by May 20, 2013 at 10:00 am 0


Crane tower at the Louis removed this past weekend. (Luis Gomez Photos)

This past weekend JBG removed the tower crane from the Louis project at 14th and U NW — although the complex is far from done. Construction on the Louis started a year ago and reached the top floor about two weeks ago. As JBG Cos. begins work on the facade, installation of a covered walkway for pedestrians gets under way.

The historic façade of what used to be El Paraiso Restaurant has now been supported and façade restoration work is underway. Brick and window installation for the buildings will be well underway by the end of the month. The Louis project is on schedule, according to JBG Cos., and they hope to finish the entire project by the end of 2013.

The Louis will have nine floors (seven floors on the southern end of the 14th Street side) and 268 rental units, with a mix of floor plans that runs from studio apartments up to two-bedroom units — and several penthouse units on the top level. The three-level underground parking garage will have 40 spaces for retail customers and 110 spaces for residential renter.

Topping off the entire building will be a pool. The Louis has already secured some tenants for its retail space: Trader Joe’s, The Wydown Coffee Bar and Tico from Chef Michael Schlow.

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by May 2, 2013 at 10:00 am 2 Comments

From Mathew Harkins. Email him at mharkins[AT]

"Borderstan" "Louis 14th"

A rendering of the Louis at 14th and U NW. (Courtesy JBG Cos.)

You’ve known it’s been coming. You’ve heard the rumors, you’ve even read the confirmations, and yet you kept wondering if and when Trader Joe’s would finally come to 14th Street NW. That much-beloved grocery store may not be open for business quite yet, but the process just moved ahead one more step.

According to the Washington Business Journal, DC has finally issued a permit for the Trader Joe’s at 14th and U Street. It was confirmed last September that Trader Joe’s would be a part of the Louis, the mixed-use complex still under construction. It is expected that construction on The Louis will be completed near December 2013, and with it, we should see the opening of the Trader Joe’s not long after.

The Trader Joe’s in West End is a regularly packed affair and if it’s any indication, the new Trader Joe’s in our community will be a huge draw. Famous for their eclectic and affordable groceries (and wine, in particular), Trader Joe’s is the perfect grocery store addition to the Borderstan area.

Meanwhile, changes and improvements to the grocery store landscape can be seen around the neighborhood. Shaw’s O Street Market will feature a brand new Giant and there is talk of a Harris Teeter possibly coming to the intersection of Sherman Avenue, Florida Avenue and V Street NW, just a few blocks northeast of 14th and U.

For an area once known for a scarcity of grocery stories, Borderstan is beginning to look flush with choice and variety.

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by January 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

From Kathryn Ciano. Follow her on Twitter @katciano. Email her at  kathryn[AT]


Mochi, grill, bake or put it in your soup. (Luis Gomez Photos

Hi there, Borderstan. I’m Kat, and I’m new here. I’m pretty excited to contribute to Borderstan – you’ll see mostly talk about music, laws and their local impact, galleries and real estate coming from me.

But not today. Today we’re talking about food. Because food is one of the best things Borderstan has to offer.

Ever since a friend introduced me to mochi – frozen balls of pounded sticky rice, often filled with jelly or ice cream – in Los Angeles last year, I have been on the hunt for the sweet treat in DC.

As a topping, mochi is pretty common; Mr. Yogato and Yogenfruz regularly offer mochi balls as a soft serve topping. And while mochi topping is delicious, my mission is more specific. I’m looking for doughy mochi pockets, filled with ice cream and frozen into balls.

Free-standing ice-cream-filled mochi is hard to come by in DC. Trader Joe’s has it, and Whole Foods will carry it on request. Thankfully, a couple of Borderstan establishments also sell mochi.

Where to find mochi in Borderstan:

  • Hana’s Japanese Market (2000 17th Street NW). Hana’s is one of those perfect ethnic shops you find out in the wilds of northern Virginia, but that tends too often to get priced out of DC. The shopkeepers are sweet and are there to please. When I went inquiring about mochi, two employees wound up helping me, rapidly speaking in Japanese as I dug through the freezer shelves. In addition to mochi, Hana’s has kimchi, seaweed for wrapping sushi (for sale much cheaper than at Yes! Organic Market), and more sauces, snacks, produce and cuts of meat than I can identify.
  • Mr. Yogato (1515 17th Street NW). Mr. Yogato carries just mochi the topping – pencil-eraser sized rice cake balls with a consistency just a little denser than the tapioca balls in boba tea. Tart yogurt is my favorite, but this spot carries a number of unique flavors, including watermelon and salted caramel (“scotamel”). Mr. Yogato is such a cool place it’s worth a visit even if you’re not into mochi. You can play trivia games to get discounts. Or let them stamp your forehead (“Mr. Yogato stamped me!!”) and get a discount.
  • Lovely Yogurt (1017 U Street NW). This is the place to go for a choice of dairy or vegan yogurt varieties. Mochi here is the same topping variety Mr. Yogato carries – try it on Lovely’s New York cheesecake yogurt.
  • Trader Joe’s (1101 25th Street NW). Okay, this one’s not Borderstan, but TJ’s still needs a mention on any mochi list. TJ’s mochi is like Hana’s – ice cream-stuffed rice balls. Don’t even bother with TJ’s chocolate mochi; focus instead on the much tastier strawberry and green tea flavors. Perfect.

Hopefully I will be able to add to this list as my search continues! Email me at Kathryn[AT] or tweet @katciano if you’ve spotted any mochi I’ve missed.

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by September 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm 2,769 0

"Trader Joe's"

Trader Joe’s will open on the 1900 block of 14th Street NW in the Louis complex. (Luis Gomez Photos)

After about two years of speculation and rumors — ever since JBG Cos. announced their plans for the Louis residential-retail complex at the southwest corner of 14th and U Streets NW — The Washington Post reported Sunday that a Trader Joe’s grocery store will open in the complex.

The grocery store chain will open its second DC location on the 1900 block of 14th Street NW. There is a mini-Trader Joe’s in Foggy Bottom at 1101 25th Street NW. The chain has six other stores in the DC metro area. The chain has what some might call a near cult-like following — due in part to “Two-Buck Chuck” is the nickname given to the Charles Shaw Wines sold at Trader Joe’s at low prices.

The Louis complex started in February with demolition, and the last tenants left the site a few months ago. The building, developed by JBG Companies, will include 267 apartment units in nine floors, as well as 30,000-square feet of street-level retail. The expected completion date is December 2013.

At present the closest grocery stores in the area are YES! Organic at 2123 14th Street NW and the Best DC Supermarket at 1507 U Street NW.

Will Harris Teeter Follow?

The same Washington Post article reported, “A few blocks northeast of that project, JBG and its retail arm, JBG Rosenfeld, have lined up a commitment from another grocer, Harris Teeter, but it will require winning the rights to some city-owned property on Sherman Avenue.” The possible site for a second Harris Teeter grocery store in DC would be where V Street, Sherman Avenue and Florida Avenue NW connect.

Given the huge population gains in recent years in the Logan, U Street and southern part of Columbia Heights, you have to ask, “What took so long to get more grocery stores in the area?”

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by May 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,358 1 Comment


"Borderstan""Wedding Celebration"

Catering, gifts and all you need to know for that special day. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Ashley Lusk. Check out her blog, Metropoetrylis. Find her on Twitter @arlusk or email her.

I’m getting married. Soon. In Borderstan. Because I love this neighborhood and I wanted to have a hyper-local wedding. And my gift to you, to this entire city, is to show you how almost your whole wedding can happen here. In case you missed it, my first piece was on the venue (see A Borderstan Bride’s Guide to the Big Day: First Step, Venue.)

As the countdown to our DC wedding moves into the territory of mere days, I’ve been thinking a lot about how happy I am to have worked with so many local vendors. Nearly all of our wedding is being sourced locally–from the favors, to the food, to even the bridesmaids gifts!


We knew instantly that we wanted to support Fresh Start Catering, the social enterprise project of DC Central Kitchen. Not only is the food delicious and locally sourced, but we also felt good about working with an organization that literally provides a fresh start for its culinary graduates.

If we hadn’t decided on Fresh Start, we would have asked Amit and Raj over at Spilled Milk Catering to be part of our big day. Friends, their food is legit; if you’re getting married in the District and want a fabulously bold dining experience, these are your guys. I still dream about their spicy tuna in wonton cones and lamb “lollypops.”

Bakeries and Sweets

Which brings me to dessert. If you’ve been to the 14th and U Street Farmer’s Market you already know Jenna from Whisked. What you may not know is that Jenna makes a mean wedding cake too. We picked three flavors to test with Jenna and although her carrot cake and red velvet were perfectly moist, we ultimately decided on an elegant chocolate ganache.

Our wedding favors symbolized one of my favorite things about DC: breakfast. We scooped coffee from Filter Coffeehouse into mini-paper bags and will pair that with a lovely lemon blueberry scone from our new friends at BakeHouse; guests now have instant breakfast or a really great midnight snack. Although BakeHouse will be opening their storefront at 14th and T later this fall, they’re presently taking catering orders and I’m excited to share that menu with you here.

Favors and Gifts

We used Etsy Weddings extensively–always turning on the local filters first to see if we could locate a vendor in the community. It wasn’t DC, but I ended up finding personalized handmade clutches for my bridesmaids from Emily Barron Gifts in Baltimore.

Flowers and Arrangements

One of the few things we are not getting locally are our flowers, but I had a great opportunity to chat with some of the area florists and am happy to share. I called Flowers on Fourteenth when our initial florist backed out at the last minute. Lisa asked me to send her pictures of the bouquets I had in mind and got back to me within hours with an estimate on cost. By DC standards, it was a great deal.

If you’re on a budget, consider visiting Whole Foods on P Street–you can walk through their floral department, make selections from their loose flowers and work with the team there to make your special day bouquets. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to DIY your bouquets, Trader Joe’s has a great selection of flowers from which to choose.

The one thing I won’t share publicly is the brilliant seamstress I discovered during this journey. If you’re serious about wanting to have your dress altered correctly and are willing to get in a car and drive, email me at [email protected] and I’ll give you the info of this coveted woman.

I’m really proud that our wedding will feature so many local flavors and in the end, it actually meant less work for me. We met with all of our vendors directly, and it allowed me to form relationships with people in my neighborhood that will last long after the last piece of wedding cake is gone.

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by December 15, 2011 at 10:35 pm 2,205 0


Borderstan: News from Dupont-Logan-U Street

From Michelle Lancaster. Follow her and tell her your news on Twitter @MichLancaster or email her at [email protected].

Trader Joe’s has a near fanatical following for a number of reasons — cheap but good frozen prepared foods and of course, the vaunted cheap wine that isn’t completely terrible. Given the cult of TJ, it’s not surprising that rumors of a new store in the ‘hood have flown for a year or more.

But Washington City Paper‘s Lydia DePillis has a source that says it could be coming, and soon, to the new apartment-retail project at 14th and U Streets NW. Note: this is a best guess scenario — there are no leases, no approvals and not much else. I’m crossing my fingers and toes and hoping someone else can confirm or deny the rumor.

If you don’t know, “Two-Buck Chuck” is the nickname given to the Charles Shaw Wines sold at Trader Joe’s at low prices.


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