Friday, March 30, 2012

New bar, Koffee's Lounge, coming to Georgia and Fairmont

Koffee's Lounge Georgia Avenue is really hopping. The other day when I stopped by the new Salt and Pepper Grill Indian-Pakistani restaurant, I also noticed some signs for a liquor license posted on the door next to the grill.

The door, which is just down from Salt and Pepper Grill and seems to be for space above it, used to be part of GII Lounge. The new spot will be called Koffee's Lounge. The sign said they'd have 86 seats and a total of 100 occupancy with occasional music.

They have a Facebook page and website, but info is scarce on them. The address is 2632 Georgia Ave NW.

I've reached out to them for more info, will let everybody know what I hear! 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hip-hop chess tournament and more in the neighborhood: Bum Rush the Boards Festival

Really cool event from local non-profit Words Beats and Life: a hip hop chess tournament called Bum Rush the Boards. Registration is $10 and it takes place on April 21 at the Columbia Heights Rec Center, 1480 Girard Street NW. This is their 7th edition of the tourney, and here's what they have to say about it:
By connecting hip-hop to chess, WBL has created a chess tournament that exposes youth to the arts and strategies that requires them to think ahead, to manage talent and to size up their adversaries. We recognized that these skills were not only useful in both chess and hip-hop, but in business and life, as well. Members of the Wu- Tang Clan, one of hip-hop’s most influential rap groups, have long served as the hip-hop community’s most impactful chess ambassadors. Their unique ability to merge the strategies and principles of chess and kung fu opened the minds of a whole generation to new strategies for success. It is our intention that this festival will continue that legacy.
The event is for all ages, and aside from the tourney, there will be
  • New games in the Remix Room.
  • 2012 Bumrush the boards Mixtape and Music Video
  • A Chess Invitational - hop-hop  artists, scholars, journalists, athletes, elected officials, and their staff invited to participate.
And the chess tournament is part of a larger festival, with a happy hour, two hip-hop concert, and more. Here's the full schedule.

To get you in the hip-hop chess mood, here's Wu Tang's "Da Mystery of Chessboxin":

Photo from WBL's website.

Lots more nice signs going up in the neighborhood, from the "Take what you need" folks

Whoever posted that "Take what you need" sign has expanded their purview: I've seen a few others around, and a tipster sent in this one above. Another that I recall seeing on 11th said something to the effect of "You'll never make a shot you don't take."

Kind of nice to see these things.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Capitol Pride Symphonic Band concert on Saturday: win tickets!

The Capitol Pride Symphonic Band and Capitol Pride Winds, parts of DC's Different Drummers, are having a performance this Saturday at 7:30 pm at the Columbia Heights Education Campus. See below for more details

And there's also a contest for two free tickets -- the first person to email newcolumbiaheights(at)gmail(dot)com with the right answer to this question: since the theme is "My Favorite Things," who composed the music for the musical, The Sound of Music?
Capitol Pride Symphonic Band - My Favorite Things! 
On Saturday, March 31st, the Capitol Pride Symphonic Band and Capitol Pride Winds will take the stage to present their spring concert, My Favorite Things! The show will begin at 7:30pm, and is being held at the Columbia Heights Education Campus Auditorium, located at 3101 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C. Parking is available on the street, as well as in the DC USA Shopping Center Parking Garage. 
Tickets are available NOW from your favorite DCDD Band Members, OR at our online box office. Tickets are $20 for adults, and $10 for students and seniors. Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult with a concert ticket. Tickets purchased online include a small service fee. 
This stunning program includes selections chosen entirely by our membership. We will kick off with a commissioned medley by Matthew Leonhardt, followed with works including The Sound of MusicHobbits from The Lord of the Rings, Eternal Father Strong to SaveGodzilla Eats Las Vegas and MORE.
Please join us for this spectacular performance with a special guest conductor, former Artistic Director, K. Scott Barker! Get ready to sit back, stomp your feet, whistle and even have a chance to sing along to some ear-catching melodies!

Monday, March 26, 2012

DC Reynolds bar and restaurant is now open at 3628 Georgia Ave NW

We have more beer and food options! DC Reynolds, the bar and restaurant located next to the Looking Glass Lounge, is now open for business. I stopped by on St. Patrick's Day, which was their soft opening, but didn't really spend a lot of time there.

They boast a huge (1,100 sq ft+) patio out back with a DC flag brick design for the floor (see right) plus a bar on the main level and an upstairs as well. They have a few TVs in the main bar area and are working on filling out their menu, which from my interactions with them will be bar food like burgers, mac and cheese, and the like.

Here's what the owners said last year when I asked about their plans:
DC Reynolds isn't a person, it's an homage of sorts to a place we went to, worked at, and lost in Fairfax City. TT Reynolds was a neighborhood bar for 30 years before it lost its lease about 3 years ago. We loved the place and the vibe of it. We refereed to it more as a community center than a bar or restaurant. A "cheers" if you will. So we wanted to get back to that sort of project. The 4 C's Comfortable, Casual, Consistent, and Cheap. 
We really like the outdoor summer garden behind the space, our architect can fit in 120 people but I don't think we will try for that many. We want to make that a sort of Garden of Eden feel with some ivy, trees, or shrubs, basically a way to make it seem like you aren't behind an old building on Georgia ave and next to an alley. Inside, exposed brick, pallet wood flooring, and dim lights will be the norm on the 2 levels. Almost everything we are putting into the building has been reclaimed from other closed restaurants to give the feel that DC Reynolds has been on Georgia Ave for 30 years. 
I hope to stop by soon and get a better feel for the place. Have you been?

Funny bumper sticker on Park: "My Other Car is a Pynchon Novel"

My other car is a Pynchon novel
Spotted this the other day on a Jeep on Park Road near the Giant. Somebody has a sense of humor.

There seems to be a fair amount of amusing bumper stickers in the area, like the Darth Vader Mini I spotted awhile ago. And of course, there was the bizarre "No free rides, gas or ass" Infiniti sticker.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Another food truck! New Indian-Pakistani restaurant, Salt and Pepper Grill, now open on Georgia

Salt and Pepper Grill, new Indian-Pakistani restaurant Last night I was walking down Georgia (going to Mama Chuy's, which is delicious) and noticed there was a new place open, Salt and Pepper Grill, and Indian and Pakistani restaurant that advertises Halal food. The space used to be the GII Lounge.

I stopped in to check it out and one of the owners, Farukh (I didn't get the spelling) offered me a couple of samples, chicken tikka masala and chicken curry. The chicken tikka was really tasty, a little sweet and spicy, and the chicken curry was nice and tender. He said they had been open five days and that he was from Kashmir and his co-owner was from Pakistan.

Farukh mentioned that they also run a food truck with the same name in Arlington. It only has three reviews on Yelp, but what I had was quite good. They do delivery as well, and he mentioned a $7.95 special.

By my count, this is the third food truck that has set up a brick-and-mortar restaurant in our area in the past couple of weeks. Before that, the PORC food truck said they'd be opening on 11th just up from Meridian Pint, and El Floridiano was coming to Georgia and Lamont. There's really starting to be a lot of restaurants in the area.

I got a copy of the menu, which has a lot on it, including vegetarian options and party trays for catering. You can see it below (and click for bigger versions.) Salt and Pepper Grill is located at 2632 Georgia Avenue NW.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

YWCA hosting Zumba Fest fundraiser this weekend

If you're interested in getting some exercise and helping the local YWCA, check this event out on Saturday. Zumba is a Latin dance-inspired aerobics method.
What: Zumba Fest Fundraiser to benefit YWCA National Capital Area  
When: Saturday March 24th; 12PM - 4PM 
Where: YWCA 2303 14th St. NW            
Washington DC 20009 
Cost: $20 donation (Donations also accepted online 
Please join us at the YWCA this year for our 2nd annual Zumba Fundraiser event. The $20 donation helps fund our EmpowerFit Community Health and Wellness classes. Participants will enjoy high energy Zumba classes from either 12 - 2 or 2 - 4. 
RSVP to Ruth at today!  

According to Microsoft, we live in Mount Pleasant

Here's something kind of silly: on Microsoft's Bing Maps site, our neighborhood is labeled "Mount Pleasant." See for yourself.

According to them, MtP extends from the actual Mount Pleasant all the way to north of Howard University. And then, amusingly, just to our north is a neighborhood called "Northwest." I love that Northwest neighborhood. There isn't a Columbia Heights anywhere, but Petworth and Adams Morgan are roughly in the right place, at least.

Then again, who actually uses Bing Maps?

UPDATE: Looks like it's fixed now.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

700 people attend anti-gay hate crimes march in the neighborhood

Last week, we learned that MPD called the shooting in IHOP last Sunday morning was an anti-gay attack, and there was another attack at Georgia and Irving that was also classified as anti-gay. That, combined with other attacks against transgender people, led some local residents to organize a silent solidarity march in the neighborhood past the attack locations.

The march, organized mainly on Facebook, was last night and drew about 700 people, according to DCist's report on it. MPD Chief Cathy Lanier attended, as did councilmembers Jim Graham, Muriel Bowser and Michael A. Brown. There are more photos here, and the Washington Blade has a thorough article here.

Let's hope this kind of action works, the awareness of these issues increase, and the crimes themselves decrease.

And here's Chief Lanier talking to the rally outside the IHOP:

Artists "occupying" GALA Theatre, April 13 and 14

This sounds interesting. A group of musicians, writers, and artists are occupying the GALA Theatre, including the sidewalk outside and the roof of the Giant parking lot, on April 13th and 14th. Here's part of the press release, and the full press release is here, along with more on each artist.


Artists Respond to Current Political and Social Realities

Washington, D.C. – GALA Hispanic Theatre presents OCCUPY GALA, a dynamic artistic response to the political and social realities of our times by DC-grown artists, both young and old.OCCUPY GALA will take place on Friday, April 13 at 8 pm and Saturday, April 14 at 8 pm. The artists will make organic use of all levels of the space, from the sidewalk in front of the theater to the lobby, the theater auditorium, and the Giant parking lot roof. Located at 3333 14th Street, NW in Tivoli Square, GALA is long recognized for serving as a home and incubator for local community artists. These two evenings of reggae, rock, hip-hop, poetry and visual arts exhibitions will be set against a dynamic soundscape provided by popular local DJ artists. 

Quique Avilés, as Don Ama “El Canuto del Roc” (the Salvadoran peasant turned disc jockey) will emcee performances by E. Ethelbert MillerCarlos ParadaKenneth CarrollSilvana Strawand B Stanley; the music groups MachetresLos NayasAnexo Social; and singer Luci Murphy. The performance artists and poets featured are Matthew VakyElana, and Ruth Young & Marguax Delott-Bent. Other musical acts to participate in the presentation are Henry MillsArdamusEric David and legendary Latin percussionists Iván NavasBenito LópezRobertico, and Alfredito Mojica. There will also be a special performance by the acclaimed Latin American folk group Rumisonko, who first performed at GALA on 18th Street in 1976.

This multi-ethnic, multi-generational artistic occupation of GALA Theatre will also include photography, graffiti art, paintings, digital print, stencil art and political banners by local visual artists, including  Juan PinedaIván MendizibalJuan LópezMauricio LópezAlfredo Herrera, Puppet Underground, Ronald ChacónBarbara Quintard, and Alberto Roblest.

OCCUPY GALA performances will be preceded each evening by music, puppets and drumming on the sidewalk at the entrance to the theater. Come and be part of the movement!



General Admission Tickets to OCCUPY GALA are $15. For tickets, call (202) 234-7174(800) 494-8497 or visit  

Parking is available at a discount behind the theater in the Giant garage on Park Road, NW. Additional parking is available at the Target garage also on Park Road, between 14th and 16th Streets.The theater is also easily accessible from the Columbia Heights Metro station on the Yellow and Green lines

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

1300 block of Girard: slowly getting less crappy looking

New building

You may recall a few months ago, when I deemed the 1300 block of Girard the crappiest looking block in the neighborhood. The north side is really the problem, there was an abandoned house that used to house Asian-American LEAD, followed by the "Haunted Mansion," a big, dilapidated house owned by local political activists Dorothy Brizill and Gary Imhoff (which was the inspiration for my Abandoned House Watch series), then another abandoned house, followed by an occupied but run-down house and an overgrown alleyway. Really a terrible sight.

However, at least there's some progress. The first abandoned house, which used to be a bungalow but was being fixed up into an 8-unit condo building, is finished and looks pretty nice -- the before and after of that house are the pictures above. It fits in well in the neighborhood too, aside from the new bricks and a few other small things you wouldn't know it was a new building. It also includes some of the wall from the bungalow, which you can see below. It's now called 1323 Girard Street Condominium, and 5 of the 8 units have already sold. I like the porches too.

Nice to see something like this come in and replace something abandoned. There's also work on the next abandoned house down the block, and to their credit, Brizill and Imhoff have fixed up the Haunted Mansion a bit. Maybe we'll be passing the title of Crappiest Block to somebody else in a year or so?

New building

Monday, March 19, 2012

Recapping the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in the neighborhood: a lot of fun

More runners on Harvard This Saturday, the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon's DC edition came through Columbia Heights, with runners in both the half and full marathon going up Columbia Road, then Harvard Street to Howard University, and from there down 5th, 4th and Bryant to downtown. It was a lot of fun watching it, seeing all the runners, the spectators, and bands -- there was a stage set up at 5th and Harvard, plus others along the route (hence, Rock 'n' Roll.)

I had a friend running so I walked over to 11th and Harvard to check it out, and it was quite the scene. I arrived about 9:15 am, and other spectators said runners had been passing since well before that. There were a few folks with signs for friends, some people just watching, and others were waiting to cross the street-- it was kind of funny seeing people scamper across Harvard when there was a lull in runners, and for the most part they didn't cause any tie-ups.

What was impressive was the sheer number of runners though. Somebody there said there were 50,000 people registered, though I couldn't confirm that. We were there for maybe 45 minutes, and the entire time it was solid runners, as you can see to the right at Georgia and Harvard. Some folks ran in various costumes, especially Irish ones like leprechauns and green tutus, it being St.Patrick's Day. A few others were in various rock and roll gear: Elvises, punk rockers, mohawks, and the like. I think my favorite were two women in tan "nude" suits with clovers in strategic locations. It was definitely good people watching, even those not in costume: some folks had tons of hardcore running gear, while others looked like they had just rolled out of bed. There were a couple kids running and some senior citizens, and some people carrying signs with numbers on them, the pace of the race -- so if you kept up with that person, you'd finish in that amount of time.

Where we were positioned was also interesting: Harvard slopes down to Sherman Avenue, but then there's a big hill up to Georgia. A number of runners saw the hill and either laughed or cursed. Spectators cheered them on, and even the construction workers at the future old folks' home on the corner of Harvard and 11th got into it, cheered and blowing a horn on their crane.

Folks along the race seemed to be having a good time too. On Harvard east of Sherman, people were sitting on their porches, waving signs and playing music onto the street.

We then walked down Harvard to the Howard U. area, as there was a stage at 5th and Harvard. The bands played mostly peppy covers, things like Tom Petty, and most runners seemed to enjoy that. By about 11, most of the runners had passed and we decided to get some food.

In all, a very fun morning in the neighborhood -- although I suspect that wasn't the case for drivers were stuck on the streets nearby, as traffic was pretty backed up on Harvard, Columbia and Irving around Georgia Avenue. Despite that, I hope the marathon comes through again next year. I'll certainly be out there again. And there weren't even any scenes from Seinfeld, as far as I saw.

Here's a few more shots from the race. Click them for bigger versions.

Marathon and house
Harvard hill Going down to 5th

MPD says IHOP shooting was anti-gay; solidarity rally Tuesday

Some big news: MPD is now saying that the recent morning shooting at IHOP was an anti-gay crime. In response to the shooting and another recent beating of a gay man at Georgia and Irving, which left the man with a broken jaw, some people have organized a silent march, planned for Tuesday night. Here are more details, with the route and a fundraiser afterwards at Cobalt at 1639 R Street NW.

Sounds like a good idea. Definitely worrisome that this sort of thing is happening lately.

I want to organize a (silent) march through the neighborhood where two recent attacks have happened. This march is to show solidarity and support for all the victims of hate violence, whether they be Lesbian, Gay, Bi, or Transgender. As most of you know there were multiple attacks last week including that of a Transgender woman. While we would love to be able to include the site of her attack in our march it is just a little too far out of the way. So while we are walking from Ihop to Cobalt be sure to keep her in your thoughts as well.
Leave IHOP ( Which is where a gay man was shot after being taunted because of his sexuality) continue walking down Iriving St NW to Georgia Ave NW (Where the victim *and friend to ALOT of us * was beaten after getting out a cab, then left on the street and beaten and robbed again by a second group) When we get to that corner stop and reflect about all the good we have in our lives and how we are GONNA make it better (mind you in silence!) Turn right and proceed down to U St NW. At U St NW turn right and proceed down to 14th St NW. AT 14th St NW make a left and proceed down to R St NW. From R St NW make a right and proceed down to 17th NW at which time the march will end. 
The march will end at COBALT where there is a benefit to raise money for hospital bills is being held for one of the victims. So after your walk stop in for a drink! 
It would be awesome for everyone to wear a solid colored shirt of the Rainbow and post a reply with which color you chose. By doin this we will not have to say a word but if we walk in the order of the rainbow and just make on big flag out of everyone there think of the statement of our togetherness that will mean.
SIGNS are encouraged and are a great way to get out some rage.  
If anyone has any questions or suggestions please contact Kyan Brady.
Cell (202) 207-8084Email: Kyan.Brady@gmail.comor here on Facebook 
Please get the word out to everyone you possibly can. We need to show the dirtbags and the rest of the world that we are no longer backing down and we arent afraid. You fuck with one of us.. you fuck with all of us!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Road closures Saturday morning in the neighborhood: beware!

Whoa, look out this weekend if you are driving. The Rock n Roll USA Marathon comes through our area, closing streets along the route. In our area, that's all of Columbia to Harvard, then Harvard past Howard's campus to 5th, down 5th and 4th and then on Bryant. All of Columbia Road and Harvard between Columbia and 5th will be closed from 8am to 11:45 am. There's also no parking on Harvard from 16th to 5th from midnight to noon Saturday.

There are also no parking areas and road closures in other places along the route, so check out here for more. And below is an interactive map. Click the red triangles for info on the closings.

View SunTrust Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon & CareFirst Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Half Marathon in a larger map

Where to watch March Madness in the neighborhood

IMG_4826 As you probably have heard, March Madness, the NCAA basketball championship, is upon us. It's my favorite sports time of the year, I love watching as many games as a I can, seeing the less-well known schools get their time in the spotlight -- sometimes a long time, with runs by surprise schools like George Mason, Butler, and VCU in recent years.

So where can you watch in our area? Luckily there are a lot of options.
  • Lou's City Bar at 14th and Irving is the first that comes to mind, it's a true sports bar with a ton of TVs, both inside and on their covered patio.
  • Zeba Bar at 14th and Newton is another option if you want a calmer atmosphere. They have some TVs and a lot of good happy hour deals.
  • Blue Banana is another true sports bar on Georgia just south of Princeton Place, they have a lot of TVs and snacks. Generally not too crowded either.
  • Looking Glass Lounge also at Georgia and Princeton is also an option if you want a minimum of sports atmosphere, but they do have a TV over the bar.
  • Meridian Pint at 11th and Park is also a good option. They have some TVs upstairs, and a bunch downstairs. Plus there's always the table tap.
Those are my ideas, any others? And who do you have in the tourney? I like Kentucky, but also took Wisconsin into the Final Four. We'll see how crazy that is.

Photo by JMR_Photography

Thursday, March 15, 2012

St. Patrick's Day celebration at Acre 121: bluegrass and Irish food

Looks like a neat event on Saturday at Acre 121. Make sure to wear green.
Acre 121, together with Pick-up Productions, has brought together a stellar group of bands for the holiday honoring Ireland’s patron saint. The St. Patrick’s Day lineup highlights local bluegrass and the genre’s Celtic American roots, and kicks off an ongoing roster of acts showcasing the burgeoning musical talent in and around Washington, D.C.

The celebration begins at 1:00 pm on Saturday, March 17, with traditional bagpipers encouraging the revelry, while Ireland takes on England in the 6 Nations Rugby Tournament. Then the lights go up and the bands take over. The lineup includes folk guitarist Jonathan James playing Celtic instrumentals and pub songs; Kate Moran Band bringing a little funk and a bit of soul; and the Sligo Creek Stompers, who kick off the live show with a raucous blend of Appalachian bluegrass, New Orleans ragtime, and Irish fiddle. A local favorite, the Stompers are bringing a bit of “good craic” regularly to Columbia Heights, with a series of shows at Acre 121 the second Thursday of every month.

Acre 121 is thrilled to be a partnered with so many talented performers dedicated to furthering the music scene in DC. The barroom brings savory Southern barbecue to Columbia Heights and strives to compliment the low country flavor with area artists performing a mix of traditional bluegrass, alt-country, and folk rock. The St. Patrick’s Day menu features Guinness battered fish & chips, corned beef and cabbage, and Irish smoked salmon, in addition to the succulent pulled pork that chefs Michael Soper and Christine Cullen are known for. Pint specials begin at $3. For more information about Acre 121 and its offerings, please visit .

Nice sign spotted at 11th and Fairmont

I spotted this sign today at a bus stop at 11th and Fairmont: it's sort of a take-off on those "Take one" signs you see for renting apartments or other services. Kind of a nice message. Has anyone seen this elsewhere?

It also reminds me of the Lionel Richie "Hello." sign that's kind of an internet phenomenon.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

ANC1A meeting coming on Wednesday: lots on the agenda

This Wednesday's ANC1A meeting looks like a big one. ANC1A, for those unfamiliar, is the Advisory Neighborhood Commission for the northern part of Columbia Heights, everything between 16th and Georgia, Spring and Harvard/Columbia (see map at right). They deal with liquor licenses, grants to local businesses and events, and the like.

This meeting is Wednesday at 7 pm at the Harriet Tubman Elementary School gym (13th and Kenyon).

Here's the agenda:
Presentations (5 minutes per speaker, unless otherwise noted) 
 Jason Broehm, DC Pedestrian Advisory Council (10 minutes)       
Tim McGuire, Destination Pet on 14th Street      
Sylvia Robinson, Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force            
Official Business 
Official Business is limited to 5 minutes of presentation (unless extended by the commission) followed by questions from the commission and audience until a motion to close discussion is passed, followed by an official ANC vote.
Presenter Name – Issue (Requested ANC Action)

  • Grant Request: CHIME (Commissioner Boisvert)        
  • Grant Request: Columbia Heights Community Marketplace (Commissioner Brown)        
  • Grant Request: Casey Trees (Commissioner Brown)        
  • Voluntary Agreement: Made In Mad Momos (Commissioner Boisvert)    
  • Letter of Support for Meridian Pint (Commissioner Brown)        
  • Letter of Support for Le Caprice (Commissioner Wright-Smith)        
  • Resolution in Support of Landmark Nomination of York Theater (Commissioner Boese)        
  • Resolution Regarding Outdoor Seating for Z Burger (Commissioner Aquiline)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bizarre: shooting in IHOP on Sunday morning

I don't like to write about crime, but this is too crazy not to: a man was shot at about 6:30 am on Sunday inside the IHOP on Park Road Irving Street.

The man was taken to the hospital with serious injuries but is expected to survive. Police are not sure of the motive and are looking for suspects: "an African-American man with dreadlocks, about six-one, 165 pounds, who was wearing green pants" and "a light-skinned African-American woman with a heavy build."

Pretty bizarre. If you have any info, call (202) 727-9099.

This is also strange, because when they opened, the owners said they'd have off-duty police officers providing security there 24 hours a day. Maybe the officer or officers just couldn't get there quick enough. from 11 pm to 6 am. So I guess the officers were off-duty when this happened. Maybe they should be on duty for longer hours.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A lot of new things coming in: check out the updated new business map

As you may have noticed these past few weeks, there's a ton of new stuff coming in -- the PORC food truck's restaurant, the El Floridiano food truck's restaurant and bakery, El Chucho's Mexican food, The Pinch American restaurant, Mad Momo's Sikkimese food, Coffy Cafe creperie, DC Reynolds bar and restaurant, and on and on.

To make it a bit easier, I've been maintaining this map of what's new and recently opened in the neighborhood, to give you some idea. I've also coded the dots, Blue is independent, Green is a local chain, Red is a national chain, and a dot means food/bar, while no dot is retail.

You can see real clusters on 11th Street, 14th near Meridian, 14th near Perry, and of course around 14th and Irving/Park/Kenyon. There's even a smallish one on Georgia near the Metro. And like I predicted/hoped last year, the national chains are mostly sticking to the DCUSA area, while the local spots are elsewhere.

Check it out, and let me know if I missed anything.

View Columbia Heights New Businesses in a larger map

DC Reynolds bar and restaurant on Georgia looking at late March opening

Last night after a drink at the Looking Glass, I stopped by DC Reynolds, the new bar and restaurant coming a few doors down at 3628 Georgia Avenue NW. The place looked almost finished, and one of the owners and I chatted for a bit. He said they're very close to opening, just getting some paperwork finished, and were hoping for a week after St. Patrick's Day, so late March. In fact, when I was there, they were interviewing a bartender.

The owner (whose name I forgot, sorry) said they were putting the final touches on the food with their chef, and they were looking forward to opening the 1,100 square foot back patio -- see the photo at right. I like the DC flag on it. It sounds like a good spot for the spring and summer. He also said they wanted it to be a neighborhood place, they were trying to get people to come in from outside the area, just around Columbia Heights, Petworth and such.

He said he'd give more details when they were closer, but I'm sure looking forward to it.

See below for a shot of the bar area before and after from their Facebook. Check it out for more details and photos of their progress.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Want to work at the new Howard Theatre? Job fair on Friday

2010 03 19 - 6702 - Washington DC - Howard Theatre
If you're interested in working at the soon to be renovated Howard Theatre, which will host performances, a restaurant, and an education center, check out their job fair on Friday. It's from 11am to 1pm at 623 Florida Avenue NW.

DCist has a lot more on the theatre, which was opened in 1910 and was called "the largest colored theatre in the world." It's been abandoned since the 1980s, and recently the city and developers joined forces to bring it back to its former glory.

The building is getting a $29 million rehab. It's going to have a lot of big artists performing there too, including Wale, Mos Def, and Wanda Sykes.

There's also this great before-and-after photo gallery. What a difference.

Photo by thisisbossi

Another food truck sets down roots in Columbia Heights: El Floridiano

I guess Columbia Heights is now the cool place to set up a restaurant if you run a food truck: the Post reports that El Floridiano, a popular food truck selling Florida- and Caribbean-influenced sandwiches, will be opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant and bakery at 3301 Georgia Avenue NW, at Lamont. This was the location of Brown's Caribbean Bakery.

The new spot will be both a restaurant and the kitchen for the food truck. He'll also include a retail and wholesale bakery, selling Florida and Caribbean-style baked goods, including some of the things Brown's sold. Owner Stephan Boillon tells the Post it'll be "nuevo retro" cuisine, with Cuban-influenced food, "small plates, long braises, gourmet pizzas, Jamaican patties and other dishes." Sounds interesting, and certainly unusual for this area.
Sounds like an interesting idea. Georgia Avenue is another street that's starting to get a lot of new sports -- Blue Banana a year or so ago, the delicious Mama Chuy's, DC Reynolds sports bar, and more.

Has anyone eaten at El Floridiano? How do you like it?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

First look at Coffy Cafe creperie: delicious

Last week I stopped into Coffy Cafe, the new creperie and coffee shop at 3310 14th Street NW, across from the Tivoli. And I was impressed. The place is big and bright, bigger than you'd think from outside, with a very clean, modern look. There were a lot of places to sit, a lot of vintage furniture and posters from 60s and 70s movies going with the mod/70s theme.

And the food was really good. I got a "Mod Squad," which was chicken, feta, spinach and pesto, and my buddy got the "Barbarella," smoked salmon, cream cheese, sauteed onions and capers. The crepes themselves were done perfectly, a little crispy and a little chewy, and the ingredients inside were tasty, fresh and high-quality. I was going to take a picture of mine but I ate it too quickly, and my buddy's was just as good. Both would work well as breakfast or as lunch, which is what we had them for. There's also an egg and cheese crepe, a vegetarian one, and one with sausage, peppers and onions, plus all the sweet crepes, which sound awesome. The menu is here.

Owner Philecia Harris was there at the time so I spoke to her a bit. She said things were going well and they were making sure everything was running smoothly. I asked about the furniture, and she mentioned she got it from a variety of places, including her own kitchen, which was 1950s-styled. There were a lot of other interesting, funky pieces, like a spiky chandelier and very 60s chairs. See below for some (cameraphone) interior shots.

We didn't try any sweet crepes, but I'll certainly be back. I'm looking forward to getting a crepe and eating it out on the Civic Plaza when it's warmer. Definitely best portable food in the area -- sorry, Julia's Empanadas.

They're open Mon – Fri: 7am-9pm,  Sat: 8am-10pm and Sun: 8am-8pm.
Coffy seats Coffy Cafe

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Three 14th Street intersections listed among the city's most dangerous -- obviously

Shuler Be careful walking in Columbia Heights. DCist reports, via TBD, that four different intersections in Columbia Heights are among the most dangerous in the city, what DDOT is calling "the most dangerous intersections for pedestrian crashes over the past 3 years."

The intersections in our neighborhood are 14th and Park, 14th and Irving, and 14th and Columbia, as well as Georgia and New Hampshire. And I must say, I am not surprised by these intersections, and I think I know why.

In the case of 14th and Park, the stoplights and walk/don't walk lights there don't make sense. The traffic lights are often red in all directions and no cars are going. Pedestrians often stand for a couple seconds, look around, and then cross during the don't walk signs. Of course people shouldn't cross on the don't walk signals, but I've done this myself because it's just a weird situation -- why is all the traffic stopped, and then why can't we cross? Especially considering how this is a busy intersection, Kenyon and Park both join at 14th and there's a lot of pedestrian traffic. I think DDOT should take a look at the traffic and pedestrian signals at this intersection.

As for the other intersections, I've written before about cars not paying attention to people walking legally in the crosswalk, they just turn then have to slam on their brakes. That's probably part of the issue. However, I know there are often people crossing 14th Street all over the place when it says don't walk, and often crossing in the middle of the road, not in a crosswalk. I'm sure this is part of the problem too. I think if the city wants to address these issues, they need to station police officers and ticket both cars turning into pedestrians and pedestrians doing dangerous jaywalking, like running across 14th.

A lot of DCist commenters said traffic calming is the issue, as in they drive too fast, but I'm not sure that's it.

At least, that's my opinion. It would stink having police officers busting jaywalkers, but if people are always getting hurt there, we need to do something. And I think busting drivers turning into people is worthwhile.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Teen theater group presenting new play, releasing CD on financial literacy

It's always great to see Columbia Heights' budding artistic scene in action. Coming up March 10th and 11th is a play from Paso Nuevo, GALA Hispanic Theatre's youth group, about financial literacy. It's been presented at schools around the city. In addition, the group's band has released a music CD about financial literacy -- learning about money management, credit cards, and financial goals.

The play sounds like a great opportunity to take your kids for some fun and education, and the other efforts are pretty cool too. See below for snippets from their press release:

MURDER MYSTERY PREMIERES The world premiere of the Paso Nuevo Youth Performance Group murder mystery Who’s to Blame?/¿De quién es la culpa? will be presented on March 10 at 8 pm and March 11 at 3 pm. Written by Jonathan Sánchez and further developed by the teenage troupe, the intriguing presentation is also produced and performed by Paso Nuevo. As a group of friends gather at an old mansion to celebrate James’ good fortune of winning a multi-million dollar lottery, bodies begin to fall one by one as the lights go out and strange noises are heard. In this funny take on film noir and traditional murder mysteries, those gathered turn on each other as they try to catch the killer before the next victim falls to a fatal blow. The Paso Nuevo members who have helped develop, present and perform Who’s to Blame?  include Carlos Amaya, Verónica Chávez, Cindy Cruz, Ruth Fuentes, Jonathan Nolasco,Israel Núñez, Richard Palma, Steven Ramírez, Christian Sánchez, Diana Sánchez, Jonathan Sánchez, Manuel Sánchez, and Rosemary Solorzano. Who’s to Blame? will be presented at the GALA Theatre, located on 3333 14th Street, NW in Washington, DC. Parking is available behind the theater in the Giant garage on Park Road, NW. Additional parking is available at the Target garage also on Park Road, between 14th and 16th Streets. The theater is also easily accessible from the Columbia Heights Metro station on the Yellow and Green lines. 
Who’s to Blame? is performed in English with some Spanish, and contains strong language. Admission is free but donations will be accepted. For more information, call 202-234-7174 or visit  
FINANCIAL LITERACY PRESENTATION TOURS DC SCHOOLS Paso Nuevo has stepped into the community to educate Washington, DC teens about financial literacy, an important issue affecting young communities of color, with a play entitled Prom Night.Written by Emily Goulding and Quique Avilés, Prom Night tells the story of four DC teens who seek but can’t afford the prom of their dreams. Using their family’s credit cards to pay for their prom costs without permission, they learn hard lessons about money management, such as avoiding credit traps, the definition of credit scores, and how to set financial goals.Between February and March 2012, Prom Night will be performed for almost 3,000 teens at Bell Multicultural High School, the Academies at Anacostia, Cardozo High School, Theodore Roosevelt High School, Capital City Public Charter School, IDEA Public Charter School, and César Chávez High School, Parkside Campus. In addition to the play, GALA created three video episodes of the Prom Night story as an easy-to-access Public Service Announcement (PSA). Directed by DC-based videographer Fernando Ortega, these three web episodes will also be made available via GALA’s YouTube channel.  
ESLATIN CD RELEASED The Paso Nuevo Band recently completed its first recording project and released a captivating sample CD entitled Amor Natural. The demo contains six original tracks fully written, composed and performed by the young musicians. The songs speak about love, conflict, identity and immigration – issues that reflect on the life experiences of the band members.The musical group, now called ESLATIN Youth Band, held a live recording session at GALA Theatre in Columbia Heights on October 2011. Advanced production of the CD was made possible with the help of experienced sound engineers Brendon Vierra and Kyle Montgomery. Andrés Luque is the Project Coordinator and Producer. The demo CD is available for purchase in the lobby of the GALA Theatre during performance dates. A minimum donation of $7 is requested.ESLATIN Youth Band features Manuel Sánchez (lead male vocalist and acoustic guitar), Diana Sánchez (lead female vocalist), Luis Avilés (acoustic guitar and vocals), Jonathan Nolasco (piano and vocals), Alfonso Avelar (electric guitar), Douglas Guerra (electric bass), and Wilfredo Cruz (drums and Music Coach).

Friday, March 2, 2012

BBQ food truck PORC to open restaurant near 11th and Park

Eleventh Street is really hopping these days. Aside from being called "Columbia Heights' hip strip" by the New York Times and the incoming Maple, the Mexican spot El Chucho's - Cocina Superior and a place from the folks who run the Diner and Tryst, comes some more news: the folks who run PORC, Purveyors of Rolling Cuisine, a barbeque food truck, are opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant and bar.

The place will be located at 3412 11th Street NW, which used to be Acuario. It's between Meridian Pint and Columbia Heights Coffee. They're aiming for a late spring or summer opening, and will also keep the food truck running, reports DCist. And another interesting fact about these guys, they started their food truck with an internet funding drive on Kickstarter.

Good news for 11th Street, which really is becoming a dining destination. It's also good that the empty spot is being filled.

I hope people don't start complaining about traffic or turning the area into Adams Morgan -- it's not.

Happy hour tonight at Acre 121 to benefit Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Here's a nice-sounding event tonight at Acre 121. Check it out below, and here's the Facebook invite and a link to donate.
A $10 donation gets you a wristband for half priced canned beers and rail drinks until 8 pm.
Stick around for front row access to the show from Human Country Jukebox when they take the stage at 9 pm!
100% of your donation will go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Online hip-hop radio station (and webcam) broadcast from Georgia Avenue

The other day, I noticed the Listen Vision audio and video recording studio on Georgia Avenue between Euclid and Fairmont, next to Mama Chuy's. They offer recording, mastering, and production, but what caught my eye was a sign in the window for their online radio station.

They call it WLVS, and it broadcasts local and national hip-hop and go-go. They have a broadcast schedule, but it seems they broadcast at other times too -- I'm listening to it now, for example. You can listen here.

Something else that's cool is that they also broadcast a webcam pointing towards the entrance to Howard University along with the radio, so you can watch what's going on while listening. There's also a music video library on their site and a lot more.

According to their site, they've been around since 1998, and people like Redman, KRS-One, T-Pain and Wynton Marsalis have recorded there, which is pretty cool.

So check them out if you're a hip-hop or go-go fan!

Funny song about the 42 bus by local singer-songwriter

Mt. Pleasant resident and singer-songwriter Rene Moffatt wrote a nice song about the 42 bus. It's good and pretty funny too, mentioning waiting for a bus that turns out to be out of service, people talking on their phones incessantly on the bus, and more things you are probably familiar with. Check it out:

Moffatt's next show in March 9th in DC, then he's in Texas on tour.

H/T to DCist