Happy early spring, Borderstan! The Cherry Blossoms are expected to open soon and so are some of the neighborhood’s most anticipated restaurants. Eater DC’s most recent list of spring restaurant openings includes several within the bounds of Borderstan.
Here’s what you can expect to see — and taste — this season:
- Le Diplomate, 1601 14th Street NW: The 260-seat French restaurant from Stephen Starr will serve brunch, lunch and dinner and will have patio seating at 14th and Q Streets NW for the promise of warmer days ahead.
- B Too, 1324 14th Street NW: Top Chef contestant Bart Vandaele is opening this 4,800 square-foot Belgian eatery and plans to serve classic and modern Belgian dishes, some of which will be cooked in the city’s only Josper.
- Doi Moi, 1800 14th Street NW: Mark Kuller, the mastermind behind Proof and Estadio, plans to open Doi Moi in late spring/early summer and serve dishes and flavors from Vietnam and Thailand.
- GBD (Golden Brown Delicious), 1323 Connecticut Avenue NW: From Birch and Barley’s Kyle Bailey and Tiffany MacIssac, GBD will serve doughnuts and coffee in the morning, fried chicken for lunch and appetizers and small plates in the evening. Oh, and the Dupont Circle restaurant will also have beer from DC sud expert Greg Engert.
- Ghibellina, 1610 14th Street NW: This Italian restaurant is the former home of HR-57, a famous DC jazz club. The restaurant, which is being restored back to mid-century condition, will feature Tuscan “gastropub” dishes.
- Iron Gate, 1734 N Street NW: Eater DC reports this Dupont Circle restaurant from Neighborhood Restaurant Group will serve Italian- and Greek-inspired dishes.
- Kapnos and G, 2201 14th Street NW: Mike Isabella is coming to the neighborhood with his Greek restaurant, Kapnos, and a more casual sandwich shop, G. Together, the two eateries will occupy 7,000 square feet on 14th Street NW.
- Mockingbird Hill, 1843 7th Street NW: Expect to see Spanish tapas and wines at this Shaw restaurant from Derek Brown. The 1,110 square-foot location at 1843 7th Street NW will seat 40 and will serve-up small bites, such as ham, olives and more than 50 varieties of sherries.
If you plan to skip the labor-intensive Thanksgiving cooking process this year (or if you burned the turkey and have a dining room full of hungry guests), don’t sweat it – several neighborhood restaurants will be open on Thanksgiving Day.
While some require reservations ahead of time, others welcome walk-ins.
- La Tomate (1701 Connecticut Avenue NW) will open at 4 pm on Thanksgiving Day to serve meals from its regular Italian menu, as well as dishes from a special Thanksgiving menu, which includes starters, an entrée and pie. Call 202-667-5505 for reservations.
- Bistro du Coin (1738 Connecticut Avenue NW) will be open on Thanksgiving Day at noon. In addition to its French fare, Bistro du Coin will also offer some Thanksgiving meal specials. For more information, call 202-234-6969.
- Sette Osteria (1666 Connecticut Avenue NW) will serve lunch, brunch and dinner on Thanksgiving Day from 11 am until 9 pm. The Dupont Circle restaurant has an entire list of specials for the day, available on the website. Call 202-483-3070 for reservations.
- Ulah Bistro (1214 U Street NW) will be open all day for Thanksgiving from 11 am until 11 pm. The U Street restaurant is featuring a $29.95 turkey dinner with all the trimmings. For reservations, call 202-234-0123.
- Lauriol Plaza (1835 18th Street NW) will be open from 11:30 am until 10 pm on Thanksgiving Day, for those diners who are in the mood for an unconventional Thanksgiving Day feast!
- Lincoln (1110 Vermont Avenue NW) will be open from 2 pm – 8 pm on Thanksgiving Day, and will feature farm-to-table specials on a traditional Thanksgiving Day menu. Guests can select seasonal soups and salads, as well as meats and fishes from a carving station. Lincoln will also serve-up pies and sides. Call 202-386-9200 for reservations.
- Whole Foods (1440 P Street NW) is open on Thanksgiving Day from 7 am until 5 pm for those who need to pick-up a last minute pie from the bakery (believe it or not, my aunt forgot to put sugar in her pie… two years in a row!), or for those who prefer to dine on dinner from the prepared foods section.
No matter how – or where – you choose to spend your Thanksgiving, I hope it is a happy one!
The 14th Street space that was formerly home to HR-57 (a famous DC jazz club) will soon be an Italian restaurant, named Ghibellina.
And while the restaurant hopes to be open at some point this winter, Ari Gejdenson and Ralph Lee have decided to restore the space at 1610 14th Street NW back to it’s mid-century condition. At this time, 14th Street NW was known as “auto row” for its many car dealerships. Evidence of this can be seen in the photo posted by developers at the future site of Ghibellina.
In July, the Washingtonian gave readers the inside scoop on the “Italian gastropub’s” menu offerings, it’s interior plans and it’s trouble with local neighbors over liquor licensing. The three-story space will offer a casual dining spot on the main floor, more upscale dining upstairs and a space for live music on the bottom level.
Stay tuned to Borderstan.com for more information on Ghibellina’s development.
Table, a 75-seat restaurant from Chef Frederik de Pue, is scheduled to open at 903 N Street NW in early November. The Shaw/Logan establishment will serve classic European dishes that reflect Chef de Pue’s childhood in Belgium and his experience in several kitchens throughout Europe.
The restaurant’s handwritten menus will change frequently to reflect fresh produce and quality meats available from local and regional purveyors. Originally an auto repair space, the restaurant building has been restored to a contemporary dining establishment with modern decor. Table will have a storefront patio and rooftop deck for seasonal outdoor seating.
The restaurant will serve dinner in the initial opening phase, and then will expand its offerings to breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch at the start of February, 2013.
Table is expected to open on or around Friday, November 3. Sample menus will be available on the website soon. For more information on Table’s opening date, follow the restaurant on Twitter or Facebook.
On Monday, October 22, a pop-up taqueria will take over Black Jack (1612 14th Street NW) from 7-10 pm. Jack Black’s beloved “pies” will take a back-seat for the evening, while Chef Victor Albisu tests the new Taco Bamba menu.
Alibsu will serve-up everything from a Chipotle Portabella Taco, to a Duck Tinga Taco, Grilled Scallop and Grilled Guacamole Nachos, Black Oyster and Shrimp Campache and more.
Tickets to the pop-up party are $40 and can be purchased online. The admission includes unlimited passed and stationed food, specialty cocktails tax and gratuity.
For more information, visit Black Jack’s website.
DC’s U Street area is no stranger to the city’s latest and greatest bars and restaurants. But no other bars, as of yet, possess a business model quite like CAUSE, a “PhilanthroPub” set to open sometime this fall on the U Street corridor.
That is because this American cuisine-style restaurant and bar (the brain-child of Nick Vilelle and Raj Ratwani) will donate its dining and drinking proceeds to charitable organizations. The designated charities (a mix of local and international) will rotate quarterly, and the patrons of CAUSE will decide where they want to donate their dining dollars.
Vilelle and Ratwani, co-founders of CAUSE, teamed up with restaurant veterans John Jarecki and Dave Pressley of The Light Horse in Old Town Alexandria. Additionally, former Queen Vic chef Adam Stein will work as the executive chef for CAUSE. With a deep passion for local farming, Stein will focus on utilizing seasonal local foods in the menu, including a number of vegetarian options.
CAUSE is at 1926 9th Street NW. For more information, visit the website.
The first DC Beerathon is Saturday, November 10 at 26 different bars and restaurants throughout Northwest DC — and it’s bringing a whole new meaning to “beer run.”
With successes in Boston and New York, the event’s organizers are bringing the craft beer (and charity-centric) festival to the District. Tickets are $65 (this includes access to the 26 bars) and can be purchased online. Beerathon has a discount code through October 10 that will save you $10 on the ticket. The discount code is earlybirdDC.
Information on the Beerathon course is available on the event’s Facebook page. El Centro D.F., James Hoban’s, Nellie’s and The Reef are the check-in locations for the day-long event.
It doesn’t matter how hot it gets this season, drinking on a rooftop still remains one of the coolest things to do during the summer months in DC.
Thankfully, area restaurants and bars have taken note, and we have proof!
We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite local rooftop bars for the next time you and your friends are looking to take your happy hour to the next level, literally.
New to the Mix
Nothing says, “Come scope out our bar” quite like a rooftop terrace. And while not all of these restaurants and bars are new to the neighborhood, their new additions landed them on this list!
The 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.
Masa 14 – 1825 14th Street NW. The neighborhood hotspot expanded its space this summer to include a new roof deck. In my opinion, mojitos taste better when sipped in the open, summer air.
El Centro D.F. – 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.
MOVA – 2204 14th Street NW. The Miami-inspired bar’s newly added rooftop definitely makes walking the two extra blocks past U Street totally worth it.
1905 Garden – 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.
Oldies, But Goodies
While not new to the Borderstan scene, these rooftop bars keep us coming back for more. Can’t find your favorite on this list? Check out last year’s list of favorites compiled by Borderstan’s grub gurus, Alejandra Owens and Laura Herman.
Tabaq – 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.
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!
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.
Marvin – 2007 14th Street NW. Another U Street favorite, Marvin’s large rooftop makes it easy for you to enjoy a beer with hundreds of your local friends. Great food menu, too!
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.
Jack Rose – 2007 18th Street NW. If you thought nothing could top barbeque and bourbon, then you were wrong, literally.
Lauriol Plaza – 1835 18th Street NW. A neighborhood classic, the patio and upper deck areas provide the perfect setting to share a margarita pitcher.
Donovan House – 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!
In a neighborhood that is home to many of the District’s top restaurants and bars, it is hard to ignore the politics surrounding the food and beverage industries. (See our recent post on the potential Alcoholic Beverage Control license moratorium in the 14th and U Street area.)
For starters, it is hard to overlook that the local hospitality industry is a core economic engine for the city, contributing more than $2.5 billion to the DC economy. And in a time when it is difficult to find employment in neighborhoods beyond Borderstan, it is hard to ignore that the local service industry employs more than 48,000 people.
That is why, a June 5 vote from the DC Council left the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) and several local businesses cheering — the vote permits hospitality venues to partially extend licensed alcoholic beverage service hours.
Now, what, exactly, does that mean?
Well, my fellow Borderstan friends, that means, starting this fall, DC restaurants and bars will have extended licensed alcoholic beverage services by one hour on holiday-related dates. And luckily for you, in a government-important city, holidays occur more frequently than dragon blood references on “Game of Thrones.”
It is predicted that the supplemental money generated by the service extension will help the Council to eliminate a projected city budget deficit, without increasing local taxes or fees for both residents and businesses. DC Mayor Vincent Gray, who proposed the service extension option on a year-round basis in order to generate a minimum $3.21 million in additional sales tax revenues, previously announced his support for the Council compromise.
“Local residents appreciate how our city relies on a dynamic nighttime economy,” said RAMW president, Lynne Breaux. “They understand how this policy change allows us to better, and more fully accommodate, a growing population with diverse working and living schedules, and it’s why a service extension has been embraced without significant or broad-based opposition originating with residents.”
The legislation results in the District’s move towards joining eight states in allowing on-premise alcohol sales at restaurants, bars, nightclubs and hotels until 3 am on weeknights and six states permitting sales until 4 am on weekends.
And for those who fear the bump in nightlife hours will impact public safety, you will be happy to know that DC Metropolitan Police Chief, Cathy Lanier, expressed her full confidence that expanded service hours throughout the year would pose no additional burdens on law enforcement personnel or public safety.
Looking for even better news? The Council also voted for a separate provision, allowing for extended service hours during the five-day Presidential Inauguration period next January.
And if you were in town for the last Inauguration, you know what a big deal that is… so, in other words, come election time, meet me at the bar?
Borderstan welcomes new contributor Aparna Krishnamoorthy. Email her at aparna[AT]borderstan.com
I dropped into Chix, a somewhat tucked away spot (located on 11th Street NW just north of U Street), on a rainy afternoon, and was pleasantly surprised by all of the healthy options offered. The restaurant storefront is in the basement of the building and has a small kitchen in the back. The menu, written on a blackboard, featured three different types of chicken, a few sides, vegetables and chicken wraps options.
To order is simple – choose the type of chicken you want, then your sides and a sauce. The Colombian chicken (marinated in “Colombian coffee and coconut milk”) immediately caught my attention. So I ordered the quarter chicken special, with sweet potatoes and a salad for my sides. (Un)fortunately they were out of the noodles and cheese!
The chicken was moist and had a subtle, but distinct, flavor of the coffee. The curry mustard sauce was creamy and delicious, although I didn’t really need it for such a flavorful piece of chicken. The avocado dressing that came on the salad was good, too, especially coming from someone who does not care for avocados. (Yes, I just said that.)
But the roasted sweet potatoes were the best thing on the plate; well seasoned and cooked to the perfect balance of crispness on the outside and softness on the inside. I would go back to Chix even just for these.
A small dining room is located on the second floor and patio seating is also available, making this a perfect spot for a breezy evening of al fresco dining.
Chix uses organic and hormone free products and also provides environmentally friendly packaging and utensils.
For all of $8, I had a delicious meal without feeling stuffed and greasy. Chix is a solid option for carry-out, delivery (yes, they deliver!) or to stop by for a quick bite to eat.
- Where Am I Going: 2019 11th Street NW (between U & V Streets)
- When Am I Going: Monday to Friday 11:30 am to 10 pm; Saturday noon to 10 pm; and Sunday noon to 9 pm.
- Paycheck Pain: Quarter chicken and 2 sides come to about $8, with lunch specials starting at $6.50 and dinner specials at $6.99.
- Say What?: Seating is fairly limited, with room for about 25 people in the space (inside and patio).
- What You’ll Be Eating: Chicken. There are also some vegetarian options.
Featured image by Kim Vu.
Want good tapas but not willing to wait through the crowds at 14th Street’s Estadio or the newly remodeled Jaleo? We dropped in to the not-even-two-months-old Boqueria to check out this viable alternative. (They’re at 1837 M Street NW.)
Like Carmine’s, Serendipity, and Shake Shack before it, Boqueria is a New York City import, based on two successful restaurants of the same name in SoHo and Flatiron. Located in the old Penang space above Chipotle on M Street, it is decidedly very… well, New York.
Where Boqueria’s tapas contemporaries in D.C. feature Moorish features and a brightly mod, avant-garde decor respectively, Boqueria is clean and sharp, with a white and birch and tan color scheme that covers the bricks and tiles and wood accents. The main space opens onto a central square bar similar to Estadio’s, but with more bar seating and bedecked in chalkboards.
Seating is pretty tight, save for the patio outside, and the noise level rises fairly quickly if the space fills. Overall, it’s an ideal spot for post-work drinks and quick bites.
But what about the food?
Boqueria’s tapas lineup contains a roll call of Iberian standards, but the hidden treasure is the rotating menu of specials, an extensive list of daily dishes where some of the more interesting bites appear. On this trip, the winner of the night was indeed from this group, red peppers stuffed with braised oxtail in a potato purée, with stringy-in-the-good-way oxtail and deep savory flavors mixing with some interesting textural shifts between the smooth mash and the crunchy onion topping. Boqueria also nails the classics, with sharp Valdeon cheese and almonds providing a rich centerpiece to the time-honored bacon-wrapped dates.
So for some good eats and a swank decor in a prime location, hit up Boqueria.
For a more in-depth review, visit DC Wrapped Dates.
Hard at work or hardly working? This one’s for you – the few of you toiling away in quiet buildings with no co-workers, questionable heat and no real motivation.
Borderstan Well Represented in ‘Top Standbys’
That may not sound too fancy, to be the best staid and true standby restaurant. But the list compiled by Eater DC yields something a bit better than your mom’s meatloaf. It includes Estadio, Hank’s Oyster Bar, Cafe Saint Ex, Bar Pilar and many other places that you’d be all too happy to make your Thursday dinner staple. May I recommend trying most of them this week, while crowds are typically smaller than average?
The non-stop rain finally slacked off around quitting time yesterday, prompting a flood of Facebook and Twitter pics of the rainbow that popped out all too briefly at 5pm. It was a pretty impressive display. A few of our favorite can be seen here (snapped at the airport) and here.
What’s Up with the Bike Lanes?
Greater Greater Washington invokes the ‘paralysis by analysis’ line to query what is taking so damn long with the city’s bike lanes. Is the Mayor, they wonder, commissioning so many studies to avoid making a decision or taking some action on additional bike lane striping. With L and M Streets stuck waiting for the conclusion of the Pennsylvania Avenue and 15th Street study, it’s hard not to wonder what is going on here, especially since the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has already done a study on these lanes. Politics taking a long time in DC? Color me shocked.
Lauryn Hill at Warner Theater
Readers of a certain age will remember a time when Lauryn Hill was on top of the world and tossing rhymes as the frontwoman for the Fugees. Well, despite her prowess behind the mike, life has taken some twists and turns for Hill. Notably, a bad dip at a Ram’s Head show that the Baltimore Sun brings up as way of introducing her new gig. The show is February 29 and tickets go on sale December 30.
Occupy DC Tent Makeover
The Washington Blade sent out their ‘Gaylarious’ crew to make (ostensibly) someone’s holiday wish come true. They went down to McPherson Square to make over an Occupy DC tent. Hilarity sort of ensues. It’s at least entertaining enough to kill five minutes of your day, as you try to bill eight hours for Minesweeper, making coffee and shredding some paper.
This post is by Alejandra Owens. You can find her on Twitter at @frijolita or her food blog, One Bite At A Time.
Check out the preview photos of the Lost Society space and some of the dishes you’ll find on the menu.
14th Street. The city’s new restaurant mecca… or, at least wannabe mecca. While some are still only talking about opening a restaurant on 14th Street, others are actually doing it. Enter: Lost Society.
This three-floor, boutique steakhouse is designed to evoke “feelings of a Victorian underground scene.” Velvet curtains envelop dining booths, purple velvet couches are plush and deep and there’s the Victorian bust wall paper to round out the “rich and old” vibe without the more literal “ducks, wood panel walls and dark green paint” D.C.’s usual steakhouse gives you.
Happy Friday morning, Borderstan. A few news items… some news bits… happenings this weekend. So, read this posting and then turn off your computer and go enjoy the fall weekend. See you Monday.
- There was a gun robbery t 11:40 p.m. last night on the 1500-block of U Street NW. Here is the Police Alert: “Robbery (Gun)_2340 hours_1500 Block U Street, NW_No lookout given DO NOT TAKE ACTION CALL 911 W/EVENT #i20090562310. Sent on: 10/08 23:56″
- The Humane Society Walk for the Animals is tomorrow (Saturday the 10th)… 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Constitution Gardens on the National Mall.
- The National Equality March events are this weekend, ending with a rally at the U.S. Capitol around 2 p.m. on Sunday.
- On Monday I will have some Crimes of Note for the past couple of weeks… along with a look at crime stats for September for the Borderstan area.
- Cast members of the Real World DC (which is packing up and leaving town after finishing filming) had some of their individual works displayed last night at gallery plan b on 14th Street NW. I wanted to go to last night’s one-night exhibition, but work called (you know, the stuff that pays bills).
- If you missed the second Delhi Dispatch, it’s an interesting read: “Delhi Dispatches: Commuting with Cobras, Deities and Dust.” The contributor is an ex-Borderstanian and a friend and neighbor.
- NBC Channel 4 picked up the story of the “Men’s Parties” death at 14th and Corcoran NW. The Sexist at Washington City Paper summarizes the police crime report for you. 14th & You has a good posting, too: Is the city trying to shut down the club?
- Don’t forget Luis’ picks for stuff to do this weekend in Borderstan and around town, including some restaurant recommendations: “Borderstan Weekend October 10/11.”
- 14th & You has some very good postings on businesses coming and going on the 14th Street corridor: “Update: “Green Pets” Relocation Moving Forward” and “Latest on Birch & Barley; Diamond District Seafood coming soon.”
- If you’re going to see what’s in your Netflix movie queue, plan to watch something on-demand or are head to the video store (if you can still find one!)… check in with Mary the Borderstan Movie Fan: “Borderstan Movie Fan: Health Care Options at the Movies” or check out some of her other recommendations for food movies or sexy movies.
Hank’s Oyster Bar, located at 1624 Q Street NW, is one of the relatively recent openings in the area…. with delicious food and great atmosphere. If you really want to enjoy your meal, avoid weekends when it is crowed and a bit loud. Prices are toward the slightly higher end.
Annie’s Paramount Steak House at 1609 17th Street NW has been a fixture of 17th Street for decades, with good food, great friendly atmosphere and good prices. However, after going through a total renovation, the menu has changed to more upscale plates. The prices have gone up as well and Annie’s doesn’t feel as informal as before. The flavor of a good neighborhood restaurant seems to have been lost during the renovation.
“Picturing Progress: Hungarian Women Photographers, 1900-1945,” is at The National Museum of Women in the Arts at 1250 New York Avenue NW: “The exhibition is a part of Extremely Hungary, a yearlong festival of performances and exhibitions in New York City and Washington, D.C. , throughout 2009.”
“Paint Made Flesh” is at The Phillips Collection at 1600 21st Street NW. The show “examines the ways in which European and American painters have used oil paint and the human body to convey enduring human vulnerabilities, among them anxieties about desire, appearance, illness, aging, war, and death. In the tradition of great figure painting stretching back to Rembrandt and Titian, the 34 artists in the exhibition, working in the years since World War II, exploit oil paint’s visual and tactile properties to mirror those of the body, while exploring the body’s capacity to reflect the soul.”
Washington Improv Theater is at the Source Theater at 1835 14th Street NW: “A special second summer run featuring the Neutrino Video Project–a 30-minute film shot in the time it takes you to watch it–and guest artists from New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and more as part of the first-ever improv comedy festival in DC.”
“Olivia Mancini And The Mates” are at the Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW: “This year’s ‘You Can See The Mountains From Here’ follows up on the exuberant melodies and twangy rock of the band’s Chatterbox EP, showing that Mancini’s musical prowess can outlast even her previous successes.”
Ricardo Arjona plays Saturday, August 8, at the George Mason University Patriot Center, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, at 8 p.m. The Guatemalan-born singer is considered a storyteller with beautiful lyrics about everyday life and people from all walks of life.
Film Night at Cafe Saint Ex at 1847 14th Street NW is Sunday, August 9, at 9 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Gate 54 will be previewing films from the next DC Short Film Festival. “The chefs at Saint Ex have created special pizzas for the evening starting at $7. The Pizzas will be really tasty with a $4 Peroni Beer. ”