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Tag Archive | "U Street NW"

ANC 1B’s Fainting Goat Protest Rejected


From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

"Fainting Goat"

Future site of the Fainting Goat at 1330 U Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The protest by Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B against the liquor license application of the aspiring proprietors of the Fainting Goat Tavern was rejected on March 21, according to public documents.

In a letter to ANC1B Commissioner Marc Morgan (ANC Secretary and commissioner for district 01), DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) said that the protest letter had been denied “because of failure to file a timely protest.”

No one from ANC1B appeared at the ABRA Roll Call hearing on March 25 to contest the denial. The purpose of Roll Call hearings is only to identify the parties that have standing as protestants. A separate hearing is scheduled for May 15 to discuss the substance of the protests.

ANC 1B Serves U Street Area

The Fainting Goat’s proposed location is 1330 U Street NW, the former location of Urban Essentials. A petition in support of the Fainting Goat’s liquor license application appeared on the web site Change.org on March 14. ANC1B voted to protest the application at a contentious March 7 meeting. Borderstan reported on March 18 that the ANC’s protest documents had apparently vanished on their way to ABRA.

1B-12 Commissioner Zahra Jilani in a March 22 email explained the circumstances which led to the impression that the documents had disappeared. She said, “I was told to send the letter on behalf of the commission, but that a text email was fine. I believe this was due to a miscommunication between our ANC and ABRA. I sent the letter the night before the deadline, but I was told the next day by ABRA that it was in the wrong format, which is why they told you they hadn’t received it. Once aware of this, I let the commission know and we sent it in the correct format to ABRA.”

Information on the ABRA website says that protests against liquor licenses can be faxed or emailed. All email protests must be sent as a PDF document and signed. These two methods are the only ways to officially file a protest with ABRA.

ANC1B may still appeal ABRA’s decision at the May 15 hearing. If they do, they must show “good cause” for missing the deadline to the ABC Board, according to ABRA records supervisor William Hager. He also said that, in the past, tardy petitioners had shown “good cause” in cases where inclement weather or government shutdown had occurred at petition deadlines. Hager would not speculate on whether ANC1B’s current circumstances might be considered “good cause”.

“Requests of this nature are entirely left to the discretion of the ABC Board,” Hager said in an email.

The Fainting Goat still must face two protesting groups at its May 15 hearing: the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance and a group of 14 residents, most of whom live on Wallach Place NW. However, if ANC 1B does not successfully appeal the rejection, the Fainting Goat may have a better chance at finally obtaining the liquor license. The law stipulates that ABRA must give “great weight” to an ANC opinion. Citizen group petitioners do not enjoy this level of influence.

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Posted in Food & DrinkComments (1)

Merlot’s Masterpiece: Paint and Sip on U Street


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

"Masterpiece"

Raiquel Brown (front center) at Merlot’s Masterpiece. (Courtesy of Merlot’s Masterpiece)

Since opening in June of 2012, Merlot’s Masterpiece has grown from just three paint and sip classes per week to hosting a wide range of adult and kids classes, as well as private events, seven days a week.

According to owner Raiquel Brown, the most popular classes remain the paint and sip classes during which students recreate a classic work by Van Gogh or Monet.

At Merlot’s Masterpiece, students can buy a ticket that includes the cost of wine, or choose a different ticket option and bring their own bottles to enjoy during class.

Classes that go beyond the standard “paint and sip” model, including animal portrait, sketching and jewelry making classes have been successful, as well. Merlot’s Masterpiece also has “Jr. Picasso” camps and classes for kids and families.

This spring, new programs will include self-portrait painting classes and “an interactive art and brunch experience.”

Additionally, the studio hosts private and corporate events, from kids’ birthday parties to team building experiences to bridal showers.

This was Brown’s first attempt at starting a brick and mortar business, and the initial hurdle of getting up and running proved to be the hardest part. “The biggest challenge,” she says “was getting established as a retail business in DC. I’ve run online businesses but a brick and mortar location was a new experience for me. I learned a lot during the process, from getting a liquor license to getting the proper certifications to operate a storefront. “

Although opening a brick and mortar was challenging, Merlot’s Masterpiece’s location, close to the U-Street Metro, has played a role in the business’s viability. “I have felt very welcome by the small businesses from the very beginning,” she says. “The neighbors and small businesses are very supportive. The small businesses all want each other to succeed and are always willing to help out.”

Brown says that U Street’s reputation as a “hip and trendy, artistic and cultural center of DC” make it a “great fit” for her concept.

Nine months after opening Merlot’s Masterpiece, Brown’s efforts are paying off — for her and her clients. “The most rewarding part is seeing people come in with no painting experience create an amazing work of art… When people come in after a long and stressful day and can unwind and enjoy a relaxing painting experience, we know we’ve done our job.

Details

  • What: Merlot’s Masterpiece.
  • Where: 1512 U Street NW.
  • When: Follow the link to view the full schedule of classes at Merlot’s Masterpiece. Check for additional listings, like brunch classes, later this spring.

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Nana: Spring Collection Debuts March 27 at GoodWood


"Nana"

Nana: Spring Collection debuts March 27 at GoodWood. (Courtesy Nana Collection)

From Melanie Hudson. Follow her at @champagne_me or Email her at melanie[AT]borderstan.com.

Some people will do whatever it takes to pursue their dreams. Obstacles? Surmount them. Challenges? Overcome them. Pretty, flattering dresses? Sew them.

Jackie Flanagan, proprietor of Nana, a former boutique in Mount Pleasant and on U Street NW and now a super stylish clothing line, is one of those people. Fearless entrepreneur pursuing her passion so that we all may be dressed a little bit better? Check, check.

Nana was first launched on U Street in 2003 as part consignment, part vintage, part new clothing store. As the store grew and expanded, the focus shifted to accommodate what customers were looking for — more new pieces and eventually, a few of Flanagan’s own creations.

Now, Nana has evolved into what Flanagan thinks her customers are really after: a unique, affordable, vintage-inspired-yet-modern, tailored clothing collection, handmade entirely in the District, sold at trunk shows and online.

Flanagan wasn’t a designer in the beginning – she has a background in marketing, publishing, and the arts — but she knew how to sew, she learned pattern making, and she knew her Nana clientele. Was it crazy for a non-designer to launch a clothing line?  Perhaps, but she says she just jumped in and did it. “Life is in the doing.”

This is the Whatever-It-Takes model of entrepreneurship, and just the kind of small business owners many of us in Borderstan hope to support. And better yet, the clothes are all designed, sewn, and finished by Flanagan and her partners in Adams Morgan and Mount Pleasant. That’s just cool.

While part of the retail-to-pop-up evolution was responding to customers, part was to fill Flanagan’s own creative needs to “switch things up.” After ten years of the storefront, it was important to Flanagan to have a business that focused more on her favorite, best parts – do a few things, and do them well.

So you won’t find Flanagan running her boutique these days, but you will find her popping up all over town with her spring line. As she says, “Business isn’t a location.”

We couldn’t agree more. That’s why we will be joining Flanagan on Wednesday at Goodwood as she unveils her spring collection with a trunk show, full of classic tops and tunics ($65 to $100), pencil skirts ($100 to $120), go-anywhere shift dresses ($140 to $180), and more. The detailing is the star here, with soft floral patterns like this daffodil top, earthy neutrals and a focus on fit. Included in the sales price of each item will be custom tailoring.

And champagne, did we mention champagne?

If you’re not able to make it on Wednesday, all pieces will be available on Nana’s website after the show. And stay tuned all spring, as Flanagan plans to unveil more items from the collection every month at a new pop-up location.

Asked her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and fashion designers, and it was simple: “Learn to sew.”

Nana Spring Collection Pop-Up

  • Where: GoodWood, 1428 U Street NW.
  • When: Wednesday, March 27, from 5 until 8 pm.
  • And? No appointment necessary.

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ANC 1B Alcoholic Beverage Committee Rejects Moratorium


From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

"Moratorium"

ANC 1B Alcoholic Beverage Committee met Thursday night at the Thurgood Mashall Center. (David McAuley)

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B (U Street) took the next step in rejecting the proposed U Street liquor license moratorium last night, March 21. The ANC 1B’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Committee voted 10 to 3 to reject the proposed moratorium during its regular monthly meeting. Three members of the committee were absent.

Among those voting against the moratorium were both members of the committee who are also current ANC 1B commissioners: Chair Jeremy Leffler (1B-02) and Zahra Jilani (1B-12). Among those voting for the moratorium was committee member Joan Sterling of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA), the group petitioning for the liquor license moratorium.

Some members who voted against the moratorium noted the influence of the overwhelming community response against the moratorium at the previous evening’s multi-ANC listening session, which was also held at the Thurgood Marshall Center.

“It served as a great tool for bringing the community together,” said Heather Ferris, an ABC Committee member. Ferris also said that she had expressed a neutral opinion at the microphone during the previous evening’s listening session, but she had decided to vote against the moratorium, even though she felt her vote was “not 100 percent”.

The outcome of the vote seemed in doubt up until the final show of hands, as a blog post made yesterday by ANC 1B ABC committee member Nick Baumann quoted Leffler as saying “there are even pro and anti voices on the [committee].”

Procedural Problems

The committee vote had some procedural problems. After the initial voice vote (and after a tweet had gone out announcing the vote results), ANC 1B Chair Tony Norman (1B-10), observing the event, noted that parliamentary procedure had not been followed during the vote, meaning, there had not been a motion, a second, and an opportunity to present amendments.

The committee had to return to the question and do the vote over. Before the second vote was taken, there was further debate and suggestions for amendments, including one saying that the committee rejected the moratorium “as written.” This amendment passed.

Aside from ANC Chair Norman, the following ANC 1B commissioners who are not officially part of the ABC Committee also observed the meeting: Marc Morgan (1B-01), Ricardo Reinoso (1B-05) and Emily Washington (1B-08).

The recommendation to reject the moratorium now goes to the full ANC for a vote. The vote is scheduled for its regular monthly meeting on April 4 at the Reeves Center.

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Posted in Business, Politics & GovernmentComments (2)

&pizza Scheduled to Open on U Street in May


From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir, follow her on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

"U Street"

&pizza is coming to 1250 U Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The District’s restaurant H &pizza is making its way to U Street NW — and it’s a good thing Borderstanies like pizza because owners Steve Salis and Michael Lastoria signed a 10-year lease.

The new restaurant, slated to takeover Quiznos at 1250 U Street, will simply be called &pizza. The 1,300-square-foot space is scheduled to open in May.

Customers will be able to choose from traditional, whole-wheat or nine-grain dough with five types of house made sauces and whole-milk mozzarella. Pie toppings will be locally sourced and the pizzas are cooked in a fire oven.

“We are impressed with its popularity on H Street and know it will be a huge success in the highly visited U Street neighborhood that includes numerous eclectic restaurants and retailers,” says Philippe Lanier, vice president at EastBanc, the restaurant’s development company.

H &pizza, which is currently has a location next to Taylor Gourmet on H Street NE, serves up pies like the Moonstruck (mushroom truffle, goat cheese, mushrooms, fig marsala, red pepper chili oil and crushed black pepper) and the Grecian Market (red chickpea, mushrooms, broccolini, artichoke, kalamata olives, pickled red onion and feta cheese).

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Fainting Goat, Vanishing Document: Where Did ANC 1B’s Protest Go?


"Fainting Goat"

Future site of the Fainting Goat at 1330 U Street NW. It was home to Urban Essentials before the store moved to 14th and Rhode Island NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

The plight of the Fainting Goat Tavern has taken a strange turn. An official document of protest by Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B seems to have vanished before reaching its destination, the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA).

Unless the document suddenly turns up, the ANC 1B’s decision rejecting the Fainting Goat’s settlement agreement would not be recognized, because the deadline for filing such documents has now passed. This may make it easier for the Fainting Goat to argue before ABRA in favor of granting a liquor license. ANC 1B covers the U Street area.

March 7 Meeting

The Fainting Goat’s troubles began on March 7. That evening, ANC 1B voted 5 to 2, with two abstentions, against the settlement agreement with the District Pub Group, LLC, to operate the Fainting Goat Tavern at 1330 U Street, the former site of Urban Essentials. The decision was made after an animated discussion with the community and conflicting recollections of previous ANC committee actions. This decision then needed to be officially communicated to ABRA.

Meanwhile, a petition in support of the Fainting Goat appeared on change.org on March 14.

Joan Sterling, president of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA), said on March 14 that ANC 1B Alcoholic Beverage Committee Chair Jeremy Leffler (District 02) wrote her in an email that the protest documents had been filed with ABRA.

Statement from ABRA

ABRA permit. (Luis Gomez Photos)

ABRA Liquor License application. (Luis Gomez Photos)

“No resolution from ANC 1B has been received by ABRA protesting this application,” wrote William Hager, ABRA Public Information Officer, in an email, also on March 14.

Borderstan’s multiple email requests to several commissioners for copies of ANC 1B’s protest documents and evidence that they were presented in a timely manner were not answered.

Information on the ABRA web site says that protests against liquor licenses can be faxed or email. All email protests must be sent as a PDF document and signed. These two methods are the only ways to officially file a protest with ABRA.

Still, it is far from clear sailing for The Fainting Goat’s liquor license application. Two community groups correctly filed their protests before deadline. ABRA’s William Hager identified the two groups. One is the SDCA, which is the spearhead of a U Street liquor license moratorium campaign. The second is a group of 14 residents, most of whom live on Wallach Place NW. The ABRA web site says that any “[g]roup of five or more property owners sharing common ground” may file a protest.

Next Step for Fainting Goat

The next step for the Fainting Goat will be an ABRA Roll Call Hearing on March 25. It will be held at 10 am on the fourth floor of the Reeves Center at 2000 14th Street NW. ABRA’s Hagar told Borderstan that the purpose of the Roll Call Hearings is only to identify the parties that have standing as protestants in this matter. The substance of each protest will not be discussed. A separate hearing is scheduled for May 15 to discuss the substance of the protests.

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Posted in Business, Politics & GovernmentComments (7)

Friday: Men’s Night Out at Ginger Root Design


From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

"Borderstan""Ginger Root Design"

Ginger Root Design. (Luis Gomez Photos)

This Friday, it’s the guys’ turn for a spin in the fashion spotlight. Ginger Root Design is hosting a Men’s Night Out on Friday, March 15, from 7 until 10 pm.

As far as fashion goes, the U Street design shop and vintage fashion store will have bow ties by local artists, two different vintage vendors, an influx of new designs from Ginger Root’s in-house line and men’s accessories.

The evening will also have whiskey and PBR, snacks, bow tie tutorials, free suit measurements and pocket square folding demos.

The event is $6; tickets can be purchased online. Ginger Root design is at 1530 U Street NW. So as Barney Stinson says, “Suit up. It’s going to be legen — wait for it — dary.”

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Police Seek Person of Interest in 11th Street NW Robbery


"robbery"

Crime news from the Dupont-Logan-U Street area.

From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]borderstan.com.

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is asking for assistance in locating a suspect in an armed robbery Thursday morning (Lunchtime Gun Robbery of Business at 11th and U NW). The suspect entered the Eleven Market at 1936 11th Street NW at about 10:45 am and showed a revolver to the cashier. He left with an undisclosed amount of money.

Surveillance footage, which police have posted to YouTube, shows the suspect entering the store and grabbing money from the cash register. The suspect is described as a white male, 20- to 30-years-old with short brown hair. During the robbery, he was wearing a green hooded jacket and jeans.

Anyone with information in the incident is asked to contact MPD at 202-727-9099. A reward of up to $10,000 is available for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

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Your Plans This Weekend? Lots to Do Close to Home!


"weekend"

The weekend in Borderstan. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, then look no further. We have your list of the food, music and cultural events going on in (and around) Borderstan March 8, 9 and 10.

Friday, March 8

  • Party Like It’s 2000: Why is it that 80s and 90s dance parties have all the fun? On Friday night, the 9:30 Club will host a 2000s dance party, featuring DJs Will Eastman and Brian Billion of No Scrubs. The music starts at 9 pm.
  • Story League All-Stars at Black Cat: The special anniversary show boasts of all new stories from Story League tournament winners. Doors open at 9 pm.

Saturday, March 9

  • DC Whiskey Walk: The weather is supposed to be nice this weekend, so why not get out and walk… for whiskey? Stop for a drink at eight neighborhood pubs and donate some money to charity. Check the website for more information.
  • Little Ethiopia Tour: DC Metro Food Tours will explore the U Street and Shaw neighborhoods to discuss and sample some of the city’s best Ethiopian cuisine. The tour goes from 10:30 am until 2 pm and costs $52. For more information on tickets and the tour, visit the website.
  •  MIXTAPE: DJs Shea Van Horn and Matt Bailer will bring their signature dance party to Black Cat on Saturday night. The alternative dance party is $10; doors open at 9:30 pm.

Sunday, March 10

  • Gospel Brunch at the Hamilton on 14th Street: If you’ve already done the Gospel Brunch at the Howard and loved the experience, a venue just down the street hosts something similar. The show starts at 10:30 am and includes an all-you-can-eat brunch. Check out the amazingly soulful menu and the details on the website.
  • Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines: On Sunday, the Washington DC Jewish Community Center (1529 16th Street NW) will show a film that details the birth of Wonder Woman and how popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation. The event is free and starts at 3 pm. 

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Fainting Goat Becomes Collateral Damage in ANC 1B Liquor Wars


From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

The District Pub Group, LLC, aspiring proprietors of the Fainting Goat Tavern at 1330 U Street NW, got caught in the cross fire at the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B meeting last night, March 7. Most of the U Street corridor is in 1B. The tavern site is the former Urban Essentials space, which is now on 14th Street NW.

"ANC 1B"

Seated at table: ANC 1B commissioners at the March 7 meeting at the Reeves Center. (David McAuley)

After a session of conflicting recollections of past committee meetings and votes, ANC 1B voted against accepting the settlement agreement that would have kept the tavern license for the Fainting Goat on track (they were formerly called voluntary agreements). Attorney Michael Fonseca, representing the Fainting Goat, told the meeting that his client had been “kicked to the curb” and “treated very badly.”

Missing Piece of the Puzzle

The vote against accepting the settlement agreement was five to two, with two abstentions. Voting against were Commissioners E. Gail Anderson Holness, ANC 1B-11; Juan Lopez, ANC 1B-07; Marc Morgan, ANC 1B-01; Ricardo Reinoso, ANC 1B-05; and James Turner, ANC 1B-09.

Voting for the agreement were Commissioners Zahira Jilani, ANC 1B-12; and Emily Washington, ANC 1B-08. Abstaining were ANC1B Chair Tony Norman (District 10) and Commissioner Sedrick Muhammed, ANC 1B-3.

The missing piece of the puzzle was absent Commissioner Jeremy Leffler, ANC 1B-02, chair of the ANC 1B Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Committee. Jilani, speaking on Leffler’s behalf, claimed that the ABC Committee had voted at its February 21 public meeting to recommend accepting the agreement, at least in part.

Pushback from SDCA

Members of the community who were present at the February ABC Committee meeting, led by members of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA), pushed back, saying that they had been present and no such vote had been taken publicly.

Jilani admitted that she had not been at the meeting and was only repeating what Leffler had told her. Two other members of the public, seemingly unaffiliated with the SDCA, agreed that they had been present at the meeting and no vote had been taken. No one present recalled a vote being taken, although Jilani cited meeting minutes which claim that the motion to accept the agreement with the Fainting Goat had passed.

SDCA has recently been in the public spotlight as the driving force behind the proposed 14th and U Street liquor license moratorium. Even before last night’s ANC meeting, the SDCA had planned to protest Fainting Goat liquor license application, with a view of obtaining a settlement agreement more to their liking.

In spite of this, Fainting Goat management and their attorney had an amiable February 21 public meeting with SDCA, where the two parties agreed to disagree. At that time, SDCA alcohol licensing committee chair Elwyn Ferris even praised Fonseca’s work cooperating with the committee.

In the end, the Fainting Goat got caught in a feud not of their making, fueled by a combination of citizen mistrust and sloppy government. Leffler was absent, and the ANC1B commissioners present had not been adequately briefed. SDCA members told ANC 1B that the public still had until March 11 to file protests with the DC government about the application, so an ANC vote now would be premature. Holness Anderson said that she could not vote to approve the agreement because it must “go to the community first.”

Settlement Agreements

Settlement agreements are normally negotiated between liquor-serving establishments and interested members of the community. They cover topics such as hours of operation, time of trash pickup, sidewalk cafés, valet parking, vermin control, among others. You can download a model settlement agreement. They were called voluntary agreements, or V.A.s prior to the passage of new alcoholic regulation legislation by the DC Council and mayor, which went into effect in January.

There are signs that ANC 1B may try to improve its communication with public. At the meeting’s end, it was announced that ANC1B had just rolled out a new website, Facebook page and Twitter feed. The general email address for ANC 1B is 1b[AT]anc.dc.gov. It was pledged that meeting announcements and other relevant information would be posted in these places in the future.

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Posted in Politics & GovernmentComments (16)