September 06, 2013 - 9:44 am

Three new restaurants and one beer garden open in Shaw

The opening of new restaurants on 14th Street has been prolific enough to merit attention from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.  These papers might want to turn their attention to Shaw, which is seeing three new restaurants and one beer garden open within a two-week period.  All of these new places are within a mile of LeDroit Park.

Dacha

In time for Oktoberfest, Dacha beer garden opened Wednesday at 1600 7th Street to serve a variety of American, German, and Belgian beers.  Dacha, like the Garden District beer garden (née Standard) on 14th Street, will close for the winter.  After Dacha closes for the season, the owners will start construction on a permanent building to house the kitchen and bar.

Dacha is open weekdays from 4 pm to 10:30 pm and on weekends from noon to midnight.

Tomorrow from 2 pm to 3 pm, Mayor Gray is cutting the ribbon for three other restaurants, Mandalay, Thally, and Baby Wale.

Mandalay

After you finish your beer at Dacha, walk two blocks to Mandalay at 1501 9th Street, a site that has been in the works for several years.  Though the building has been finished for some time, the restaurant, which sits on the ground floor, will open Sunday night for dinner.

Mandalay serves Burmese food, including many vegetarian options.  The restaurant will serve eight family-style dishes at seatings at 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm Tuesdays through Sundays.  Bring your wallet, though, as the prix-fixe menu is $40 on weekdays and $50 on weekends.

Thally

If you’re not in the mood for Burmese food, walk two blocks south on 9th Street to Thally (1316 9th Street), which opened last week.  The restaurant, pronounced like ‘tally’, serves “modern American” food.  First course items range from $8 to $10 and include peach and prosciutto soup, fancy BLTs, and crab roulette.  Main course items range from $17 to $28 and include roasted duck, delmonico steak, and rockfish.

Thally is open from 5 pm to 11:30 pm Tuesdays through Sundays.

Baby Wale (I hope that’s not a menu item!)

If you’re more in the mood for wine and snacks, continue walking two blocks south to Baby Wale (1124 9th Street), a project of the Tom Power, who started Corduroy next door.  Baby Wale, which opened last week, is far more casual than its upscale neighbor and serves soups, salads, sandwiches and “upscale bar food”.  As for alcohol, the place serves specialty cocktails, 80 different bottles of wine, and six draft beers.

Baby Wale opens at 5 pm Mondays through Saturdays.

It’s amazing how quickly new restaurants are opening on Shaw’s primary main streets.  Even more food options are on the way as Progression Place’s storefronts continue to fill and as the new Giant opens in November at 7th and O Streets.

3restaurants1beergarden

 

Name Address Distance Cuisine
Dacha 1600 7th St 0.6 mi beer garden
Mandalay 1501 9th St 0.7 mi Burmese
Thally 1316 9th St 0.8 mi Modern American
Baby Wale 1124 9th St 1.0 mi wine and bar food

 

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September 05, 2013 - 8:58 am

The Lincoln Theater is back in business

Lincoln Theatre
Photo by NCinDC on Flickr

The Post reports that music venue owner IMP, which operates the 9:30 Club and Merriweather Post Pavilion, is now managing the District-owned Lincoln Theater.

As we noted before, the Lincoln Theater’s revival in the 1990s failed to measure up to the Howard Theatre’s recent rebirth.  Last year we compared the number of scheduled events at both theaters from May 11 to June 30, 2012. The contrast was stunning as the Howard had announced 51 scheduled events compared to the Lincoln’s paltry five.

The District’s new operator for the Lincoln has already booked comedians Ira Glass and Cheech and Chong, as well as musical performers Janelle Monae, Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, and KT Tunstall for next month.

The Lincoln is just one of four big venues within a mile of LeDroit Park:

Theaters within 1 mile of LeDroit Park

Theater Distance Capacity
Howard Theatre 0.3 mi 600 if seated; 1,000 if standing
9:30 Club 0.6 mi 1,200 standing
Lincoln Theater 0.8 mi 1,225 seated
Black Cat 1.0 mi 700 standing and 200 in the backstage

The Lincoln Theater’s 1,225 fixed seats set the venue apart.  Though this configuration limits the types of acts that will perform, it also guarantees each patron a reserved space.

Check out the Post’s handy comparison chart, including typical headliners and food options for each venue.

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September 13, 2012 - 9:28 am

We may be in store for another grocery store

If local developer JBG has its way, a Harris Teeter may be coming to a parking lot near the 9:30 Club.  The proposal is only in the preliminary stages and requires the District to sell an unused parking lot to the company.

JBG owns the lot immediately to the south of the District property and would like to combine them into a single project. The two adjacent properties are labeled “DC Gov” and “JBG” on the middle-left portion of the map below. While JBG does not yet control the District-owned site, the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development will offer the site, along with several others, for sale this fall. For all we know, the District could select another developer.

As you may recall, Chevy Chase-based JBG is one of the biggest developers on 14th Street and U Street. They’re current constructing or entitling (seeking permits, zoning relief, etc.) several nearby projects.  At the southwest corner of 14th and U, the company is currently building a multifamily project that will include a Trader Joe’s. On the 700 and 800 blocks of Florida Avenue, the company is preparing to build two modernist multifamily buildings.  On the northwest and southwest corners of 8th and V Streets, the company recently revealed its drawings for a condo building and an apartment building.

Besides JBG, many new developers are including grocery stores in areas that have long suffered a lack of good grocery options. The forthcoming Giant at 7th & P Streets will become our closest supermarket when it reopens next year. If the proposed Harris Teeter ever gets built, it will be the second closest supermarket to LeDroit Park:

Store Location Distance (mi)
Giant (opening 2013) 7th & P Streets NW 0.6
Harris Teeter (proposed) Florida & Sherman Avenues NW 0.7
Trader Joe’s (opening 2014) 14th & U Streets NW 0.9
Safeway 5th & L Streets NW 0.9
Harris Teeter 1st & M Streets NE 1.0
Whole Foods 1400 blk. P Street NW 1.1

But wasn’t Howard Town Center, about a block away, supposed to include a grocery store? The proximity of a Harris Teeter might scare off a competitor from signing on with the still-unbuilt Howard Town Center. This could further delay the long-stalled project.

Developers like to have leases signed before construction since the leases show investors and lenders that the project will produce an income to repay the loans. For some development proposals, the lack of a lease can scuttle the project entirely.

JBG’s announcement of its agreement with Harris Teeter is somewhat unusual. National grocery chains typically keep their prospective sites secret. That JBG announced the agreement without even controlling the land is unusual.

Another interesting twist to the case is that the District used to own the Howard Town Center site and Howard used to own the parking lot JBG wants to buy. The District and the university swapped the properties many years ago out of convenience to each other. How ironic it would be if the government-owned site is the site that gets redeveloped faster.

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July 07, 2012 - 6:43 pm

Trader Joe’s coming to 14th & U

It looks like 2013 will be a harvest year for LeDroit Park residents as two new grocery stores open nearby. DCist broke the news that Trader Joe’s will open a store at the Louis building now under construction at the southwest corner of 14th and U.

Located at just under a mile’s walk from Anna J. Cooper Circle, the new store will provide another grocery option to area residents.

TJ’s prices are competitive with many other stores and the TJ’s specializes in unusual and somewhat exotic foods in addition to the usual staples.  TJ’s main weakness lies in its produce selection, which, judging from experiences at the Trader Joe’s in the West End, is limited.

The store’s opening next year will also be accompanied by the opening of the 60,000 square-foot Giant at the CityMarket project at 7th and P Streets in Shaw.  Once these two projects open, all the major grocery store chains in the area will be located no more than 1.1 mi. from LeDroit Park.

Store Location Distance (mi)
Giant (opening 2013) 7th & P Streets NW 0.6
Trader Joe’s (opening 2013) 14th & U Streets NW 0.9
Safeway 5th & L Streets NW 0.9
Harris Teeter 1st & M Streets NE 1.0
Whole Foods 1400 blk. P Street NW 1.1

Even still I dream of a full-service grocery store opening up at the long-stalled Howard Town Center project at Georgia Avenue and V Street.  The project, in the planning stages for many years, has been perpetually delayed by disagreements between Howard University and its development partner.

The UPO building on Rhode Island Avenue used to be a Safeway many years ago.  The site is large enough to be redeveloped into a modern, urban grocery store if parking is placed underground.  In fact the second floor could house UPO’s offices.

Until those dreams come true, the nearest full-service grocery stores are a long, but manageable walk.

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