Wednesday, February 28, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 23, 2018

Good local news: NPR station WAMU buying and restarting

Good news for local news: the local NPR station WAMU is buying and relaunching, the sadly defunct local news site. The parent company of DCist, Gothamist, was bought last year and and suddenly shut down shortly after the staff voted to unionize. WAMU plans to relaunch it in spring.

DCist, which was around since 2004, was a great source of local news, arts, entertainment, food and a lot more.

The sale is part of a bigger effort by local public radio stations to buy the local outposts of Gothamist: WNYC in New York City and KPCC in Los Angeles bought Gothamist and LAist, respectively. Former DCist editor Martin Austermuhle works at WAMU.

WAMU had a few good quotes about the site:
"WAMU connects Washingtonians with each other and the world, and DCist will enhance our coverage of the region and expand our digital reach," said JJ Yore, general manager, WAMU. "At a time when local journalism is declining everywhere, we are excited to revive this important news source for our region."

"The audience who turned to DCist did so to feel more connected to their neighbors and community," said Andi McDaniel, senior director of content and news, WAMU. "The WAMU audience wants to do the same, and the addition of the DCist platform helps us bring the quality journalism we’ve been producing for decades to the neighborhood level."
(Full disclosure: I wrote for DCist too, doing music reviews, maps, Overheard in DC and other random things.) 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Another real estate company fake neighborhood name: this time Pleasant Plains and Howard U. are "North Shaw"

Longtime readers of this blog might know that I hate newly invented neighborhood names. 

A few years ago, real estate developers JBG tried to rename the 14th and U Street area "14th and Shaw" in all their advertisements for their buildings and in D/CITY Style, a free newspaper they put out around the area. Thankfully the name didn't catch on, but a few months later they were calling the area "North End Shaw." That also didn't catch on.

But now another bunch of developer doofuses have coined yet another name: the Bozzutto Group is saying their new building, Trellis House, is in the "heart of North Shaw," going on about all the great stuff in North Shaw. They've also mentioned about something similar on the building's Instagram page. Basically they're trying to make "fetch" happen, but for a neighborhood.

This stuff always makes me mad. People have lived in this area for more than 100 years, and all of a sudden a real estate company thinks they can come along and rename it to try to sell some corny apartments.

And the dumbest part about this is that they have a map on their site showing where their buildings are, and the dot for Trellis House is literally next to the words "Pleasant Plains." Because that's the name of the area. And presumably, that also means Howard University is in North Shaw. News to them, I'm sure.

Pleasant Plains isn't the best known neighborhood name, but it is on the Metro. And anyway, just because a neighborhood name wasn't known throughout the city it doesn't mean you should just throw it out. Here's more on the history of Pleasant Plains.

Let's not use this dumb new name.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

There's a Dan's Cafe Twitter, and it's hilarious

This is a little out of my jurisdiction, but I figure a lot of folks in our area have journeyed over to Dan's Cafe in Adams Morgan, the legendary (or infamous) dive bar.

The spot, with yellowed walls, super cheap drinks (some of which come in squirt bottles) and a unique aroma, has been entertaining drunk people, or making sober people drunk, for more than 50 years.

And recently I discovered that there's a Dan's Cafe Twitter. And while I'm pretty sure it's not an official Twitter, especially considering this is Dan's Cafe, where the newest thing in it is probably a sign for a beer that is no longer made, it's pretty great.

The Twitter account matches the bar's vibe -- grumpy and amusing with lots of squirt bottle jokes. For example, their pinned tweet:
FYI- We got a special tomorrow night. Come in and show your #TailUpGoat receipt and pay the same fuckin price as everybody else
Other recent gems include "Plenty of buildings don't have windows" and "Our TV has been on the fritz since Clinton's #SOTU in '95."

It's pretty funny stuff, check it out.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Diner with huge menu, Flip It LJ Diner, open next to Pollo Sabroso on Park Road

Park Road's strip of places to eat has another addition: Flip It LJ Diner at 1432 Park Rd NW, just down from Pho 14 and El Pollo Sabroso. A reader went by the other day and got a shot of their huge menu (below.) The spot has pretty good reviews on Yelp too, 5 stars from 39 reviews.

They have seemingly everything too: lots of breakfast options, tacos, nachos and other Mexican dishes, deli sandwiches, pasta and paninis, plus Salvadoran dishes.

They open early and are open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday; on Sunday and Monday, just breakfast and lunch. They're closed Tuesday.

Anybody stop by yet?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

11th and Park dog park with a new petition to the city; "Mardi Paws" dog costume contest Feb. 27

If you like the 11th and Park dog park, there are a few updates. Folks from 11th and Bark, the nonprofit that manages the park, recently held a cleanup, and have also released a new petition asking the city to buy the property and designate it an official dog park.

If you recall, WMATA, which owns the land, recently announced they would like to sell it. They said they would prefer to sell it to the city, and city officials have said they'd like to buy it. However, that hasn't happened yet. Local dog owners are concerned the land will be sold and converted to another use.

Maggie Garrett of 11th and Bark has this to say about the petition: 
The Mayor is currently crafting her budget and should present it to the Council in March. Ward One Councilmember Brianne Nadeau already requested that Mayor Muriel Bowser include money in her budget to buy the property for the purpose of a dog park. Now, it's our turn to tell the Mayor to include money in her budget to buy the park and Councilmembers to support it.
They also have published a list of action items that you can do to help advocate for the park.

And finally, they're organizing a "Mardi Paws" event at the park on Feb. 21st from 11am-1pm, with a dog costume contest as well as prizes and giveaways. Sounds like fun. I hope there's King Cake.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Rock Hard Sundays at The House strip club has come to an end

A few years ago, I wrote about a new promotion at the House, the strip club at 3530 Georgia Avenue NW. Former Councilmember Jim Graham realized there weren't many strip nights in the city that catered to gay men, so he suggested the idea to the House. They liked it, and Rock Hard Sundays was born.

For some time, the dancers wore Jim Graham's signature bowties. It was a pretty clever idea and I hear was quite popular. They also advertised on this blog for a while (image above.)

Sadly, Graham, who was an LGBT advocate, member of the WMATA Board and also ran the Whitman Walker Clinic for a long time, passed away in June 2017, but the event continued on. The House even had a message remembering Graham on their facade for a while.

However, the Blade reports that the event has come to an end as patrons reported that the event dropped in popularity after Graham's passing. Too bad, but hopefully there are other options in the city.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Package thefts in the neighborhood and what to do about them

Package thefts in our area are nothing new. However, lately I've seen a lot of videos of thefts from people's doorbell cameras on local Facebook groups, and I've also heard about a few instances of crooks jimmying open doors to buildings. It's not fun to lose something you're expecting, and it's difficult to catch the perpetrators (but video does help!)

However, there are a few solutions:

For one, try to get the packages delivered somewhere else, like your office. There are also a few places in our neighborhood that will accept packages, like the UPS Store on Monroe near 14th, FedEx Kinko's on 14th near Kenyon, and Walls of Books on Georgia Avenue, which is a UPS Access Point. You can talk to any of them to get more info on how delivery and pickup works. Amazon also has a network of Amazon Lockers for things you order from there.

For buildings, you can also buy package lockers that you install outside, basically mailboxes where the postal carrier can drop your packages that only you and other building residents have the keys They range in price, design and security level, you can find a bunch available online. Petworth News has one example.

And if you've had packages stolen from inside your building, there may be an easy fix. If your building doesn't have a deadbolt on the door, it can be pretty easy to pry it open with some simple tools. This happened at my building and at a friend's, someone made off with a bike and some packages. One way to prevent it is pretty simple, add a metal strip called a latch protector covering the gap where the lock is that makes it impossible to stick something in there and open it. They're usually pretty inexpensive and easy to install (here are some examples), and after we added ours we had no more problems with thefts from inside the building.

You can add a security camera or doorbell camera too. Ring is a popular brand and many brands will turn on at any sign of movement. They don't necessarily deter people, but you might be able to give the video to police.

And you should also alert the police -- you can even file a police report online. Even if they can't find the person who did it, they'll have a record of where and how often the thefts occur, which might suggest patterns. And that might help them bust the crooks next time. Help our your neighbors.

Or, you can do what these folks tried: putting poop in a box.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Jimmy John's on the Civic Plaza has closed

Sad news for fans of sandwiches and free smells: Jimmy John's on the Civic Plaza has closed. I always liked the spot, but it never seemed too crowded. That space, next to Fro Zen Yo, was previously Julia's Empanadas.

It seems kind of odd that two beloved chains would close in the same space: maybe the rent is too high or something. I hope something else good comes there.

And it's more bad news for 14th Street, as we also recently learned that Jenkins Capital BBQ has closed. On the other hand, it looks like Karibbean Kitchen in the old Getaway/Social space is maybe opening.

Any JJ's fans in the comments?

Monday, February 5, 2018

Jenkins Capital BBQ at 14th and Monroe is apparently closed for good

It looks like Jenkins Capital BBQ in the big former Ruby Tuesday space at 14th and Monroe has closed for good.

In November I thought it might be closed, as it seemed to be shuttered on Friday and Saturday nights (which is odd for a restaurant) but they told me via Facebook they were still open.

But I've since gotten more tips that they haven't been open in a while, and their website and Facebook page are both gone, as is the Facebook account that I messaged with a while ago. Yelp also says they're closed and the last review was from November, so maybe they've been closed or only sporadically open since then.

Too bad for them, as I was hoping something popular would come to the space.

It was Ruby Tuesday for a couple of years, which was closed as part of a nationwide store-closing, and the space was empty for some time before that. It was always a bit of a mysterious place, I had a hard time finding any info about them when they were in the planning phases.

To be honest I was kind of surprised it wasn't another big chain since it's such a big space -- I feel like a Red Lobster would do well there. I wonder what other kinds of things might be good for it -- maybe something like a Yes! Organic Market or some other big retail store? Anything else you'd like to see there?

Karibbean Kitchen sign now up at old Getaway/Social space on 14th, maybe finally closer to opening


Well, this is some good news. Nearly two years ago I wrote that there was a Jamaican place coming to 1400 Meridian Place NW, the old Getaway and Social space. A couple of tipsters had spotted work and spoken to people inside.  However, the next two years came and went without anything happening.

But now, there's a sign up on the building for Karibbean Kitchen, and a permit from the city for that new sign. I can't find any other permits or news about the spot like construction or occupancy, but they are in the White Pages now, so maybe that means they're moving along. It's not my favorite sign, kind of looks like one of the generic Chinese takeout or dry cleaner signs.

I guess we'll see. I hope it's good, I like Jamaican food a lot.

The space used to be the 60s racing themed The Getaway, with a bar on the basement floor and a restaurant upstairs. I thought it was decent, pretty good food but a bit of a weird vibe upstairs. That place replaced Social, a weirder and kind of generic place with a similar layout that closed mysteriously. We'll see what Karibbean Kitchen does with the space.

(Sorry for my blurry rainy photos.)

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Whoa! Axe throwing bar Kraken Axes now open on Georgia Avenue!

Holy smokes -- today I noticed a sign for Kraken Axes, which is an axe-throwing pop up bar at 3400 Georgia Avenue NW. That building is the former Murry's supermarket and the Perch, an indoor mushroom farm that I think never got going. It has a big Park View mural on the Morton Street side.

The place apparently opened in December, according to Park View DC, and it looks pretty amazing. The sport is popular in Canada, and it's basically like darts, but with axes. If you've been to a renaissance fair you've probably seen it.

They have a lengthy FAQ on their website, which is helpful since it's quite different from most spots around town. It's mostly by reservation, but there are walk-in sessions on Thursday and Sunday. They show you how it's done and you get tossing. It's not cheap, though:
We charge by the person to reserve an arena for your group. Arenas have 2 targets and hold between 6-12 people for a 2.5 hour session ($39.99/pp). Groups of between 12-24 people will play on 2 arenas for a 2.5 session ($35.99/pp). Or, join us on a Thursday or Sunday for walk-in sessions ($19.99/pp/hour) and have no minimum number of guests.
There is food from a catering menu as well as a full bar. Right now it's 21+ and they're also planning to start a league.

Has anybody been? Pretty wild.

Here's a video and a shot I took through the window.