you may make some new friends. 1101 Kenyon St NW.
  • Little Coco's: the Italian spot up on 14th from the El Chucho folks has a nice front patio. 3907 14th St NW.
  • Midlands: a beer garden! Can't argue with that. 3333 Georgia Av NW.
  • The Red Derby: not technically outside (it's sort of covered) the Derb's rooftop is a great spot. 3718 14th St NW.
  • Union Drinkery: if it's open, they have a big hidden back patio area, complete with an outdoor foosball table. You can get good grub from Sundevich too. 3216 Georgia Av NW.
  • Room 11: their patio is great for Sunday brunch or a cocktail or bite in the evening. 3234 11th St NW.
  • Red Rocks: pizza outside? I'm in. Also open for lunch during the week. 1036 Park Rd NW.
  • The Airedale: the European spot at 14th and Spring has a big back patio/beer garden, plus a front patio and balcony. 3605 14th St NW.
  • The Coupe: the diner, coffee shop and bar on 11th has a big patio that's good for the morning or evening. 3415 11th St NW.
  • Lou's City Bar and Bar Roubaix: these two Irving Street spots have lots of outdoor space in front. 1400 Irving St NW.
Honorable mention: Lyman's and Meridian Pint have smallish patios, but still good ones.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Paddlestar Galactica ping pong fundraiser for 826DC coming up; donate or volunteer to play!

The annual ping pong fundraiser for 826DC, the great local tutoring nonprofit that's based on the Civic Plaza, is coming up. Paddlestar Galactica, where people collect donations for 826DC and wear crazy costumes to play ping pong, is Sunday, April 15.

The event features volunteers who ask their friends and family for donations, and all donations are matched up to $35,000 as well.

If you'd like to donate, please do! If you're interested in playing (and by playing you agree to help raise money) contact Here's more details:

826DC is raising money by having volunteers and friends compete in a bracket-style ping-pong tournament. Participants have the month of March and part of April to fundraise before competing at the main event. The more money each team raises the more cheats they’ll be able to “purchase” on the day of the tournament.
Eager to know more? 
All donations made through Paddlestar Galactica VI will be generously matched 1:1 up to $35,000 thanks to The Kimsey Foundation and Catherine Wakelyn. Double your impact by supporting a Paddlestar team today! 

Weekly in March/April, upstairs at Colony Club, 6:30-8 pm:
Wednesday, March 14
Wednesday, March 21
Wednesday, March 28
Wednesday, April 11 
Participants and supporters are invited to come practice their ping pong skills, flex their fundraising muscle, and enjoy adult beverages upstairs at Colony Club. Each week the top individual fundraiser will receive a fabulous prize donated by a local business. We’ll also award a prize to the winner of our weekly “skills challenge.” These are open practices and everyone is invited to attend! 

Sunday, April 15
12-3pm at Pearl Street Warehouse
33 Pearl St SW (In the new Wharf development)
Fundraising participants will compete for a first place trophy and prestige in a bracket-style competition. Prizes will also be awarded for “Best Uniform” and “Bling Pong” (for the individual or team who raised the most money overall). Spectators are invited to help select the winner for Best Uniform.
As for 826DC, here's how they describe themselves.
826DC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around our understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.

With this in mind we provide drop-in tutoring, field trips, after-school workshops, in-school programs, help for English language learners, and assistance with student publications. All of our programs are challenging and enjoyable, and ultimately strengthen each student’s power to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in his or her individual voice. 
826DC is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit corporation based in the District of Columbia. Our tax ID number is 26-2426166.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Kraken Axes planning to add Viking-themed beer garden to Georgia Avenue

Whoa. A friend recently checked out Kraken Axes, the axe throwing bar at 3400 Georgia Avenue NW: he said it was awesome, and more importantly, a staff member said they plan to add a Viking-themed beer garden to their big parking lot.

The news, also mentioned by a Yelp reviewer, means that Georgia and Morton is becoming a little beer garden zone: caddy-corner from Kraken is the Midlands beer garden.

I'm pretty excited for this. My friend also said the staff member said they didn't plan for Kraken to be a temporary, pop-up type place, but to remain there.

I wrote more about Kraken here: you reserve a spot for your group and toss axes. They also have food and a full bar.

I'll try to track down more details about the beer garden. Has anyone else been? How did you like it?

Friday, March 23, 2018

Himitsu offering Japanese-inspired brunch for next 3 Sundays

If you haven't had a chance to check out Himitsu, the well-reviewed Japanese spot at 828 Upshur from the Room 11 folks, here's a good opportunity: they're offering brunch for the next three Sundays, starting this Sunday.

The City Paper has the full story, they'll be open 11am-3pm with no reservations accepted. The spot, which replaced Crane & Turtle, has been a critical and popular favorite, and chef Kevin Then was nominated for a James Beard award for "Rising Star Chef of the Year."

Here's the menu from the City Paper:
Congee with braised pork, pickled shallots, fried shallots, and scallions ($22) 
French toast with ricotta and yuzu-berry compote ($14) 
Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) with cabbage, tare, Kewpie mayonnaise, bonito, and scallions ($14) 
Rice cakes with poached egg, pickled red onion, and ground spicy sausage ($16) 
Fried Brussels sprouts with Caesar dressing, furikake, and Parmesan ($12) 
Yellowtail sushi rice bowl with ikura (salmon roe), furikake, shiso, and kimchi cucumber ($16) 
The restaurant's signature fried chicken and biscuits coated in a Korean chili glaze and honey ($16) will also be available.
And cocktails
Kimchi Michelada with sea salt-watermelon gose beer, kimchi juice, lime, and pickled watermelon rind 
Bloody Caeser with vodka, clamato juice, horseradish, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and celery salt (add a raw oyster for $3) 
I Don't Carrot All with aquavit, carrot juice, lemon hot sauce, caper brine, and dill with a pickled baby carrot

Lookin' Fineapple with white rum, coconut water, yellow tomato juice, pineapple juice, and a slice of fresh pineapple 
No Big Dill with green chili vodka, cucumber, tomatillo, parsley, celery, and dill

Drop a Beet with amontillado sherry, tomato, beet, Tabasco, salt, pepper, and pickled beet 
They'll also offer mimosas with fresh squeezed juice.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Here's what's open for the snow day today: deals aplenty

Snow! Finally. A lot of local spots are opening for it, here's the rundown. Will add more as I find them, and please comment below if you hear of others.

  • Meridian Pint open at 11, half price wine with entrees. $4 beer with DC ID, library card or bill with 20010 zip code
  • Red Derby is open at 3pm, happy hour 3-8pm
  • Sticky Fingers open with regular hours
  • Lou's City Bar open at 11am, BOGO til 7pm
  • DC Reynolds open at noon, BOGO too
  • Good Silver on 11th is open at noon
  • Homestead is open now, happy hour starts at 3
  • Lyman’s is open
  • Slim's Diner is closed
  • Cava is closed

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Funk Parade needs your help: fundraiser to make sure it happens!

The Funk Parade, the annual awesome music festival and parade that happens around U Street, needs your help. It's planned for May 12 but they were having a hard time raising money while still remaining independent, putting this year's fest at risk.

They've set up a fundraising page where if they raise $60,000 more, local music equipment store Chuck Levin's will chip in by matching each donation -- so your money gets doubled! It's tax deductible, too.

The event is really fun: multiple music stages around the area, lots of local vendors and food, booths from nonprofits and local organizations, specials at local bars and restaurants, and an awesome street parade down U Street and surrounding blocks.

Here's more about the event and fundraiser from them, and here's the fundraiser link again.
Funk Parade organizers announced last week that without an infusion of at least $60,000, the event was unlikely to take place this year, the event's fifth. The annual Funk Parade and festival brings over 70,000 people to the U Street and Shaw neighborhoods for a day and night of music from dozens of the city's best musicians and artists. 
Past Funk Parade performers have included legendary groups like Rare Essence, Backyard Band, Junkyard Band, Trouble Funk, Malcolm X Drummers and the Sun Ra Arkestra; rising DC stars like Reesa Renee, Aaron Abernathy, Drew Kid, Cautious Clay, FootsXColes, Aztec Sun and Alex Vaughn; local favorites Kokayi, Funk Ark, Fort Knox Five, Wes Felton, Congo Sanchez, UCB, Asheru, Baby Bry Bry, Brass Connection, Black Masala, and Empresarios; and sounds and artists from around the world, including Janka Nabay (Sierra Leone), People's Champs, Sinkane, Mokoomba (Zimbabwe), Jouwala Collective, Cheick Hamala Diabate (Mali), All the Best Kids, and Elikeh. The parade has featured marching bands from around the city, like Ballou, Eastern, and Duke Ellington High Schools, joined by marching bands from New York to North Carolina, and DC’s own Batala drummers. 
"The Funk Parade represents the heart of DC's music culture and the soul of the city that's been part of our existence for the past 60 years," said Adam Levin, grandson of founders Chuck and Marge Levin. “Chuck’s” has helped produce Funk Parade since its inception, providing support and equipment. "When we saw it was in jeopardy we wanted to jump in and see what else we could do. This is the most impactful thing DC has to celebrate the amazing music and arts that are born out of this city. It has to go on."
Launched last Wednesday, the Funk Parade crowdfunding campaign had raised over $10,000 by Sunday, still short of the amount needed to produce the parade. Chuck Levin's has promised organizers it will match new contributions the campaign receives to ensure the Funk continues. 
"For this event to survive, DC's business community needs to step up and save it," said Funk Parade co-founder Justin Rood. "Chuck Levin's pledge shows it can be done. If Funk Parade survives, it will be because of their generosity. We're incredibly thankful for their support, and urgently hope others will follow their lead."

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Help some local students: bingo at Boundary Stone to benefit the Seaton Elementary PTO

While out of out neighborhood, a lot of kids in our area go to Seaton Elementary School at 10th and Rhode Island. They're holding a bingo fundraiser for their Parent-Teacher Organization on March 22 at Boundary Stone. Sounds like fun, and a nice way to help local kids.

Here are the details:
Come have fun and help raise money for Seaton’s Parent Teacher Organization. The PTO will host Bingo Night on Thursday, March 22, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Join us at Boundary Stone on 116 Rhode Island Ave. NW. Kids welcome.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Ellē, new veggie focused Mt. Pleasant spot from Room 11 & Bad Saint, is awesome

Mt. Pleasant has a new vegetable-focused restaurant, Ellē, from the folks behind Bad Saint, Paisley Fig and Room 11. Located in the old Heller's bakery location, Ellē (pronounced Ellie) is a coffee shop and bakery during the day and restaurant and cocktail bar at night. I checked out it for dinner last week and really enjoyed it.

The menu changes and there's a lot of vegetables, but meat lovers can good find things too. We got roasted mushroom gnocchi, butternut squash tartine, and a bread starter that was excellent. Service was great, and they also have really tasty cocktails and a good beer selection. Other dinner items include hot duck with biscuit, a charcuterie board, grilled kimchi toast and grilled mojo pork.

It's not a huge place, so you may want to be ready to wait on Friday or Saturday, or try calling ahead. I'm not sure if they take reservations. We waited for a bit but just had a cocktail in the front area.

I'm looking forward to trying it out during the day too. The bread can go fast though, follow their Twitter in case they're out.

The name is an homage to Heller's, the long time MtP bakery, and also Paisley Fig bakery Lizzy Evelyn's grandmother. The Washingtonian has more about the spot.

Ellē is at 3221 Mt. Pleasant Street NW. They're open Wednesday-Monday 8am to 4pm & 5:30pm to 11:30pm (dinner) and Tuesday from 8am to 4pm.

Monday, March 12, 2018

New rustic neighborhood bar and restaurant, Grady's, open at 14th and Florida

Another new bar and food option! The City Paper has a big piece about Grady's, a new spot at 2210 14th Street NW, which was formerly Dynasty Ethiopian. The CP describes it as "Taxidermy, chicken wings fried in waffle batter, and stiff drinks on 14th Street NW," which sounds pretty alright to me. The owners say they hope it's a go-to neighborhood bar and restaurant and also a place to celebrate.

The spot has a lot of funky decorations like old taxidermied moose and buffalo heads and other Wild West paraphernalia from the collection of a former mayor of Harrisburg, PA.

It specializes in traditional American food, like chicken wings (the aforementioned waffle batter ones), lamb burger, mussels and more. There's also beer, wine and cocktails, and the most expensive beer is $6.50, which I appreciate.

The drinks menu is run by Matthew Wilcox who previously worked at Mintwood Place, Tallula, and Le Diplomate, and the chef is Michael Hartzer, who worked at the fancy French spot Citronelle under Chef Michel Richard. And so far Yelpers love it.

The spot has three owners, John Jarecki, Greg Grammen and Mark Harris. Jarecki also owns Red's Table in Reston, and Grammen owns the nearby Palace Five and Federal clothing shops, just up 14th.  Palace Five, if you recall, is named for the former pro basketball team based in Columbia Heights, the Palace Five Laundrymen! No, really. Tat was their name.

They open at 4 pm and also plan to do brunch in the spring. 

Has anyone been so far? What did you think?

(Also, if you haven't been to Judy, the Salvadorian place next door, it's pretty great.)

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Hilltop restaurant on Sherman reopening as Napoli Pasta Bar with Italian chef, some gluten and dairy free items

This is interesting: the Hilltop, the restaurant and bar on Sherman Avenue, is currently closed and will be changing to Napoli Pasta Bar, to be run by Antonio Ferraro, who has run other Italian spots in the area. Hilltop owner Sam Jahabeen gave me a bit more details:
My friend Antonio Ferraro is taking over operations under the caveat that the concept is his and his to change.

He himself is from Italy and his chef is flying in from there. Antonio helped run Lupo Verde on 14th street for a number of years. Prior to that it was Café Milano.

Napoli is supposed to be a neighborhood [place] and laid back. Everything is made in-house. Menu is to include the classic dishes plus some variations to include some gluten-free, veggie, and dairy free options for pasta lovers with dietary restrictions.

It's going to be a fun upbeat place.
Sounds interesting -- I liked the Hilltop but also am looking forward to this spot.

The Hilltop opened in November 2016 at Sherman and Georgia, and also hosted some pop-ups like the delicious Small Chop coffee and kolache spot. It has a really nice layout and interior and tasty food.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

First Friday is this Friday: lots of deals plus outdoor, dogs and kid-friendly activities

This Friday, March 2 is the monthly First Friday on Georgia Avenue, where lots of local businesses offer deals and specials. It's a nice way to meet your neighbors and check out and support small local businesses in our area. And this month, there are some special events for First Friday: about green spaces, dogs and kid-friendly activities.

Read on for the participating businesses and more info from the organizers:

Participating businesses and deals:
·             Bravo Bar: BoGo
·             Colony Club: (Free) Screening of City of Trees Film by Meridian Hill Pictures 
·             Heat Da Spot Coffee Lounge: TBD
·             District Dogs: TBD
·             Union Drinkery: TBD
·             Ana's restaurante: TBD
·             Walls of Books - Washington, DCof Books - Washington, DC: Local author Davon Clark will do a reading and activities around his book The Adventures of Prada Enchilada
·             (Story District)
·             The Midlands: BoGo coupon for Monday
·             Taste of Jamaica: TBD
·             Esencias Panameñas Restaurant & Catering: Salsa dancing class f 6-7 f $10, salsa dancing 7-11. Beer $3 and Sangria and Wine $4 and Bar Foods $5
·             Yoga Heights: 15% off retail; Bring a (new) friend to class for free
·             Top Spanish Cafe: TBD
·             The Looking Glass Lounge: $2 off all drinks
·             DC Reynolds: BoGo
·             Reliable Tavern: $6 First Friday Punch
·             Ten Tigers Parlour: TBD

We wanted to make sure the next First Friday is on your list, this coming Friday from 6pm - 9pm on Georgia Ave.  As always, we celebrate the small businesses in our neighborhood and enjoy all they have to offer from food and drink specials to book themed, yoga, dog etc. fun and live music and art. For the list of participating businesses check here - - and look for the poster in store windows and on the day itself look for First Friday chalk marks in front of businesses.
We wanted to highlight a few “special events” for Friday and a kid friendly activity all around our “theme” for Green Spaces including green spaces for dogs. 

Green Spaces
Green spaces are an important part of our lives and DC neighborhoods and they contribute to our health and well being. DC documentary film makers Meridian Hill Pictures ( showcase a story about green spaces,  community and the efforts of DC's "Washington Parks and People" (washingtonparks.netin their documentary "City of Trees" ( Thank you to Meridian Hill Pictures to making this available for a free community screening during First Friday. Come to Colony Club ( at 3118 Georgia Ave NW, the film will start at around 7:30pm. We are excited that Washington Parks and People will join us for the event. 

An example of the wide range of use of our green spaces will be a an installation by Noa Heyne ( at Bruce Monroe Park as part of CulturalDC's "SPACE4: Mobile Art Gallery".  Take a sneak peak from 5-7pm on Friday before its official opening on Saturday. Thanks to District Bridges for making that connection. 

Also, you can continue with all things green spaces and what makes our community beautiful with our monthly clean-up on Saturday morning from 10 to 12:30pm, all equipment provided by us and the city. Details on where we are meeting and where we will grab a complimentary beverage after:

One of the green spaces in our community is the dog park at 11th Street and Par Road -"11th & Bark" ( - which as been enjoyed by dogs since 2009 and there is a volunteer only non-profit ready to manage and fundraise for the renovation of the park. Currently WMATA owns the land and is looking to sell it to a developer and the dog park community is advocating for the city to purchase it. We do not want to lose this green space and the dogs do not want to lose this as a play and socializing space. On First Friday you will see some of our neighbors and dog lovers collecting signatures for keeping the dog park. If you do not see them please sign the petition here:

Also keep your eyes open on "We the Dogs"  (@wethedogsdc), the DC nonprofit supporting DC area animal rescue organizations, on Instagram as one of us will have the handle on March 2nd and will high-light our great neighborhood, our dog friendly businesses and, of course, the dog park. And some of those rescued dogs will help with the monthly clean-up on Saturday so you can discuss their experience with them there! :-) 

Kid Friendly Activity
Our friends at Walls of Books are going with the dog and outdoor theme and are hosting the author of “The Adventures of Prada Enchilada” ( — www.facebook/theadventuresofpradaenchilada) with interactive storytelling that the kids will enjoy. (And Walls of Books has some “treats” for the parents for the parents as well in addition to the opportunity to stock up on some winter/spring reads)