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by Alyse Mier July 20, 2016 at 4:50 pm 0

Avid tomato eaters will have a chance to indulge their taste buds in a series of dishes with the fruit on the 14th Street corridor next week.

Cafe Saint-Ex (1847 14th St. NW) is hosting its inaugural “Tomato Week” from Monday until next Sunday, July 31. Diners will have the option to order from a special menu with a variety of tomato-based dishes, Cafe Saint-Ex general manager Zeina Badran said.

“We wanted to highlight the seasonality and the freshness,” she said. “Most people don’t know that we do a lot of farm-to-table and use a lot of locally grown produce. There is nothing better than heirloom, or locally grown tomatoes.”

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by Tim Regan November 19, 2015 at 10:00 am 0

A deli and buffet frequented by the downtown office lunch crowd will close its doors for good tomorrow.

TJ’s Deli, located at the corner of 14th and L streets NW, will shut down after 15 years in business, an employee at the store said.

Though the employee did not say why the deli was closing, the shop in recent years has gained competition from a Jimmy John’s and a Dunkin Donuts that may have helped contribute to its demise.

It was not immediately clear what might replace the deli.

by Tim Regan November 13, 2015 at 2:00 pm 0

They’re tiny, they’re nutritious, they’re tasty, they’re microgreens.

And Maryna Higgins, the urban farmer and Dupont resident behind D.C.-based growing company Underground Greens, seeks to put more of the small salad shoots on your plate.

Higgins grows and harvests the sprouts inside a small space near Union Market, then delivers them by bike to local stores and restaurants such as Jrink, B Too, Press Juice Bar and Glen’s Garden Market.

“Most people probably see them in salads,” Higgins said. “Chefs use them as a garnish. … It’s like a new superfood.”

To grow the sprouts, Higgins spreads seeds on hemp mats placed under sunlamps. The mats are hooked up to a hydroponic watering system, which circulates fresh water to keep the plants hydrated. The sprouts mature on four-tiered shelves, and are ready for harvest after about eight to fourteen days.

The entire process, Higgins said, is designed to be as eco-friendly and energy-saving as possible.

Higgins hopes to fill her space near Union Market with trays by the end of the year. Once she fills her 900 square foot space, she said she’ll look for something a little larger. But her aim isn’t necessarily to distribute as many greens as far and wide as she can.

“When I go to Whole Foods and pick up a bunch of mint that comes from Peru, it just hurts,” Higgins said “My goal is not to expand into shipping, but [to be] local, cut down on carbon emissions and cut down on the time food travels. … being local is one of the advantages that I have.”

Still, the microgreen grower said it would be nice to expand a little.

“Microgreens is a volume business,” Higgins said. “It’s almost a catch-22. You need a bigger space for the volume, but you need a volume to invest in the bigger space.”

Higgins said she’d also like to start growing other leafy vegetables such as lettuce and herbs.

“It’s going to be hard, but I do enjoy it,” she said about the future of her company.  “It’s fun. It puts me in a lot of situations where I’m very uncomfortable. You learn a lot about this community.”

Microgreen photos courtesy of Maryna Higgins

by Tim Regan November 10, 2015 at 11:30 am 0

You’ve probably heard by now, but in case you haven’t: Nobu will open a restaurant in the District next year.

The Los Angeles-based fine dining chain moved one step closer to opening its anticipated new D.C. location at 2501 M Street NW by applying for a liquor license earlier this week:

First class, high quality, full-service “Nobu” restaurant, including a full-service bar, take-out service, and private events. An innovative new style of Japanese cuisine. Live entertainment during private events. No nude performances. Number of seats inside premises is 345. Total Occupancy Load is 370. Summer Garden with 40 seats.

The company seeks to serve alcohol until 12:30 a.m. inside and 11 p.m. in its summer garden, according to the application.

The new Nobu will span 11,600 square feet and include two private patios overlooking Rock Creek Park, sushi and cocktail bars, a main dining room and two additional private dining rooms, according to a Washington Business Journal article from September.

The location is currently slated to open in the fall of 2016.

Photo courtesy of Nobu

by Jordan-Marie Smith November 2, 2015 at 10:30 am 0

A half-dozen people lined up early in front of U Street bar Stetson’s on Halloween over the weekend. But the crowd — dressed in a mix of knit beanies, Carhartt jackets and acid wash jeans — wasn’t there to celebrate the holiday. They were there to say goodbye.

“We just want to know if there’s any beer left,” longtime regular Sarah Bieber said while waiting.

Sarah Bieber, her husband Bruce and two of her oldest friends were regulars during Stetson’s first years as one of U Street’s only neighborhood bars in the ’80s.

For 35 years, the hangout was a melting pot for the neighborhood and served as a haven for some of the area’s well-known characters.

“There was a bartender named Chilly who was anything but,” Bruce Bieber said before uncorking anecdotes about Chilly’s fondness for giving his pals leftover margaritas.

Bruce Bieber said the bar, which once got in hot water for serving the underage Bush twins and purportedly still has bullets in the ceiling, has not changed one bit since it opened in 1980.

That unwillingness to change may have given the bar its character, but it may have also contributed to its demise. The bar was sold to developer Douglas Development over summer after losing money for years, said assistant general manager Tommy Osborne in September.

“Tell you what, they didn’t put a dime in it since then,” Bruce Bieber said.

At 5:30 p.m., the bar’s big oak door under the Stetson’s Alehouse awning swung open, and a man in a Superman costume beckoned everyone inside.

Superman, whose secret identity is Stetson’s employee Jelani Wills, said he’s done almost everything under the sun at the bar. Four years ago, he worked the bar’s doors, then as a bartender, manager and even started Stetson’s comedy shows. Wills said U Street won’t have dive bar like Stetson’s, at least not for a while.

“Dive bars aren’t really popular like they once were,” Wills said. “People do appreciate neighborhood bars, but there’s a shift in the neighborhood. Right now, people want wine bars.”

While Wills refrained from saying the G word, Bruce Bieber was quick to lament the increase of trendy bars and restaurants he thinks are pushing places like Stetson’s out.

For Bruce Bieber and his friends, nostalgia and authenticity was always Stetson’s main draw. He added that’s what prompted the group of friends to revisit their old stomping ground one for one final round of beers.

“We wanted to be the first to be last,” Bruce Bieber said.

by Tim Regan October 27, 2015 at 3:50 pm 0

Stetson's neonStetson’s fans have just four days after today to visit the iconic U Street bar before it closes for good.

The bar, which has existed at 1610 U St. NW since 1980, will shut down on Oct. 31, said assistant general manager Tommy Osborne last month. Patrons wishing to throw back one last drink can sidle up to the bar any time before Sunday to pay their respects.

The bar will celebrate its 35-year run with a big bash Osborne describes as “lots of old school community celebrating the closing of [one of the] great places of the past” this Thursday at 9:30 pm.

Osborne added that he will be working behind the bar during the party and will be available to share memories from his time working there.

What kind of memories, you ask?

“This was the place where [Democracts] could come and be incognito,” Osborne told us last month. “Several people whose names don’t want to be mentioned publicly used to hang out here and get tore up. Like, they throw down like five one hundred dollar bills to let them stay until you have to pour them into a cab.”

Chuck Brown also once played an impromptu show at the bar. A murder-mystery reality show filmed was filmed there once. There are actual bullets in the ceiling.

So what happens after Stetson’s closes? “It most likely will be a piece of D.C. history that’s just going to float off into the ether just like so many other places have before,” Osborne said.

by Andrew Ramonas October 27, 2015 at 11:40 am 0

(Updated at 3:15 p.m.) Adams Morgan is about to get a little saucier.

Red White and Basil, which bills itself as a “fresh & saucy pasta bar,” is slated to open at 1781 Florida Ave. NW “very soon,” but “not today,” a representative of the eatery tweeted this afternoon. This morning, a sign on the restaurant’s door indicated that the eatery’s opening was planned for today.

It wasn’t immediately clear what exactly the Italian restaurant will serve once it opens in the former Hans Pedr’ Kaffe space. A Red White and Basil representative wasn’t available to comment this morning, and neither the eatery’s website nor its Facebook page has a menu.

A liquor license application filed last month only said the restaurant will serve “freshly-made pasta as well as beer and wine.”

The eatery can hold tables for 17 diners inside and 20 people outside.

by Jennifer Currier October 20, 2015 at 3:00 pm 1 Comment

Customers looking to grab some falafel or shwarma at Mediterranean Spot (1501 U St. NW) might have found the business locked and shuttered earlier this week. But the eatery isn’t closed, said owner Ababa Haile, just in the middle of some renovations.

The restaurant will reopen later this week with a new counter and bar area, Haile said when visited today. She added that customers will also be able to order alcohol from the restaurant’s new bar once it passes a final inspection from the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA).

Though the restaurant has stayed open until 4 a.m. in the past, Haile said she plans to start closing the doors as early as midnight when the business begins serving alcohol.

“Most people love us and have been so good to us,” Haile said, “and we’re excited about these changes.”

by Tim Regan October 5, 2015 at 10:50 am 0

Tasty BurgerA Boston burger chain is one step closer to opening its first D.C. location.

A public hearing notice for a new liquor license application shows that Tasty Burger is moving forward with its plans to set up shop in the forthcoming Atlantic Plumbing development at 2108 8th St. NW.

According to the application, the eatery seeks to serve burgers, fries, hot dogs and shakes in addition to alcoholic drinks. The restaurant would seat 56 people indoors and 29 people in an outdoor summer garden, and seeks to provide “occasional acoustical music and similar live entertainment.”

Though details regarding when the burger chain would open are sparse, Eater reported in August that Tasty Burger fans will have to wait until at least this winter to get their fix.

by Sean Meehan September 29, 2015 at 4:25 pm 0

Meridian Pint Oktoberfest 2013 (Photo via Facebook/ Meridian Pint)A stretch of road in Columbia Heights will become an outdoor beer hall this weekend when local bar Meridian Pint hosts an Oktoberfest neighborhood street festival.

The festival will take place along 11th Street NW between Park Road and Monroe Street NW between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. this Saturday. That block of 11th Street will be closed to vehicle traffic during the festival.

As with any Oktoberfest celebration, beer and Bavarian grub will take center-stage, and Meridian Pint will serve 20 seasonal American beers, multiple German beers and traditional German food during the festival.

But the festival, co-hosted by the Columbia Heights Initiative, isn’t limited to beer-drinkers. Attendees can also enjoy face painting, a moon bounce, live music from a Bavarian band, a dog show and a charity dunk tank.

Meridian Pint General Manager Heather Kendrick said the Oktoberfest will go on even in the case of rain.

“At this moment, we’re waiting to hear if Tropical Storm Joaquin is going to rain on our plans, but regardless of what happens it will go on,” Kendrick said. “If it does rain, we’re going to focus on having a trop-toberfest and do our best.”

Photo via Facebook/ Meridian Pint

by Tim Regan September 29, 2015 at 11:40 am 1 Comment

A hotly anticipated José Andrés eatery is now open in Dupont Circle.

Beefsteak opened its doors today at 1528 Connecticut Ave. NW. Patrons were seen filing into the restaurant shortly after its 10:30 a.m. opening this morning.

Beefsteak’s signature dishes include bowls filled with veggies, grains and nuts, gazpacho and “burgers” that eschew meat for a hunky slice of tomato.

This is the second Beefsteak opening in the District. The first location opened in Foggy Bottom in March.

by Tim Regan September 17, 2015 at 3:45 pm 0

1781 Florida Avenue NW

Adams Morgan may soon have a new Italian restaurant.

A public hearing notice for a liquor license application posted on the ABRA website shows that a new restaurant, Red, White and Basil, is slated to move in at 1781 Florida Ave. NW.

According to the application, the restaurant seeks to serve “freshly-made pasta as well as beer and wine” with indoor seating for 17 and outdoor seating for 20.

The public hearing notice does not specify which suite at 1781 Florida Ave. NW the new restaurant might move into, but the space that formerly held the Hans Pedr’ Kaffe is still vacant.

The restaurant’s listed contact, Christopher Lynch, was not immediately available to comment, but the forthcoming restaurant appears to have a website and a Facebook page with sparse details.

by Jennifer Currier September 16, 2015 at 3:05 pm 0

Number Nine crowd at GOP debate on August 6.

Tonight is the second of 11 GOP primary debates scheduled between now and March of next year. The leading candidates — Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, John Kasich and Carly Fiorina — will step in front of an actual literal jumbo jet to debate at 8 p.m. Oh, and the debate will likely last three hours.

Two questions: Do you want to watch the debate? If so, do you want to watch it with a drink in hand and/or with a crowd of strangers?

If you answered yes to both, here’s how and where to do that:

Dupont Circle

Buffalo Billiards (1330 19th St. NW) will have a happy hour from 4-7 p.m. as well as $9 nachos, $5 Coronas and $6 margaritas.

Front Page DC (1333 New Hampshire Ave. NW): will have specials from 4-8 p.m. tonight, including $4 glasses of house wine, $5 margaritas and a $5 food menu.

Shaw

Cambria Hotel (899 O St. NW) will have the debate playing on TVs at its rooftop bar. Head there for a debate watch party from 6-10 p.m. with $4 domestic beers and $6 glasses of wine.

Ivy and Coney (1537 7th St. NW) will have an in-house commentator for the event.

U Street

Sudhouse’s (1340 U St. NW) happy hour is extended until 9 p.m. in honor of the verbal competition.

Adams Morgan

Johnny Pistolas (2333 18th St. NW) will show the debate on 12 big screens, and tacos are $2 from 5-7 p.m.

Ventnor Sports Cafe (2411 18th St. NW) turns political for the evening and will show the debates on 40 screens. Expect themed cocktails, special offers and a large crowd.

Park View and Petworth

The Looking Glass Lounge (3634 Georgia Ave. NW) has half-price burgers from 5-8 p.m., followed by debate bingo for a chance to win a free drink.

Red Derby‘s (3718 14th St. NW) big screen televisions will show the debate on two floors.

As is the custom with these perfunctory roundup posts, we’ll end it by asking you to tell us what we’ve missed via e-mail or Twitter.

by Jennifer Currier September 15, 2015 at 3:50 pm 0

Pope Sandwich

In honor of Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to D.C., Rumors (1900 M St. NW) has added a sandwich professed to be his favorite.

What does His Holiness like to eat? If the sandwich is any indication, the pope likes to pile chimichurri-marinated chicken breast, provolone cheese and arugula atop ciabatta rolls and top it off with a healthy scoop of “holy land” relish made with chopped tomato, cucumber, onions, shallots, parsley, garlic and lemon vinaigrette.

Mike Soper, the menu consultant behind the ‘wich, said creating the divine delicacy was a unique culinary challenge.

“We were just sitting around and thought, since the Pope’s coming and we’re right down the street from St. Matthew’s, let’s try something different,” Soper said.

The recipe was inspired by Pope’s background, and incorporates Argentinian, Italian and Mediterranean culinary influences, said Soper. He added that it also reflects the current pope’s humble nature.

“It’s really a simple idea, but it seems to hit the right spot and people love it,” Soper said. “It’s fun and creative. Nothing too crazy.”

Some of the proceeds from each sandwich sold will be donated to Catholic Charities to support its meals programs, Soper added.

And the sandwich has already snagged some church cred: Soper said Rev. Daniel Gill and Monsignor Ronald Jameson of the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle tried the sandwich and gave it their stamp of approval last week.

The Local News Now staff here in the office also dug into the sandwich earlier today to see if it lived up to the holy hype.

“I think the pope would like it,” said Borderstan editor Tim Regan. “Like Pope Francis, it’s surprisingly good.”

Eleanor Greene, sponsored content manager, said “the sandwich as a whole seemed summery because of the lemony cream sauce,” and HillNow editor Andrew Ramonas added that “the Holy Father might not be able to resist this sinfully tasty sandwich.”

But not all of our staff reviews were glowing. Borderstan and HillNow reporter Sean Meehan remarked that the sandwich “loses points for being very saucy, which could pose a risk if the Pope were to try to eat it while wearing his white robes.”

by Tim Regan September 15, 2015 at 10:15 am 0

Dupont Circle ordering kiosks

Human interaction is on the decline at a Dupont Circle Panera.

Several new computerized ordering kiosks were installed at the restaurant at 1350 Connecticut Ave NW last week, says store manager Gabrielle Nicol.

So far, the kiosks haven’t seemed to confuse the soup-and-sandwich shop’s clientele. Several customers were observed sleepily dragging their fingers across the ordering stations’ touchscreen monitors when Borderstan visited the store earlier this morning.

The new kiosks are in line with the national chain’s “Panera 2.0” effort launched last April.

But this isn’t a sign that Judgement Day is upon us. Customers can still order at cash registers manned by human employees, and Nicol said no cashiers made of flesh and blood were let go as a result of the installation.

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