by Borderstan.com April 4, 2013 at 8:00 am 3 Comments

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

"Compass Rose"

Rose Previte addresses the ANC 1B committee on Tuesday. (David McAuley)

Compass Rose, a restaurant aiming to operate at 1346 T Street NW, took an important step toward a liquor license on Tuesday evening, April 2. Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B‘s alcohol licensing affairs committee voted 10 to 4 to recommend a committee-drafted settlement agreement with Compass Rose to the full ANC, which serves the U Street area.

An agreement approved by the full ANC would help Compass Rose to plead its case for a liquor license before DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board. There was one abstention and one committee member absent.

ANC 1B’s next meeting will be tonight, Thursday, April 4, on the second floor of the Reeves Center, 2000 14th Street NW.

“As we all know, it’s renewal season,” said ABC Committee chair Jeremy Leffler, ANC 1B-02, at the beginning of the meeting. In addition to the Compass Rose settlement agreement, the committee had eight “must to discuss” applications for renewals of liquor licenses on its agenda.

Previte said some of the protesters told her they didn’t want Compass Rose to open, and had attempted to micromanage the business, including dictating what was to be on the menu.

However, owing to the long and contentious nature of the Compass Rose debate, the committee had only considered three before the caretaker of the Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th Street NW) said it was 9 p.m. and the building had to close. Leffler had to ask the other committee members to continue the meeting on the sidewalk outside the building.

The second speaker, SDCA Secretary Elwyn Ferris, said the main objection was concerning establishment’s operating hours. “We conceded the maximum hours, but we want them in the agreement,” Ferris said.

The Settlement Agreement

“I skipped work today to go over this line by line,” said committee member Zahra Jilani, ANC 1B-12, referring to the draft settlement agreement she presented to the committee. Jilani listed the details included in the agreement in an attempt to mollify the protesters, including:

  • Clean-up must be completed one hour after closing
  • No handbills
  • Interior soundproofing (“noise is one full page” of the agreement)
  • Applicant must consult a noise consultant
  • A full menu must be served until midnight
  • The installation of surveillance cameras

“We’re desperately trying to be a wonderful part of the community,” said Rose Previte, aspiring co-operator of Compass Rose with her husband, David Greene, at the start of the presentation. Previte said some of the protesters told her they didn’t want Compass Rose to open, and had attempted to micromanage the business, including dictating what was to be on the menu. Previte also mentioned the online petition in support of the liquor license launched at change.org, which has 250 signatures.

“We are residents as well as business owners,” said Previte. Greene later added that the couple plans to live over the business and raise their children there.

There were three groups protesting the application: the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA), a group of 14 residents, and the owner of the neighboring property. The owner of the neighboring property, which contains the Cafe Saint Ex, did not appear at the meeting, so this protest was not considered.

Protesters Address Committee

The two remaining groups had an opportunity to present to the committee.

“I understand I don’t have the right to choose my neighbors,” said Erling Bailey, representing the group of 14 residents. “A place that sells alcohol affects our quality of life.” Bailey also said he was protesting the license because, during negotiations, the scope of the business changed: the proprietors had first claimed the business was going to be a restaurant, and then said it was a tavern.

The second speaker, SDCA Secretary Elwyn Ferris, said the main objection was concerning establishment’s operating hours. “We conceded the maximum hours, but we want them in the agreement,” Ferris said.

After much discussion, the crux of the problem seemed to be: if the operating hours are stated in the agreement, then licensees must seek written permission every time there is a special reason to keep their establishment open for a longer period, e.g., daylight savings time or Inauguration Day. If the hours are merely those stated by DC law, no additional written permission is necessary if the DC government agrees to extend operating hours for a special occasion. Neither side was willing to budge on this issue.

In the end, the agreement as written by Jilani was passed by the committee with small modifications. A motion by SDCA President Joan Sterling to amend the agreement to specifically state the hours of operations was rejected.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com March 21, 2013 at 10:30 am 9 Comments

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

"petition"

Compass Rose is coming to 1346 T Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Compass Rose, a global street food restaurant coming soon to 1346 T Street NW, launched an online petition to help with the process of obtaining a liquor license. As with several other restaurants and bars in the area, a few residents are protesting Compass Rose’s application. The owners include Rose Previte, David Greene and Pour House co-owner Mike Schuster.

“We need to show our local ANC [1B] that the voices of protest do not necessarily represent the community at large,” Previte says in the petition.

Previte explains that the restaurant is in the process of negotiating with the small group of protesters — she is trying to enter a voluntary agreement with the group to address all concerns about noise, crowds and parking.

“We have already made a number of concessions in the name of compromise, a better understanding of like businesses and a better understanding of the community’s concern with some of the things we applied for,” Previte said in an email.

“We originally asked to have music in our ‘summer garden,’ which is the backyard and on the patio. We have since agreed not to play any music outside. We’ve agreed to limitations on live entertainment inside. We have agreed to patio hours consistent with neighboring St. Ex. We have agreed to diligently monitor and control the noise coming from our establishment to ensure it does not affect our neighbors,” said Previte.

Previte explains that the purpose of the petition is to let  ANC 1B and community, in general, know that there are a number of supporters for Compass Rose and that the small group of protesters does not represent all the residents of ANC 1B.

The petition signatures will be presented to the full ANC at the meeting during the first week in April.

Compass Rose will feature global foods and drinks in the row house formerly occupied by Café Collage. This dishes will emphasize tastes and flavors that Previte and Greene experienced from several years of traveling.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com January 28, 2013 at 8:00 am 2 Comments

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

"Previte"

Rose Previte and David Greene bring street food to T Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

In a neighborhood home to a diverse group of District residents, one local and well-traveled couple hopes to add some additional international flare.

Rose Previte and David Greene plan to open a tavern featuring global foods, wines, beers and liquors in the 1346 T Street row house formerly occupied by Café Collage, which closed its doors this past September.

The new restaurant, called Compass Rose, will emphasize tastes and flavors the couple experienced from several years of traveling.

Spending time together in a restaurant is nothing new to Previte and Greene. The two met in 2002 when Previte worked at Pour House in Capitol Hill. At the time, Greene – who hosts NPR’s “Morning Edition” – served as a White House correspondent and was a regular customer at the bar.

Years later, Previte and Greene married, and have since spent much of their time traveling across the globe. Most recently, they lived in Eastern Europe for two years while Greene reported as NPR’s Moscow correspondent.

After returning to D.C., Previte decided she did not want to go back to her former job in local policy. Instead, she decided to share her travel experiences through food.

“We were in over 30 countries. This is my takeaway. This is how I can explain it,” said Previte, who is working with Pour House co-owner Mike Schuster as a business partner to open the restaurant.

“Whenever we come back from trips, we always talk about moments that were the most magical, especially when tasting something new,” Greene said. “On this last trip, we were in Armenia, just driving across the mountain, and we stopped at this random roadside place, and this guy brought us into this little room, sat us down and for nothing made this incredible pork kabob that was the most tender, beautiful, flavorful thing I’ve ever had. Those moments – we want to capture them and bring them in one place.”

Bringing together global flavors is something Previte has been exposed to since she was little.

“I grew up in a food world,” said Previte, whose mom is Lebanese and dad is Sicilian. “I grew up making sausages for street fairs and carnivals with my dad — a lawyer who would have rather been at street fairs and carnivals.”

To give customers a full taste of their travels, the menu will feature a variety of affordable international street food, as well as beers, wines and liquors.

“We’re really big on keeping it simple; it’s street food,” Previte said. “As much as I want it to be international and reminiscent of travel, the idea is that it’s going to be simple. You’re going to get your food in paper if it’s the type of sandwich that would come in paper off the truck.”

Some dishes Previte plans to put on the menu include arancini rice balls, inspired from a trip the couple took to Sicily; the Previte family recipe for Italian sausage sandwiches; homemade gyros; and khachapuri, a traditional Georgian cheese bread.

The couple also plans to devote extra attention to Georgian wines. A local distributor is helping Previte select the wine, and Previte is currently consulting on kitchen matters with the former chef of the Georgian embassy.

“Georgian wine is affordable compared to other wines,” Greene explained. “It’s really interesting and exciting in quality, and (Georgian wines) are winning awards, but you can get them for great prices.”

Previte plans to include selections from a few lesser-known wine regions, such as Israel, Croatia and Moldova. Additionally, the drink menu will showcase Lebanese craft beer and cocktails made from unique, international liquors. She also hopes to have some “very casual” pairings for the international menu options.

“I fell in love with drinking and eating at the same time a long time ago,” Previte said. “Beer and wine should work with what you’re eating, even if it’s really simple food.”

As for the interior of the 2,000 square foot space (soon-to-be smaller once the kitchen is installed), Previte plans to keep it cozy.

“We want to be small, we want to be community oriented, we want to know our neighbors,” Previte said. “Bartending on Capitol Hill taught me that – I married one of my regulars to prove it,” she said jokingly.

“I feel like it should be a second home,” Greene added. Previte agrees.

“I’ve always dreamt it would be an extension of my living room. I love entertaining and I grew up in a big family where all we did was eat, so it was always my goal to have a place that felt like you were in my home,” she said.

Currently, Previte is working to obtain the liquor license for Compass Rose. As for now, she hopes to open by the summer, but a date is not yet set. Follow the progress on Twitter @CompassRoseDC.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list