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by Tim Regan — July 2, 2015 at 3:35 pm 411 0

Guggenmos at ANC 2F

Number Nine and Town Danceboutique co-owner John Guggenmos seeks to open a “comfortable” new tavern on 14th Street NW.

Guggenmos said last night during a monthly ANC 2F meeting that the new business would be located at 1410 14th Street NW in the space under Black Whiskey.

That storefront is currently occupied by Jrink juicery, which will move to Shaw in August.

If all goes according to plan, the new tavern — still unnamed — will have a small dance floor, live DJs and feature architectural design elements made from salvaged materials.

“One of the things we’ll be looking to do here is use materials that give them all a second life,” said Guggenmos during his presentation to ANC 2F’s commissioners.

For instance, Guggenmos said he would like to build an outdoor seating area’s fence out of wood found in the wreckage of a barn destroyed by a tornado.

“You take down this wonderful old barn wood and give it a second life,” he said. “These big, thick old planks; you couldn’t buy something new that has that character.”

Guggenmos hopes the salvaged materials will lend the tavern a comfortable feel.

“I was criticized with Number Nine for making it too nice,” said Guggenmos. “People didn’t feel like they could put their feet up.”

ANC 2F passed the tavern’s settlement agreement unanimously last night. Its next hurdle will be a July  27 ABRA hearing.

by Tim Regan — July 2, 2015 at 1:55 pm 0

“FIREWORKS TNT FIREWORKS,” reads the sign above Mi Casita Bakery, a Mexican and Salvadoran cafe in Columbia Heights.

Inside, the eatery is busy and hot.

“No, we don’t sell fireworks here,” sighs the man behind the counter at the Mi Casita Bakery on 14th Street NW. “We do not sell fireworks.”

The man sighs again, as if to say he gets that question a lot.

“But Mattie does,” the man says, pointing to the wall behind him. “She’s out back.”

Mattie McLain’s head barely emerges from behind the counter of her plywood fireworks stand. On first glance, the hut looks uninhabited.

Although hidden, McLain is there. Sun or storm, the 78-year-old has manned the firework shack each summer for more than 20 years.

Every afternoon, a small crowd of children gathers in front of the stand. With a smile, McLain doles out pop-its, sparklers and party poppers for a dollar apiece.

Earlier this week, the stand was discovered — and subsequently written about — by PoPville.

“Seems legit,” wrote one commenter sarcastically.

“The [person] who runs the fireworks stand has had [their] stand on that corner for 30+ years,” writes another. “The nice folks at [Mi] Casita don’t have to let [them] continue the tradition, but they do.”

But McLain doesn’t just own the fireworks stand. She also owns the building that houses Mi Casita.

“I’ve owned the building 40 years,” she says.

McLain used to run a grocery store and deli out of the space, but she closed the deli 10 years ago.

“I just got too old,” McLain says. “Now, I sell fireworks. It keeps me busy.”

Over the years, McLain has gotten to know her neighbors well.

“The neighborhood has changed a lot,” says McLain. “But a lot of the same people are still here. I know them.”

“Each year around this time, they look for me,” McLain says with a laugh. “Everybody says, ‘Where’s Mattie?'”

McLain often says she doesn’t know how much longer she’ll sell fireworks. But she’ll run the stand as long as she can.

“I’m old,” McLain says. “Too old. I fell this morning.”

“But I can get up,” she adds.

by Tim Regan — July 1, 2015 at 4:05 pm 0

Gallery Neptune and Brown

A new art gallery will open in the space formerly occupied by Gallery Plan B on July 18.

Two Georgetown galleries, Neptune Fine Art and Robert Brown Gallery announced today the opening of a joint “satellite space” called Gallery Neptune and Brown.

The new gallery will be located in the old Gallery Plan B space, across the street from the Studio Theatre at 1530 14th Street NW.

Former Gallery Plan B Director David Kalamar will be hired on to help manage the new location, confirmed Robert Brown of Robert Brown Gallery.

Nepture Fine Art owner Christine Neptune and Robert Brown will co-own the space.

Gallery Plan B owner Paula Amt announced the closure of her beloved 14th Street art space last Monday.

“We decided after the 10 year anniversary that it was time,” Amt told Borderstan. “Go out on a high note with good memories and accomplishments.”

Amt will not return to help with the new gallery.

The gallery’s first exhibit, “Summer Splash on 14th Street,” will run from July 18 until September 5 and feature artists Polly Apfelbaum, Donald Baechler, Ellsworth Kelly and Philip Taaffe.

Neptune Fine Art was founded in New York City in 2000, an focuses mainly on modern and contemporary art.

Robert Brown Gallery first opened in Georgetown in 1981. Over the years, Brown has exhibited artists such as Roger Ballen, Oleg Kudryashov, Sol Lewitt and David Nash.

Photo courtesy Gallery Neptune and Brown

by Tim Regan — July 1, 2015 at 10:10 am 968 1 Comment

Books-A-Million, Photo via https://www.facebook.com/pages/Books-A-Millon/

Books-A-Million near Dupont Circle will close on July 18, said assistant store manager Karen Sickles.

Sickles confirmed by phone this morning that the store lost its lease, but couldn’t say anything more about the situation.

“We’ve been here a long time,” Sickles says. “We’re sad to go.”

Sickles added the store, located at 11 Dupont Circle NW, is selling all of its remaining inventory at a 20 to 50 percent discount.

“This is our bye-to-D.C. sale,” she says.

Photo via Facebook/pages/Books-A-Millon

by Tim Regan — June 25, 2015 at 1:45 pm 172 0

Ben’s Chili Bowl is expanding again.

Borderstan’s sister site, Hill Now, reported earlier today that the landmark U Street eatery famous for its chili and half smokes will open a new location on H Street NE in just two weeks.

The store, located at 1001 H St. NE, is slated to open July 8 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and some “special guests,” said Vida Ali, whose family owns the Ben’s Chili Bowl restaurants across D.C.

Local politicians and comedian Bill Cosby have previously attended Ben’s Chili Bowl openings in the past.

Founded in 1958 by Ben and Virginia Ali, Ben’s Chili Bowl locations can be found on U Street NW and in Arlington, as well as at Reagan National Airport, Nationals Park and FedExField.

Photo of Ben’s Chili Bowl interior via Ben’s Chili Bowl

by Jared Holt — June 25, 2015 at 12:00 pm 227 2 Comments

Riccardi Clothier

The Dupont neighborhood will soon lose another local business.

Riccardi Clothier owner Alex Brown says his store, located at 1300 Connecticut Avenue NW, will move to its original location in Georgetown in just three days. Why? Because the rent is just too high, says Brown.

Brown has sold of Italian suits and fashion consultation from his storefront since it moved there from Georgetown five year ago.

He admits business on Connecticut has been lackluster for a while.

But Brown also says he’s glad his menswear store is moving, primarily because his going-out-of-business sale has helped him sell more suits than he’s sold in months.

And there’s another silver lining: At least the store won’t have to worry about  wayward chicken odors from when The Chickery opens next door.

by Jared Holt — June 24, 2015 at 12:15 pm 0

Super Art Fight

What’s equal parts live art, wacky costumed characters, glow-sticks and nostalgia? Super Art Fight, that’s what.

Ten artists will face off in a test of speed, creativity and scribbling during the show on the Black Cat main stage Saturday night at 9:30 p.m.

“Super Art Fight is Pictionary meets pro wrestling,” says Ross Nover, who co-hosts the show he calls the “greatest live art competition in the known universe.”

“But unlike pro-wrestling, none of the show is pre-planned,” says Nover. “It’s less about how great the art work comes out, and more about how funny and great the moment was when it was created.”

During the bout, artists are encouraged to undermine each other’s illustrations by adding their own mischievous input to their opponent’s work. At the end, audience applause determines the winner.

Nover says the audience vote encourages artists to create eccentric personas and outfits for audience love.

Attendees should expect the show’s usual wacky decorations and costumes to be kicked up a notch for Saturday’s 80’s-themed show. Michael Bracco, known as Baron Von Sexyful on stage, created two decorations that Nover describes as “the worlds craziest mash-up T-shirt” of cartoon characters and pop culture icons.

The show will also include Synful Pleasure, an ’80s cover band, and live DJing from the The Megadrives.

Tickets are available online for $15 and a $3.90 service fee. The show is for all ages.

Photo via Super Art Fight’s Facebook

by Tim Regan — June 23, 2015 at 3:45 pm 369 0

Florida Liquors

Florida Liquors is not dead.

The old-school 14th Street store, located at the intersection of Florida Avenue and 14th Street NW, is doing fine and well despite a PoPville story that said it might have closed last week.

Store owner Joe Tadesse says the store was closed all of last week, but only to gut and renovate the space.

“Everything is different and better,” Tadesse says.

The store officially reopened yesterday with new wooden shelves, an upgraded cooler and a more spacious interior.

Tadesse first read the online news of his store’s possible demise this afternoon.

“I was confused,” says Tadesse.

“People kept calling and asking if we were closed,” he adds. “Now I understand why.”

Several PoPville readers wrote in to correct the Prince of Petworth just hours after the original story was posted.

“I mean this sincerely not being a jerk,” replied the Prince. “He should [have posted] a ‘closed for renovations’ note on the door instead of closed with a sad face sign.”

To that, Tadesse can only laugh.

“Maybe I should have,” he says with a smile while ringing up a small line of customers.

by Tim Regan — June 22, 2015 at 12:45 pm 350 0

Plan B Gallery, photo via Plan B Gallery

Local artists now have one less place in which to hang their work.

Gallery Plan B owner Paula Amt and director David Kalamar announced in a Facebook post yesterday that the gallery located across the street from the Studio Theatre is closed for good.

Amt confirmed the closure earlier today via e-mail.

“We are closing, not moving,” said Amt. “Our last exhibition finished yesterday and we will be out of the space by the end of the month.”

“We decided after the 10 year anniversary that it was time,” added Amt. “Go out on a high note with good memories and accomplishments.”

The business, which opened a decade ago on the first floor of 1530 14th Street NW, had been a popular exhibition space for local photographers, painters and sculptors.

Amt said a new art-themed business would open in the space later this summer, but would not offer any additional details.

Photo via GalleryPlanB.com

by Tim Regan — June 19, 2015 at 2:45 pm 0

Cherries at 14th and U, Photo via Facebook.com/14UFarmersMarket

The popular farmers market at the corner of 14th and U streets NW will stock its carts with cherries, and several types of berries as well as pasta from local producer Cucina Al Volo this weekend from 9 a.m to 1 p.m.

Other newly added foods include apricots, red currants, spicy amatriciana sauce, fennel, and radish kimchi.

The market will also stock its normal supply of local fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese and herbs.

The market’s director, Robin Shuster, says the market will additionally sell a large number of freshly harvested whole carrots that can be used in a wide variety of dishes.

“Don’t throw away fresh carrot tops,” says Shuster. “You make pesto and other things from it.”

Photo via Facebook.com/14UFarmersMarket

by Tim Regan — June 11, 2015 at 11:55 am 481 0

Second State is closed for good, say multiple sources near the M Street bar.

An anonymous reader reported to PoPville this morning that the bar, located at 1831 M St NW, appeared to be “closed until further notice.”

The multiple sources, who did not want to be named for legal reasons, said today the bar vacated its space last night after allegedly getting behind on its rent.

by Tim Regan — June 1, 2015 at 11:45 am 0

Pacers Running's new space on 14th Street

Pacers Running on P Street will move up to 14th Street near the Black Cat.

The new store, located between El Centro and City Paws at 1821 14th St., NW, will open on July 5 and carry running shoes, clothes and other accessories. It will also serve as host for events catered to local runners.

A Bluemercury franchise will move into the vacated space later this summer.

The new 14th Street Pacers location will span 300 more square feet than the old store and will be a “better space for retail and events,” says Pacers CEO Kathy Dalby.

Earlier this year, the company announced it would close its Pentagon Row location on June 28, but open a location in the Navy Yard in late August.

by Borderstan.com — April 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.


Vastu is one of the businesses participating in this weekends event. (Eliza French)

Just as beautiful spring weather finally comes to DC, some local businesses are offering an opportunity for DC residents to make our indoor surroundings more beautiful, as well.

The third annual WFP Home and Design Weekend, hosted by Washington Fine Properties and DC Magazine, takes place on 14th and U Streets NW this Saturday, April 13, and Sunday, April 14.

Retail stores and local art galleries will offer giveaways and host seminars and demos from experts in design and remodeling.

Customers at any of the participating stores can enter in a drawing for free gifts from the vendors, including gift cards of up to $300.

Color of the Year

The weekend highlights the Pantone 2013 color of the year, Emerald. Window displays at some of the participating businesses (Vastu, Foundry, Timothy Paul Bedding & Home, Timothy Paul Carpets & Textiles, Miss Pixies Furnishing’s & Whatnot and Showroom 1412) are currently showcasing the color.

Seminars and Demonstrations

Seminars and demonstrations take place on Saturday, with one repeat session on Sunday at Room & Board with HGTV “Design Star” winner Danielle Colding. Other program highlights include a 3 pm session on Saturday at Urban Essentials on “overcoming the challenges of small sized spaces,” which sounds promising for Borderstan residents.

For those more interested in DIY renovations than the finer points of design, Capital Carpet LLC will host a demonstration on installing hardwood floors at 11 am on Saturday.

Visit the WFP Home and Design website for a full list of the businesses, details about the giveaways and a schedule of lectures and demonstrations.


  • WhatWFP Home and Design Weekend.
  • When: Saturday, April 13 and Sunday, April 14, 11 am to 6 pm both days.
  • Where: 14th Street and U Street corridors.

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by Borderstan.com — January 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm 0

"Borderstan""14th Street NW"

Lux owners Amy and Don at their showroom, 1821 14th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Luis Gomez. Catch his photos on Picplz and at One Photograph A Day. Follow him on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos.

The 14th Street corridor is getting a new bathroom, tile and accessories store. Already “partially” open, the owners of Lux at 1821 14th Street NW plan to be fully up and running by the end of January.

Owners Any Scheinman and Don Pannell are still prepping the 2,500-square foot store and adding items. For now, Lux has bathtubs and a variety of tile samples in the store. The store hours are Monday through Friday 9 am to 5 pm, and Saturday 10 am to 3 pm.

“We chose 1821 because there is nothing like this in this area of DC. We are bringing wonderful materials to the design community… and to homeowners who would prefer to shop locally.”

Lux is in the space formerly occupied by IONdc lighting.

by Borderstan.com — November 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm 0

Washington Blade, Best of Gay DC 2011, Borderstan

The Washington Blade’s “Best of Gay D.C. 2011″ winners were announced last Thursday. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Local businesses, organizations and people in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area dominated the voting in this year’s reader poll of Washington Blade‘s Best of Gay D.C. 2011 DC awards.

Not surprisingly, businesses on the 14th Street, 17th Street and U Street corridors brought home the most prizes, with representation from P Street and 9th Street NW as well.

  • Dining: 8 winners in the area
  • Nightlife: 7 winners in the area
  • Community: 12 winners in the area
  • People: 8 winners in the area
  • Double Winners: Level One restaurant, JR’s Bar and Grill
  • All-time Leaders: Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse and JR’s Bar and Grill, both on 17th Street NW, are the leaders for most wins in the Blade reader poll, 2001-2011.

Below is the list of local winners by category.


There were 12 different DC sub-categories in Dining. Local establishments brought home eight of them: the 17th Street corridor brought home four awards, while 14th Street got three and 9th Street had one.

  • Best Late Night: Annie’s Paramount Steak House, 17th Street NW
  • Best Coffee Shop: Caribou Coffee, 14th and Rhode Island NW
  • Best Date Restaurant: Floriana, 17th Street NW
  • Best Wine Bar: Cork, 14th Street NW
  • Best Chef: Allan Javery, Level One, 17th Street NW
  • Best Brunch: Level One, 17th Street NW
  • Best New Restaurant: El Centro, D.F. Taquileria and Taqueria, 14th Street NW
  • Best Ethnic Restaurant: Etete, 9th Street NW
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant: Busboys & Poets, 14th Street NW


There were eight different DC sub-categories in Nightlife category. Local establishments brought home seven of them: the 17th Street corridor brought home three awards, while U Street corridor/area won three and 18th Street NW had one winner.

  • Best Place to Meet Women: Lure/Bare at Cobalt, 17th Street NW
  • Best Dance Club: Town Danceboutique, 8th Street NW
  • Best Happy Hour: JR’s Bar and Grill, 17th Street NW
  • Best Neighborhood Bar: JR’s Bar and Grill, 17th Street NW
  • Best Place to Meet Men: Nellie’s Sports Bar, U Street NW
  • Best Live Music: 9:30 Club, V Street NW
  • Best Cocktail: Lemon Squeeze at Duplex Diner, 18th Street NW


There were 16  different DC sub-categories in the Community section of the awards. Local establishments brought home 12 of them; one is on 9th Street NW, two are on 14th Street NW, three are on 15th Street NW, one on 16th Street NW, and one on P Street NW.

  • Best Gym: VIDA Fitness, four locations (with a fifth to open) including U Street and 15th Street NW
  • Best Home Furnishings: Room and Board, 14th Street NW
  • Best Art Gallery: Long View Art Gallery, 9th Street NW
  • Best Home Improvement (tie): Logan Hardware/Sparrow Construction (Logan Hardware has five DC locations including P Street in Logan Circle)
  • Best Place of Worship: Foundry United Methodist Church, 16th Street NW
  • Best Local Blog: Borderstan (covers Dupont-Logan-U Street areas)
  • Best Sports Team (tie): Stonewall Kickball and the Washington Nationals (Stonewall Kickball plays at Stead Park Field on P Street NW)
  • Best Place to Get Married: Meridian Hill Park, 15th/16th Streets NW
  • Best Gay-Owned Business: D.C. MetroVet (housecalls)
  • Best Hotel: Hotel Palomar, P Street NW
  • Best Salon/Spa: Bang Salon, three locations including U Street and 15th Street NW
  • Best Clothing Store: Universal Gear, 14th Street NW


People from the Dupont-Logan-U Street area brought home a total of eight awards in the People category.

  • Best Actor (tie): Jeffrey Johnson and Neil Patrick Harris
  • Best Bartender: Liz Warner-Osborne of Cobalt, 17th Street NW
  • Best Musician: Tom Goss
  • Best Personal Trainer (tie): Ryan Stitt and Liz Warner-Osborne, both at VIDA Fitness
  • Best Businessperson: Mark Rutstein (manger of Cobalt/Level One and owner, The Rutstein Group)
  • Best Drag Show/Best Drag Queen: Ladies of Town and Ba’Naka
  • Local Hero: Frank Kameny (posthumous); note that 17th Street NW between Q and R Streets NW is co-named Frank Kameny Way.

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