by Andrew Ramonas — November 25, 2015 at 2:05 pm 0

Police released footage today of a man wanted for stealing a purse and a cell phone from a woman who was eating on the U Street corridor.

The robbery happened in the Duccinis Pizza at 1778 U St. NW on Friday about 11:15 p.m.

The video from police first shows the man entering the pizza shop and walking around. He also appeared to talk to an employee of the pizza shop before leaving.

The man then returned to the eatery and fiddled with some newspapers near the door. He eventually left the newspapers alone and grabbed the woman’s purse and cell phone, which she put on a counter in front of her as she ate a slice of pizza.

The man fled, and the woman tried to chase after him.

Crime Solvers of Washington, D.C., currently offers a reward of up to $1,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for a crime committed in the District of Columbia. Your assistance is appreciated by your community.

Anyone who can identify these individuals or who has knowledge of this incident should take no action but call police at 202-727-9099 or text your tip to the Department’s TEXT TIP LINE at 50411.

Video via the Metropolitan Police Department

by Andrew Ramonas — November 20, 2015 at 2:45 pm 0

Baby with a blanket (Photo via Facebook/Warmbabyproject)

Local knitters and crocheters are needed on U Street this weekend to help make blankets for babies who live at the D.C. General homeless shelter.

Off Road Indoor Cycling at 905 U St. NW is scheduled to host volunteer knitters and crocheters Sunday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. as part of the DC Warm Baby Project. Organizers of the initiative look to make blankets for each of D.C. General’s 200 babies.

Experience with knitting and crocheting isn’t necessary to participate. Organizers also will supply yarn for free. But they encourage volunteers to make a $10 donation for supplies.

“Together we can give every baby something warm this winter to call their own,” DC Warm Baby Project’s Facebook page says.

Photo via Facebook/Warmbabyproject

by Andrew Ramonas — November 20, 2015 at 1:30 pm 0

A new speakeasy-style bar and lounge on the U Street corridor is set to reveal at least some of its secrets to the public later today.

Cloak & Dagger officially is slated to open tonight in the former Patty Boom Boom space at 1359 U St. NW, according to a representative of the bar.

A Cloak & Dagger owner wasn’t immediately available to comment on the bar and its secrets, including the fireplace pictured above.

The bar is only open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, beginning at 10 p.m.

Photo of secret fireplace entrance via Twitter/CloakDaggerDC

by Tim Regan — November 19, 2015 at 4:55 pm 0

(Updated at 8:28 p.m.) A tavern and restaurant that spans five levels and includes a rooftop bar is slated to open on U Street next month.

Hawthorne, the new tavern from Mission, Mason Inn and Chinese Disco owners Reed Landry and Fritz Brogan will open at 1336 U Street some time in December, the tavern’s marketing director said today.

“There will be three beautiful event spaces, including a rooftop with a retractable glass roof and a 360 degree view of the city,” said Elizabeth Spangler, director of private events and marketing at Mission.

Once open, the eatery will serve “modern and classic tavern food with an emphasis on mussels” from chef Stephan Boillon, formerly of Dino and Mothership/El Floridano.

Rooftop photo courtesy of Hawthorne

by Andrew Ramonas — November 19, 2015 at 11:30 am 0

1900 block of 11th Street NW (Photo via Google Maps)A man in a car drove up to a woman, got out, attacked her and then fled with her iPhone near the U Street corridor early this morning, police said.

The robbery happened on the 1900 block of 11th Street NW about 12:45 a.m. The block includes Solly’s Tavern and Vinoteca.

The woman was on a sidewalk in the area when a car with three men came up to her, according to authorities. One of the men then hopped out of the vehicle and went up to the woman.

“That’s my phone!” the man told the woman, before snatching her iPhone 6 from her hands, according to police. The victim then begged the man to return the cell phone.

Instead of giving it back, the thief pushed the woman to the ground, according to authorities. He then got back into his car and drove away with the two other men.

The victim declined medical treatment.

Photo via Google Maps

by Tim Regan — November 18, 2015 at 3:00 pm 0

Phil MendelsonD.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson plans to hit up U Street this weekend.

The politician is scheduled to visit U Street Cafe (1301 U Street NW) this Saturday at 10 a.m. as part of his monthly “Meet Up With Mendo” appearances.

According to Mendelson’s office, the event is an opportunity for Ward 1 residents to weigh concerns about government services, share ideas on how to improve their neighborhood or have a cup of coffee with the chairman.

Photo via Facebook / Phil Mendelson

by Andrew Ramonas — November 16, 2015 at 2:00 pm 1 Comment

Police car lightA man looking to buy drugs in Shaw was robbed of his car and other belongings at gunpoint over the weekend, police said.

The robbery happened on the 1300 block of 8th Street NW about 8 p.m. Saturday. The area is between the City Market at O and the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

The victim drove his Toyota Camry to a parking lot in the vicinity to meet a drug dealer, according to authorities. Once parked, someone got into the car and pulled out a revolver. The person with the gun then told the driver to “give that shit up,” referring to the car and some of the victim’s belongings.

The driver gave the person a Samsung Galaxy cell phone, $350 in cash and some clothing before getting out of the vehicle, police said. The robber then took off with the car, abandoning it about five blocks away near 4th and N streets NW.

Authorities haven’t released a description of the suspect.

A man robbed another man at knifepoint on the U Street corridor early yesterday morning, too.

The robbery occurred on the 1200 block of U Street NW about 4 a.m. Sunday.

The two men were walking in the alley next to Ben’s Chili Bowl when one of them said he wanted to smoke marijuana, according to authorities.

It wasn’t clear from a police report who wanted to smoke the weed. What was clear, however, is that one of the men flashed a knife after the marijuana discussion and ordered the other man to “give me what you got,” police said.

The victim then handed over his iPhone and wallet to the knife-wielding man, who fled.

Police later arrested the suspect in the robbery and recovered the victim’s stolen belongings. The identity of the suspect wasn’t immediately clear.

A man also was punched in the face in an attempted robbery near 14th and U streets NW early Saturday morning, according to authorities.

The attempted robbery happened on the 2000 block of 14th Street NW about 3:15 a.m. Saturday.

The victim was in the vicinity when a group of four people approached him, police said. Members of the group then asked the victim where he went to party and if he wanted to “have fun,” according to authorities.

Soon after, one of the individuals in the group punched the victim in the face and ordered him to give up his “stuff,” police said. The attacker and the three other people with the assailant then saw a police car nearby and fled without any of the victim’s belongings.

Authorities haven’t released a description of the suspects.

More details on other crimes in the Borderstan coverage area since Friday are here.

by Andrew Ramonas — November 13, 2015 at 12:55 pm 0

Fred Armisen played guitar and sang for dozens of people crammed into a tiny record store today.

No, it wasn’t a scene from his “Portlandia” show. It was a free concert at Red Onion Records on U Street.

With a guitar bag slung over his shoulder, Armisen strolled up to the shop at 1628 U St. NW about a half-hour before his noon show, greeting fans who waited in line as early as 9 a.m. to see him.

During his performance, the “Saturday Night Live” alumnus played “Catalina Breeze” and other songs from his fake 1970s soft rock band, The Blue Jean Committee.

“Is anyone working today?” Armisen asked the crowd. “How were you able to do this?”

He also took photos of the people inside Red Onion, as well as the dozens of fans who didn’t make it into the store.

“What a great city,” Armisen said. “I love this place.”

by Tim Regan — November 10, 2015 at 3:50 pm 0

1301 U Street NW

U Street may soon have a new place to grab a slice of pizza.

Boston-based Upper Crust Pizzeria is slated to open a new pizza shop at 1301 U Street NW later this year or early next year, company CFO Ben Deb told Borderstan today.

Though Upper Crust shuttered 10 locations, including one at 1747 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, filing for bankruptcy protection in 2012 amid allegations of worker exploitation, the company seems to be back in growth mode. An Upper Crust location opened in Arlington late last month, and another is currently planned to open in Beverly Hills, Calif., in the next few months.

This will be the company’s first location in the District since its bankruptcy filing, said Deb.

Upper Crust sells 25 specialty pizzas, some with D.C.-centric names, like “The GW,” “Pennsylvania Ave,” “The Nationals” and “The Dupont” at its Arlington location. The company’s pizza chefs also sling customizable pies bedecked with up to 40 toppings and nine kinds of cheese alongside baked lasagna, salad, beer and wine.

“We’re excited to be back,” said Deb. “We’ll definitely get involved with the local community.”

by Andrew Ramonas — November 9, 2015 at 12:35 pm 0

Police Car(Updated at 12:55 p.m.) Police have arrested a person suspected of attacking and robbing a senior citizen on the U Street corridor early this morning, according to authorities.

The violent robbery happened on the 1100 block of U Street NW about 1:15 a.m., police said. It wasn’t immediately clear if the victim was injured.

Officers made the arrest less than three hours after the attack. Police haven’t released the name of the suspect.

The crime is one of at least nine attempted or completed robberies that have occurred in the Borderstan coverage since Friday afternoon, according to authorities.

On Friday:

  • A man was robbed at knifepoint on the 600 block of Lamont Street NW in Park View about 5:30 p.m.

  • A man was put in a headlock, pushed to the ground and robbed on the 3300 block of New Hampshire Avenue NW about 7:15 p.m. The area is about a block east of The Coupe.

  • Several girls attacked and robbed someone on 1400 block of Clifton Street NW about 7:30 p.m. The area is about two blocks west of the Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus. Police arrested two girls in connection with the violent robbery.
  • A man attacked and robbed someone on 1300 block of Irving Street NW in Columbia Heights about 11 p.m. Police didn’t have a detailed description of the suspect.

On Saturday:

  • A man who possibly had a knife in his pocket robbed a person on the 1800 block of 7th Street NW in Shaw about 2:45 a.m. Police didn’t release a description of the suspect.

On Sunday:

  • A thief robbed someone on the 1400 block of Columbia Road NW in Columbia Heights about 7 a.m. Police didn’t release a description of the suspect.
  • A person tried to rob someone on the 800 block of Florida Avenue NW in Shaw about 3 p.m. Police arrested an individual in connection with the attempted robbery. The individual’s identity wasn’t immediately clear.
  • Four teenage boys attacked and robbed someone on the 1700 block of New Hampshire Avenue NW in Dupont about 3 p.m.

A man also was shot and killed in Shaw, a man was stabbed on the 900 block of U Street NW and two men were stabbed on the 1300 block of U Street NW early Saturday morning.

Someone was stabbed on the 1300 block of Park Road NW in Columbia Heights last night, too.

by Tim Regan — November 7, 2015 at 8:55 am 0


(Updated at 2:20 p.m.) A man was shot and killed in Shaw early this morning.

Police said that 28-year-old Reginald Perry of Northwest D.C. was shot on the 1700 block of 8th Street NW at 2:21 a.m.

Although Perry was rushed to a local hospital from the scene, said police, he succumbed to his injuries.

Police did not provide a description of any possible suspects.

In other crime news, authorities said a man was stabbed on the 900 block of U Street NW at 2:40 a.m.

Police also said two men were stabbed on the 1300 block of U Street NW early this morning.

Authorities did not provide a description of any possible suspects or more information about either crimes.

The Metropolitan Police Department currently offers a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone that provides information which leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for any homicide committed in the District of Columbia.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the police at (202) 727-9099.  Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411.


by Jordan-Marie Smith — November 5, 2015 at 12:00 pm 0

Photo by ToddRoeth

Mexo-Americana band David Wax Museum is pretty psyched to play U Street Music Hall on Nov. 21, but they’re definitely not above performing at a good house show. Though vocalists and instrumentalists David Wax and Susan “Suz” Slezak have roots in Boston, some of the duo’s fondest memories were forged during nights spent playing shows in D.C. living rooms.

We spoke with Wax earlier this week to preview the band’s upcoming show:

Borderstan: What are your expectations for U Street Music Hall?

David Wax: I think the sense I’ve got is that it’s like a little bit more of like a sweaty rock group than the 9:30 Club, which has a little bit of that kind of like majestic rock room feel. I think that to [perform in] a packed U Street Music Hall is going to feel really good.

Susan’s from Virginia, that’s where we live nowadays so we started coming to D.C. really early on and building up. One of the most unique ways of building up the band for us in terms of doing these 15 house concerts in D.C.

I feel like we’ve made a real personal connection with a lot of our fans there and [I] kind of really just won people over one person at a time and one living room at a time. There’s just a real special vibe when we play D.C. People who have got to see us from our earliest early stages have kind of grown along with the band.

Take me back to some of those house shows starting out. How did you get hooked up with them and what was your very first house show in D.C. like?

There was a guy I grew up with in Missouri who was living in D.C. and he organized the first one and he sat in with us. He was someone who played with us a lot when we were in D.C. And so he was kind of a real, you know, person that was super involved in community life there and was able to get 40 people together in a living room to see a band that nobody’s ever heard of.

It was kind of like a raucous party with 40 people in a room and a little house in D.C. and I think from that, three or four people that saw us there were like, oh, could you do this at my place? There was just like an instant like oh, I wanna have this at my house and have my friends come and see this.

And so it really like was this kind of viral thing that just something kind of resonated with people. And there was a high concentration of young people in their 20s that, you know, were connected and could get a bunch of people together. It really fit with what peoples’ interests were and there was just some kind of line that really clicked.

Has the comfort level changed now that you’re playing in actual music venues?

In some ways you’re almost more exposed than the house show setting. Both Susan and I have been really comfortable performing since we were little kids and that’s what really draws us to being in the band. One of the most sustaining parts of the stress is getting to perform every night. There’s lessons to be learned about what connected with people in the house concert setting and the feeling of community and intimacy that you have to work harder to create in the larger venue.

We’ve been in D.C. a couple times at the 9:30 Club where we just came out in the middle of the room and everyone sat down on the floor and I feel like we’ve been able to have that kind of intimacy in those experiences that feel like some kind of sense that there’s like a transcendence.

That’s why I play music and that’s why we go and hear music. That’s why live music is still relevant to people and matters in peoples’ lives.

This interview was edited for length and clarity. Photo by Todd Roeth.

by Andrew Ramonas — November 2, 2015 at 2:30 pm 0

(Updated at 2:35 p.m.) A man suspected of stalking someone in a Starbucks on the U Street corridor has appeared on video.

The stalking incident occurred at a business on the 1600 block U Street NW about noon on Oct. 6, police said. Authorities didn’t identify the business. But surveillance footage police released today in connection with the stalking incident focuses on a man in the Starbucks at 16th and U streets NW.

The man, wearing sunglasses and a floppy hat, walked into the store and appeared to speak to someone who was off camera. The man then alternated between sitting at a table near the door and walking around the Starbucks.

Police today also distributed a video of two men wanted in connection with a robbery in a Park View business.

The robbery happened in a store on the 3000 block of Sherman Avenue NW about 8 p.m. on Oct. 14, according to authorities. Police didn’t name the business. But the video centers on two men who went into the Stop & Go Market at Sherman Avenue and Columbia Road NW.

Inside the shop, one of the men went behind the store’s counter as the other man stood nearby. The man who went behind the counter eventually returned to the shop’s customer area with something in his hand.

The pair then walked out of the store.

Crime Solvers of Washington, D.C., currently offers a reward of up to $1,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for a crime committed in the District of Columbia. Your assistance is appreciated by your community.

Anyone who can identify these individuals or who has knowledge of this incident should take no action but call police at 202-727-9099 or text your tip to the Department’s TEXT TIP LINE at 50411.

Videos via YouTube/Metropolitan Police Department

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.


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