FRIDAY UPDATE: Cafe Salsa has closed its doors, according to the Prince of Petworth. We will have another restaurant profile from Alejandra soon.
From Alejandra Owens, One Bite At A Time
We’re starting something new here at Borderstan: restaurant profiles. Here’s how it will work. We will throw out the basics (where, when and how much) and you help us flesh out the details with reviews and comments.
Want us to go somewhere? Leave suggestions in the comments section and we’ll give it a try! Please keep your suggested eateries in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area.
Where Am I Going: 1712 14th Street NW (just north of R Street, west side).
When Am I Going: Sunday-Wednesday, 11:30 am-11 pm; and Thursday-Saturday, 11:30 am-midnight.
Paycheck Pain: $7-$30 for appetizers to entrees to desserts and drinks.
Say What?: Happy hour got a bit loud at the bar, but you can still hold an easy conversation.
What You’ll Be Eating: “Nuevo Latino” which is to say, a mish-mash of all types of Latino foods from all countries and regions. Mojitos are a specialty and musty-try here.
Happy Hour: Their website specifically names Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4-7 pm for happy hours, but I have a hinting suspicion deals can be had all days of the week at the same hours.
Here’s how a recent happy hour visit went for us. It started with a Mojito and then there was a steak quesadilla or two (a friend wanted more)… and then there were spinach empanadas… finished by another Mojito (we’ll admit these were especially tasty).
Last week the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) announced that it would begin enforcing the 25% limit on the number of bars and restaurants allowed to operate in the Arts Overlay district of the 14th and U Streets NW area. The 25% figure is calculated on the store frontage of businesses in the district, not on the total number of establishments.
According to DCRA, “the 25% cap applies only to eating or drinking establishments located along the lots fronting on 14th Street (between slightly north of N Street and Florida Avenue) and U Street (between 9th and 15th Streets).”
The Arts Overlay was put in place in 1990 to make sure that art galleries and related businesses and groups would have a place to set up shop—and to prevent the area from becoming exclusively a club and restaurant strip. In 1990, though, the 14th and U Street area was much different from today: It was not particularly hip… and it certainly was not expensive.
Reaction and a Fix
Reaction from the MidCity Business Association and other organizations was swift: raise the percentage of street frontage for bars and restaurants to 50%. Councilmembers Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) favor the move. In fact, ANC 2F/Logan Circle formed a special Arts Overlay Committee last year and it reached the same conclusion: raise the limit to 40 to 50%.
Moreover ANC2F/Logan went on record earlier this week supporting the higher number. The headline of the ANC release is “ANC-2F Declares 14th Street ‘Open for Business’ ” and the opening graphs of the release read:
April 13, 2010 –The 14th Street corridor is an important engine for both economic development and arts institutions in the city, and requires the presence of responsible establishments that serve food and liquor. ANC-2F will not allow a poorly-designed and antiquated zoning rule to impede future development that benefits the entire community. Our neighborhood is open for business. The existing law fails to provide amenities that the neighborhood wants and that our Arts District needs. Based on extensive community input last year, ANC-2F asked the city to update this rule to allow restaurants and bars to occupy up to 50% of each zoning square in the Arts District.
City officials recognized that restaurants and clubs (often high-end ones) have played a huge role in the area’s retail development in the past decade; it seems to be a done deal that the 25% limit will be overturned within three months. (You can read the MidCity follow-up statement as well as the news releases from ANC2F and Evans online.)
Other things happened over the past 10 days besides snow. Some stuff anyway. Here is stuff you might have missed—but shouldn’t have.
Bring Google ultra-high speed broadband test pilot to DC. DC Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) has an online petition you can sign “to express your support for bringing Google broadband to the District of Columbia.” Cheh wants Google to test its ultra-high speed broadband service in DC so that residents will have more options. Google has announced that it plans to test ultra-high speed broadband internet service in one or more trial locations. Hat tip to Susie Cambria who has more info at her blog.
Clean fire hydrants and storm drains: Please. The DC Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) “is making a plea to all able-bodied District residents to clear snow from the fire hydrants and storm drains near your home or business. Our fire department needs ready access to fire hydrants in an emergency; and melting snow has nowhere to go when our storm drains are blocked, which means it can pool and freeze, creating additional traveling hazards. ”
Video from Wednesday morning’s blizzard. On Wednesday morning, Joel Lawson said he “plowed into the storm… walking through the 35 mph winds of this ‘second wave’ to capture a few scenes, including Swann Street (including alley shots), 14th Street, 15th Street and finally over to Dupont Circle.” Watch the video.
Burger and beer place coming to 14th Street. The Prince of Petworth reports that a a burger and beer garden type of place is coming to the former Garden District space on the northeast corner of 14th and S Streets NW.
“Snowy Stoney’s” time-lapse video. The Washington Post has a wonderful time-lapse video taken in front of Stoney’s on the 1400 block of P Street NW on Tuesday evening.
The Sacrificial Lamb Kabobs n Pizza is now open at 1704 R Street NW. It offers affordable Middle Eastern food just off the 17th Street corridor (we always need more affordable food). The Yelp reviews are pretty good so far, so check it out. Continue reading
Sushi Taro at 1503 17th Street NW always had a reputation for the best sushi around, a place where the Japanese Embassy brought the country’s prime minister when he was in town. After having undergone a renovation that included its menu, the prices went up (it was never cheap). Sushi Taro was a place of no surprises but excellent dishes. That seems to have changed as the reviews are mixed, but give it a try.
Circa at Dupont at 1601 Connecticut Avenue NW is one of those perfect city places: a little bit of everything and everything is good… and good people watching just off Dupont Circle. Great atmosphere for a casual meeting, lunch or dinner. They also have brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
“1460 Wallmountables 2009,” is at the DC Arts Center, 2438 18th Street NW. It is a chance to experience DC’s art scene in a very different way, mingle with the artists and purchase some of the fantastic works for sale.
“The Ceramics of Paquimé and Mata Ortiz: Tracing a Family Legacy” is showing at the Mexican Cultural Institute, 2829 16th Street NW. “One town, five families, 46 artists, a revived centuries-old tradition: this is the story of Mata Ortiz. Located near the ancient city of Paquimé in northern Chihuahua, Mata Ortiz has gained an international reputation for exquisite pottery. The town’s artists place their individual stamps on methods, materials, and patterns developed at Paquimé and rediscovered by Juan Quezada. The Mexican Cultural Institute is proud to welcome ancient pieces from Paquimé and modern pieces from Mata Ortiz to Washington.”
Charles Covington, Jr is playing Saturday, August 22, at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. Covington is “recognized as a virtuoso jazz pianist and jazz organist extraordinaire, enjoys a high reputation among performers all over the world.”
“Prague Through the Lens of the Secret Police” is showing at the Woodrow Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. “The photo exhibition Prague through the Lens of the Secret Police features a selection of never before seen photographs and films of ‘subjects of interest’ taken secretly by the Czechoslovak State Security Service’s Surveillance Directorate during the ‘normalization’ era of hard-line socialist entrenchment which followed the 1968 Soviet-led occupation of Czechoslovakia.”
“Woodstock at 40: The Rise of Music Journalism” is at the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. It “features rarely seen photographs and artifacts from the historic music event.” Woodstock “marked a moment when the news media first recognized music and entertainment as a cultural and commercial force.”
Chi Cha Lounge is billing its Wednesday evenings with a movie as Notoriety. Says this urban hipster place on U between 16th and 17th: “Notoriety at Chi Cha Lounge is a weekly Wednesday event for friends to come together, listen to soulful music, and soak up some good vibes.” Located at 1624 U Street NW, the lounge has wide-open windows that allow you to see the street and get the urban feeling of the U Street corridor. Tonight the movie is Point Break.
New Pizza Place, American Restaurant For 14th Street; New Wine Bar Headed to U Street. “My, aren’t Logan and U Street busy these days? We’ve received a number of requests recently regarding the status of some of the new bars/restaurants that are looking to set up shop in the area.”
Ibero-American Guitar Festival at the Rasmuson Theater in The National Museum of the American Indian, 4th Street & Independence Avenue SW. A tribute to Heitor Villa-Lobos, a Brazilian composer regarded as one of the most influential figures in Brazilian music who has become one of the most well known composers in Latin America.
A very nice detailed posting; here’s the lead:
Big news this week for the 1800 block of 14th Street: it seem that two new establishments are headed to the block, and they both sound pretty exciting.