— Adams Morgan BID (@AdMoBID) August 23, 2016
A new destination for Vietnamese food has arrived in Adams Morgan.
Ben Tre is now open in the former Yamas Mediterranean Grill space at 2418 18th St. NW, according to a tweet today from the Adams Morgan Partnership Business Improvement District, a nonprofit organization that advocates for local businesses.
Yamas closed last month after less than a year in the neighborhood. Tony Alexis, who owned the Greek restaurant, told Borderstan that he couldn’t devote time to the eatery as he helped care for his ailing father.
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by JonMarc Buffa
The proposed SunTrust plaza redevelopment by PN Hoffman is one of the most significant and consequential developments in Adams Morgan. However, the project clearly violates the law — both zoning regulations and historic preservation guidelines — and so must be significantly redesigned.
The project will forever transform the prominent corner of 18th Street and Columbia Road NW — the gateway to Adams Morgan. The project has rightly garnered significant media coverage and has energized neighbors unlike any project in memory. Many commentators have been very vocal when debating the merits of the SunTrust plaza’s public space. Undoubtedly, the SunTrust plaza is an important space and deserves protection. Yet, the debate over the future of the plaza has overshadowed the other important legal issues at stake here.
As one of the members of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission representing Adams Morgan (ANC 1C), I strongly support thriving development and economic growth in Adams Morgan. I am committed to ensuring that any development project is undertaken in a thoughtful manner that respects the special character of our community, which the citizens of Adams Morgan have strived so hard to build.
A Latin American restaurant in Adams Morgan is closed for now after a D.C. food safety and hygiene inspector reported observing a “heavy infestation of vermin,” according to the D.C. Department of Health.
El Nuevo Migueleno at 1721 Columbia Road NW can’t serve customers “until further notice” for presenting “an imminent health hazard(s) to the public,” according to a DOH food establishment closure notice on the eatery’s front door. It wasn’t immediately clear when the health official put up the sign, which a Borderstan reporter saw this morning.
The inspector found a “gross insanitary occurrence or condition that may endanger public health including but not limited to heavy infestation of vermin,” according to DOH. The restaurant also didn’t have a person in charge and a valid license to operate as an eatery when the official visited.
The agency didn’t immediately provide any further details about the closure. DOH typically releases full reports on restaurant closures within a week of its inspections.
An El Nuevo Migueleno representative couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
District residents will be able to have their face emblazoned onto a pancake as part of a promotion from a national hotel chain next week.
A “pancake selfie” truck is slated to roll through Adams Morgan on Aug. 25 and 26, Holiday Inn Express said in a press release.
The truck will stop at Columbia Road and 18th St. NW from 2-6 p.m. on Thursday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Friday, organizers said.
What’s a “pancake selfie” truck? Holiday Inn describes it thusly:
The rolling pancake station is outfitted with five pancake machines, each producing one pancake per minute – all at the push of a button. One-of-a-kind laser printers then transfer selfies from smartphone to pancake. From batter to platter, the entire process takes mere minutes. This delicious piece of breakfast technology was created and perfected exclusively for IHG and is a first for any hotel brand.
The truck’s appearance is part of a national tour to promote the hotel’s new “Snoozapalooza” promotion that extends breakfast and checkout times to noon.
Still confused? Here’s comedian and actor Rob Riggle to help explain the campaign:
Photo courtesy Holiday Inn Express; h/t Washingtonian’s Jessica Sidman for sharing
The assault with a stanchion happened on the 1200 block of U Street NW about 3:45 a.m. Sunday.
The man was arguing with another man outside of the &pizza on the block when the attacker punched him and then hit the victim over the head with the pole, according to authorities.
Al Volo Osteria (which its owners also have called Osteria Al Volo) is scheduled to christen its space at 1790 Columbia Road NW with a meal of oyster mushroom ravioli, stuffed lamb loin and other food at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Dinner tickets are available online for $49.
The complete menu is slated to include:
Local cyclists will have a chance to show off their athletic skills and raise money for at-risk kids and teens during a massive bike ride this fall.
Nonprofit Run Hope Work is set to host Bike to Brooklyn, a 267-mile bike ride where cyclists will travel from BicycleSPACE (2424 18th St. NW) in Adams Morgan to Brooklyn on the weekend of Oct. 8 and 9.
Early Saturday morning, riders will start the grueling ride to New York City. Along the way, they’ll stop for food and rest, including a visit Philadelphia to meet up with more cyclists, Harrison said.
While the end goal is to ride all the way to Brooklyn, the journey doesn’t end there. Upon arriving, participants will able to enter the 13-mile Staten Island Half marathon, according to the event’s organizers.
“They’re going to be going on a ride of a lifetime,” said Kate Harrison, executive director of Run Hope Work.
Though a dozen people made the inaugural Bike to Brooklyn ride last year, at least 60 to 75 bicyclists are expected to participate this year, Harrison said.
To join the ride, cyclists must pay $200 and raise an additional $750 for Run Hope Work. If they don’t manage to raise the total amount, they will be responsible for paying the rest, Harrison said. However, Harrison added she believes the price and the risk of having to pay $750 is worth it when you factor in the included jersey, entry into the Staten Island Half Marathon, meals and planned parties.
Plus, attendees will appear in a documentary film about this year’s ride, Harrison said. And, of course, she added, they also stand to make the world a better place by raising money for at-risk kids and teens.
The organization will host training rides and open registration periods at the Ivy City BicycleSPACE (1512 Okie St. NE) throughout August and September.
Photo courtesy of Kate Harrison
A fast-casual Greek restaurant that opened in Adams Morgan earlier this year has turned off its lights for the last time.
Alexis said he couldn’t devote time to the eatery as he helped care for his ailing 95-year-old father, George, who died last week. George, a Greek immigrant and restaurateur, fell and broke his hip shortly before the opening.
A D.C. pasta maker’s restaurant is set to arrive in the former Pasta Mia space in Adams Morgan in the coming days.
Osteria Al Volo, an Italian eatery from Cucina Al Volo, is scheduled to open at 1790 Columbia Road NW next Friday, Aug. 12, according to a banner a Borderstan reporter spotted yesterday outside the restaurant.
Founded last year by Daniele Catalani and his nephew, Matteo, Cucina Al Volo makes pasta using ingredients from local farmers and sells it at Union Market and at farmers markets at 14th and U streets NW and in Bloomingdale.
Daniele told Borderstan in June that Osteria Al Volo will have “high quality fresh pasta of course and Italian cooking classes.”
Pasta Mia left Adams Morgan in March after 25 years in business.
Q&A with a Local Comedian is a frequent column that profiles funny people across the city. Want to be featured? Know someone who ought to be on here? Drop us a line.
I first met Alyssa Cowan before a show at Dr. Clock’s Nowhere Bar in Adams Morgan.
She and another comedian I interviewed, Ahmed Vallejos, are the driving forces behind Laugh Owens Laugh, the production company that puts on great shows like “Virgin Material” and the upcoming “Meryl Streep Stories.” She also helped produce the 202 Comedy Festival that took place earlier this spring.
Alyssa and I met up again and had a conversation on the origins of Laugh Owens Laugh. But we started by talking about WWE Battleground, which took place at the Verizon Center last Sunday.
Borderstan: Tell me about Battleground.
Alyssa Cowan: It’s a pay-per-view. Basically, every week, [the wrestlers] have TV episodes that are leading up to setting up these big story-lines that’ll transpire during the pay-per-view, so that’s when titles change hands. That’s when fancy stuff happens. That’s when people go crazy and get put through tables.
That’s what I associate with wrestling, like the chairs and tables, getting to the edge of the ring and slamming their body down.
Yep, all that stuff… All that cool stuff.
So, they’re going to bring it; every wrestler is going to come bringing every trick they have up their sleeve and just unleash it wildly.
This is when they go balls to the wall, like when this is go bananas. And it’s happening in D.C., it’s very exciting.
How many wrestlers are there?
Oh man, I don’t know… maybe twenty-ish?
How long does that go for?
It’s going to go for four hours. The first hour of it is going to be matches no one gives a sh-t about. They’re just kind of there to warm up the crowd. It’s going to be until 11.
Wowza. Do you guys get an intermission?
No, but they always put a crappy match in the middle, so you’re like alright, now’s my time to buy funnel cake.
I wanted to ask you about Laugh Owens Laugh. Just how it started and everything. I love the shows that you put on.
We love doing them and we love making them exist. The reason why we wanted to do them in the first place is because these were shows we wish existed and we can try to put them on ourselves in an appropriate venue. It just means that we can watch them, we can see them and we know they have opportunities to grow. It started mostly because I was somewhat gifted at open mic, so I was running it as an open mic for a while, but it was on a Wednesday and in D.C. comedy, there is so much going on on Wednesday that’s an open mic.
So, it’s not exactly something that the scene needs, like no one’s looking for stage time on a Wednesday – you can usually find it.
I ran an open mic in Reno for a couple of years and we used to do a bunch of challenges and gimmicks, like we would do something different every week. And it used to make it so much more fun. The community’s so small there, like, there are hundreds and hundreds of comics in D.C., whereas in Reno, there were maybe 30 or 40. Adding a different challenge where you had to do something different made it interesting for us to actually see each other and like each other.
So, when I had the open mic, it wasn’t really working very well as an open mic and I remember there was a concept show that Ahmed wanted to put on and I was like “Oh I’ll just ask if we can loan you the venue for that show.” And it was the Switcheroo.
Oh yeah, I went to that.
I’m glad, that one is a hoot. That one’s so fun. Especially if you like watching comics struggle, which is very funny. I feel like it’s very funny to everyone and it’s funny to be a comic struggling on stage. Not because you did a bad job writing, but because you’re in a situation that’s so difficult. I feel like people empathize with you, so they’re not angry that you’re not funny. They’re understanding about it.
When we started loaning the venue for shows we wanted to, we switched over and were like, we should just be doing this because no one’s asking for another Wednesday open mic. So, that’s kind of how it evolved. It’s cool to have a venue where we can try whatever we want and we’ve been fortunate enough to where people seem to be interested in the stuff that’s going on.
The venue that we’re at now is amazing. The guy that runs it is super cool and I think these are shows that he’d want to see. It’s awesome to have that venue support.
Yeah, definitely. How did the name Laugh Owens Laugh happen?
When Ahmed and I had one of the previous names, we had this chicken guy. This rooster guy that I made that we just really liked. He was just this rooster wearing a suit and we didn’t want to get rid of him. We just thought he looked funny and classy, so we were trying to think of names where we could keep him and the reason we thought of Laugh Owens Laugh is because there’s a wrestler right now named Kevin Owens and one of the chants people yell at him is “Fight, Owens, Fight!” I think one of us made a passing joke of calling it “Laugh Owens Laugh” and then having the rooster be Owens and we were just like, that’s great. We’re going to go with it. We like it.
Mostly because the acronym goes to LOL, which is perfect for comedy. It just came from us ’cause we’re dumb wrestling fans.
Information on Alyssa Cowan and her upcoming shows/festivals, including The Summer Camp Show at Wonderland Ballroom in Columbia Heights, can be found on her website. To find out more about Laugh Owens Laugh shows, visit the group’s Facebook page.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity; photo courtesy of Alyssa Cowan.
Advocates for restaurants and stores downtown and in Adams Morgan are blasting a Metro proposal to permanently cut its evening operating hours for train service, warning that the plan could have a dire effect on local businesses.
Officials with the Downtown and Adams Morgan Partnership business improvement districts said in statements yesterday that axing hours would leave workers and visitors without a major mode of transportation to and from their neighborhoods late at night on weekends.
The plan, which Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld proposed this week, calls for the system’s closure at 10 p.m. on Sundays and midnight on other days, indefinitely, in an effort to better maintain Metro’s infrastructure. Before SafeTrack repairs in June brought midnight closures every day, trains ran until 3 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
The crime happened on the 2300 block of Ontario Road NW just before 1:30 a.m. Saturday, police said.
Four men were walking along Ontario Road when they were approached by a group of 10 people, according to police. One of the people in the group pulled out a Taser and shocked one of the men while others in the group hit the man in the face, authorities said. The group also allegedly beat another man during the robbery before running off with two wallets.
Police arrested 20-year-old Willie Anthony Hill and 18-year-old Johnathan Smith in connection with the crime but did not release information regarding the other suspects.
A cafe and popsicle shop in Adams Morgan closed early today after the ongoing heat wave fried its air conditioner.
Pleasant Pops (1781 Florida Ave. NW) closed its doors at 11 a.m. after its air conditioner stopped working earlier this morning, said owner Roger Horowitz.
Although it wasn’t immediately clear what caused the unit to break down, Horowitz blamed it on the heat wave.
“The problem is that it’s the hottest day of the year and everyone’s air conditioner is breaking,” Horowitz said.
Temperatures in the District are expected to skyrocket throughout the day today. According to the National Weather Service, the mercury could reach 100 degrees this afternoon, which is bad news for a popsicle business with a broken air conditioner.
Store employees moved juice, yogurt and other perishable goods to a back room cooler this morning.
“We’re just not going to reopen until this is fixed,” Horowitz added. “Some people are coming here to beat the heat and that’s not exactly what’s happening.”
our Adams Morgan store has a broken Air Conditioner. We are closing at 11AM and hope to reopen tomorrow morning. Downtown still open.
— Pleasant Pops (@pleasantpops) July 25, 2016
The Pleasant Pops at 731 15th St. NW is still currently open.
The armed scooter-jacking happened on the 2300 block of Champlain Street NW about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The victim was working on his Honda Elite scooter just north of the Marie Reed Recreation Center when a man and another person approached, according to authorities. One of the new arrivals then showed a handgun tucked into the waistband of his pants and ordered the victim to hand over the keys to the vehicle.
A group of performers will gather in Adams Morgan tonight to act out heated Facebook discussions.
Comedian Dee Ahmed is scheduled host the performance, dubbed the “Facebook Monologues,” at Rendezvous Lounge (2226 18th St. NW) with local comedians Max Wolfson, Denise Taylor, Steven Chen and Natalie Mcgill tonight at 8 p.m.
The show revolves around some of the “funny and ridiculous” Facebook arguments Ahmed and his cohorts sometimes see on Facebook.
“A very good chunk of [the performance] is legit and verbatim comments of what people have said on Facebook,” Ahmed said.
According to the event’s Facebook page, comedians will riff on arguments centered around “everything from politics to race to who was supposed to bring the brie.”
“You get very, very random people that post something completely unrelated to politics,” Ahmed said. For instance, he said he once noticed “someone just asking for a good recipe for a chicken sandwich” in the middle of a serious political discussion on Hillary Clinton’s Facebook page.
There was also a melodramatic debate on Facebook that had “two girls arguing about whether or not someone should be friends with someone or not anymore,” Ahmed added.
Still, although the upcoming show was inspired by Facebook arguments, Ahmed explained he doesn’t get into arguments on the social media platform.
“It’s kind of ridiculous,” Ahmed said.
Photo courtesy of Dee Ahmed