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

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

What's your favorite parents group/website/meetup/event in our area?

I recently got a good question from a reader who's a new mom: are there any good moms or parents groups in our area? Or how about websites or web forums?

I know there's the DC Urban Moms and Dads forum, but I've heard it kind of turns into troll city sometimes, similar to the PoP or WTOP comment sections.

There are also a lot of great events for kids and parents at BloomBars on 11th and Walls of Books of 14th.

Any other recommendations? Post them below!

UPDATE: on our Facebook page, a reader recommended two neighborhood parent listserves: Columbia Heights New Parents and Petworth New Parents

Monday, June 4, 2018

Columbia Heights Day is Saturday, June 16: kids events, music, beer garden and more; vendors and volunteers needed

Columbia Heights Day, the annual street festival on 11th Street, is upon us: it's Saturday, June 16th from 11am-6pm. Running from Park Road to Irving Street, the fest will have artisans and vendors, two stages with music, dance and classes, plus a kids carnival at Tubman School and a beer garden for bigger kids. And this is the 13th year!

Here's the Facebook invite for the event.

If you'd like to be a volunteer, here is the link to sign up: -- you'll get a free t-shirt.

And if you'd like to be a vendor, here's that info:

Here's more from District Bridges, the organizers (they also run the Columbia Heights-Mt. Pleasant Main StreeT)
The best local DC street party is back and you’re invited!! Join us in celebration of our diversity and community, with the neighborhood’s finest food, drink, and entertainment!

Discover artisans, entrepreneurs, and area businesses in the heart of Columbia Heights. There's fun everywhere and for everyone! 2 stages with live music, dance, and free fitness classes. Kids can play at the carnival on the Harriet Tubman field while adults make their own fun at the Meridian Pint beer garden. See you on Saturday, June 16th! 
Where: 11th Street between Park Road and Irving Street.
When: Saturday, June 16th 11am-6pm
Cost: FREE (Donations welcome!)

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Qualia Coffee's lease is ending late 2019, looking for space in the area

Not great news for coffee fans: the lease for Qualia Coffee at 3917 Georgia Avenue NW ends in late 2019, according to PoP. The owner of the building is putting it up for sale, and Qualia's owner Joel Finkelstein owner confirmed the details.

The other day I chatted with staff, who said they were looking for space in the area. One of the issues they cited was that they need more space -- the current spot is a small townhouse that can get crowded in the mornings, and it's a little worse for the wear. Finkelstein said something similar to Petworth News, adding that they hope to often more food options in the new location, and they won't be roasting coffee on premises. They're also looking for a new place to roast. They have a second location in Eckington too, right across from Sirius XM.

I hope they stay nearby, as it's one of the few coffee shops in the area and I've always enjoyed it there. Hopefully the ground floor retail spaces at one of the new condo buildings along Georgia would be a good space for Qualia.

But don't fret, that's still about a year and a half away.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Gussini store in DCUSA is closing, everything is 50% off

Gussini, the discount store which replaced Staples at DCUSA last year, is moving out. There are moving sale signs in the window, plus big signs for 50% off.

I was surprised when the store came in, as I'd never heard of it -- it's based in suburban Maryland and has a few stores around the region. I never say too many people in there when I walked by. Any readers ever shop there?

I hope something good comes in there, maybe a restaurant or other good retail shop. Anybody have something they'd really like to see?

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Howard looking to redevelop empty buildings on Georgia: survey on what you'd like to see

Howard University owns a number of empty buildings along Georgia Avenue between V and W Streets and wants your opinion on what should go there.

The area was planned to be redeveloped into the Howard Town Square development, including a grocery store, which was stalled and eventually canceled after a dispute between the university and developers. Recently, the university won their case and can proceed with the project. (Urban Turf has more about the site and dispute.)

And Howard published a survey, closing today, that includes what you'd like to see for the area. The site includes two big existing buildings on the west side of Georgia from V to W Street: that's the former Washington Railway and Electric Company (the brick building above) at the corner of Georgia and V, and the former Bond Bakery building at Georgia and W (the white building below.)

Some ideas include a 24-hour market similar to Union Market or Reading Terminal in Philly, among other things. Check out the survey and let them know!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Taste of Jamaica now open at 3308 Georgia; formerly on H Street NE

If you like Jamaican food, there's a new option on Georgia Avenue for you: Taste of Jamaica. The spot just opened and has a pretty big menu, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. I haven't been to this spot yet but really like Jamaican food.

This spot moved from 528 H Street NE, which people seemed to really love. This new location has really good reviews over at Yelp.

I'm intrigued by the breakfast, they have ackee, which is a fruit but when cooked tastes and has the consistency of scrambled eggs. It's pretty great.

This space has been empty for some time after being a tax office.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

You can get a Wendy's Frosty for 50 cents right now! There's a location on Georgia Ave

If you're a fan of Wendy's Frosties, get yourself to the location at 3900 Georgia Ave NW, they're selling them for 50 cents for a limited time. I'm not sure for how long, but they have a contest going until May 31, so maybe that's when.

That's the only Wendy's in town that I'm aware of, aside from the one at "Dave Thomas Circle" where First Street, New York and Florida Avenues meet.

The one at 3900 Georgia is open late too, so maybe a good post-bar option.

Spring carnival and fundraiser for Powell Elementary School on Upshur this Saturday

Powell Bilingual Elementary School on Upshur is a school that serves a lot of kids in our area, and they're having a spring carnival and fundraiser this Saturday at the Roosevelt High School football field.

There will be a lot of games and fun for kids, plus grilling, and snacks from Annie's Ace Hardware, performances, sports and more. Here's the details from Powell,which are also on their website.

4th Annual Powell Elementary COMMUNITY Carnival fundraiser

Date: May 19, 2018
Time: 11am - 5pm
Location: Roosevelt High School football field (Upshur St across from Annie’s Ace Hardware)
Rain Location:  Roosevelt High School Gym

Fun Activities to Expect:
  • Dunk Tank
  • Moon Bounce & obstacle course
  • Bungee Hoop Run
  • Bungee human hippo chow down
  • Carnival Games and prizes for kids
  • Free Kid Zone sponsored by Xi Omega
  • Balloon Animals sponsored by Elissa Silverman
  • Face Painting
  • Grilling by Annie’s Ace Hardware, Tons of homemade food, Sno-Cones, Popcorn, Hotdogs and other treats
  • Free DC Scores, Super Soccer Stars & Flagstar Football activities for kids (10:00 – 2:30)
  • Free Live performances:
    • CHEC Drum Line (11:30)
    • Teatro de la Luna – Buddies Not Bullies bilingual performance (12:30 – 1:15)
    • Tamika Love Jones (2:00 – 2:45)
    • Baba Ras D (3:00 – 3:30)
Great raffle prizes: $200 cash; iPad; VIP Sports tickets donated by Brandon Todd’s office; DC United Tickets
Purchase raffle tickets online and learn more about the event @

Friday, May 11, 2018

Get on up: the Funk Parade is this Saturday! Music, events, booths, performers, parade, concerts and more

The Funk Parade, one of our area's most fun events, is this Saturday! The event goes all day with a street festival from 1-7pm, the actual parade from 5-6pm, and a music fest starting at 7pm, plus post-event concerts at the Lincoln and Howard Theatres.

Events and the street festival stretch from 14th and U to 6th and U. The parade route is above.

Previous years have been really fun: people in crazy costumes, music everywhere, tons to do and see, booths and vendors, street performers and a lot more. Highly recommended.

The full music schedule is here with lots of outdoor stages around U Street. There's also a musical showcase at the Lincoln Theatre featuring R&B singer Ari Lennox and other artists, and a "True Funk" party at the Howard Theatre with Parliament-Funkadelic guitarist Michael "Kidd Funkadelic" Hampton and his band, plus a P-Funk tribute.

Here's a video of last year's event to give you some idea.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Construction underway at Jewish bagel shop and deli Call Your Mother and Sonny's Pizza, both on Georgia

If you live around Georgia Avenue, it's time to get excited: I just walked by Sonny's Pizza from the Colony Club folks and Call Your Mother, the Jewish deli from the Timber Pizza crew, and both are coming along.

Both places sound amazing. Call Your Mother, in the previous Alfie's/Tchoup's space, will have bagels that aim to be the city's best, plus coffee, Jewish food, bagel sandwiches (which they already offer at some farmers markets) and sandwiches, and an occasional supper club with various themes, like Salvadoran, fried chicken, etc.

Sonny's Pizza is next door to Colony Club in the MARC Clinic space, they'll have house baked bread, garlic knots, "grandma-style" pizza and pepperoni rolls.

Call Your Mother is aiming for spring and Sonny's I'm not sure about, but I saw a lot of kitchen equipment inside.

I am really excited for both. Photos below of the Sonny's location and Call Your Mother:

Images from Google Street View and HapstakDemetriou+, and Call Your Mother's Instagram.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Local kids to travel to Russia for Street Child World Cup; send-off at Bell School Wednesday at 9am

This is pretty awesome: DC SCORES, the great local literacy and sports nonprofit for kids, is helping send nine young women from our area to Russia as Team USA for the Street Child World Cup. The event happens before the World Cup, and the Team USA kids are all DC SCORES participants.

The Street Child World Cup is soccer tournament, art festival and conference for children at risk of homelessness -- often they grew up in unstable situations. The event aims to focus attention on at-rish children and "change the negative perceptions and treatment of homeless youth everywhere," as they describe it.

The team will be leaving at 9am from the Bell School field, heading to New York, and then to Moscow.

I've written a lot about DC SCORES before, they offer soccer programs and literacy tutoring for local young people. They do a lot of great work, and can always use donations and volunteers.

Washington DC Teens Head to Moscow to Represent the USA
at the Street Child World Cup
A group of nine young women from Washington, DC will be the only team representing the USA on soccer’s biggest stage in Russia.  While the US Men’s National Team did not qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow, a group of intrepid teenage athletes are donning the red, white, and blue to compete in the 2018 Street Child World Cup.  What makes their journey especially riveting is that each of these young Washington, DC women have experienced or been at risk of homelessness, and each has overcome significant obstacles to achieve this level of success.  The team departs the US on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, where it will join over 200 young people and compete against teams from around the world.

The Street Child World Cup is a soccer tournament, festival of arts, and conference for children at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness across the world.  On the pitch, over 230 girls and boys will represent 24 national teams in the tournament, while also drawing attention to the plight of homeless youth everywhere. Off the pitch, their voices will be heard, calling for the rights of millions of children at risk worldwide.  Street Child World Cup supporter David Beckham said, “I know from personal experience just what power soccer can have to inspire and change young people’s lives whatever their background or nationality. This is what the Street Child World Cup is all about.”

Becky Sauerbrunn, Olympic gold medalist, and FIFA World Cup winner as a member of the US Women’s National Team, is an ambassador of the American team, and said, “I’m honored to support our girls at the 2018 Street Child World Cup.  They will proudly represent our nation, harnessing their love of soccer to raise awareness and dialogue for US youth at risk of homelessness. Their voices matter. Congratulations to America SCORES and the National Network for Youth for partnering to give these girls the platform they truly deserve.”  Added Darla Bardine, Executive Director of the National Network for Youth, “we are honored to take this team to the Street Child World Cup to give these incredible young women a platform to elevate the urgent and unique needs of young people at risk of and experiencing homelessness here in America. No young person should be homeless and hungry.”

Notably, the entire American team is composed of participants from DC SCORES, which creates neighborhood teams that give in-need Washington DC kids the confidence and skills to succeed on the playing field, in the classroom, and in life.  DC SCORES is the flagship affiliate of America SCORES, which operates programs in 12 cities, serving 15,000 at-risk youth annually. Bethany Rubin Henderson, America SCORES National Network President proclaimed, “I couldn’t be more proud of this incredible group of young women.  They are inspiring thousands of children throughout the America SCORES program, who look up to them and now have a reason to believe anything is possible.” The team is being coached by the Open Goal Project, a fiscally sponsored project of DC SCORES. Open Goal Project director Simon Landau added, “this team has really bonded through the training process, and will return home from Russia with amazing experiences, stories and most importantly, personal growth.”    
DC SCORES is the official community partner of Major League Soccer’s D.C. United, which, with the support of Adidas, provided gear for the American team.  “D.C. United are proud to help support the nine amazing women from Washington, D.C., representing the United States at the Street Child World Cup through our community partnership with DC SCORES,” said Tom Hunt, United’s president of business operations.  “We are committed to supporting our community and we wish the team the best of luck in Russia on the international soccer stage.”
The American team will depart from the field at Bell High School (located at 3101 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20010, with the field located behind the school, on Hiatt Place NW) on Wednesday May 9, 2018 at 9:00 AM, and bus to New York’s JFK Airport, where they’ll board an afternoon flight for Moscow, returning 10 days and countless experiences later.  Media opportunities are available in Washington, DC, up to and on departure day; in New York on departure day; and when the inspiring group of young women return to the U.S. on May 19. Later in the year, the team plans to share their experiences at the United Nations.  To learn more about this amazing event and the young women proudly representing America, please contact Michael Holstein ( / 504-321-5980).


About America SCORES: A national nonprofit organization, America SCORES partners with public schools in low-income communities to provide a high-quality, award-winning after-school program to elementary and middle school youth.  Integrating soccer, poetry and service-learning, this innovative approach improves at-risk students’ health, academic achievement and civic engagement by focusing on teamwork, creativity, literacy, school engagement and leadership. America SCORES’ mission is to inspire urban youth to lead healthy lives, be engaged students, and have the confidence and character to make a difference in the world.  Learn more at

About Open Goal Project: Through financial and logistical support, Open Goal Project is a Washington, DC non-profit that identifies and aids talented youth soccer players from low-income families to overcome costs and lack of resources to make the most of their potential on and off the field.  Since launching in 2015, Open Goal has helped register more than a dozen local players for travel soccer teams, has covered registration and costs for numerous players to attend summer camps and provided free clinics and high-level training for youth players in DC. The Open Goal Project is a fiscally sponsored project of DC SCORES, a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit organization.  Learn more at