Boundary Stone Tavern/Pub
Well Scott Roberts has a much better description
of the proposed pub for Bloomingdale because the man knows what questions to ask. All I asked about was noise, because the rear of the location backs up to several residential bedrooms. I was told that they expect to keep the noise on Rhode Island Ave., not a quiet street mind you.
You can ask what the heck is this photo I have attached here. Well, it is the cool looking tin ceiling that is hidden behind the dropped ceiling at 116 Rhode Island Avenue NW/Boundary Stone. What the owners would like to do (provided they get approved for the liquor license) is put in a mezzanine as there is about 10-11 extra feet in some spots. The building housing this proposed pub is in the former Sylvan Theater and the landlord for this building seems to be amenable to improving and adding value to his property (as opposed to some other commercial landowners who are crazy).
The pub owners are hopeful about when they may be able to make this come to life. But before any of that there is the ABC liquor dance between the ANC, the neighbors and the owners. The ANC will (regardless of support) protest the license, the owners will agree to a voluntary agreement, someone will go on and on about how there will be drunkards in the streets and that we don't need more liquor in our neighborhood.
PoP also has a post
on this too.
Labels: Bloomingdale/Eckington, business, food/dining
Can I boycott a place I'd probably never get to
Some of ya'll are aware of the kerfuffle regarding
U Street Girl and the owner of a wine bar threatened legal action
. She has recommended that others join her in not patronizing or promoting the 14th Street business. Okay.
I totally agree on principle, but honestly I haven't even gotten to the wine bars I actually want to go to, like Cork, so I don't know what use that would be. Also as a fan of redemption and forgiveness I hope that the owner of Du Vin Osteria, David Shott, will make an honest effort to undo the damage done.
Hopefully, we'll have none of that in nearby (to me) Bloomingdale. Tonight there is going to be an open house Q&A for a proposed bar/pub/wateringhole
at 116 Rhode Island Ave NW between 6 and 8pm. I guess it would be a good place to unwind after some yoga 'round the corner
. Seriously, I'm looking forward to the development, growth and appearances of all the small businesses in the Bloomingdale and eastern Shaw area.
Labels: blog, business, development, events, food/dining
Timor, Timor, How We Love Timor
There is an article (PDF)
out on the greatness that is Timor Bodega. Don't let the closed gate fool you, he's open. The article mentions Timor owner Kim Wee's winter veggie box program and the Union Street soaps. Last I looked he was out of Black Tea and Sage which is an awesome soap. The tea embedded in the soap give you some scrubby action in the shower, and bonus is you get to rub yourself with caffine in the morning. I also have the oatmeal, which is more nubbly than scrubby, not as great as the black tea. There is a Cinnamon Orange bar that smells wonderful and keeps my bathroom smelling great hours after I've showered.
The yogurt is the best. I've been spoiled by the yogurt there, as I got some yogurt at Giant and found it watery in comparision.
When my cousin returns to eat me out of house and home, she will get the sourdough bread hiding in one of Kim's freezers. She raves about it. Sometimes she won't wait till the loaf is completely defrosted that she starts picking at it and eating it. It makes for a good ingredient for my french toast, too.
Timor is very unique not because of what it has (or doesn't have, which at times can be frustrating) but because of the atmosphere created. Remember back two years ago
when Kim opened Timor, he had the dairy case and just one low aisle of shelf stable items. Now as he's past his second year anniversary with us, he seems to have found some sort of system, balance, method (whatever) that works, and the shelves are taller and there is more stuff, but you still have to ask him if he has X, because it might be in season and it is in the back, in a hidden freezer, or something. In that back and forth in figuring out what works, and what doesn't something wonderful was created. And in that two years we have pointed to Timor as a neighborhood asset. Yes, it's in Bloomingdale, but close enough to the border to be enjoyed by Shaw people.
Labels: Bloomingdale/Eckington, business
News from other blogs or Friday Misc.
Over in Bloomingdale The Yoga District is having a mommy & me, but with a more inclusive title of Family Yoga and Community Playtime
The Great Scott Roberts also mentioned some tasty info
he got from a Bloomingdale restaurant hopefully to come at NJ & R. According to WashBiz Journal
, Beau Thai, a carry out, is due to open in March, hopefully, maybe, fingers crossed.
Speaking of restaurants on R, anyone know what's going on with 6th and R for the proposed Toque Cafe
? I've noticed a change of windows and the application of paper over the windows, so I hope there is something good going on behind the paper.
Over here in the TC, the BACA blog tells
that there will be a grand opening of the Eckstine and Ellington Theatre
at the Dorothy I Height Community Academy Public Charter Schools (CAPCS)school, also known as Armstrong, this weekend.
have a great weekend y'all.
Labels: Bloomingdale/Eckington, business, development, events, food/dining, kids
Change in the corner of my eye
Last night I spent some quality time with the Help, the Help's landlord, the landlords' dogs, and another guest in Beltsville. The Help made some comment about the drug dealers on my corner, to which I responded that the dealers have cut back their hours and days of operation and laid off staff, and are hardly there [pause & sigh]"it's the economy." I got a chuckle from that. The friendly neighborhood drug dealers are less of a problem then in years past and that's a change for the better, which only Spring can tell. Sadly they have been replaced by bored violent teens
picking fights and robbing adults. Not sure which is worse.
I measure change by the situation I came into when I arrived on my block nearly 9 years ago. Drug dealers were at the corner or near the corner day, night, weekends, weekday, hot days, or cold weather, they were there. The Giant on O St was the best grocery option. There were quickie marts and liquor stores selling 40oz every 2 blocks and no decent wine.
But lately I have sensed another change, that is to come, and I see it out of the corner of my eye. Walking home I saw the Josephine
(the recently built condos on Rhode Island Ave) off the side, in the background a tad, and I sensed a greater density has been added to my low density neighborhood. A density that the Monique
, on the same block but on R St didn't add on its own, but the two together seems to signal a change. Also, when peered at from the corner of my eye, off in the background the new Waltha Daniels/Shaw Library getting built. Now provided no bullets mar the shatterproof glass (that's what I hear these modern architects are using for glass boxes these days) in the 1st 6 months, that will definitely signal a change provided that we see through the glass, a diverse library patronage that reflects the diversity of the neighborhood.
And the hope of change for the better is still alive and well. There is some excitement about a proposed bar near the Yoga District, and the SMD ANC/ businessman Stu Davenport is aware and seems positive
. This is something new to think about while some still remain hopeful about Baraki (1st and T) and wonder what's going with the old Bates Market
, which seems to be chugging along. And speaking with the BAANC blog editor and Ray 'o' Sunshine, it seems I should keep an eye out this year for the O Street Market.
Labels: business, development
I'm thinking about lunch, and my lunch buddy just cancelled on me. We were going to check out one of the nearby places for Restaurant Week. It's cold and so I'm going to eat at the desk.
Anyway food got me wondering about Waggamama. The signs are still up on the windows on 7th Street, but so far no change. Checked the website
and it appears they will open Septemeber 2010.
Labels: business, food/dining
Don't get me wrong, I do love Thai X-ing, but most of the time I lack the forethought to get my order in early enough before Taw gets too busy and stops taking new orders. So I turn to Royal Thai or Kanlaya in Gallery Place as both places deliver to my hood. Anyway quickly looking at the CCCA Agenda for October 27, I see something interesting.
Ralph Brabham will speak on behalf of the restaurateur planning to open Beau Thai, a new Shaw restaurant with outdoor seating on the 400 block of R St NW
However, isn't there an apartment under that proposed restuarant?
Labels: business, food/dining
Playground near Bundy & Middle Eastern Food
Shamelessly stolen from BACA blog
, who got it from the CCCA-Blog
Item #1- There is going to be a children's playground at Scott-Montgomery
. They broke ground, there is equipment awaiting installation, and even better.... a edible learning garden! I love edibles. I love it even better when other people, including small people with growing brains, get to learn that food does not come from the supermarket. It comes from the good earth. Yay! According to the CCCA, "Access to the outdoor tot lot in the small courtyard on 1500 Fifth St NW will be made available local families and age-appropriate children in the neighborhood outside of regular school hours." I hope this means they can keep out cursing, dope smoking adults who tend to take over playgrounds. Yeah, I'm talking about the guys around the block, who used to haunt the basketball courts that where behind KIPP/Scott-Montgomery. And hopefully this space will appreciated by some of the anti-dog park people who say children need a park. Well it's coming and that is a good thing.
Item #2- Toque Cafe- Middle Eastern restaurant to be at 6th and R
. One word, falafel. Some more words- the former Chain Reaction space is going to serve food and G-d and city government willing, there may be outdoor seating. My only concern is the corner of R and the alley running behind it seems to attract bulk trash on a regular basis, I swear it is some dumping ground. I think today I saw a headboard and some other furniture. But that shouldn't keep me from falafels. I pray they make good falafels with a decent tahini sauce. Last local mid-east place I went to (now out of business) put ranch dressing on the falafel. Bad. Bad. Bad.
Labels: business, development
I went to Thai X-ing
, and it has been a while for me as I've been making more of my own meals and cooking up ingredients from the Bloomingdale Farmers Market. Since opening back in 2005
getting your food isn't measured in hours any more. Taw has gotten help, made some changes, and if I order early enough, I get my food around the estimated time. In time some of us have learned to tolerate/love Thai X-ing's quirks. With those quirks, others, have managed to work with Taw's flexible, if not super easygoing nature, to transform the little hole in the wall eatery. It isn't like your average Thai restaurant or carryout. I've been in it at times when the best description is 'your friend's friend's basement apartment living room that happens to have a guy cooking Thai food in the back.'Timor Bodega
is another quirky business, and it's been open for about a year and a half and is still figuring itself out. It's not like your usual quickie mart, in that it lacks cigarettes, Lotto, and 5 kinds of MD 20/20, the big money makers. Nor is it a chi-chi wine and cheese shop, mainly because of the minimal amount of cheese, which may or may not change. I hung out with the owner this past weekend and learned a bit about the Timor and its quirks. Kim, the owner, does some small scale coffee roasting for customers, but doesn't heavily promote this service. The store does experiment with various new products, like the duck eggs (good for when you're aiming for thickness). I guess I can't avoid mentioning the least popular quirk, the post-robbery closed gate during business hours thing. Kim's reasoning on doing this has less to do with the crime (where they only got $50, and sadly there was another sort-of attempt by some 15 yr olds) and more to do with business being slow on beautiful days. Besides he's usually 15-20 seconds away. But there are things about Timor that make it a neighborhood jewel. For me it is and always has been the milk and the rich cream. It is also the local eggs, the granola, and the wines, of which Kim can talk about, if you ask him. It will be interesting to see what Timor will look like in a year and what it will be carrying. Maybe more cheese and cured meats?
Labels: Bloomingdale/Eckington, business
Price of Doing Business on North Cap
Some of you already know that Luciana Cafe is closed
. During their stint on the street they had windows broken, the "element" hanging out in and around them, and maybe the straws breaking the camel's back were Douggie Jemal raised the rent and the ATM was broken into.
There is an 'element' around North Cap that makes it difficult, and how to address it I don't know. What lessons can the community take from this so there won't be a next time when a business that the residents like comes, or wants to develop into something nicer, has to close shop or take a siege mentality because of the 'element'?
Even during that short period on Saturday morning when Catania bakery is doing retail, there are observable challenges. Last time I went to pick up croissants there was a woman there at the counter in mid-SOB story mode looking for a little something to help her out. She was asking Nicole for 'something' and then also the other customers in the store. We pointed her to S.O.M.E. around the corner, but she said they were closed. Then the other customers rattled off the locations of various other charities in the area, but no, too far. After the woman left we all exchanged stories. I had a tale of a woman known to regularly hit up people as they were in church. The couple inside had a similar one of a woman who constantly begged for medicine for her baby, to find out that the woman owned a house and didn't have any children. And Nichol told of a man, who she thought was a customer, park himself inside the store for a long time. Anyway, I've been there on other occasions when people beg for a job (but not really), food (bread gets donated to a charity not individuals), and money. Imagine a business that is open during the week and what they have to contend with!
Don't bother saying that S.O.M.E. or any of the other social services places need to move, because they ain't. Maybe something can be done about the liquor stores, but they seem to be sticky too. So the question is how do you get business to flourish despite those challenges?
Longview Gallery to move down the street
I'm feeling lazy and my mind is seriously preoccupied with some other things so here's the straight press release:
Long View Gallery Acquires New Space in Currently Vacant Shaw Building
Renovation Will Quadruple Exhibition Space and Enhance Framing, Events Services
Washington, D.C. – [June 1, 2009] – As part of its continuing efforts to support the regional arts community and to contribute to the Shaw Neighborhood’s renaissance, the Long View Gallery will relocate to a currently vacant building directly across from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center at 1234 Ninth Street, NW. The gallery’s new space will undergo major renovation, more than quadrupling the gallery’s exhibition capacity, enhancing its custom framing and special event offerings, and making it one of the area’s largest art collectives.
“With many other businesses closing, we have been able to swim against the economic tide, demonstrating that art is indeed a great investment. After three successful years in Shaw, Long View Gallery simply outgrew its current location,” said gallery director Drew Porterfield. “Thanks to Douglas Development, we were able to secure a building with great potential in a location that is impossible to beat—half a block south on Ninth Street from our current location, directly across from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and closer to existing and planned fine restaurants,” Porterfield said. “Shaw has been a wonderful home, and we are thrilled to contribute to its renaissance.”
The building was previously used as an auto showroom and, most recently, as a vending machine warehouse, but it has sat empty for several years. Although the building’s architecture is stunning, with soaring ceilings and concrete floors, it requires a significant renovation before the gallery takes occupancy later this year. The gallery’s renovation, designed by local architect Will Couch, will maintain the raw feel of the building while transforming it into a premier gallery space. The new gallery will occupy the southern portion of the building, comprised of nearly 5,000 square feet, more than quadrupling the square footage of the Long View Gallery’s current location.
In its new venue, Long View Gallery will continue to show and support regional, contemporary artists as well as offer fine art custom framing. Joining Long View Gallery is Special Events Director, Suzi Molak, whose expertise in the events industry will be a great asset to the company. Porterfield said the gallery is finalizing a more frequent exhibition schedule and is preparing to announce several major new artists whose works will join the gallery in time for a planned grand opening after Labor Day.
Long View Gallery was founded in 2000 by Andrew Haley and Suzanne Zylonis in Sperryville, Virginia (about 75 miles west of Washington). The gallery quickly built a loyal following with local art patrons, including William Waybourn and Craig Spaulding, who partnered with Haley and Zylonis in 2006 to open a second location of Long View Gallery in the District. The Sperryville gallery showcases many Virginia artists and the surrounding countryside’s bucolic or pastoral settings.
Long View Gallery will remain open at its current location until the end of July, with an expected grand opening in the new space in September. The gallery will post updates and images of the renovation in progress on their blog at www.longviewgallery.blogspot.com.
Labels: Art, business
Bike Shop in Western Shaw/ Logan Circle
The Prince of Petworth has a post about a Bike Shop/Video Rental
at 1320 14th St NW.
What I love about it is that it's two businesses in one. In a world of Netflix
, I'm not too sure how well a video store will do. But a bike shop, particularly one that isn't too high end..... Let me explain. I have a crappy 3 speed bike that I bought off of Craigslist for about $140. It is part of a long string of no name used bikes that I buy that are ugly yet functional. I see no reason to have a top of the line bike to run errands on and leave on the street to get stolen. I used to get my bike fixed at Chain Reaction, but that non-profit bike shop closed. So when I went to the next nearest bike shop, I was told that they could not touch my bike because their insurance wouldn't cover it. This forced me to try to fix my own bike. I did a so-so job and really I'm willing to pay someone to do it for me, but sometimes the bike shop in Adams Morgan is a bit far. So I have to check out the bike part of this store.
Forget Georgetown. The parking is lousy and there is no metro station. When my Mac mini needs a fixin' or whatever, I don't want to bring it on the bus or haul it on my bike. I could, but I don't want to.
When Georgetown rejects you for the umteenth or whenever you're tired of submitting design proposals you know won't fly
with the ANC and the Historic Preservation people, come to the land of the Green line. Columbia Heights, U Street, Gallery Place and Penn Quarter would love to have you. Yes, these areas have historic districts, but they also like business. And the thing with Gallery Place, it's still called Chinatown so you'd have to put Chinese characters on your signage. That shouldn't be a problem since a lot of what you have comes from China anyway.
Gallery Place also has a bunch of hipster white earbud pod people walking around with office drones and other people who will buy your stuff. People like tourists from places where there are no Apple stores. People who want to kill time before a game.
So come to the land of the Green line, you'd like it over here.
Labels: business, historic districts, other neighborhoods
There is something new at Timor
Okay, new to me, not so new to Kim, as he told me whatever I discovered had been at Timor
for about 3 weeks. New to me is the laundry soap and other soaps from Union Street
. The laundry soap is vegan (is that an issue?) and according to the instructions 2 tablespoons will do a load of laundry.
Thing #2 new to me is the clearance wine. Don't bother running over there now, but this morning, I and another woman bought all the $5 bottles of wine in the clearance section.
Thing #3, new to me, Port. Kim is carrying Dow's Fine Ruby Port. Okay, now I can stop drinking up my lemoncello.
Not new, but usually there, weekend morning coffee. Hang out with Kim, drink coffee, yak. Kim supplies the cups, you supply the yak.
Labels: Bloomingdale/Eckington, business
Chef, Church, Contractor, Coffee
This posting is for stuff on the backburner I'd been meaning to post. So, going in alphabetical orderChefChef Jean Claude LeLan
that is. About a week ago I took my 3rd or 4th class with him and they are always wonderful learning and eating experiences. His classes tend to be on Sunday mornings at 10 at his home in Mt. Vernon Sq., so even after having a rich meal and a good deal of wine, I can toddle or waddle back home for a good nap. The next class he's having is the sauce class January 11th. I've taken it and it is well worth it because Chef Jean-Claude is a hoot, you get to take some sauces home and the after class meal is brunch. I also recommend that you take good notes and ask questions because the handouts are general and some steps are not mentioned or can be adjusted or are estimates or there are ideas that come out of the class.
Chef Jean Claude also offers catering and cooking classes in your home. I am tempted to have him cater, but a cooking class would not work. My kitchen is tiny.Church
Church of the Immaculate Conception at 8th and N NW is one of two Roman Catholic Churches in Shaw, the other is St. Augustine
. The pastor of Immaculate Conception, Rev. Msgr. James Watkins resides in Shaw, so he is a part of the community. Mass is as follows- Saturday 5:30 (29 minutes or less or your next mass is free); Sunday 9AM (1 hour), 11AM (about 1.5 hours), 6PM (Latin. Fr. Watkins' Latin is lovely, everybody else....eh). And don't bother with the website
, it is stuck in Dec 2006.Coffee
Not exactly in Shaw, but close, and they asked nice, and I needed another 'C'...
I'm Ongisa and we just opened up CocoLibre at 786 Harvard St. NW. It's a Fair Trade Cafe' that specializes in certified tea, coffee, and chocolate- plus your typical coffee shop fare like paninis and pastries. I know we aren't exactly in Shaw, but we're close. If you could give us a shout-out or something, that would be great. Check us out on the web- www.cocolibre.com. Feel free to hype us up and stop in for some great organic (and ethical) tea! Thanks.
Some of y'all wanted my contractor's contact info. Well my 2007 big renovation job and my 2002-2003 kitchen job were done by David of Something Different Contracting, 2/321-6416. I do recommend him for your big house projects (things that may require permits). David is very communicative, and lives close, in Frozen Tropic land (Old City 1). He has worked with older homes and will work with you to salvage any old beauty that may still exist in your home. You can email me at mari at inshaw daht com if you have questions you want to ask.
Labels: business, churches, food/dining, renovation
Capital Market: Best Restaurant Supply
Best Kitchen Supply/ Best Equipment Corp
413 Morse St NE
Washington, DC 20001
Cash, credit, debit
Description: This is mainly for restaurants and other small businesses but don't let that stop you, nor the little sign at the door saying you must have a business license. Once you're in the door, they don't kick you out. But you do need to keep in mind who their main clientele is, when you gaze at the big professional pots and pans. There are pots, pans, woks, chinois, tamis, knives, serving things, graters, table clothes, aprons, long white plastic chopping boards, and whatever non-electrical thing you may find in any restaurant around. You will not find a lot of the name brands familiar to home cooks, remember these are for professionals and not meant to be pretty. You will locate items that can find a home in your home kitchen. Smaller mesh sieves, micrograters, pastry bags, the smaller pots and pans can service the home cook. Don't expect any hand holding from staff and the store is cramped. But the staff is friendly enough and sometimes will help you. Price wise, they are cheaper than Bed, Bath and Beyond and other department stores in varying degrees.
EXTRA- Don't come in yakking on the cell phone. There is a sign in the shop somewhere about cell phone conversations. And pots will need to be seasoned
LINKSPrevious posting about BestCapital Market: The SeriesThe Capital City Market BlogCapital City Market: What's in the market?CHOW.COM- Best Kitchen
Don Rockwell.Com- Mentioned in discussion
Washington Post- Very small mention
Labels: business, Capital City Market
4 a good time call Kim
Kim Wee at Timor Bodega
Kim wants me to let y'all know that you should feel free to call him if you need something or want to drop by the store during day hours when Timor isn't normally open. I put his number 202-210-1986 in my cell phone. But I also have Thai X-ing's number on my cell too.
During the day Timor doesn't open until 4:30pm. But if you're working from home or taking a mental health day and you've run out of milk or organic whatever give Kim a call and he'll accommodate you. Seriously, by letting him serve you, you're helping his business and his business is something I want in the neighborhood.
I don't know about you but I do have a couple of numbers on my cell that include businesses. Timor Bodega is now one. Thai X-ing was the first, when I realized that in the time it took me to get from my work detail location out in Suitland, back home to Shaw, my order would be ready.
Labels: Bloomingdale/Eckington, business
Yoga may be the Christmas Present of Your Future
Right now I'm just posting on whatever
the Bloomingdale blogs are posting.
Anywho, the Yoga District
is hoping to open its Bloomingdale studio sometime in late October. I translate that to mean November or December as I don't underestimate the things that will get in the way (DCRA?).
The website for Yoga District is pretty good. You can reserve classes on-line and there are a variety of classes for different levels. The fees
seem reasonable and you can buy passes. Not really clear if you can buy passes for someone else and give them as a gift.
First Street NW is getting all nifty and stuff. There is Big Bear, and Windows (with its new fancy-schmancy menu), add the Yoga studio and you've got yerself something there. If you could throw in one vintage consignment clothing shop you will complete the hipster vibe.
Come on Bloomingdale, you know I love you.
PS- I'm not ignoring Baraki, I'm just not sure what vibe it's aiming for.
Labels: Bloomingdale/Eckington, business
Let no one call you easy
Eckington, don't go crazy and give away your right to demand things just because you want a new establishment. IMGoph over at Bloomingdale (for now) has a good post on the Baraki bar, pizza joint, whatever
that is looking for an ABC license. Which is fine, but reports so far have not had the owners approaching the ANC or any of the people with an official voice in protesting the license. The protests are not so much from being against such an establishment but rather wanting the owners to talk to the community and selling neighbors on the concept. IMGoph states it best when he writes:
humbly coming before the neighbors, looking to become a neighbor yourself, would do them well here in bloomingdale. i hope the owners are listening.
A little neighborhood buy in wouldn't hurt.
Another thing, according to the post Shiloh had spent $40K on protesting Queen of Sheeba. [bites tongue]
Labels: business, development
Pluleeeze buy this and open my fantasy French Restaurant
Just hitting Redfin today is 1700 New Jersey Avenue for 1.2 million
. It can be a restaurant, with an apartment above and outdoor seating.
So if you happen to have a million, please, please, please, please, pretty, pretty please with sugar on top buy this and open my fantasy French bistro. That or my fantasy tandoori carry out. Or a fantasy wine bar. And since we're talking about my fantasies, throw in my fantasy trophy husband while we're at it.
Yes, the picture is old, but I don't want to anger the MRIS gods.
Please buy it and open something nice. I beg you.
Labels: business, real estate
5th St Hardware Now Open
After work I stopped by the newest hardware store at 1055 5th St NW, near Shaw (on the other side of NY Ave, so not Shaw) to see if I could find a cable do-hicky-thingy. Thing with businesses that just open up is that there are more staff people milling about than customers and no I don't need any help, just looking. This cramps my style of leave me the heck alone until I need something shopping. It will get better once people realize it's there and the surrounding condos are filled with folks who need light bulbs, hooks, Meyer's cleaning solution, buckets, flower pots, suet, and bolts... okay maybe condo people may not need the kajillion different bolts and actual hardware they have stocked on the second floor.
I got my cable thingy, as well as some garden wire and some citronella candles. It doesn't have the same vibe as Logan Hardware
, but as I said, it's still new.
In praise of business
Richard Layman's Blog Rebuilding Place
as well as DCist
both posted the email sent out by Politics and Prose
regarding a bench outside the independent bookstore targeted by ANC Frank Winstead. The first part of the email struck me as oh so true:
Every once in a while we get an abrupt reminder that we live in a jurisdiction where small business is not respected or encouraged. When we first opened across the street, there was no government agency that could advise us on what we needed to do. Then, after we made the applications we needed to, we could not get an occupancy permit, no matter how many times we called or went down to the office responsible for that. The process simply stopped somewhere in the Office of Regulatory and Consumer Affairs. We were fined and we started over again, but the certificate was never issued at our first location.
I've heard the grumbling of another small business owner, who is in the TC, about how they'd love to add more servies and amenities, but taking time off to get the run around from DCRA isn't worth the trouble. Apparently change for the better (and in some cases, the worse) requires a permit. It would be helpful if things given by local businesses and enjoyed by the community were supported by the city and our political leaders.
Also another strain of thought that has occurred in this blog's comments and some local listservs regarding small business. Some of you out there have a disdain and just plain hatred of business, regardless of the size. Businesses are no more evil than your regular Jo on the street. Many of them provide a service that is wanted and needed in the community. Small local business can be great neighbors, providing benches, free used coffee grounds, a place to meet and gather, and sponsorship for community, artist and non-profit ventures and events.
When someone asks what's around here, in that what's so great about this place kind of way, I point to the businesses. I mention the quickie mart, the dry cleaners, the coffee shop, the organic bodega, the liquor stores (the good and the mediocre ones, not the scary ones) and the bakery. The only non-business things I point out are the metro stations and the bus stops. I'm not sure what category to put the farmer's market in, as I gather the farmers do drive in to make some profit, but the organization of putting on the farmer's market is something else. I should mention there was one non-profit I use to point to, Chain Reaction, a wonderful bike sales and repair shop. It went "out of business".
I am grateful for those business that have opened up in the past few years, and appreciative to those older businesses that have become more customer friendly (taking down the Plexiglas, unblocking/cleaning the windows). Also I welcome any new business that may want to take up residence on North Capitol or at the corner of R and New Jersey.
Labels: ANC, business, city services
Catania is ours
It was nice to see a smiling picture of Nicole in today's Washington Post Food section
, and yes "gentrified locals in Bloomingdale" can enjoy her buttery goodness, when they cross Florida Avenue to get to her as she is in Shaw, more specifically, Truxton.
I'm not going to talk up the croissants because I don't need the competition. However the muffins are good, and filling. For the past few weeks she's had blueberry only. When the cranberry comes back, I will pounce on those. The muffins are moist and go well with a nice glass of milk. You can enjoy them throughout the week by wrapping them in plastic wrap and stuffing them in the fridge.
The remains of the day
I only glanced at the Sunday paper and some other articles relating to the anniversary of the 1968 riots and noticed something. Furniture stores, drug stores, and liquor stores were looted and burned. It seems the only thing to bounce back from the riots quickly were the liquor stores. Correct me if I am wrong, but between 1970 and 2000 wasn't the easiest thing to buy in Shaw was something, anything, that could get you smashed quickly?
When I first moved to Shaw (after bouncing around the metro area), beer and wine, or read 40ozs and MD 20/20, was available every two blocks. Now, sorta yes, sorta no. The Bates market, has been shuttered for a while, but it is no longer selling anything. The liquor store on 4th and Florida is transitioning and sells a selection of wines you can cook with.** G&G on New Jersey sells no alcohol. But there are still several old style liquor stores in the hood with the scratched up Plexiglas and 90-100% of the merchandise behind it.
So 10-20-30 and 40 years after the riots, you still have liquor stores. I can't remember if it was DC or some other post riot city where a black businessman was interviewed. To bring business back to the black community he.... opened a liquor store. I could only shake my head. So though very flammable, liquor is what remains when the fire has died down.
**I don't believe you can cook with Boone's Farm. Actually, I don't think anyone in their right mind should drink Boone's Farm.
Labels: business, neighborhood history
Jolly's Mommy in the Post
If you knew Jolly, he was the wheezing slow walking chicken bone finding beagle of Richardson Pl. Well his mommy (who is also the mommy of a child and another child to be) got featured in the Post
magazine. I'm trying to figure out how I missed the article completely, so thanks Scott Roberts.
Though the family has just recently relocated for a great new job for Ben, Lyric is still running her house staging business Red House Staging here in DC. Lyric loves what she does, and it is wonderful to see that it is possible to create a career that brings you joy.
Labels: business, houses, neighbors
Timor has more stuff now
Ran into the Timor Bodega
and noticed that the shelves are bigger and have more stuff on them. Kim Wee is carrying some basic spices, more cereals, ricemilk, soymilk, and a bunch more organic things. If you haven't ventured over there, give it a try. The weekday hours are short, 4PM to 9PM, but the weekend from 9:30AM to 8 (SAT) or 6 (SUN) is a better time.
Labels: Bloomingdale/Eckington, business
Capital Market: Sam Wang Produce Inc.
Sam Wang Inc.
300-A Morse St., NE
202 544 5162
No Retail Sales After 3pm
Takes: Cash Only
Description: Sam Wang has a selection of fruits and vegetables. Usual products include lemongrass, garlic, coconuts, avocados, apples, oranges, lemons, limes, onions, potatoes, apples, tomatoes, and ginger. Regularly, but not always, you may find bananas, mushrooms, curry leaves, mint, snow peas, green beans, pears, grapes, mangos, shallots, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, thai basil, thai eggplant, squash, bok choy, and cucumbers. Outside of its produce room there are pallets of corn and olive oil. The 3 liter tin of olive oil runs about $11-$12. There are rarely any signs denoting price or item description. Prices are significantly cheaper than that of a regular supermarket. Some items have a short shelf life (lemons, asparagus, etc), so limit yourself to things that last fairly long (coconut, garlic, onions, etc) or things you will use that week.
Extra:When leaving present your receipt to one of the gentlemen at the entrance. If you are not sure who to present it to, walk slowly holding out the receipt.
LINKS:Capital City Market: The SeriesCapital City Market Blog
Frozen Tropic's posting where Sam Wangs is mentioned, with photos.
Richard Layman's Mention of Sam Wang with Pictures.
Labels: business, Capital City Market
Useful tool? Good Government?
While on vacation, I did watch the news so yes, I'm aware of certain big national stories. However, I didn't care. What did catch my eye was something the town of Winter Garden, FL was doing which made me wonder if DC is doing something similar, and if not, why not.
What the City of Winter Garden has is a website
showing commercial properties available for lease or sale. Then when you find a property, it gives you the selling price, the lease per sq ft, and the contact agent should you actually want to set up shop. The demographic information is possibly where the city mixes in it's info by showing what certain (I'm talking very specific like "Medical transcriptionists") occupations make per hour and annually, where other businesses are in relation to the location you are looking at, and how much money per household and per $000s was spent on things like "Women's Apparel" in a certain mile radius.
When I heard of that I thought, that would be great for parts of DC that need to attract businesses, like North Cap. However, that would require sharing information with the public, being pro-business, working with private entities, and pro-active. Yet considering that the District can be sloppy with information, anti-small business, and stubborn as a mule against change, I highly doubt the City would provide a tool like Winter Garden's that would inspire someone to open that small boutique or that dentist's office, or some other small business by seeing how much particular skilled labor and space will run them.
Another thing, looking at the long list of Winter Garden occupations and their average wages and salaries, got me to thinking about how that may be helpful for job seekers and people trying to become more valuable as workers. So not only would the tool help potential employers but employees as well.
Labels: business, development, government
Now open at P and North Cap
ANC Commish Kris Hammond reports
there is chicken now available at P & North Capitol at the newly opened Luciana Cafe.
Capital Market: The Series
After the tour of the market area given by Richard and Elise a couple of weeks ago, I suggested creating a resource for would be shoppers. Something that pre-tour could be printed up or for others not interested in the tour, a directory of some of the places one may want to explore. There is a template, and that is just to keep it so that you as a reader and shopper aren't bogged down with too much sundry information, just the basics. If anyone else wants to participate, I can provide you with the template and some ideas.
First up is Obengs. Unfortunately, I don't know too much about the place as it is not one of my regular stops. I've been in a few times, once to buy the Afrophile roommie some goat meat. I'll probably update it when I go through there again just to remember what other products are there.
Labels: business, Capital City Market
Capital Market: Obeng Market
300 Morse St., NE
202 544 8255
Takes: Cash, Debit & Credit
Description: Serving the African immigrant population the store sells items like fu-fu flour, goat meat, and salted fish. They also sell items familiar to Americans like fresh chicken at their butcher's counter, large bags of rice, and kitchen spices.
Extra: When ordering from the butcher's counter your chicken will be cut into quarters and your goat into large cubes. If you don't want your meat cut say something.
LINKS:The Capital City Market BlogCapitol City Market: The SeriesInShaw's Flickr Pix of Obengs
Frozen Tropic's March 2008 post on Obengs
Labels: business, Capital City Market
More on Timor Bodega
I've polished off my bottle of chocolate milk and I want more. However, I'm currently using the milk bottle as a vase. Once those flowers are dead, I'm getting more milk and popping the Lactaid. Until then, pretty picture of the milk case at the Timor Bodega
@ 200 Rhode Island Ave, NW.
I'm also enjoying the salad greens from the store. I got 1/2 a pound of mixed greens for $4. There are other fresh food items like yellow carrots, and blue potatoes. I also picked up a nice bottle of wine and the owner, Mr. Kim Wee, was nice enough to talk about the different white wines, the flavors, the dryness, and other wine descriptors.
I had asked Kim about the store and it's story and he said he's been open for about 2 months. The milk and cream pictured comes from Trickling Springs Creamery in Pennsylvania. The beef and chicken from the Emerald Farm Network, and the salad greens and pork from the Truck Patch Farm in Maryland.
Store hours are 4:30-8:30PM Monday thru Friday, 9:30AM-8:30PM Saturday, and 9:30AM-6PM Sunday. So early enough to grab a something on your commute to work if you pass by. The Timor Bodega takes credit cards.
Ask Kim about coffee. I don't drink the stuff, but he is quite interested in coffee.
Labels: Bloomingdale/Eckington, business
Stop. You had me at 'local dairy'
At this very moment I am enjoying something I thought I wouldn't have again since the dairy guy at the Dupont Circle Farmer's Market went out of business.... chocolate milk from a glass bottle.
I experienced a rush of complete joy when I wandered into Timor
at 200 Rhode Island Ave NW, in Bloomingdale after a booze run at Bloomingdale Liquors. There in the glass case was milk. Not just any milk, milk in glass bottles. Cream in glass bottles. If I didn't have milk already in the fridge I would have bought plain milk. Instead, I bought the chocolate milk.
There are some other like products in this little store that has recently opened. Meat supplied from a Dupont Circle Farmer's Market guy. Yellow carrots, vegetarian mushroom soup, "good" beer (I'll have to take the owner's word since I don't know beer), fresh fruit, smoked salmon, etc. I hope to have more info later.
Labels: Bloomingdale/Eckington, business
Filet Minon $5 a pound
Richard of Rebuilding Space, the lovely Elise of Frozen Tropics
, and some guy named Ken Firestone will be once again leading a tour of the Capitol City Market
, so you too may discover the joy that is cheap meat and veggies. The tour, which Richard & Elise started back in 2006 (I think), gives the uninitiated a quick review of what's available to retail customers. I've done a bulk of my regular shopping there since I've been familiarized with what's there. The prices there have spoiled me, with beef tenderloin for less than $5 lb, blocks of butter for $2, lemons for about .22c and avocados for way less than $1. Tours end at Litteri's
, and that's where I tend to wrap up my market shopping for some cheap and not so cheap wine, pasta, and a sub.
Anyway, according to Richard the tour will be on the 23rd of this month, starting at 10AM at the corner of 4th and Morse Sts NE. I'm guessing along the chain link fence on 4th St NE, where I joined one of their tours one time. Or, if you get there early at 9AM go to K Young's at 300 Morse St (on the other side of chained linked vacant lot past the little guard shack) and join Richard for Korean food.
A few things I should tell you to lessen the culture shock when dealing with the market area. One, it is a working warehouse area not a tourist spot. It isn't squeaky clean and watch out for the forklifts and guys moving boxes. Second, many of the businesses are cash only. Third, 70% of the time there is no price on anything. Trust me, most of the time it is way cheaper than the Giant. Lastly, for several places you will need your receipt checked by the guy at the door.
Now let us dare to dream
Open thread on this building at the corner of New Jersey Ave NW and R St. So what do you think? What do you know?
Labels: business, development
You say nice things about a place to a lot of people and it gets so popular that it's almost too crowded for you....
But anyway, Big Bear, still good, still got coffee grounds for the old garden, but weekends are busy. I was lucky to find a table. I'm curious to see what the crowd is like on Tuesdays when the local knitting club meets.
Also I haven't talked about Thai X-ing lately. Well Taw has help and the food comes quicker than before. Not fast, but quicker. Remember the long waits? Now, when he (or whomever answers the phone) says 25 minutes, it is ready in 25 minutes. Panang Tofu still good, but the Yum Woon Sen with shrimp is my new favorite dish. Now that I've told you this don't be over ordering it so there is none left for me when I order.
Ugly no mo'
Remember this sight?
Well the Check N’ Go is Gone. Reading Marc Fisher’s article
this weekend, I gather DC laws have made the District an unwelcoming place for payday lenders. I haven’t bothered to notice if the check cashing place on the 400-500 blk Rhode Island Avenue is still in operation. But for what ever reason that bit of entrepreneurial ugly is gone. When you pass by the building now, the weird windows are now 3 perfectly unnoticeable ones and the building got a paint job.
is sometimes an excellent chance to check out some places you normally can't get to for one reason or another. This time it was a added treat in that IT chose a place that will be relocating to Shaw
, specifically 9th Street across from the Convention Center, Corduroy
After eating there I say, YAY! Not just because it is a white table cloth adult male waitstaff* type restaurant. No, the food is great. I really liked the parsnip soup. Not too salty, not too heavy, nice and creamy. The beet salad made me want to grow more beets this year. The rest of the meal was excellent, and filling. Try the hazelnut chocolate bars, they're like really high-end Kit-Kats.
B. joked about the possible competition Corduroy would bring to ODB and the Mongolian Grill. Different audiences. I go to the Grill for decent cheap take out sushi. Since I have no interest in sitting around drinking beer and watching screens of people doing things with balls, I tend not to go to ODB often. The competition would be Acadiana
facing 9th on New York Avenue, also participating in Restaurant Week. Maybe Vegetate
, also participating, but it's further up 9th.
Well, I hope that Restaurant Week 2009 and 2010 will see more choices along 9th.*I know, I'm horribly sexist. But in my little mind there is something oh so special about a serious looking mature man in a long white apron and dark suit pouring my wine, over some chipper whippersnapper. I'm also getting old, so I'm getting ageist as well.
...or the one place within walking distance to take the Aunt whose liquor license her church hasn't challenged....Veranda on P
has a decently priced brunch. I had seen the regular dinner menu and was concerned but the brunch featured a selection of omelettes, a burger, a veggie wrap, salads, and some sides. It was standard American fare, but good none the less. We both got big honking plates of food. I could hardly finish mine. It cost me, as I had volunteered to pick up the tab, a little over $30 for the two of us.
Then she dragged me to Handel's Messiah
Labels: business, churches
Radio One, back to the drawing board
In the Washington Post Business section page D4, "Council Rejects Plan To Give Radio One Land." The land in question is the empty lot on top of the S Street entrance to the Shaw/Howard metro stop. Well, it's been taking a forever and a half for this project to get off the ground, in the meanwhile, why not turn it into a dog park until the details and whatnot have been ironed out?
Labels: business, development
Lunchtime Research: Taxes and commerce pt 1
Actually the research started before I headed to work, following up on a thought someone had brought up about people being forced out of the neighborhood because of rising real estate taxes. I've already covered
the fact that some oldtimers who have kept their eye on the ball with the homestead exemption pay a pittance in RE taxes, so no need to rehash it.
While I was poking around reaffirming that notion, I noticed something about businesses and their RE tax. We're all familiar with the loss of the Warehouse Theater
due to skyrocketing RE tax. Well they are no exception to rising taxable assessments. Over on the block that used to have the non-profit bike shop (I think a non-profit works out of that building) and currently has a Chinese take-away and a used/rent-wreck car lot, Square 476, the assessments have gone up a lot. I have to say 'a lot' because I can't do math, I flunked out of B-School. A lot, as in 1628 6th St NW going from $184,690 (2007) to $444,280 (2008). Not as bad is the beauty shop (well use code says beauty shop) at 508 RI Ave NW going from $179,380 (2007) to $331,260 (2008).
Over in my neck of the woods, in the TC, I just got confused with the tax classes. 1627 1st St NW is in the 'Residential' tax class but the use code is a 'Store' and it is $99,020 (2007) & $177,470 (2008), while next to it is 1625 1st St NW use code '49-Commercial-Retail-Misc' in the residential tax class at $263,020 (2007) & $468,460 (2008).
Down North Capitol the taxable assessments double, except for one guy. 1338 North Cap $241,180 (2007) to $585,670 (2008); 1324 North Cap $160,680 to $324,790; 1304 North Cap $264,680 to $583,170; and Brian Brown's 1334 N. Cap $437,130 to $954,920 ouch! Strangely, possibly for very explainable reasons Big Ben liquors at 1300 North Capitol's taxable assessment barely moves at $212,360(2007) to $247,670 (2008).
The thing that makes me wonder is what does it mean for the growth of the commercial corridor? And there is little relief, unlike homeowners who can claim the homestead exemption, businesses have to suck up the rises.
Labels: business, taxes
You can't always get whacha wannnahant
...but if you try sometime
you just might find
you get what you need
Richard Layman has a pretty good post over on his blog RPiUS
, "Retail you want vs the retail the market can support"
. It is something to think about, particularly when we talk improving our commercial strip (N.Cap) options. Richard sorta makes another point in the comments about retail vs office in taxes and leasing and how beauty salons and offices have it easier (in terms of revenue) than retail.
I know what I want, I'm quite sure I won't really get it, and I'm relatively happy with what I got. I think, I hope we wander in enough to support the Big Bear so that it is worth it as a business venture. There are concerns about the Bloomingdale & TC hoods being able to support both the Bear and Windows, and as much, as much as I would love to have another coffee shop like place pop up in the near vicinity, I don't know if we could keep it. I eye the slight changes on New Jersey Ave over on the corner of R and in that little strip mall where G&G sits, and wonder what's that going to be. On the 1500 blk of NJ they've removed the signs and whatnot from the old art deco store that did not survive. I don't know if something is going to go in soon or if they are cleaning it up to make it attractive to potential businesses. A little farther down on R St, the old dry cleaners was getting cleaned out, maybe it's something, maybe nothing. Whatever goes in, I hope it is something that the area can support and something that would be an asset to the neighborhood.
Labels: business, development
Lunchbreak history: The Big Bear
I'm calling this lunchbreak history as this is something I can churn out on my lunchbreak. Anyway, somewhere on the Big Bear
site, which has now disappeared (as the right hand column, with the history, was not there when I went there last) was a history of the Big Bear Cafe, which was the Big Bear Market, and that sort of was the history. So that inspired me to wander down to the library in the building and check out the city directories.
1919 was the first year I grabbed. The index by street is available in earlier years, but I can't remember how early. Anyway, in 1919 at 1700 1st there was a man by the name of Earnest D. Thorne, and he was a grocer.
Second book, was 1930 and the next guy at 1700 1st NW was Oscar Bernard Diskin. He was also a grocer. I looked for a Big Bear Market, but none was listed.
The last book I grabbed because well, lunch is nearly over, was 1967. At 1700 1st Street NW was the Fairway Market Grocers, telephone number DU7-7969. I did see a listing for a Big Bear Market in 1967, listed at 1018 North Capitol owned by Jack Mehlman. Well Big Bear Cafe, sounds way more interesting than Fairway Cafe, so I'm glad it eventually became the Bear. I wonder if Big Bear Market moved to 1st Street or if it is just a coincidence? The directories go up to 1970something. However, lunch over, back to work.
Labels: business, neighborhood history
I was going to post about the broken glass door at the Big Bear, but taking the picture with the Palm made my PDA go through some type of seizure where I was forced to continue the battery drain or 'erase all data'. I chose to erase. So everyone, I might be asking for your contact info again because guess who fails to back up weekly? Or monthly.The story
, probably more than likely not in any way true, but it is a good story, is that the owner, Lana, kicked the robber through the door. I, resigned to the idea of erasing all my data, spotted Lana in the distinct little original Mini Cooper, coming down Florida, turning onto R, and then zipping up 1st. She could be a superhero. There is the door-kicking myth, the Lana-mobile and the Big Bear Headquarters. The only thing lacking, a superpower, unless conjuring tasty salads and making hot tea is a superpower. And if it is, I'll take it.
An Eckington blog reports
that one of the doors (windows?) of the Big Bear was broken last night. Whether it was vandalism or burglary, or by chance a really stupid accident we should support the Big Bear
to hopefully get the glass replaced quickly.
Labels: business, crime
Packed Big Bear
Saturday, around noon, I walked into Big Bear and the place was packed. Where the heck did all these folks come from? Well I know where three people came from, but I couldn't get a seat inside. Not even at the counter. That crowded.
I'm happy to see the place hopping and lively and active. I see often groups meeting there. Groups as in organized meetings, not a bunch of friends wandering in. I never would have thought there was a great need for meeting spots for groups in the hood, but apparently, there is. Besides the group taking up the big table, there were people with strollers, people with computers, and people. And poor little me, banished to the outside tables.
DC taxes hurt small businesses
The problem is the chains will not make the neighborhood a neighborhood, it will just make it another part of generica. Sitting with Richard Layman
at a window table at the Big Bear Cafe
we very briefly mentioned how the city actually hurts small business. Taxes is one method of putting on the hurt as reported in today's Post article "Feeling the Pinch of D.C.'s Prosperity
And the city does give lip service about supporting the arts. Having Warehouse consider closing down, and stressing other live action theaters, art galleries (particularly the ones that don't feature art that goes well with the living room couch), and other artsy venues with high taxes is quite unsupportive.
Come on there must be a couple of intelligent people on the council who could think of a way to properly tax businesses, small businesses, the businesses who take a chance on transitional neighborhoods like mine, without discouraging them and pushing them out. Why would a 10% cap be bad? If that's intolerable how's about a 20% cap? Well Jack (Evans, who supports a 10% cap, though no one else on the Council seems to) I support you.
Labels: business, taxes
North Capitol, Catania Bakery
For news about the TC it seems I have to keep up with the Eckington listserv. How wacky is that? Anyway, as some of you know Saturday Catania Bakery was robbed, as sadly one of the many summer crimes that has occured in the area in the past month or so (I'll be so happy when school starts up). Discussion on the listserv about the robbery brought up this from ANC leader Kris Hammond:
There is some good news. Nicole the owner is currently renovating one of the buildings. Pat Mitchell, myself, Jessica (Nicole's granddaughter), and Paul of Warehouse on 9th Street recently viewed the property for artist studio potential. We all want the buildings filled and it has been very slow, but I recently learned that there have been some personal extenuating circumstances that are part of the reason. Hopefully it will all change soon. Nicole/Catania just recently successfully rented out office space on the second floor of another building.
Well good thing that office got leased out.
Labels: business, crime, Truxton Circle
New Liquor Store?
says we're getting a brand spanking new liquor store at 6th and Rhode Island. Hey, isn't there a small park across the way? Park + Liquor Store= Headache.
Bloomingdale Farmers Market
You know that feeling? That feeling you have when you look around and all is right with the world. That's what I had sitting inside the Big Bear, sipping an ice tea, looking out the big open windows and watching business at the new farmer's market buzz along.
When I got there it was midday and apparently there was a rush and some producers sold out. I heard tale of a big crowd of people waiting on the sidewalk, curving around the corner waiting for the market to open at 10. Then this crowd bought a bunch of stuff, leaving just flowers, lamb, plants and berries to the after church crowd. Really, at noon there wasn't a lot to choose from, you early people bought everything!
I wound up buying strawberries, cherries, the last head of lettuce from one vendor, and some frozen lamb chops. The lamb was a bit pricey for me, so I probably won't be buying it on a regular basis. But the cherries were just right and very sweet.
Sitting with some friends I noted how the market and the cafe fed off each other. The Big Bear was a bit crowded inside with every table taken lucky us a couch had just freed up. People wandered from the cafe to the market and from the market to the cafe. This was the best location for both.
Some of you may remember there was an attempt of a farmer's market a few years ago that failed. It had several problems. I went maybe once and it was a hot dusty parking lot at Florida and North Capitol with a sprinkling of vendors. The produce was pitiful looking, Mary Ann Wilmner mentioned she bought strawberries from the failed market and the berries were rotten below the surface. The poor fellow who representing the non-profit running that market got reamed at the BACA meeting by the citizenry. This market is a far cry from that sad memory.
According to the fliers I have, there will be more vendors next week. Considering I wasn't at the market during the rush, I guess Sunnyside Farms was there with the eggs and the veggies. I guess the people selling the cherries was Reid's Orchard and the ones selling all the flowers Dragonfly farm. Next week Truck Patch Farms, producing salads, greens, and pasteurized pork. And at some date not mentioned there will be a cheese vendor and a baker. Another flier lists a laundry list of herbs, fruits, veggies, flowers and meats that will be at the market.
This market and this coffee shop seems to be just the thing that the area needed. It has been wonderful to run into friends and neighbors at the Bear over the past few days. Mary Ann said that it was nice for the community to come and meet at some place other than a BACA meeting. Where if you've been to a BACA meeting, much bitching takes place. Then she or someone else also threw around the idea of starting up a neighborhood knitting group. Beautiful.
Labels: business, quality of life
One. Shaw, or the Shaw School Urban Renewal Area is Florida Ave, North Cap, NY to M St, to 15th St. And if one of the creators (national capital planning commission) of that border keeps fiddling with the Shaw plan but not the borders, then what was Shaw in 1973 then it is still Shaw in 2007. There are enclaves within Shaw that have exerted their own identities, but in my mind they are still in the dysfunctional family called Shaw.
Community Reporter Jenny Johnson is incorrect in her article
saying that Big Bear is part of Shaw's Rapid Transformation. Eckington/Bloomingdale is the neighborhood the Bear is in. The Bear just sits on the border, so Shaw's TCer's are happy it is so close.
Flipping through some early 20th century neighborhood history Eckington and the TC have been closely linked. Or so it seems. My fav was the Eckington Citizen Association complaining that there were too many schools being placed in the 1st Street/ North Cap region along P.
Two. Going to see the family so no posting for a while. I'm going to Florida in the Summer.
Three. Sunday. Go to the Big Bear between 10 & 2 and hopefully there will be a Farmer's Market.
Labels: business, neighborhood history
Semi-Lazy Sunday at the Big Bear
Disclaimer: I write this owing Stu $4 plus tax.
For a place that had a soft or quiet opening it was plenty busy when I walked in. Saturday I popped by and got an iced tea and ran into some folks I knew from the Alley Cat Allies adventures with feral kittens episode. I came again Sunday morning with a newspaper and a want for hot tea. Like the day before, I ran into three sets of people I knew from the area.
The space is lovely. Even better the little outside seating area where folks with dogs can enjoy their coffee beverage in the sun. Inside, you can sit at a stand alone comfy chair, small tables or the counter. I overhead that some of the art on the wall came by a local neighborhood artist who came by and asked if the Big Bear owners needed art. Maybe this may be the start of a wonderful public art space, who knows?
Now I am not a coffee drinker. I hate the taste of it. So, I cannot judge the coffee. All I know, looking at the boards, was there were several coffee choices. I had tea, there were two black tea choices. I dislike Earl Grey, so for me, one choice of tea. I had an iced tea on my first visit, that was good. Second visit, I had hot tea. My only complaint, was the tea was too hot when I got it. But a lot of restaurants serve tea that's way too hot in my opinion. I had it with the prosciutto and gruyere croissant, and it was good. I'd have it again. Right now the menu is limited. Hopefully, that will expand.
The hours, if I remember them right, will be 6:30AM to 7:00PM. That may change depending on how things go. After 7, the Bear will be serving as a meeting space for at least one community group, and thus closed for business. The early morning hours will allow morning commuters and early birds to stop by and pick up a cup of joe for that walk to the metro. In the middle of the day at home parents, telecommuters, retirees and you odd people with the odd work hours can hang out there an make use of the wi-fi.
I am quite curious to see how the area develops around the coffee shop. Next Sunday, the Bloomingdale Farmer's Market will be right in front of the Bear from 10AM to 2PM, and I can see how the two can feed off each other. During the week, I wonder if lounging outdoor coffee drinkers will have any impact on the tiny triangular park between Florida and R in how residents and others use the space.Big Bear Cafe
- 1st and R St NW. Sat & Sun 7:30AM-evening, M-F 6:30AM-eveningStu- I will repay you your money Monday after work.
THE BEAR IS NOW OPEN
Scott(I guess) of TruxtonCircle.org
just announced that he got coffee this morning at the Big Bear
Bar hopping in Shaw
This week I and one of my hosts at the place where I'm staying, went to Vegetate's upstair's bar. After warming the seat for about an hour of noshing and sipping we headed out. I think that's when I suggested we check out BeBar down the street.
I'd never been and wanted to check it out as a business. We got there when it wasn't crowded. There were a bunch of people clustered up at the bar and just a few people seated on the opposite side of the room. From the bar you can watch videos. If the sound actually sync'd up with the mouths of the singers I could not really tell you. I'm getting old, it just sounded like noise to me. After a while the videos do suck you in. But my legs were getting tired and I chose to sit on the other side of the room. That's when the fun started. From our seats we had a lovely view of the bar crowd. My host pointed out the sad appearance of the popped collar amongst several of the men. We made other fashion observations. People are so entertaining.
Then it got crowded and we walked back home. If we wanted to, and if it wasn't a work night, we could have continued on to ODB. But then, I guess if you were starting a bar hop in Shaw, wouldn't you start at ODB, at least to line your stomach with heavy food? Then hit BaBar and then 2nd floor of Vegetate. There is also the bar at Warehouse, if you just want to start with a beer. You also can get beer at the Mongolian Grill/ Tokyo Sushi.
The choices you have for a night out without having to risk a DWI or the newly increased cab fare have increased.
BACA meeting, TC happy hour & etc
The lousy meeting notes from last week's BACA meeting are up at the super secret site
. Okay user name is 'thismeeting' pswd: 'neverhappened'.
Also check out the TruxtonCircle dot Org discussion board as there is a TC happy hour in the works for June. I expect Eckington people to crash it. It's okay, we like you NoFlo people anyways.
Oh, other random things that I'm not bothering to link to because the links require 3 extra more steps than I care to take right now:
There were meetings about the Florida Market this week. (See Frozen Tropics and Rebuilding Space)
Arrests in the Montgomery schoolyard and rocks get thrown at Fox5 cameraman. (ANC2C)
The BACA website is not working for me. (DCBACA.ORG)
Big Bear Cafe said somewhere (probably on the Eckington listserv) that their aiming for a June opening. They open, when they open.
Soil samples are the new thing going on with the EC-12 firehouse.
As far as my renovation... waiting on inspections and I'm looking for the perfect tile. If you know where I can get a hold of a nice checkerboard black and white pattern for the bathroom, email me.
Labels: BACA, business, media, renovation
What circle of Hell is Radio Shack in?
Yesterday I wanted to throw things at the staff at the 7th St Radio Shack at Gallery Place. I did not for two reasons. One, it is assault. Two, I have a lousy aim.
I went in to buy some rechargeable batteries. I was already annoyed that the batteries weren't in the same area as the regular batteries nor with the rechargers. When I found them it was unclear how I would check out. There is a circular desk where you'd think you'd be able to check out, but it isn't clear. Particularly when several staff members were helping other customers with phone plans. Phone plans are complicated things and I understand that by standing behind a phone customer I won't be helped for a good long while. Other people who just had purchases, no phone, were trying to get the next available staff person. The same staff person who decided to step back onto the sales floor.
Helloooo. People just wanting to buy one little thing.
I was steamed.
The woman trying to return a defective bluetooth thing, looked nearly defeated.
The guy trying to buy a cable wire looked pissed.
This is my second 'so angry I want to throw things at people' experience at this Radio Shack, which is about 1/3 of my experiences with this Radio Shack. Best Buy is a little out of my way, and I reserve the trip out to Tenleytown for large purchases. Are there any other options for electronics needs near Shaw with better customer service?
More on Eastern Market
I've just finished reading some of the comments
on the Washington Post site about the Eastern Market fire. The big theme I see is that what mattered wasn't the architecture of the building, which was lovely, but the merchants, the running into neighbors, the relationships formed was the thing that mattered. My concern for the people of Capitol Hill, is that those in charge will get too fixated on the body of the market, the systems, the size of vendor space, etc., and make the soul a second thought.
Another theme I noticed was a concern for the merchants, a by product of those relationships formed between patron and shopkeeper. Realizing while the powers that be figure out what to do, the merchants need support. The Capitol Hill Community Foundation has already set up a fund
so that people can contribute.
North Capitol Main Streets event @ the Big Bear
The North Capitol Main Street had a Volunteer Recruitment Happy Hour, but face it, many of us was there cause we wanted into the Bear. Some were there for the free food. Anyway there was a huge crowd packed inside the Big Bear. Big enough that sometimes the easiest way to get from one end to the other was to go out the door, walk outside and make your way to the other.
The crowd was also diverse. Whites, blacks, gays, straights, people with dogs (dogs stayed outside), seniors, babies, and all in between. There were little black girls and little white girls (ages 4-6ish) running around outside, trying to lift each other, while adults warned them about spots where they needed to watch it. There was the trio of middle school aged boys who walked in from somewhere, checking out the scene, scarfing down food and displaying a deep interest in the coffee making machines. There were a couple of babies, they really didn't do anything 'cept look cute.
But the main reason for the Bear opening its doors was the North Capitol Main Street org. There were a few speakers who spoke briefly. First was Vicky Leonard Chambers the chair of the volunteer organization. She (I think, I wasn't taking notes) mentioned that unlike some other Main Street organization, North Cap gets no money from the city and it is completely a volunteer effort (thus the happy hour recruitment). They would like to get funding from the city, but even then the problem is the city hasn't budgeted a lot to the Main Streets program. Then Elizabeth Price of the NoMa BID
spoke, she is new on the job and has no phone, yet. After her a few other NCMS persons spoke and there was a raffle. I left.
Can't wait till the Bear is open for business.
Labels: business, development
Quick blog before church
I don't write about everything that goes on in the hood. I still need to get out the shin-dig over at the still unopened for business Big Bear (yes, in Bloomingdale). And there was some sort of shoot out in the TC this weekend. The big items I haven't written about, mainly because other Shaw bloggers have, were:Shaw being the 2nd bloggist neighborhoodThe Warehouse Theater in danger of closing
because of property taxes
The Shaw EcoVillage
bike shop Chain Reaction closing (dang it where am I going to get my bike fixed now!?)
Okay I gotta go.
Labels: blog, business, taxes
Florida Market Meeting
The Office of Planning said they'd post the presentation in the next 2 days, so I'm not going to repeat a lot of what was presented. I'll try to sum up what took place.
They tried to make clear, or distance themselves, from was the New Towns project. No, this was just about the study of the area, which is a more in depth study than the general one that done before. However, because New Town's running parallel to this study, the confusion was hard to avoid.
There were presentations about the historic and economic aspects of the area. Construction of the market began in 1929 and other buildings were added later up until about the mid-20th Century. The economic presentation looked at possible land uses, but what was interesting about it was pointing out that there is not a lot of land in the District of Columbia zoned for light industrial, thus making Florida Market special.
On the topic of zoning it was pointed out that the area is not zoned for residential. Currently, no residential can go there. Also the New Towns project wants to put in a high rise, and zoning limits buildings to 40 ft in height.
In the citizen commentary and in the presentation by OP there were some valid points made. Yes, the market needs better signage. Apparently back in the Barry years there was a plan for signage but there was no money, so it didn't get done. Yes, the market is ADA unfriendly. Yes, it is run down and dirty. And yes, it is hazardous for pedestrians.
There were other points brought up that I didn't agree with that boils down to my fear of the area being sanitized and losing its affordable flavor. First off, the market shouldn't have to be all things to all people and not every development has to serve a primarily middle class mainstream audience. It serves immigrants (and other ethnic groups), ethnic businesses, small businesses, and people looking for deals. Yes, there is a demand for housing in the area, but more housing doesn't necessarily mean it will be affordable or available to the very transient student population.
I will mull over the handout I got some more and probably come up with a better post later.
Labels: ADA, business, development
Big Bear sighting
Yesterday wandered by the Big Bear to see if it is any closer to opening. Well looked like something was going on. Flowers on the tables, people inside, looked like a private function.UPDATE 4/10/07:
This morning @ 7AM I saw lights on at the Big Bear.
Bricks & mortar in the hood vs the Internet
I have been hesitant to blog something that has been on my mind. My goal is not to poo-poo some one's dream or hurt business. It is mainly me, as a customer, in my role as a consumer, expressing myself.
Way back, when I first moved here about 5 years ago, residents, newbies and some old timers vocalized a desire for certain businesses that would serve the community. One of those types of businesses was a video rental place. At this moment I have zero interest in a video rental store. Why? Netflix, need I say more. I seriously doubt a neighborhood store would have the variety of foreign with English in subtitles type of movies I like. I'm actually happy with Netflix, and I can't see myself trudging down to a store to be confronted with 20 billion copies of that recently released Action Rom Com and a few copies of foreign films, half of which are Kung Fu movies.
Another business, not requested but existing, I don't see myself as a customer. There is a clothing type shop that opened up in the TC recently (in the past year) and I went in with high hopes. However I couldn't find anything I wanted to buy. There is an online store that I frequent that sells like but higher quality merchandise with more variety, which makes shopping at the TC store unnecessary. I do hope the store succeeds, but sadly it won't have me as a customer.
There are other businesses around and about the neighborhood that will have me as a customer because I need their physical presence. Like the dry cleaners or quickie mart, because I need milk or a can of tuna, now.
Good Vegetate News
Life in Mt. Vernon Sq has good news
Wifi, and farmers, and bears! Oh my!
Over on the Eckington Listserv there is a flutter of hope about the corner of 1st and R Sts NW. Hopefully in a few weeks
ANC Stu will open up Big Bear Cafe. ANC Stu also wants wi-fi. But the big thing that has everyone aflutter is the drive to get a farmers market on that little strip of R St that is between 1st and Florida. It would be a perfect staging area for an open air market, when the cafe opens.
This interests me and probably folks in the northern end of the TC because this is right on the border between Eckington and the 1973 boundaries of Shaw
The chatter on the listserv is contacting the Stu crew about helping with the market. Apparently some emails got lost, or more than likely buried (with me its the spam filter, which is why you should have a decent subject line). So if you want to help ANC Stu contact him at his gmail account at studavenport@ .
Idle finger food chatter
Tuesday night I attended a private event over at the Old Dominion Brewhouse
and ran into Shaw Rez
, as well as Kevin Chapple
, and some other ANC people. Alex had tipped me off about the event and I did see him but we never got around to speaking.
Someone had asked if the food served up was from the restaurant or was it catered. The food I had seen on the menu before. The time I did go out to ODB with a friend I ordered the shrimp wrapped in thin strips of fried potato. They are good but they need a little something, like ketchup. I saw crab cakes on the menu in some form (maybe as a sandwich) and the mini cakes floating around were okay, but I'm picky about my cakes. Someone else had mentioned the chicken bits were excellent once they were dipped in the honey mustard.
Anyway, there was some mention about ANC stuff. One was something I don't even want to report on but it involves a deposed mini-dictator and his plans. Another was a sentiment from Gallery Place to not be in the 2C-verse and join up with that area that calls itself Penn-Quarter. I totally understand that sentiment, as GP has a heck of a lot more in common with PQ than MVS. Then speaking with an ANC from 2F, he supposed that once the Whitman and other places fill up there may be a rearrangement of borders. I gather that won't happen until the 2010 Census.
And lastly, ODB is a minority owned business.
Labels: ANC, business
I'd work for food
In the City Paper's article on our favorite slow cook take out Thai X-ing
it seems you can work for your supper. Dang I'd jump in and help just to get my order going faster. I didn't know you could volunteer. I'll have to ask next time I'm there.
Another thing about the article, is Bryan Simmons. I don't know him but he looks so much like his father in the picture. His dad is the co-worker who told me about Taw's plans to move.
Body and Spirit
This weekend I got B and IT (and later BL) to join me at the Florida Ave Market (or Capitol City Market
). The plan was to hit three or four stores to show them what was there. I forgot my shopping bag, so I didn't buy anything at the places I normally shop. B was in one of his smart-alec moods pointing out what would not appeal to yuppies. No prices on things, no clear lines, etc. He also suggested that if we wanted to save the market the historic preservation people should be brought in. I think I may have actually growled at him.
While the HP people are good at protecting the body, that is the buildings and the structures, I don't think they can preserve the spirit. The market for me is not a collection of warehouse buildings, instead they are a Hodge podge of businesses, a mix of wholesale and retail banded together, the spirit. What they are housed in to me seems fairly irrelevant. The 19th century structures that are there have attached to them squat ugly cinder block, cinder block that seems to distract the eye from the brick.
The spirit is that thing that is when you have these warehouse businesses all together in one place, some providing retail services, selling goods at a low price, in a central DC location. It is my inner libertarian screaming that if the government places some extra burden on the businesses there, be they HP regs or a 'temporary' move or rules to make residential possible, those businesses may fold, leave permanently or pass the expense on to consumers in a way that makes the market less attractive to those consumers.
Even in theological discussions with friends I have trouble defining and describing the spirit. It is a fuzzy thing that I sense and feel. I sense the energy radiating from the people working, pushing handcarts, yelling in a variety of languages. The consumers give off an international, down to business (as the market does service restaurants and other businesses), utilitarian vibe that I feel. And you have the two interacting with each other in a central DC location. If you change the type of business, you screw with the spirit. Change the type of consumers, you change the vibe. Change the location, same thing.
My fear of the city coming in and changing the area is that it will kill the spirit. New businesses would replace the old ones and those new businesses would appeal to a different type of consumer (or a different side of some consumers who do use the market).
At the end of the shopping, at Litteri's we noticed a petition on the counter. So if you'd like, stop in, by a sub or some pasta or wine and sign the petition to preserve the spirit of the market.
Labels: business, historic districts
Planning to move outta the basement
This is more a testament to how small this city is because I got wind of it from my co-worker. Our favorite Thai in a basement carry out is making plans to expand to a spot on 9th St. It would be a bigger spot. It wouldn't be anytime soon, possibly not even this calendar year, because as you know, speedy and slap dash are not the Thai Xing way. Slow and tasty, is more like it. Taw did confirm that sometime in the future he would move to a bigger space. He asked me if I still would come to a new location. Admittedly, 9th Street is a bit out of my lazy walk zone. Hopefully, he may have a delivery guy.
So close I can feel it
I passed by Big Bear
and the place is painted, cute cafe windows in, and I saw someone who looked like Stu Davenport standing outside with some construction looking guys. Maybe it will open before Valentines Day.
Progress but still not open
Christmas has come and gone and alas we have no cafe
at 1st & R. But last I passed by it, it was progressing along nicely. The new windows look cool and the upstairs was lit and people were working on it. New Year's is too soon, maybe it will open before Valentine's Day?
Thai-Xing now open
It's open now.
Thai X-ing is LeDroit Park's (as it is on the northern side of Florida Ave) newest hole in the wall restaurant. There are tables and in theory you can eat inside but there isn't a lot of room so you'd best just take your curry and go.
I tested the waters with larb gai, minced chicken with onions and cilantro in lemon juice. It seems wrong to compare Thai X-ing's dish with the other Thai places further down on U, but I can't help it. Compared to down the street, there is room for improvement. It is not bad, please don't get me wrong, but I can get hung up on one element of a dish, that one element was what I think is dried garlic. I want all my ingredients fresh, or cooked long enough that I don't notice that it was fresh or not. The cilantro, good. Onions, great. Chicken, fine. Lemon juice, good have had more. Lettuce, ok. Small golden nuggets that might have been dried garlic..... not happy with.
I'll try Thai X-ing again after Easter when I'll try out the only one Thai dish that matters, Pad Thai. I have a feeling that Thai X-ing might be the restaurant I go to when I'm too lazy to drag myself the 7-10 extra blocks for the other Thai places. We'll see.
Anywho I typed up (I'm so nice) an abbreviated menu of Thai X-ing's offerings so you know what you can get before you step foot in there.UPDATE= Got a electronic menu from Thai-Xing and here it is.Thai X-ing, 515 Florida Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20001. Phone: 202-332-4322, fax: 202-332-4401. Hours: M-Sun 11:30am to 10:30pm. Free Delivery with min. order of $15. Major credit cards accepted.
Note: The links are no longer active.
However try here http://www.jess3.com/blog/2007/02/thai-xing.html
Restaurant Review: Windows Market & Deli
I'm going to try something, restaurant reviewing. I will attempt to go to places in eastern Shaw or on the border of Shaw in LeDriot, Bloomingdale, Eckington, or within a 4 block radius of my house. The general criteria is that there must be seating and cannot be a carry out. The list of places to go is very short.
Yesterday I wandered over to the corner of 1st and Rhode Island to the Windows Deli. It is a very new looking place. I was attracted to it by its big windows that looked out on to Rhode Island Avenue and it's bright interior. Inside the decor says Ethopian/ Swedish, mainly because I recognize the furniture being IKEA and the staff is pretty much Ethopian. In the corner there is a display case of tiny coffee cups and an African(?) vase. You have a choice of about 3 blonde wood tables to sit at or two other chairs sans table. The table near the window is good for people watching.
The menu is extremely limited. Basically you have coffee, tea, and cold sandwiches made to order. This is more coffee shop than restaurant. I had a tuna sandwich. The tuna was ok, a little heavy on the relishy ingredient and a bit more soupy than I am accustomed.
Looking around and thinking about it a bit more, the place seems very cabbie friendly. If your main thing is to sit, wait, get coffee, leave, then this is a suitable spot. Sunday, when I spotted this place, I noticed a decent mixed crowd sitting, reading the paper, drinking coffee.
Up the stairs (3 steps) is the market part of Windows, which is a quickie mart with drinkable wine and a few veggies. I saw tomatoes and onions. I didn't look too hard at the wine, but it wasn't Boones Farm or wino wine (that I can recognize easy). Not to be too out of place there were some ghetto drinks and single cans of beer for sale in the refrigerated cases.
I hope this business does well. It is good to have a big windowed people watching coffee shop so close. I wanna 'nother, closer to my house.
Next time I might try B&J or BJ's on 3rd and Rhode Island.
Labels: Bloomingdale/Eckington, business