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 @https://www.powellpadres.org/spring-carnival

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 (mholstein@dcscores.org / 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 www.americascores.org

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 http://www.opengoalproject.org/

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Recommendation: vote no on Initiative 77 and help tipped workers; basically every bar and restaurant in our area agrees

DC has a primary election coming up June 19 with a number of things on the ballot: the Democratic primaries for Mayor, Chairman of the DC Council, Ward 1, 3, 5 and 6 council, and many other races. The Democratic primaries are generally the de facto election, as there are way more registered Dems than other parties in the city.

However, there's also a question called Initiative 77 that is related to wages for tipped workers, such as bartenders and waitstaff at restaurants. Developed by Restaurant Opportunities Centers, a group out of New York City, it sounds good when you read it: the idea is to get rid of tipped wages and instead gradually give tipped workers the minimum wage in the city. Supporters say it will reduce poverty.

However, both bar and restaurant owners and waitstaff in DC are opposed to it. To me, that is a good reason not to support it, as everyone affected by it are opposed to it, including the people the initiative is supposed to help. There are some bars and restaurants that skirt the law right now and don't pay their workers their fair share or tips, but opponents of Initiative 77 say that is being addressed anyway, and this new proposal won't really help.

Both owners and waitstaff say the bill will make it harder to earn a living and won't address the issues ROC says it will, such as sexual harassment. They think that the initiative will put a limit on what they make currently (currently it's generally higher than the minimum wage) or even lower their wages.

Restaurant owners also say it will be harder for restauranteurs to make money, that items may cost more on menus, they may be forced to have smaller staffs, and it may cause some places to close down or move to the suburbs. They also say it will be harder for lower income people to open restaurants, as they will cost more to open.

The City Paper has a good rundown, and I've also heard from my friends in the service industry that they don't want this. SaveOurTips.com was set up by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington to oppose the initiative, and has a lot of arguments on it. There's also VoteNo77.com, set up by local bar and restaurant owners, which says the law will result in labor costs being $11 per hour per person higher, which is a lot.

The open letter at VoteNo77 is signed by basically every bar and restaurant owner in the neighborhood: the folks behind DC Reynolds, El Chucho, Little Coco's, Wonderland, Thip Khao, Himitsu, Bad Saint, Ellē, Room 11, Purple Patch, Franklin Hall and Ten Tigers. As you notice that's a lot of small business owners, it's not the big national chains.

So I recommend you vote no on Initiative 77.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Wonderland's Sundress Festival street party is back, this Sunday 10am-2am, benefitting DC Central Kitchen


It's back! Wonderland's annual Sundress Fest: a street party and giant happy hour where you get drink deals if you wear a sundress -- guys and girls alike. If you don't have one, they'll happily sell you a lovely one for a few bucks, with proceeds going to DC Central Kitchen.

The event is a blast, and has evolved from a big party on the patio to closed street hoedown with music, food vendors, booths and general fun times. I highly recommend it if you haven't been before, and you may see yours truly in a sure to be stylish sundress.

Here's more from the Wonder crew from their Facebook event.
The grass is turning green, the birds are chirping in the trees, and sundresses are reappearing on the racks of your favorite thrift store! Lo, SUNDRESS FEST 2018 is just beyond the horizon! 
Sundress Fest, DC's best beer-infused block party, is a celebration of summer that takes place at the Wonderland Ballroom every first Sunday of May with proceeds benefiting DC Central Kitchen.

Mark your calendars for Sunday May 6, and be sure to save this event on Facebook to get all the details on the day's festivities as they become available!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

New Peruvian chicken and grill, Mister Rotisserie, replaces Bell Corner Stop at Park and Georgia


If you like Peruvian chicken, rotisserie chicken or other grilled meats, you're in luck. A new spot called Mister Rotisserie has replaced the Bell Corner Stop convenience store at 3501 Georgia. Bell also had a Caribbean deli but I never got a chance to try it.

The menu in their window has Peruvian chicken (aka pollo a la brasa) with yuca, rice and beans, as well as steak and cheese, burger, salmon, chicken tenders, and ribeye steak. There are a few tables inside as well.

The place has gradually been getting rid of the corner store items, and now there's just a drink cooler or two.

Bell was there since at least 2010, and maybe longer. The same location was previously Park View Pharmacy -- I found an old medicine bottle with a Park View Pharmacy label for "tincture of belladonna" at an antique store. Park View DC has more about the history of the drug store.

That tincture was apparently used for digestive issues, but belladonna is also a famous poison -- it's also known as nightshade.