by September 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm 4,132 7 Comments


Food and development combine to change  the 14th Street corridor. Next up: Italian.(Luis Gomez Photos)

From Luis Gomez. Catch his photos at One Photograph A Day. Follow him on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos.

The Italians are coming. Among the many restaurants due to open on 14th Street NW, at least eight of them have an Italian-based cuisine and two of them will bring Mediterranean flavor to the area. A mid-afternoon stroll along 14th from south of Rhode Island Avenue north to Florida Avenue shows not only how the corridor is changing, but also how many of these new restaurants are preparing their spaces.

The 14th Street corridor has become a hub of fine dining and it’s about to become a lot more Italianno.

Here a list of where we hope to be eating in the coming months. Many of them are still under construction and with no official name or opening date.

One Italian restaurant already on the strip is Posto at 1515 14th Street NW. The Mediterranean flavor will be brought to the corridor by Barcelona Wine at 1622 14th Street and Kapnos by Mike Isabella at 2201 14th Street.

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by February 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm 2,253 1 Comment

"Borderstan" "Standard" "14th Street NW"

More seating planned for Standard BBQ at 14th and S Streets NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Luis Gomez and and Michelle Lancaster. You can follow Gomez on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos and at One Photograph A DayYou can follow Lancaster and share your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]

Given the weather of late, restaurants that usually keep patio furniture in deep storage until April have kept them out and open. Count Standard back into the patio and outdoor eating game — the BBQ joint reopens on Thursday, March 1. Washington City Paper has a preview of what you can expect this year, and it’s all good stuff.

Your old favorites are still on the menu, and Chef-Owner Tad Curtz plans to include a similar rotating menu of special meats. In 2012, though, special means more than chicken and short ribs; we’re talking lamb shoulder, crispy cheeks and Cornish game hens as possible options. Vegetarians hoping for tofu will be a little salty at his refusal to include it on the menu, but hopefully appeased by his move to put more veg-friendly stuff on the menu as sides. Also on the menu for 2012: the return of those glorious doughnuts, gluten-free beer, wine and cider. It’s so good to have this back open in the ‘hood, and now with a 30-foot table for private parties!

The good news are not only that Standard BBQ is opening March 1 but that it will have more room for at least 30 of us to sit. We spoke to Curtz, as he was measuring the right placement for the seats, which will be located on the S Street side of the restaurant. He told us that they were still waiting for the permit but that it will hopefully be approved for the re-opening date. As for the menu, Curtz said that we will probably find more veggies. Standard BBQ is at the northeast corner of 14th and S Streets NW.

Curtz has also filed for a liquor license application the former Well Built furniture store location at 14th and Q Streets NW for an Italian-themed restaurant.

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by January 24, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,483 2 Comments

Well Built, 14th Street Logan Circle, Luis Gomez Photos

14th and Q NW: Well Built is having a retail store liquidation sale, Tuesday through Thursday. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Well Built furniture store at 1541 14th Street NW is having a store-closing sale starting today and lasting through Thursday. The business is not going closing, just the retail store.

Owner Ann Blackwell said they will be offering discounts of 50% or more on most items remaining in the store. Hours are noon to 6:30 pm, January 24-26.

As for Blackwell’s future plans she said in December, “WellBuilt has gone commercial! We will still offer our residential customers our online services and an office/showroom by appointment only — but commercial sales to the office and restaurant sector continue to be our main focus. I have loved having a storefront on 14th and hope to find an office space here.”

Standard BBQ owner Tad Curtz has applied for a liquor license for the Well Built space, with plans to open an Italian restaurant.


by January 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm 2,449 0

Well Built, 14th Street Logan Circle, Luis Gomez Photos

14th and Q NW: Well Built will close its retail store at the end of January. There is a liquor license application for an Italian restaurant. (Luis Gomez Photos)(Luis Gomez Photos)

The January meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F is Wednesday, January 11, at 7 pm. Location is the Washington Plaza Hotel, 10 Thomas Circle NW. There are two items of note on the agenda, both related to liquor licenses:

  • Well-Built Furniture, 1541 Q Street, NW (application)
  • Mood Lounge, License Suspension

The agenda item for Well Built is actually the liquor license application for an Italian restaurant. Tad Curtz of Standard BBQ recently applied for the license for the space at the southeast corner of 14th and Q Streets NW. Well Built is closing its retail store at the end of January and focus on its commercial line of products.

According to two commissioners on ANC 2F, the commission will vote on a resolution calling for the permanent closure of Mood Lounge at 1318 9th Street NW. The lounge was the site of a stabbing the last week of December, and has been closed indefinitely.

On Friday, January 13, the owners of Mood Lounge will appear before the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board at ABRA on U Street NW. The ABC Board will determine whether Mood Lounge will be able to reopen and under what conditions. The regulation regarding summary suspensions gives the ABC Board just 24 hours after the hearing to render a decision,

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by December 30, 2011 at 8:00 am 1,927 1 Comment

Well Built, 14th Street Logan Circle, Luis Gomez Photos

Well Built is closing its store January 31 and will shift its focus to the commercial sector with a showroom and online presence. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Tom Hay. Questions for Tom? Send him an email. You can follow him on Twitter @Tomonswann.

Last week we reported on the posting of an Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration application for the space currently occupied  by the Well Built furniture store at 1541 14th Street NW.

The news broke just before the Christmas holiday weekend and we could not get in touch with store owner Ann Blackwell about her plans for the store. This week we got more details from Blackwell, whom we profiled last December. It turns out that the retail location will close at the end of January 2012.

Borderstan asked Blackwell if she was going out of business when her 14th Street location closed. She said, “WellBuilt has gone commercial! We will still offer our residential customers our online services and an office/showroom by appointment only — but commercial sales to the office and restaurant sector continue to be our main focus. I have loved having a storefront on 14th and hope to find an office space here.”

Fans of the store, which features high quality, sustainably-produced furnishings, can take advantage of discounts on January 25 and 26, just before the store closes. We will keep monitoring for details on the Italian restaurant that owner Tad Curtz of Standard BBQ plans for the space.

Earlier this week we reported that neighboring Artfully Chocolate (ACKC) at 1549 14th Street NW would be closing this Saturday.

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by December 26, 2011 at 9:00 am 2,868 0

Standard BBQ, 14th Street NW, Well Built Furniture, liquor license application

One of the owners of Standard BBQ has applied for a liquor license at 1541 14th Street NW for an Italian restaurant, current location of Well Built Furniture. (Tom Hay)

From Matty Rhoades and Tom Hay

There is a liquor license application in the window for the space at 1541 14th Street NW — presently the site of Well Built Furniture. The application is from Thaddeus Curtz, one of  the owners of Standard BBQ, at the northeast corner of 14th and S Streets NW. Curtz, the operating partner of Standard BBQ, was unavailable for comment or additional details.

However, Curtz did confirm to DC food blogger/writer Russell Warnick on Friday that he has applied for a license for the space. A hat tip to Warnick for his Friday tweet (@russellwarnick) on the application notice in the window. The notice went up Friday; the hearing at the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) is February 21.

The application (photo at right) states under Nature of Operation:

“New restaurant with Italian cuisine and recorded background music. Capacity is 85. Total Occupancy is 105. Sidewalk Cafe with seating of 20 patrons.”

Ann Blackwell opened the high-end specialty furniture store, Well Built, in April 2010 in what was formerly Candida’s World of Books. (See Tom Hay’s profile from December 2010, Well Built: Style Meets Sustainability on 14th Street.) Blackwell was not available for comment regarding her plans for the store.

by November 26, 2011 at 10:30 am 1,320 0

Borderstan, Standar, 14th Street NW, Luis Gomez Photos

Standard BBQ closes for the winter after December 4 and reopens March 1. (Luis Gomez Photos)

We’ve taken a liking to Standard BBQ as a great place for Borderstan team happy hours, so we are a bit saddened by the joint’s inevitable winter closing for for three months after December 4.

The 14th and S NW has become one of those neighborhood places where you just might run into people you know. Basically, we like having a beer garden in the hood… the variety of fried and grilled food options (including pickles) are at reasonable prices… and the very nice selection of beers is, of course, important.

We will also miss the fresh donuts (and the smell of them frying in oil at the entrance of the place). But fear not, donut, beer and BBQ lovers as Standard will reopen on March 1, according to Tad Curtz. After a Thanksgiving hiatus, the 14th and S NW place reopened for a fall last hurrah.

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by November 8, 2011 at 11:00 am 4,125 1 Comment

"Borderstan""Standard""Borderstan People"

Standard BBQ chef and co-owner Tad Curtz cleans the grill in preparation for an evening at his 14th Street NW eatery and beer garden. Curtz says it’s all “just part of owning a small business.” (Luis Gomez Photos)

Read Alejandra Owen’s July 8 review of Standard BBQ.

The Stats

Name: Tad Curtz
Restaurant: Co-owner and chef at Standard BBQ, 1801 14th Street NW
Age: 31
Hometown: Kingstown, NY
Current Residence: DC
Tattoo Count: 0

The Q&A

Borderstan: What brought you to D.C? How long have you been here?
Curtz: I moved to Logan Circle in 2003 to work for an organization that invented simple technologies used for agricultural production and processing. Our work was focused in Africa and Asia.

Borderstan: Tell us about your previous history as a chef and experience in the restaurant business?
Curtz: I worked at 2 Amys Neapolitan Pizzeria for four years. I certainly was not a “chef” there. I did a little bit of everything that needed to be done, including some cooking and a lot of serving as the staff handyman. There is an amazing amount of stuff that breaks in a restaurant.

Borderstan: What’s the toughest part about owning your own business… how many hours a week do you log?
Curtz: There are a million things to keep track of, and I’m really poorly organized. Luckily my business partner, Dave Rosner, takes care of lots of that kind of stuff and helps keep me on track. It’s not like working for someone else and knowing you are getting a paycheck at the end of the week. It’s draining to constantly worry about keeping the business afloat. We’ve been really lucky to have people keep showing up… and I work a lot of hours.

Borderstan: What was it like trying to get the permits and licenses to open? How long did the total process take?
Curtz: It took a while. This was our first project, and it was a learning experience. We had a lot of help along the way. I always found that the folks responsible for issuing permits and licenses at DCRA and ABRA were very patient and happy to help us out.

Borderstan: Favorite dish on your menu?
Curtz: I like the “Texas short rib” — a gigantic beef rib that’s dry rubbed and smoked for 16 hours. It’s totally delicious, but I just get a kick out of seeing the look on someone’s face when a dinosaur bone shows up at their table.

Borderstan: Favorite dish on someone else’s menu you admire?
Curtz: The Filetti at Una Pizza Napolitana.

Borderstan: Advice for home cooks or folks who are afraid to get into the kitchen?
Curtz: Always taste whatever you’re making before you serve it to someone else. Salt and pepper will get you a long way. Practice. 

Borderstan: Worst kitchen injury, any scars?
Curtz: I cut the tip of my finger off on a meat slicer.

Borderstan: Favorite place to eat in Borderstan, other than your own restaurant?
Curtz: Thai Xing.

Borderstan: Favorite joint to get a drink?
Curtz: Tabard Inn.

Borderstan: You have a whole day off — what do you do?
Curtz: Skip town.

Borderstan: What’s your comfort food?
Curtz: Wood-fired pizza.

Bordestan: What do you like best about the Logan Circle neighborhood?
Curtz: The vibes are incredible!


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