Thursday, August 30, 2012

In case you missed it, Z-Burger is open in the Tivoli! Have you been?

At long last, Z-Burger is open in the Tivoli. I've walked by a few times and seen some decent crowds, although I haven't had a chance to eat there yet. Their also still working on getting a permit for a patio -- last I heard the company hadn't yet sent in the forms they need to the city, namely their choice of furniture. Hopefully soon.

So, have you been? It's already got 4 stars on Yelp, so that's a good sign. Here's their menu for more info -- not just burgers but also hot dogs and cheesesteaks. They also have tons of shakes and malts, which I am hungry for right now, and one of those Coke machines where you can choose what flavors you want. I like orange, personally.

Z-Burger is located at 3301 14th St NW, on the corner of 14th and Park, in the Tivoli theatre building.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lime Fresh Mexican Grill opens Wednesday at 11 am

While Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, the fast casual place coming to the 14th Street side of DCUSA, had their ribbon cutting yesterday, complete with the mayor, they're actually opening today at 11 am. I popped my head in last night and some friendly employees told me the plans. 

As mentioned before, they're a chain based mostly in the Southeast, and have quick stuff like  quesadillas, tacos, burritos and fajitas -- here's their menu.

They also have booze and a happy hour, with $2 Mexican beer and $3 margaritas and sangria on Wed-Fri from 5-7 pm, plus food deals then. Seems like a good quick after work spot. Unfortunately I think margaritas to go is illegal.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Meeting on banning single sales of alcohol and beer this Thursday

Schlitz with a straw
If you have an opinion on sales of single cans or bottles or beer and alcohol, here's a meeting for you! Personally I'm torn about this. The argument is that a ban would mean less litter around the neighborhood and less drunkenness. 

I obviously don't like seeing beer cans, fortified wine and liquor bottles strewn all over the neighborhood, and I don't like drunks around, but I wonder if they'll still find a way to drink and toss bottles around even if there is a ban? And what else would this apply to? Normal-sized bottles of booze? Big bottles of fancy beer, like they sell at D'Vines? Not sure. Sounds like some good questions for this meeting. 

And as always, you can check out the Street Booze tag of this blog for lots of photos of the various detritus stashed around the neighborhood. The NCH joke version of Door of the Day, if you will.

Here's the meeting details. 

Is hosting a community meeting on whether we should ban single sales of alcohol and beer in ANC1A
3423 14th Street, NW

There were also be time set aside to discuss other areas of concern for our single member district

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lime Fresh Grill ribbon cutting on Aug. 28 with Mayor Gray

Lime Fresh Grill, the fast casual Mexican spot coming to DCUSA, is opening soon! I just got a press release that they'll be open Aug 28 at 10 am. The spot, which is between Radio Shack and Payless, has locations throughout the Southeast and serves quesadillas, tacos, burritos and fajitas -- here's the menu on their site.

I've written about them before, they're going to have booze and a really great happy hour: every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 5-7pm, they'll have $2 Mexican beer and $3 margaritas and sangria. Food will be on special then too, things like $2 tacos and the like. Pretty sweet deal, especially for booze.

Here's more about the ribbon-cutting, in which you'll also be getting what sounds like a campaign speech from Gray.


Lime Fresh Mexican Grill® Partners with Mayor Gray and His One City ● One Hire Initiative – Mayor Gray to Attend Ribbon Cutting on Tuesday, August 28 Celebrating the District’s Lowest Unemployment Rate in Three and a Half Years

Washington, DC (August 23, 2012) – Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, the popular Florida-based fast-casual Mexican concept, will celebrate the opening of its first District location in Columbia Heights (there are two other locations in the metro area) with a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, August 28th with Mayor Gray.  The South Beach bred concept has partnered with the Mayor and his team to utilize and promote his One City ● One Hire initiative, a program directed at putting DC residents back to work – Lime Columbia Heights has hired 30 DC residents for their team. The ribbon cutting also serves as a celebration of DC’s lowest unemployment rate in the last three and a half years.

“We are excited to open our first location in the district,” said Mike Hedrick, director for Lime. “Working with the Mayor’s team for assistance with staffing has been a tremendous help. The One City ● One Hire program is truly an asset to local business owners, and we appreciate all of the insight to the local market that it has offered.”

The ribbon cutting will take place at 10AM on the 28th, and will include remarks from the Mayor, as well as from Mike Hedrick of Lime.

Famous for its signature blend of fresh, mouth-watering Mexican dishes, dynamic ambiance, stylized interiors and scrupulous service, Lime was originally conceived in 2004 to complement the vibrant and food-conscious culture of South Beach.  Lime has garnered a following from locals and celebrities alike, by serving Mexican-style cuisine using only the freshest ingredients, and charbroils on grills in an exhibition-style kitchen. Additionally, all locations feature a signature homemade salsa bar and 50 variations of hot sauces. Guests have the option of whole wheat, multi-grain or low-carb items, and everything on the menu has 0 Trans fat.

“The expansion of Lime into Columbia Heights is more evidence that the District of Columbia continues to grow and prosper – and District residents from all walks of life are benefitting from that growth,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “I want to thank Lime for their enthusiastic participation in our innovative One City ● One Hire program, which is one of the reasons that unemployment in the District continues to decline even as it stagnates or increases in the vast majority of other states.”

Due to the DC’s unemployment rate reaching historic levels, Mayor Gray launched One City ● One Hire in September 2011 to address the urgent need to put people back to work during these difficult economic times. The ambitious, employer-driven hiring initiative simply asks Washington metropolitan area employers to hire at least one unemployed District resident.  To assist employers, the Department of Employment Services (DOES) connects employer partners with services to help facilitate hiring matches and offers a number of incentives, including: tax credits, wage reimbursements, wage and training subsidies and pre-screening events to ensure employers get the qualified candidates they seek.  To date, 764 employers have joined this effort, and 3,750 District residents have been hired.

"We are thrilled to welcome Lime Fresh to Columbia Heights, and we are pleased that the company has partnered with us to hire 30 District residents," said DOES Director, Lisa Maria Mallory. "This type of partnership is what makes Mayor Gray's One City One Hire initiative work, and we look forward to a long-lasting relationship with Lime Fresh."

Columbia Height’s Lime Fresh Mexican Grill will officially open for business on Wednesday, August 29th and is located at 3100 14th Street NW, within the DC USA shopping center.  Additionally, the company has locations in FloridaAlabamaGeorgiaNorth Carolina and Virginia. Additional locations are planned for MarylandOhio and Kentucky.

Lime Fresh Mexican Grill is open from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday.  For information about Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, please visit the company website  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Another way to get to the Petworth Farmers' Market: 50% off Uber rides!

The Petworth Community Market, which happens every Friday from 4 to 8 pm on 9th between Georgia and Upshur, is another great option for those who like local food. 

However, it may be a bit far for some folks. The market now has another option: 50% off Uber, the popular car service that shows up quickly when you request them and goes where you ask (always! Unlike cabs.) Here's more about their deal:

Ride with Uber
Petworth Market!

The Petworth Community Market is excited to be partnering with UBER to help bring Washingtonians from near and far to the market! Whether you’re prepping for a cookout or a family dinner, we want to make sure everyone has a chance to get those fresh ingredients we all love, and a convenient way to bring them back home.

We've been so impressed with the service, we've teamed up to provide the DC community with an automatic 50% off all rides to or from the market for the rest of the season!

No need to apply a promo code, the 50% off discount will be automatically reflected on your receipt. The discount is valid for trips to and from the market, Fridays between 4pm and 8pm, starting this week through October 26.

Better yet, new Uber users can also get $15 off their first ride just by using promo code PETWORTHMARKET when you sign up, good for your first ride any time in the next year!


Uber is a mobile application that allows you to request a sleek, professionally driven black car or SUV on demand, and they'll arrive curbside in just minutes. You can track the arrival of your ride on your iPhone or Android, payment is cashless, and you'll even receive a text message when your driver arrives. Uber will pick anyone up anywhere, so you’re never left stranded waiting for a cab or the bus.


Simply download Uber on your iPhone or Android (or sign up at to use SMS), and enter promo code PETWORTHMARKET for your $15 credit off your first ride. All visitors to the market will also receive an automatic 50% off discount rides to and from the market. If you have any questions at all, just email

Sounds pretty cool. I'm a big fan of Uber, it works great and on longer rides is generally about the same price as a cab.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Apartments coming to 14th and Spring

The other day I got a flyer in my mailbox about a development coming to the area around 14th and Spring, specifically 1400 Spring Road NW and 3616 14th Street NW. Currently 1400 Spring (pictured) was last a church and 3616 14th is a 3 for $10 store. I asked for more details from the person on the flyer, Ryan Samuel of 1st Principle, and here's his response:
Our plan is to keep the 3 for $10 located on the ground floor of 3616 14th st and build rental apartments above it and in 1400 Spring Rd... We’re excited about the project.
Sounds good to me. The 1400 Spring space is kind of an odd one, and it's always good to see more apartments in the area. I've reached out for more info and will update if I receive it.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sneaker and streetwear show at Howard, Aug. 25

If you're a sneakerhead or looking for some new duds, the SportsZone at Howard is holding a big event on August 25. Check out the flyer:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pleasant Pops opening a storefront Labor Day weekend: we spoke with them

You may have seen Pleasant Pops around the neighborhood, they sell their artisanal popsicles made from locally sourced ingredients at the Columbia Heights and Mt. Pleasant farmers' markets, and they are quite tasty. The company, which started in Mt. Pleasant, has to over 100 flavors, and they've expanded to a popsicle truck, and they're also sold at Chinatown Coffee.

And with a target date of Labor Day weekend, they'll have their own storefront in Adams Morgan, called the Pleasant Pops Farmhouse Market, which will sell their pops, "hand-selected seasonal local produce and dairy, locally-made bread, jams/jellies, pickles, and more. We’ll also be offering free wi-fi, locally roasted coffee, vegetarian sandwiches and salads made in house, and lots of outdoor seating to sit back and enjoy the summer." They're moved into the space vacated by Rita's Water Ice at 1781 Florida Ave NW. Here's a bit more from their Kickstarter page.

We had a chance to ask Anne Marie Ashburn of Pleasant Pops some questions about the brand and about their plans.

In what neighborhoods do founders Roger and Brian live? Can you tell us how the neighborhood influenced the business?
Roger lives in Mt Pleasant and Brian is about to move to Shaw. Both of the guys lived in Mt Pleasant when they started the business, thus the name Pleasant Pops. We love Mt Pleasant and hope to be a part of the community here for a long time.

How did you choose the Mt. Pleasant Farmer's Market to start your business? 
As we were started in Mt Pleasant and working out of rented kitchen space at Dos Gringos, it made sense to ask if we could be part of that market. We were thrilled when they said yes, and have been going faithfully over the last two and a half summers. We love watching the families there grow up and seeing our regulars every week.

Chongos Pop from Pleasant Pops (Sweet Cream + Cinnamon)How do you choose the flavors that go into the pops? 
We get inspired from a lot of sources - traditional Mexican paleta flavors like Avocado Cream and Chongos (right) make appearances, we experiment with ideas from friends (Sweet Cream and Corn), we do liquor spiked pops for private events that are inspired by drinks at our favorite DC bars, and we follow the market's offerings, making pops out of what's seasonal and what's delicious.

You use locally sourced ingredients, what are some of your favorite sources? 
We shop at the vendors around us at the farmers markets - we use a lot of fruit from Quaker Valley Orchards, Truck Patch Farms, and Big Riggs Farms, and dairy from Trickling Springs Creamery.

Where do you actually make the pops? 
Right now our kitchen space is in north Petworth but we are about to relocate to our new Pleasant Pops Farmhouse Market and Cafe at 1781 Florida Ave.

You've really grown a lot lately, how many staff members do you have? 
We're hiring like crazy right now - moving from two full-time staff and one part-time staffer to at least 15 staffers to run our events and the store. Folks can go if they'd like to come work for us. It'll be the job of a lifetime as we open the doors to our first store.

And I've seen plans about the brick-and-mortar store, can you tell us more about that? Your ideas, potential opening, hours, etc? Sure - all the info is on our website -

And finally, you serve pops with alcohol at private functions, will there be any alcohol at the new storefront? And what are your hours?
There will not be any alcohol at all in the store, we are not getting a liquor licence. We will be open seven days a week, hours TBD.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New bike trip planning tool, based on editable web maps!

If you ride bikes in the neighborhood, whether yours or a shared bike, here's a great new resource. It's called BikePlanner, and it's a site where you set your start and end points for the ride, prioritize whether you prefer quick, flat or bike-friendly routes, and select if you're using your own bike or a shared bike, and the system makes a route for you. It's based on OpenStreetMap, which is an editable online map, so that means you can also add new bike lanes and such to improve the accuracy of the routing.

The project comes from OpenPlans, and it looks like it's only for DC and the surrounding area. Here's a bit more.

Pretty awesome stuff, take a look and try it out. Above is a trip I chose from about DCUSA to the Washington Monument, using a route that's mostly bike-friendly and flat.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Families needed for advertisements for progressive causes

Here's an interesting opportunity sent to me by some local residents. Check it out:
Call for Family Volunteer Models (Families) for Progressive CausesThe Pivot Group, a leading progressive direct mail firm, seeks age- and race-diverse families to volunteer for photos to promote progressive causes. The photography will be used in work for Democratic candidates and independent expenditures in the upcoming election. 
The shoot is scheduled for August 18 and 19 in NW DC (Metro accessible). Volunteers will receive professional hair and make-up. Refreshments will be provided. 
Are you interested in helping? If so, please complete the interest form at the URL below.

Community party/potluck for City Blossoms at Girard Park on Aug 24

This sounds like a fun family event:
City Blossoms is a non-profit organization working out of the Washington D.C. area dedicated to kid-driven, community engaging, creative green spaces. I just wanted to let you know of an upcoming garden event in the community that we are planning!

On August 24th from 6-8:30 PM at Girard Garden in Columbia Heights NW we are hosting our 3rd Annual Basil Bonanza! Part party, part potluck, this event is open to the community. We encourage people to pick basil in our garden the week before, and then bring a basil potluck dish to share. In addition to food, there will be several kids activities, including face painting, hula-hooping, an art project, dancing, and more. To view the facebook invitation, please click here.
Click the flyer for more info! 

Do you feel safe? Help make a crowd-sourced map

This is a pretty cool project. The other day, Shaw resident Caitlin Dewey emailed me about something she's working on -- a crowdsourced map of how people feel about their safety. The idea was inspired by a Post article about MPD using data to predict where crime might occur, which also includes looking at how safe people feel. The method is getting increasingly common among police departments, but Dewey decided to do her own survey.

Basically, the survey lists a number of neighborhoods and you choose from 1 (not safe at all) to 10 (very safe). After some emails with Dewey, she also added in a question to ask what neighborhood the respondent lives in, which could make some more interesting analysis -- do people who live certain neighborhoods feel safer or more unsafe than people visiting that neighborhood?

Dewey is going to use the responses to create an interactive map of the neighborhoods that also includes their demographics from the Census. Here's how she chose the neighborhoods: "The 14 neighborhoods in this survey are the five listed in the article plus nine others that have seen an enormous change in class composition over the past 10 years. I found those neighborhoods by analyzing Census tract data from 2000 and 2010. I also called MPDC for the 'official' list of 14, but it doesn't appear I'll be getting it in the near future. So this will have to do!"

It's not a scientific survey (people may have different ideas of neighborhood boundaries, and it depends on the time of day, street they're on, alone or with somebody, etc), and certainly not representative, but it's definitely an interesting idea. Check it out!

Photo from here

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A chat with Local author Eric Nuzum, who is reading Wednesday at Wonderland

It's always cool to see local people with artistic pursuits. Petworth resident Eric Nuzum, who is a senior staff member at NPR, also has written some books, a few of which we've mentioned here -- for example, he did a reading at Past Tense Yoga for his book The Dead Travel Fast, a memoir about history's fascination with vampires (you may have seen the book's cover on the wall at Looking Glass Lounge.)

On Wednesday at 7:30pm, he'll be at Wonderland reading and signing copies of his newest book, Giving Up the Ghost.

The book, with a subtitle of A Story About Friendship, 80s Rock, a Lost Scrap of Paper, and What It Means to Be Haunted, is a memoir about Nuzum's experiences with depression, music, poetry, drugs, ghosts and more in 1980s Canton, Ohio, and also about his visits to famous haunted sites around the country. Here's the book's page on Random House's website, which includes more on the book, reviews, and praise from folks like Chuck Klosterman, Rob Sheffield and others. The Boston Globe liked it, as did AJ Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically: "It’s appropriate that Eric Nuzum’s book is a ghost story, because it’s been haunting me for the last few days. I can’t stop thinking about this lovely, wistful, funny and slightly unsettling book. If you read it, be warned: It may haunt you as well."

We had a chance to ask Nuzum a few questions about DC, the book, and more. Take a look, and check out the event on Wednesday.

Has living in the area affected your writing?
Yeah, on two levels. First, living in DC, a town full of great writers, has really forced me to figure out the kind of writer I want to be, in order to carve out my own space. I will never be the writer who constructs poetic sentences and glorious prose. But when it comes to telling stories that suck people in, make them laugh, and surprise them with how interested they are in fringe culture, that’s me. I think that’s really where I feel my work is distinct.

Secondly, every place I’ve ever lived has wormed its way into my books. Several stories in my last book, The Dead Travel Fast (an exploration of vampires in pop culture) happened while living in DC and involve people I found in the area. Even though this book, Giving Up the Ghost is a memoir, a number of things happen in the present day and includes mentions of DC.

One day I’ll work up the bravery to post a story from an early draft of the book that happened entirely in Petworth--involving a crazy man screaming insults and racial slurs on a Metrobus. It was frightening and shocking and, yes, had a connection to ghosts. My editor felt it was too harsh, so we pulled it. Bizarre, yes. Hilarious, not quite.

You have had a few literary events at local watering holes like Wonderland and Past Tense Yoga, why those places rather than more traditional venues?
Truth be told, I really loathe reading in bookstores. While I’ve done dozens of bookstore readings, they just are the wrong environment for me and my work. Most times its really bright and they stick you in the middle of the Womens Literature section (or worst, next to the Childrens section). Everything smells like musty books and old people. Those who come just sit there blank-faced and stare at you--just isn’t my gig.

I remember reading in a bookstore a few years ago and having a woman sitting nearby get up, come over, interrupt my reading, and ask me to lower my voice. I remember swearing to myself that I was never going to do another reading in a bookstore ever again.

I like reading at festivals or bars or performance spaces--things that feel like purposeful events. My readings are more like performances than what most people think of as a “book reading.” I want people to have a good time when they come to see me. I work hard to be entertaining.

When I wrote Giving Up The Ghost, I wanted people to laugh out loud when reading one page, get scared/creeped out on the next page, then laugh again a few pages later. The readings are pretty much the same experience. There’s a bit of spectacle thrown in. It’s a lot of fun.

My reading Wednesday night at Wonderland will definitely fall into this category.

At the 2009 event at Past Tense Yoga, you were reading from a forthcoming project involving ghosts called Bring Me To Heaven, did that evolve into Giving Up the Ghost?
Yes, the title wasn’t the only thing I changed. I’ve always thought it was corny when writers claimed that a book/story/play/whatever “spoke to me about the direction it wanted to go”--as if the work has a will of its own. Yawn. Pul-ease.

I changed my tune when it actually happened to me. This book was originally supposed to be a romp--a man who was scared of ghosts visiting haunted places to confront his fear. But as I started working on it, the story changed to focus more on me and why I was so scared--the history behind it all. I was probably the last person involved to recognize this change and fought against it (I really wasn’t hot to tell the story). The finished book still has some very funny stuff in it, but the tone is much darker and deeper. But it was the right call.

Interestingly my publisher (Random House) suggested I drop the title “Bring Me To Heaven” because they didn’t want to confuse people who might think it somehow involves religion. I had a hard time picking out a new title and we went through dozens of ideas. Then one day, sitting together on the couch, my wife said, “Why don’t you call it Giving Up the Ghost--because isn’t that what you are doing?”

Some of your work seems to deal with the supernatural: The Dead Travel Fast about vampires, and Giving Up the Ghost about a very specific, personal interaction with ghosts. Why the interest in that topic?
You’d think I was really into creepy things or dead things or creepy dead things--but really, I’m not. It just happened this way. I joke that my next book will be about kittens or Santa Claus, just so that I don’t get pegged as a humorist who writes about horror/death/etc.

To be honest, I’ve always been fascinated by the things that society invents to explain the unexplainable, be it gods, devils, ghosts, vampires, whatever. When you talk about people’s beliefs in these subjects, you are really talking about a much broader set of ideas, like how we cope with loss, how we give life meaning, and the often absurd answers we create when we have no fucking idea why things happen the way we do. I often wonder what people of the future will make fun of us for believing. What myths we create that will seem silly in 50 or 100 years.

So it really isn’t that I have a fascination with creepy things, but a fascination with the bullshit we sell each other to understand the meaning of our lives. That is equally deep and revealing and often really, really funny.

Have you done any research into local ghosts? For example, there have supposedly been some ghost sightings at the incoming Z-Burger at the Tivoli, oddly, and there have also been a number of famous authors who lived in the area -- maybe some are still around!
Hey, I just learned that Philip K. Dick was a fellow Petworthian! Who knew?!

In 2007, I wrote a piece for Washingtonian about confronting my fear of ghosts by spending a few nights in the Omni Shoreham Hotel’s haunted penthouse, known as “The Ghost Suite.” It was an attempt to “test run” the concepts I’d later use in Giving Up The Ghost. Though that experience, as well as a ghost-hunting trip to The Christmas Attic in Old Town, were eventually edited out of the book.

Truth be told, I love Z-Burger, but if someone is seeing large cloud-like things floating probably isn’t a ghost. That said, there are times that I think all this ghost exploration has made me a bit tougher about possible encounters with spooks. But as soon as I read read the link to your post about ghosts in the Tivoli/Z Burger, I have to admit I was scared to turn around.

What are your favorite places in Petworth and the surrounding neighborhoods? Any favorite spots to write?
I also hate to say this, because it sounds like such a cliche for a guy who just wrote a book about ghosts, but I love Rock Creek Cemetery. It is, hands down, my favorite place in DC. It is unquestionably the most unexpected, weird, and interesting place you will find in our city. You walk into this seemingly routine-looking cemetery, and once you walk over the hill, you are transported into this unexpected and striking collection of statuary and architecture. Stunning. And the deeper in you go, the sounds of the city quickly melt away and you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. It’s a strange sensation--surrounded by a beautiful collection of art.

And since the city has pretty much grown around it and engulfed it--it simply doesn’t belong where it is. I mean, it is surrounded by pretty typical “east of the park” row houses and semi-gentrified life--then bam, you come across this place.

Unfortunately, they have recently banned dogs, a horribly short-sighted decision. As a result, I spend far less time there. But a walk through there is often my favorite part of a nice weekend.

As far as favorite writing places--I don’t fetishize writing. It is something I do. I can do it anywhere and in any situation. It’s kind of like swallowing, I guess. I don’t think about it, I just do it.

And finally, what do you plan to work on next?
That’s a good question--for which I completely lack an answer. I’ve thought about writing another book, I’ve also toyed around with the idea of making a short documentary film (something I’ve always wanted to do and think I’d enjoy). Right now, despite gentle nudging from my agent, it’s the first time in well over a decade that I haven’t had a book contract. I’m sure I’ll write another, but right now I’m enjoying not having a deadline or obligation or huge project hanging over my head.

Photo of Nuzum by Mulvane S. Winfield

Chihuahua, shepherd-mix found on Harvard

Did you lose your dog(s)? Read on:
I found this Chihuahua (?) dog on my run this morning around 6:30 a.m. He was on Harvard, between Georgia and 5th Street. He was with another larger dog who looked maybe to be some sort of Shepherd mix. Both dogs followed me and my dog home, but when I went to leash the larger dog, he took off. He was last seen heading west on Bryant or north on First Street, NW. I have the Chihuahua at my house. He seemed to be limping a bit, but otherwise didn't appear as though he had been out roaming for very long. Can you please post to your blog or disseminate on any listserve for Columbia? I can be reached at 202-277-2030.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Room 11 3rd anniversary tonight! Deals aplenty

Room 11, the great little wine/cocktail spot at 11th and Lamont, is celebrating their third anniversary today. It doesn't seem like it's been that long! Here's what's going on tonight. Sounds great! And I hope to get some more info about their upcoming expansion. They're still blogging about it, and it looks to be this Summer.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US (and other news)!
Sunday 8/12 
We’ll be celebrating our anniversary on Monday August 13! Please join us for a complimentary St. Germain Sangria from 5 to 7 and $3 cava and $3 off cheese plates or grilled cheese all night (in honor of our third birthday!) 
In other news, we have some new menu items such as Thai Beef Salad, Plum Cakes, and more! Our Fennel Salad was written up in the Washington City Paper. Read the story about it HERE. You can download our latest brunch and dinner menus on the left side of this page. 
Also, we were invited to the James Beard House in NYC to serve our cocktails in the Best of DC dinner! It was an honor to be there and see some of our favorite DC chefs and bartenders! 
Lastly, we thank BYT for naming us one of the “Least Douchey Bars in DC“… to quote them, “Room 11 is so small, and so perfect it does not have any room for douchebaggery to take place there.” Ummm CHEERS!

Work in the big, empty space at DCUSA?

Today I walked by DCUSA and noticed a bunch of sawhorses and architectural drawings in the first floor on Irving, the space where Ellwood Thompson's was supposed to go. Not sure if this means something's coming in, or maybe they're just working on the upstairs space, which will be the new DSW shoe store (which is going into space 204 below, on the 2nd floor.) Still, interesting to see. 

When Ellwood Thompson's finally backed out, the developers said they were in touch with  "several grocery operators" and "We believe it's a viable grocery opportunity and there are a number of groups interested," though they would not specify which. "That's the direction we're planning on going in." 

With Whole Foods Trader Joe's coming to 14th and U, that's probably out, and there's also a Harris Teeter not far away in Adams Morgan, so there are really only a few possibilities left -- Trader Joe's and... that's it? I can't really think of any others. Let's hope something comes into that spot.

Here's the floor plans (note the tenants are out of date, this was the original plan before DCUSA opened.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Z-Burger soft opening soon? They have a permit, but no sidewalk seating yet

Z-Burger may be coming to the Tivoli soon after all. PoP reports they're having a soft opening late next week. Wow! I was surprised since last we heard, they hadn't done any of the requirements to get their patio permit.

However, it turns out they do have a certificate of occupancy, which thanks to the city I found they got on August 7th. So it seems they can have people inside, just not outside.

Not sure when that will happen with the patio issue. Here are the details again about getting a sidewalk cafe:
Z Burger's application for a sidewalk cafe was approved contingent upon the following conditions (please note: this is not the specific language used by the committee, but a summation):

1) Z Burger will choose furniture that is more consistent with the furniture at other restaurants in the Columbia Heights Public Realm, subject to the approval of the Office of Planning. 
2) The layout of the sidewalk cafe as applied for by Z Burger will remain the same, except for the removal of a four-top table (the middle of the three tables to the left (west) of the granite bench) and the handicap four-top table adjacent will be shifted to the left (west), in the former table's place, allowing greater access to the granite bench. 
3) Z Burger will only have a fence that runs parallel to Park Rd. There will be no fence enclosing the bench or on either the east or west sides of the cafe.
And as far as the ANC knows, they haven't sent in their furniture to the city.

Well, at least we may be getting some indoor burgers soon! The place was rather impressive when I saw it.

What's new at the CH Community Marketplace?

Here's what!

Columbia Heights Community Marketplace
Saturday, August 4th from 9 AM to 1 PM (rain or shine)
Civic plaza @ 14th Street and Kenyon Street, NW

 This week at the market

For the latest information about the market, visit our blog

Produce: Apples, artichokes, arugula, asparagus, banana peppers, basil, beets, blackberries, bok choi, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cayenne peppers, cauliflower, chard, cherries, cider, chives, cilantro, collards, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, fennel, garlic, green beans, green peppers, herbs, jalapenos, okra, purslane, mushrooms, mustard greens, onions, peaches, green onions, okra, plums, potatoes, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb, sugar snap peas, sorrel, acorn squash, butternut squash, spinach, strawberries, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, tatsoi, field tomatoes, greenhouse tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, tomato plants, thyme, turnips, zucchini, black raspberries, watermelon
Vendors: Chesley Farm, Dragonfly Farm, Five Seeds Farm, Licking Creek Bend Farm, Pleitez Produce, Wisteria Gardens

Fresh baked bread, pastries, and cookies
Vendors: Bonaparte Breads, Goldilocks Goodies, Upper Crust Bakery

Dairy and eggs:  Chicken and duck eggs, goat cheese, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, yogurt, and cheese spreads.
Vendors: Chapel’s Country Creamery, Five Seeds Farm, Picnic Gourmet Spreads, Spriggs Delight Goat Cheese, Twin Post Farm

Meat products:  Beef, chicken, duck, lamb, pork, turkey, chevon (goat), and sheep products.
Vendors: Country Vittles from Critter Hill Farm, Springfield Farm of Kent County, MD, Stachowski Brand Charcuterie

Specialty items:  Mexican fare from El Sabor del Taco, pickles by Fresh Crunch, gluten-free cookies from Goldilocks Goodies, honey from Urban Honey, and salsas, dips, hummus, peanut sauce, and tahini by Wisteria Gardens.

Fine Arts: Four artists will showcase their creativity to the community.

Cooking Demo: A team from Old School Hardware will be grilling market produce between 10 AM and noon.

Community Table:  Elysian Energy, a local leader in energy efficiency consulting, will be featured at the community table this week.  

The Bob Schwartz Quartet will perform from 10 AM until noon.


Saturday, August 11th from 9 AM to 1 PM (rain or shine)
Civic plaza @ 14th Street and Kenyon Street, NW 

Keep up with the latest on FacebookTwitterand our blog.

We thank Wholesome Wave for their generous support of the Festibuck and Fruit & Vegetable Prescription programs, Giant for supporting our entertainment, and Old School Hardware for their sponsorship of the market. We appreciate both Minuteman Press (14th and Meridian) and the UPS Store (14th and Monroe) for offering us discounts on a range of printing and copying services.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Norwegian bluegrass-folk-punk band playing at Haydee's on Sunday Saturday

Don't you get tired of hearing the same old thing? I am pretty tired of all the Norwegian bluegrass bands that play in Mount Pleasant every week.

Obviously I am being sarcastic, as this is pretty cool.

The brother of a local resident lives in Norway and is in a bluegrass band called The Fabulous Flea Market Band. They're on a US tour and will be playing at Haydee's (3102 Mt. Pleasant Street NW) on Sunday Saturday at 8 pm. Here's more about them, plus a couple videos.
Love songs for lumberjacks, bluegrass for punk rockers, serenades for sailors, drinking songs for desperate nights; love, insanity, murder, natural disaster and three legged dogs are just some of the themes covered in the Flea Market songbook. Part backstreet hoedown, part honky-tonk confessional, part big tent revival meeting, for the past two years The Fabulous Flea Market Band have steadily been winning new converts to their sweat-soaked, heartfelt vision, blending shadows from the Norwegian forest with darkness from the margins of America. Huddled around a single mic in the old-time string band tradition, the Fleas tear through all-original tunes, taking turns on banjo, mandolin, fiddle, guitar, upright bass and the occasional trombone.
One reviewer wrote that wrote that when listening to Flea Market, it's "[a]s if Tom Waits, Lillebjørn Nilsen and The Clash ran into each other and decided to make a new soundtrack for the movie 'O Brother Where Art Thou'." (Aftenposten Aften)
Here's two songs, one an original called "Goddamn Mary!" and "Wagon Wheel," a cover of an Old Crow Medicine Show song. There's more on their Myspace page, include in Norwegian!

Fundraiser for City Dogs Rescue at The Heights on August 13 -- bring your dogs!

If you like dogs, or helping non-profits, check out this fundraiser. And bring your dog! Here's a blurb on it, a flyer and some of the dogs they have helped.
Please join City Dogs Rescue for dinner on Monday, August 13th at The Heights Restaurant & Bar on 14th Street. Your table will have 15% of dinner and drink dollars donated directly to our organization, which saves dogs from high-kill shelters and adopts them into permanent homes. This is a great (and easy!) way to help a great cause. Just invite all of your friends, family, coworkers, etc. and show up to eat between 5 and 10 p.m.  
Make a reservation today on Open Table: and specify under "special requests" that you're there to support City Dogs Rescue. Any reservation before 7 p.m. is guaranteed patio seating (weather permitting), so bring your dog along for the fun! Just make sure to request a patio table in your reservation. See you there! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Help set up a neighborhood wireless network: meeting tonight at Wonderland

This is interesting -- a group of folks called the Columbia Heights Community Wireless Network are working to set up a free, local wifi network for anyone to use.

Basically people put routers or repeaters on their rooftops, and then a network is broadcast for anybody to use. It's a community asset!

Here's their website and their Frequently Asked Questions page, which talks more about what it is. Here's a blog post by them about installing a router on the roof of Wonderland.

And if you're interested, they're having a meeting today at 7pm in the upstairs of Wonderland! Here's more info on the meeting:
Columbia Heights Community Wireless Meeting: Wednesday, August 8 
Join us for an evening of drinks, laughs and light geekiness, and hear from some of your neighbors who are already part of the network! We’ll introduce the technology behind community wireless networks, hear ideas and goals for organizing the community and building the network, and plan next steps. 
When: Wednesday August 8th at 7:00 pm
Where: The Wonderland Ballroom (upstairs)
Why: Meet your neighbors and support a community resource! 
A wireless network can help you communicate with your neighbors and share the cost of an Internet connection. The potential benefits for our community include:
  • faster Internet access
  • lower phone bills
  • health information
  • neighborhood safety
  • environmental justice
  • local news and education
  • many applications we cannot yet imagine
You can participate in this effort by offering any of the following: roof space and electricity to host a wireless router, bandwidth, technical or handy-work skill, and/or local organizing, just to name a few. It will take the support of many community members, so please bring your dedication to Columbia Heights with you. 
Please join our Facebook event, so we can gauge the expected number of attendees. If you can’t attend the community meeting, but you are interested in supporting this project further with your time and skills or you want more information, provide your contact information below or email
Photo from their blog. Hat tip to DC Bocce for alerting me to it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bats in the neighborhood! Good or bad?

Kind of an interesting discussion about bats going on over at the Petworth listserve.

One person said their friend found found a dead bat on their living room floor, which is pretty crazy. Others offered advice to put a bat house in the chimney, so bats will roost there and not elsewhere in your house, and she and another person talked about how great nearby bats are for keeping down the mosquito population. They mention them living in trees around 7th and Varnum Streets NW. That sounds like a good deal to me.

According to the Organization for Bat Conservation, bats also "consume large quantities of garden and crop pests, including stink bugs, spotted cucumber beetles, corn ear-worm moths, and emerald ash borers." They have a lot of other benefits too, and also generally don't carry rabies and are usually not dangerous.

Now I'm not a bat expert, and I certainly don't want to recommend everybody going out and trying to get bats, but if you are interested, here's more about building your own bat house, and here are some plans to do just that. Bat Conservation International has a lot of resources too. Most recommend you don't put it on a tree, and make sure it's in the sun.

There's also a bat fungus going around killing bats, so they could use all the help they can get. The Hill is Home blog seems to think more bats is a good idea too. I recommend you do some more research though, first.

So what do you think? Pro-bat or anti-bat? I never really thought about it before, but the more I read, the more pro I become.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Z-Burger situation unclear. They say soon, but the law says otherwise

Ah, Z-Burger. The local burger chain is supposed to be coming to the Tivoli building at 14th and Park, and I've been looking forward to it for awhile. They invited me over in December to see the progress, and I was really impressed, it's a really nice-looking space. Supposedly the burgers are good. However, we've been waiting for awhile.

Z-Burger folks tell the press it'll be open in the next few weeks, but ANC commissioners say they haven't started to fulfill the conditions of their permits for their outdoor seating, so it may be some time.

The main issue holding things up was their patio seating. Z-Burger wanted to take out one of the concrete benches near where their patio would be on Park Road, they wanted a permanent fence around the seating, and they wanted a certain number of seats. There was a final hearing on May 24, and this is what was decided:
Z Burger's application for a sidewalk cafe was approved contingent upon the following conditions (please note: this is not the specific language used by the committee, but a summation):

1) Z Burger will choose furniture that is more consistent with the furniture at other restaurants in the Columbia Heights Public Realm, subject to the approval of the Office of Planning. 
2) The layout of the sidewalk cafe as applied for by Z Burger will remain the same, except for the removal of a four-top table (the middle of the three tables to the left (west) of the granite bench) and the handicap four-top table adjacent will be shifted to the left (west), in the former table's place, allowing greater access to the granite bench. 
3) Z Burger will only have a fence that runs parallel to Park Rd. There will be no fence enclosing the bench or on either the east or west sides of the cafe.
However, when I asked ANC commissioner Laina Aquiline what the status was last week, she said
As of last week, Z Burger had not presented their furniture selection to the Office of Planning for approval. Therefore, no permit for their sidewalk cafe has been issued. I do not know if they as yet have their Certificate of Occupancy for the inside. I was told by the manager at the Z Burger Waterfront location last week that they should be opening in a couple of weeks. I sincerely doubt that time frame. If Z Burger still maintains they cannot open the location until their sidewalk cafe is complete, I estimate they are still a ways off from opening.
I reached out to co-owner Peter Tabibian last week but didn't hear back. And in the meantime, they are working on opening a new location in Arlington, and when asked in that article, Tabibian said they hoped to open the Columbia Heights location in the next few weeks. The Southwest location they said they were focusing on before opening the Columbia Heights location is already open.

Judging from Laina's email, that doesn't seem like it's going to happen.

Here's the full saga. I've been writing that they're coming since April 2010. I am confident they will open eventually, however, as they've done a ton of work to the Tivoli space (unlike that Grocery Store that Shall Not Be Named.)