(UPDATE: We finally found Fieri)
ALERT: Guy Fieri is coming to town. REPEAT: We are at level five Fieri.
The prince of pulled pork will cruise his red “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” convertible up and down several D.C. streets — including the block of M Street between 18th and 19th streets NW — on Friday, according an earlier notice on the District’s Office of Cable Television, Music, and Entertainment website. Fieri will also possibly make an appearance on H Street NE. [Update: The city office removed the page from its website this morning, but the show’s production company confirmed that he’d be there when we called earlier. And naturally, we took a screenshot before it went down.]
Where will Fieri be when he visits M Street? The answer to that question is … complicated. As it turns out, Fieri is kind of a hard guy to track. But that didn’t stop us from spending the whole day looking for him.
Here’s what we know: Fieri and crew will park along the 1800 block of M Street NW some time between the hours of 5 a.m. and 3 p.m. There are a handful of eateries along that block that appear to be logical destinations for a mucho-grande food fan, such as Bub and Pop’s (1815 M St. NW) or Sign of the Whale (1825 M St. NW).
So, we paid them both a visit. Employees behind the counter at Bub and Pop’s said they hadn’t heard a peep. A reader pointed out this afternoon that Bub and Pop’s is closed for a “special event” on Friday and Saturday, but Arlene Wagner, a partner at Bub and Pop’s, said, “we don’t know anything about it.” Wagner continued: “We’ve had that event booked weeks in advance. We would love it if he came here, though.”
Likewise, Sign of the Whale marketing manager Kelly Harwood said she hadn’t heard anything about a potential visit from the baron of roast-beefy.
Alright, so maybe he wants … soup? There’s a Soupergirl (1829 M St. NW) on that block. Maybe he’s trying to get healthy? But a visit to Soupergirl revealed nothing, though an employee behind the counter said he could “neither confirm nor deny a visit.” What about OKI Bowl and Sake Bar (1817 M St NW)? Nada. The employees there said they didn’t even know he was coming to town.
What else is on the block? Chipotle, Capriotti’s, Qdoba are all chain restaurants, so they’re out. Could it be the new-ish steampunk bar 1831? We checked, and nope. MPire and Camelot, given their business models, seem unlikely. The employees at House of Kabob (1829 M St. NW) said they hadn’t heard anything. Could it be Parlay (1827 M St. NW) or Ozio (1813 M St. NW)? It’s possible, but likely a dead end like the rest — though we will admit both bars did not return our request for comment.
Citizen Pictures, the company that produces and films the show, declined to say exactly where Fieri would be. Production Manager Michael Clayton said trips like this are kept secretive for a “myriad of reasons.”
“We keep things on a need-to-know basis prior to filming,” he said. “You’ll probably hear about this from the establishments involved after the fact, but until then no information has been released.”
It could also be that someone is lying to us. We just don’t know. So, the hunt for Fieri’s red convertible continues. Let us know if you’ve seen or heard where he might be on Friday. If you do, there’s a box of microwave jalapeno poppers in it for you. We mean that.
Photo courtesy of Guy Fieri.com
From Chelsea Rinnig. Email her at chelsea[AT]borderstan.com.
Healthy meal tips to keep you on track this summer
Barbecues, picnics, beach and beer — all a recipe for fun activities this summer. But frankly, I begin to feel it after a weekend of drinking beer all day; all of a sudden, a beach weekend becomes a looming fear where you wished you’d toned up a little more and drank a little less.
So, here are a few tips and past articles that may allow you to indulge a little in the outdoor events while staying healthy and looking good!
- Instead of butter, use extra virgin olive oil and just a drizzle. Roast vegetables on the grill for a side instead of the potato chips and go for the ground turkey or chicken breasts when making your burgers.
- Instead of bringing that baguette and cheese to the picnic, try these collard wraps.
- Try out zucchini hummus instead of chickpeas for a backyard bash: roast a large zucchini, whole, at 425 for 30-40 minutes (until tender). Cool, slice, and blend with a ¼ cup olive oil, juice from half a lemon, and 3 tablespoons of Tahini. Serve with carrot sticks — it’s delicious. Add spinach for a boost of iron and extra green! The color is beautiful.
- Swap a juicy, fresh watermelon for dessert — they will be in season soon! Or roast some peaches and serve with plain vanilla ice cream or vanilla yogurt.
So have a beer for being good all week and enjoy the best your local markets have to offer this summer!
Nothing can be better than enjoying the rooftops in the city. DC has great views that need to be discovered. You can definitely do that at the many bars and restaurants in the city while you enjoy a glass of wine, a drink, a beer or a meal.
Looking for a rooftop bar in the DC area? The Rock The RoofDC guys have a great list of all the rooftop bars and restaurants, with descriptions and calendar of events.
We have covered, reviewed and enjoyed many of our local ones. But then again here is a list for you to find them all together at once while you are enjoying this Summer.
- 1905 Bistro, 1905 9th Street NW. This new roof deck is exactly what the restaurant’s name implies; it’s garden-themed. The space makes use of reclaimed wood and old metal sheets, while sporting views of the neighborhood and monuments.
- Above DC @ Donovan House Hotel, 1155 14th Street NW. Because nothing is better than a rooftop pool and bar. This one is located right in Thomas Circle and comes with great views. Pack your suit!
- Brixton, 901 U Street NW. This brand new British pub-style bar boasts more than just bangers and mash. Check out the expansive rooftop terrace for terrific views of the Washington Monument.
- DC9, 1940 9th St. NW. Perfect place to enjoy the music as you sip on that refreshing drink.
- El Centro DF, 1819 14th Street NW. While it technically opened last summer, the modern taqueria’s rooftop bar is still somewhat new to local residents. A cool breeze up top and an agave cocktail are sure to subdue the heat of the salsas.
- Jack Rose Dining Saloon, 2007 18th Street NW. If you thought nothing could top barbeque and bourbon, then you were wrong, literally.
- Lauriol Plaza, 1835 18th Street NW. This 18th and T spot has a large shaded rooftop dining area (great for hot sunny days when you need some shade). You’re right on the cusp of the Dupont, U Street and Adams Morgan hoods.
- Local 16, 1602 U Street NW. Although it may be too hot to even think about being outside, Local 16 has you covered. The roof deck has water spritzers and fans going constantly to make sure you and your beverage stay at the perfect temperature.
- Lost Society, 2001 14th Street NW. The chandeliers and décor make it hard to believe that you are outside. Thankfully, the cool breeze, neighborhood views and U Street noise remind you that you are sipping cocktails on a DC roof, and not in a palace!
- Marvin, 2007 14th Street NW. This is also a great roof spot, perfect for enjoying one of the many beers on tap and some of the best chicken and waffles in town.
- Masa 14, 1825 14th Street NW. The neighborhood hotspot expanded its space to include a roof deck. Mojitos taste better when sipped in the open, summer air.
- Nellie’s Sports Bar, 900 U Street NW. Great and breezy rooftop. It has an ample bar covered with a tent and also a nice corner area for smokers. You can always enjoy their popular buckets of beers.
- Tabaq Bistro, 1336 U Street. Snag one of the best views of the city while getting your workout in! Yes, you will have to climb up several flights of stairs, but the views on a clear night will quickly make you forget your burning thighs.
- Zabb, 1836 18th Street NW. Modern Asian inspired food and a generous terrace to enjoy the night.
From Katie Andriulli. Email her at katie[AT]borderstan.com and follow her on Twitter @kandriulli.
This week we fell in falafelove with the DC Ballers truck.
The “balls” in DC Ballers’ namesake are falafel patties (my third favorite type of ball following meatballs and arancini… I’m Italian, deal with it) but the truck also specializes in hummus, French fries (regular or Greek style with feta, oregano and olive oil) and other Middle Eastern delights including Tabouli (tomato, onion, parsley, mint, and bulgur wheat in a lemon mint dressing) and Israeli salad (tomato, cucumber and parsley in a lemon mint dressing). Carnivores take heed: DC Ballers is meat-free, but the falafels are so hearty you really won’t miss it.
Platters (hummus, with or without a falafel, plus Tabouli, Israeli salad and pita) range from $7.50 to $9.50 and sandwiches range from $5.50 to $7. You can also get a side of fries with dipping sauce for $3.50, Greek fries for $5 (well worth the extra $1.50), and hummus, falafel, Israeli salad and Tabouli are all available a la carte for $4 to $5.50. Fresh ginger-mint lemonade, on special, was $2.50.
- Wait time: 5/5. There was no line when I arrived promptly at noon, and my food was handed to me (hot!) in less than 60 seconds.
- Service: 5/5. Efficient and friendly. And they take cards. What more do you need?
- Bang for your buck: 4.5/5. My order of hummus with falafel came with a sizeable pita, four falafel balls and a TON of hummus, and was filling enough to stretch to two meals, turning my $7.50 lunch turn into two $3.75 lunches, which is pretty magical. The extra $2.50 I paid for their homemade lemonade seemed a little steep, although not inconsistent with what other trucks charge for similar beverages, so I’ll allow it.
- Deliciousness: 5/5. As a self-described hummus connoisseur, I have probably tried every brand I can get my hands on, but DC Ballers’ puts all of the others to shame. It’s seriously stellar… smooth and creamy with just the right amount of garlic (i.e., lots) and tahini. Game over Sabra. Pack up your individual hummus n’ pretzel cups and saunter on out of here. Thanks for playing.
I have had many a falafel in my day as well and I can say with moderate authority that DC Ballers’ are right up there with the best I’ve had… crunchy and flavorful and they didn’t instantly disintegrate once cut into. The tahini sauce drizzled on top (and in an extra container on the side) provided a lovely dipping sauce and compliment to the hummus.
Now, this whole operation could have fallen apart if the pita was second rate, but luckily, the Ballers have that locked down as well. The pita was obviously freshly baked since it was handed to me piping hot in tin foil. It was thick enough to support the weight of my self-made falafel sandwich without being too bready, and I also I loved the za’atar spices sprinkled top, which gave it a little extra zest.
I also sprung for the homemade ginger-mint lemonade, which was quite pleasant, but could have benefitted from a bit more ice, and/or the addition of gin.
Admittedly, after a weekend of eating badly (re: basically an entire 3-pound calzone in one sitting on Sunday… whoops) I could not muster the courage to order the truck’s other signature dish, the French fries, at lunchtime. However, an acquaintance of mine mentioned that she had tried the Greek fries before and that they were pretty stellar and she is generally pretty reliable, so just take her word for it, okay?
- Overall: 5/5. Assuming your co-workers aren’t vampires, they won’t mind a bit of a garlic smell in the air (or on your breath) so go get Ballin’.
One more restaurant opening on the 14th Street corridor will be happening this summer. Diego will join the latest opening of Piola, Taqueria Nacional, bar di Bari and Kapnos (the last one now scheduled for July 5).
We have been looking at the transformation of the AM-PM Carry Out to Diego at the northwest corner of 14th and V Streets NW; Eatonville and Busboys & Poets are already at that intersection. Now, after months of dealing with city permits and a lengthy renovation process, the Tex Mex restaurant NW restaurant is gearing up, probably for a late summer opening. Diego is owned by brothers Tony and Michael Askarinam, proprietors of Dupont Italian Kitchen on 17th Street NW.
Much like last year, Borderstan saw its fair share of winners at the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s annual awards gala, known as the RAMMYs. With the vibrant theme “Restaurants in Bloom,” many finalists, awardees, and gala-goers alike showed up in garlands, boutonnieres and floral prints. It was in this festive atmosphere that our neighborhood was honored multiple times over.
The burgeoning 14th Street Corridor and its rapid transformation into a revitalized restaurant destination was a running theme throughout some of the acceptance speeches, most notably from the team from Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene winner Bar Pilar, who commented “when we first were doing the build-out for Bar Pilar, we had pimps come into the restaurant and ask, ‘what are you doing?’ And we’d say ‘building a restaurant.’ And they’d ask, ‘For who?’ Now we know.”
Neighborhood RAMMY Winners
The following Borderstan restaurants were winners last night:
- Upscale Casual Restaurant – Estadio
- Casual Restaurant – C.F. Folks
- Neighborhood Gathering Place – Nellie’s Sports Bar
- Hottest Bar Scene – Bar Pilar
Borderstan also saw its fair share of nominees. Joining Estadio in the Upscale Casual category were fellow 14th Street neighbors Birch and Barley and Cork; and C.F. Folks had to squeeze past Bar Pilar for its Casual Restaurant award. Additional nominations also went to Dupont Circle newcomers Boqueria and DGS Delicatessen, and Estadio’s manager, Justin Guthrie.
Taking home the big prizes last night were Blue Duck Tavern for Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year, Mintwood Place for Best New Restaurant, and Fabio Trabocchi for Chef of the Year. Congrats to all the winners!
From Aparna Krishnamoorthy. Email her at aparna[AT]borderstan.com. Follow her on Twitter @aparnakris.
Food trucks and their regulations be damned. Restored vintage tricycles filled with gourmet ice cream sandwiches are the way to go! Perfect for this hot summer weather, CreamCycle DC brings these delicious frozen treats in a variety of unique flavor pairings to the masses.
With awesome combinations like peanut strawberry, cereal milk, bacon and olive, and corn brown sugar — there is something for everyone to enjoy.
I tried the chocolate-jalapeno sandwich — a chocolate butter cookie with spicy jalapeno ice cream and it was delicious. The cookie is nice and chewy, and the ice cream, while creamy, has a nice kick to it from the jalapeno.
I couldn’t stop at one, so I also picked the peach-vanilla to enjoy later. The peach ice cream is light and refreshing and the vanilla cookie complements it well.
Heading the CreamCycle movement is Chef Carlos Delgado, the executive chef at Boveda. According to their website, “The idea for a fleet of ice cream bicycles in DC came from the streets of chef Carlos Delgado’s native country – Peru”
A fine concept, with a delicious product! Some of their other combinations sound equally delicious, and I can’t wait to try some more of these sandwiches through the summer!
Where Can You Find Them?
The locations of the cycles are announced via Facebook and Twitter, but if you don’t want to wait, head on over to Smucker Farms on 14th Street or Bean and Bite to make a purchase. CreamCycle also offers catering services for events!
Have you tried CreamCycle yet? Let us know in the comments if you have a favorite!
It has been more than a year since we heard of Chef Isabella opening Kapnos and G on 14th Street NW.
Isabella’s restaurant Kapnos will open July 5, the time is getting closer and as you walk by the two locations at 14th and W Streets NW; the final touches seem to be added.
The Greek-themed restaurant, Kapnos, will include five roasting spits and feature Northern Greek food with have a menu of spreads, breads, phyllo pies, vegetables and other small plates, including his signature wood-grilled octopus as Isabella let us know last year.
The bar menu will include Greek wines on tap and a number of by the glass offerings. The restaurant decor modern with brown leathers and an industrial feeling.
G Sandwich Shop
Next to Kapnos is G, the Italian Sandwich Shop concept shop that Isabella hopes to turn into a chain. It will serve sandwiches and it will be open for lunch. Jessica Voelker of Washingtonian has the details of what you will find there.
From the owner of Drafting Table, Aaron Gordon’s bar di Bari is open. At 1401 R Street NW the red umbrellas and colorful outdoor patio furniture are welcoming guests since Saturday morning. Although they had been offering morning coffee since Wednesday last week as a sort of soft opening.
From the corner of 14th Street the smell of fresh baked goods is inviting and once inside it is hard to choose. The food is Italian-Mediterranean inspired. A selection of salads and healthy meals is on the menu. There are cheese and charcuterie plates, antipasti and entrees and sandwiches.
Happy Hour starts at 5 pm with a menu of three draft beers and 10 bottled beers plus a list of 20 French and Spanish wines.
Bar di Bari wants to be a casual place to enjoy a coffee, a pastry or have a bite for lunch or dinner. Coffee service and a lighter fare is available from the counter all day. Dinner service starts at 4 pm.
bar di Bari Will be open Monday trough Friday from 7 am to 11 pm, Saturday from 10 am to midnight and Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm.
This Saturday the 14 & U Farmers Market is a cherries and berries market. From 9 am to 1 pm enjoy strolling through the market, picking up sweet cherries, raspberries, red currants, blueberries and a few blackberries are all around. Here some recipes for you.
- Do stop by Itbi at 10 am for a cooking demo with two summer salads: Kale and mixed root vegetable slaw.
- Panorama is bringing as always their delicious croissants, bear claws and pretzels, and a great selection of pastries and baked goods.
- Cherry Glen Goat Cheese’s Bryan will have a sampling of the best French style goat cheese you will find. Fresh chevre only a day old, ricotta, and five different kinds of soft, wedge shaped Monocacies.
- Mountain View has carrots, squash, kale, radishes, beets and cut herbs.
- Truck Patch is bringing turkey and turkey breast this week.
Come early for your full selection of your favorites vendors at the market. Market hours are 9 am to 1 pm, Saturdays only.
So there you have it. Enjoy the market and try to keep cool during this weekend.
From Mathew Harkins. Email him at mharkins[AT]borderstan.com.
14th Street NW isn’t the only corridor in the neighborhood with new restaurants opening up. Florida Avenue has seen a share of development recently and now, it will soon be the home of Dunya Restaurant and Lounge.
Located at 801 Florida Avenue NW, this new establishment will feature Mediterranean tapas as well as high-end cocktails. The drinks will also follow the same regional inspiration as the restaurant, with beers from Spain and wines from Mediterranean.
These food and drinks are going to be served all across what is sure to be a large restaurant. Plans right now call for the ground floor, a second floor area, a rooftop bar and a summer garden. The interior is slated for 150 seating capacity and a total load of 150; the summer garden is slated to have seating for 25. Plans also include having live jazz performances for brunch.
The owner of Dunya Restaurant and Lounge is Siyamak Sadeghi, who was once the owner of both Shaw Tavern and Axis Bar and Grill. He has high hopes for this new location, which will offer a simple and relaxed atmosphere where patrons will be able to enjoy delicious foods within a space designed around Spanish aesthetics.
Dunya Restaurant and Lounge is expected to open in mid- to late-June. So when 14th Street feels a little overcrowded, too hip, or you and your friends feel like exploring the area a little bit, keep an eye out for the worldly delights of Dunya.
From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.
At its regular monthly meeting Wednesday, June 12, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont endorsed the request of Taqueria Nacional restaurant (1409 T Street NW) for outdoor seating. Tacqueria Nacional opened its doors on May 15.
ANC 2B approved a resolution supporting the public space application with a proviso saying the outdoor seating have shorter hours of operation than the indoor portion of the restaurant.
The public space can operate from 10 am until 11 pm Monday to Thursday, and midnight Friday and Saturday. Taqueria Nacional has an fountain in its outdoor area.
Elwin Ferris, Secretary of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance told the ANC the restaurant should remember to drain the fountain every evening at the close of business. The neighborhood has a rat problem, Ferris said, and an open fountain would give the vermin population an addition place to find water.
Restaurant management said they currently drain the fountain every night and intend to continue doing so. Drunk passersby using the fountain as a urinal was a concern, the management said.
A neighbor testified the fountain is drained nightly and covered.
The ANC voted to include a clause in its resolution noting with approval this practice, in the hopes it will continue.
The public space use application now goes to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) for final approval.
From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.
Raj Multhani, manager of Policy Restaurant (1904 14th Street NW), is seeking to terminate an agreement because he says it puts the restaurant at a competitive disadvantage.
“This agreement has hamstrung this establishment,” Multhani told the regular monthly meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Committee 2B/Dupont on June 12. ANC 2B voted to protest termination of the agreement when the matter comes before DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board.
Liquor-serving establishments in the Borderstan area normally enter into “settlement agreements” (formerly known as “voluntary agreements”) with local ANCs, community groups and neighbors.
These agreements normally may deal with the hours of operation of the establishment (both inside and outside if applicable), the time and frequency of garbage pickup, vermin control, valet parking, outdoor seating and other details.
Policy Restaurant’s settlement agreement is with ANC 2B, the Dupont Circle Citizens Association and a group of five neighbors. Since Policy has opened, many restaurants with more liberal settlement agreements have started up nearby.
“Things have changed around us,” Multhani said. “No other establishment has the restrictions that Policy has.”
Multhani and his attorney talked about the ways that their current settlement agreement limits Policy’s ability to operate. Policy cannot expand into its basement space. It must restrict the hours when it can receive deliveries to an even narrow period than that allowed by law. It cannot offer live music.
The most contentious issue, however, seems to be hours of operation. The current settlement agreement specifically lists Policy’s hours of operation, which are also the same hours that restaurants are normally allowed to operate. However, several times a year the DC government gives liquor licensees leave to stay open later on special occasions, most frequently on the Sunday evening of three-day weekends.
When Policy wishes to stay open as late as its neighbors, it must seek out all of the parties to their settlement agreement and get their permission. Some parties have refused to give permission.
Elwyn Ferris, Secretary of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance, appeared as a representative of the group of five neighbors.
“It is vitally important that the voluntary agreement stay in place,” Ferris said.
Commissioner Noah Smith, 2B-09, proposed the motion to protest the termination of the settlement agreement, but said that he hoped he could help negotiate an agreement which is satisfactory to all sides.
The final vote was 8-0 to protest the termination of the settlement agreement. Commissioner Mike Silverstein, 2B-06, recused himself from the vote because his position on the DC Alcoholic Beverage Control Board; Silverstein recuses himself on all ANC 2B liquor licensing matters.
From Jane Alonso. Her passion for food and spirits leads her on frequent excursions into Borderstan’s land of bars and restaurants. Email her at jane[AT]borderstan.com
I have been itching to visit Black Whiskey, 14th Street’s newest watering hole, since its opening in early May, and I finally got my chance one rainy night this past week. As I sampled a shot of bourbon at the upstairs bar, I realized that every assumption I had about the place was wrong.
Wrong Assumption #1: Black Whiskey is owned by the Bethesda-based Black Restaurant Group, owners of BlackSalt Restaurant, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace/Black Jack, Black Market Bistro, Black’s Bar & Kitchen, and Addie’s. Nope — actually, despite the “Black” in the name, Black Whiskey is the brainchild of the team behind Kushi — Ari Kushimoto and Darren Lee Norris. The friendly bartender taking my whiskey order set me straight right away on this basic fact.
Wrong Assumption #2: Black Whiskey is a typical DC whiskey destination bar. I admit, I had expected Black Whiskey to resemble Jack Rose, Againn or Bourbon both in atmosphere and in breadth of whiskey selection. Wrong again. Black Whiskey has a smaller, more intimate approach, and — ready for this — it doesn’t even have a whiskey menu!
You have to either rely on the bartender to make a recommendation or have very good eyesight to read the labels on the bottles on the wall behind the bar. It’s a little frustrating not to be able to peruse the selection in an easy to review format, but the non-structured, free-spirited approach seems to be part of the vibe that Kushimoto and Norris are trying to create at Black Whiskey. Still, I wouldn’t mind a menu.
Wrong Assumption #3: A night at Black Whiskey will set you back a pretty penny. I have this assumption about all whiskey-focused bars, because – well, let’s just state the obvious – good scotch and bourbon are an expensive habit. But hats off to Black Whiskey for keeping its prices at reasonable levels. Most of the shots I sampled were between $7 and $8, which is not bad for a good bourbon. What is hugely annoying, however, is that you have to ask the bartender for the prices because (again) there is no menu to guide you in that department.
So I walked away with the sense that Black Whiskey, at least in its infancy, is catering to a more casual young party crowd rather than the moneyed whiskey aficionado set. Not that this is a business problem, as the Black Whiskey appears to be doing quite well in its first six weeks. The atmosphere is vibrant, and there is no shortage of customers, even on a rainy Monday night.
Note that the downstairs space (capacity of 250) is still under construction, but marked for a “concert venue and gallery space.” The team also plans to build an outdoor deck addition to the top floor for expanded dining options. Currently, Black Whiskey serves a limited menu of carved meats and bar bites designed to soak up the alcohol, but a more food-centric approach may be in the bar’s future.
At least, I assume that is the case as Norris is known as a first rate chef, having worked at the Oval Room, Red Sage, and Ridgewells Catering, and was named Washingtonian’s 2011 Restaurateur of the year. However, I remind myself not to make any more assumptions. Black Whiskey will be what it wants to be, never mind my expectations.
Black Whiskey is at 1410 14th Street NW. It is open Sunday through Thursday from 5 pm to 1:45 am; Friday and Saturday from 5 am to 2:45 am; and closed Mondays.
From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.
Rose Previte and David Greene, aspiring proprietors of the bar/restaurant Compass Rose (1346 T Street NW), will try to take another slow painful step toward operation next Tuesday. That’s when the DC Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) will hear the request of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA) for a decision that will effectively prevent Compass Rose from opening.
Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street weighed in on the side of Compass Rose against the SDCA at its regular monthly meeting last Thursday, June 6. A motion by Commissioner Jeremy Leffler, 1B-02, to write a letter to the BZA supporting Compass Rose passed unanimously. Leffler is also the chair of ANC 1B’s liquor licensing affairs committee.
The SDCA is also the petitioner for a liquor license moratorium in the 14th and U Street area.
The story of the SDCA’s second front against Compass Rose is a complicated saga of the Uptown Arts-Mixed Use (ARTS) Overlay District, a zone created by the DC government in the hopes of encouraging development on the 14th and U Street corridors. This zoning overlay was supposed to limit the size and number of liquor licensees by limiting the frontage of liquor-licensees on any block to 50 percent.
The SDCA contends ANC1B and DC authorities have been deaf to its appeals to enforce the Overlay District, and more than one block in the area exceeds the 50 percent limit.
“The ANC has, on multiple occasions, discussed tools and other solutions to address the over concentration of liquor licenses (as opposed to a moratorium). When they had an opportunity to support the use of tools and solutions such as the enforcement of the ARTs Overlay, they refused to do so,” Sterling said in an email.
I am not a lawyer but, as far as I can tell from looking at the documents, there are two major points of contention. They are:
- Is the ARTS Overlay District intended to apply only to businesses facing 14th Street, or does the district wrap around the corner of T Street? If the latter is the case, then Compass Rose, which will face T Street, will be subject to their restrictions.
- Assuming the district wraps around to include T Street, does the total frontage of the area include more than 50 percent liquor licensees? In this case, there is a disagreement about whether the nearby Source Theater (1835 14th Street) is considered a liquor licensee for the purpose of frontage calculation. The Source Theater has a liquor license, but its primary use is not as an eating or drinking establishment, so DC authorities have ruled it should not count toward the frontage limit. The SDCA disagrees. If the Source Theater is not included in the frontage calculation, Compass Rose may open without exceeding the 50 percent limit.
“If the Board decides to deliberate, they would have 90 days to make a decision. We’ve already invested tens of thousands of dollars. As a tiny business, we watch every cent. Every day we are delayed and can’t open, it becomes harder. Three more months could be devastating,” Previte said in an email.
The public hearing concerning the SDCA’s petition will take place on Tuesday, June 18, at 1pm, at the DC Board of Zoning Adjustment, 441 4th Street NW.
Documents relating to the case can be viewed at the Interactive Zoning Information System of Office of Zoning by entering case number 18568 into the search bar.