Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thursday Deals

First, a few neighborhood reminders:

  • Today is the second to last Farmers Market, from 3-7 as always (don't worry, it's lit!).  Check out some of the beautiful produce they'll be offering today ->
  • Sixth Engine is still selling Christmas trees in walking distance of Penn Quarter.  Proceeds go to charity, so get on it!
  • Of course, don't forget about the Downtown Holiday Market, open until December 23rd.  We love walking by and hearing the live music!
And now - some deals from LivingSocial:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

Come January, the space at 1308 G Street will have a new occupant: Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken.  It's everything it sounds like, and you can check out the menu here, which rotates on a daily basis.

BUT: if you can't wait until January for the delicacies, there will be a doughnut pop-up on December 20th and 21st at Chinatown Coffee Company on H Street.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Astro!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Celebrity Sighting

Neil Patrick Harris, in town to host the White House Christmas tree lighting, did a culinary food tour of DC yesterday.

He hit places all over DC, tweeting along the way.  His first spot was Penn Quarter hotspot Graffiato.  "Delicious pizza and the best brussels sprouts I've ever eaten," according to the actor (and we co-sign this statement).

Below, Harris' fiance David Burtka outside Mike Isabella's restaurant.

Picture via @actuallyNPH

PS7 No More - New Chef, New Concept to Come

We've heard rumors of PS7's closing, but nothing certain until now: the Washington Post is reporting that chef Victor Albisu of BLT Steak will be taking over the space in order to open Del Campo, a South American themed restaurant.

Indeed: it seems PS7 may have already closed - there is a sign on the door saying it's "closed for administrative duties" and no reservations are available on OpenTable.

Del Campo plans to open in the spring of 2013, when we can expect South American barbecue (steaks, short ribs, sausages) with crudos and ceviches.

Peace & Goodwill - a Pop-Up - comes to Chinatown

Back in August, the good people of Goodwill and Gensler, an architecture and design firm, started a pop-up shop at the Pepco Edison Place Gallery.  Citing great success, they're back just in time for the holidays with a new pop-up called Peace & Goodwill.

You can shop next Wednesday, December 12th through Friday, December 14th, 11a-6p (except Friday, when it closes at 5p).

We stopped by over the summer and found it to be well-stocked and inviting.  We imagine the winter version will be just the same!  And - if you need more incentive - Pepco will match each dollar you spend at the pop-up, up to $25,000, for a donation to Goodwill.  Plus - spend $50 or more and you'll be entered to win a 2005 Audi wagon.  Get shopping!  (And head over to the Downtown DC Market while you're at it!)

10:45a update:  As in August, they'll be accepting donations at this location, also.  (So now's a good time to face the music that those pants just aren't ever going to fit and donate them to a more noble cause.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Developments for Mt. Vernon Triangle

Blogger Prince of Petworth has noticed that a long-vacant space on 5th Street (just north of Penn Quarter, close to Safeway et al) will become a new restaurant called Success.

Slated to hold 130 people, it will focus on local farm and seasonal ingredients.

No word yet on when that plans to open.

There's also been movement at the old High G. Paint Company across the street from Success's future location- no word yet on what that will be - but it is certain to be a step up from a dilapidated storefront.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Zola to become Bajaj's Brasserie

Back in August Ashok Bajaj of Rasika, Bibiana and the Oval Room announced he would be taking over the old Zola space.  At the time, he didn't have a concept, but he's back now with a plan (but he's only letting the public in on a piece of it) - the 8,300 square foot space will house a brasserie.

In terms of the neighborhood, we think it's a pretty good fit.  The plan is to open in Spring 2013.

Downtown Holiday Market Opens Today

Don't forget: the Downtown Holiday Market begins today at noon!

As always, there's food & drink and musical entertainment to go along with your shopping.

Check out the market guide now before you go - there's even a coupon lurking in there.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What's to Come in the Cafe Atlantico Space

Last month, we reported that Frederick de Pue had bought the old Cafe Atlantico/Minibar/America Eats space on 8th Street.  Today, Washington City Paper brought us some more information on the restaurant.

What it'll be called:  Azur

Focus: European classics with contemporary flavors (focusing on seafood)

What happened to the Minibar area? A raw bar

The look:  three stories of "hues of the ocean"

Partnerships:  Azur will serve tea from Teaism (conveniently across the street); Founding Farmers' mixologist Jon Arroyo will design seasonal cocktail menus

Opening date:  New Years Eve (dinner only); a Spring launch for lunch and brunch

Asian Liaison Unit Moves out of Chinatown

MPD is in the process of moving the Asian Liaison Unit out of Chinatown and into its Judiciary Square headquarters.

The move comes after Gallery Place managers approached the police and asked if it would consider moving the unit out of the space it's rented for $1/year under a ten year lease, according to the Washington Times. A spokesperson for Gallery Place highlighted the fact that officers spend most of their time on patrol, and have used the Asian Liaison Unit property more as a locker room.  "I can assure that moving forward," Gallery Place management went on, "the police will have access to a fully operational command center located within the Gallery Place building."

No wonder on how big the space was, but we have to wonder if Gallery Place has something lined up to take its place.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Trees for Sale in MVTriangle

Looking for a Christmas tree here in the neighborhood?  (If your building allows live Christmas trees, that is, we have noted in years past that many condo associations ban them.)  Look no further.  (It's sponsored by Santa Claus, how could you go wrong!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Panera Bread Starts Construction in Chinatown

Panera Bread LogoWork has finally begun at the complex on the corner of 7th and H NW.  According to the Washington Business Journal, a building permit was issued Friday for Panera Bread, so we now know that the two-story restaurant will be able to hold 52 people on the first floor and 144 on the second.

We first announced Panera's intent to move in nearly a year ago now, so it's nice to see some movement - though Panera still has yet to announce when they believe the work will be complete.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Day Prep

It's Election Day tomorrow.  After you take care of business, here's where to celebrate (or drown your sorrows):

Take Care of Business (VOTE!):  Penn Quarter residents, you need to vote as follows:

Ward Number2
Precinct Number143
School District2

Polling Place Name, Address, and Accessibility Information
Address500 I ST. NW
Washington DC, 20001
Accessible to Disabled/ElderlyACCESSIBLE-I STREET ENTRANCE
Polls are open 7a-8p.
Not a Penn Quarter resident and not sure where to vote?  Check here.

Watch/Celebrate/Plot Move to Another Country:

Know of more local events?  Leave 'em in the comments.  And don't forget to vote!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dangerously Delicious Pies Hopes to Open This Year

Dangerously Delicious Pies
We've been concerned about Dangerously Delicious Pies' opening at 7th and I Sts. for awhile now - progress seemed mired and we were skeptical - they had originally slated for June 2012.

Well, good news, pie fans: today they gave word to Prince of Petworth that they hope to open in 4-6 weeks.  Sadly, this isn't in time to fulfill your Thanksgiving pie needs, so you can head over to their Union Station or H Street locations while we bide our time here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Christmas Tree Lighting Lottery Starts Today

We've already given you the countdown for the Downtown Holiday Market, which opens on November 30th, so to further your holiday spirit, we thought we'd remind you that the lottery for the 90th Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony starts today at 10a.  The event always draws well-known performers, but the acts haven't yet been announced.
Below you can watch last year's ceremony:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Taylor Gourmet Filling the Meatballs Space

We were just wondering yesterday what was going to become of the Meatballs space on E Street between 6th and 7th - and today, Washington City Paper answered that question (with great news, we might add!).  Taylor Gourmet has just begun construction there and doesn't yet have a build out timeline, but we're hoping it will be soon - we love the Philly style hoagies currently available at City Vista, on 14th Street, in Dupont and on H Street NE.

Wiseguy Sets an Opening

Wiseguy NY Pizza - Washington, DCFancy yourself a true New Yorker? (We know most DC residents do - they tell us about it all the time).  ...Then you probably already know that Wiseguy NY Pizza will be opening on October 30th (next Tuesday) at 300 Massachusetts Ave NW.  If you're really in the know, you're a fan of them on Facebook, which makes you eligible to go their soft opening on October 28th from 5-9 (with free pizza and garlic knots!).   Thrillist DC has pictures of the joint, and it's looking ready to go.    

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Creperie Opens by City Center

Embedded image permalink
Thanks (as always) to our amazing readers, one of whom pointed out Point Chaud Cafe's opening at 11th and H Street today.  The creperie has two existing locations (each on 14th Street).  You can check out the menu here.

Red Apron Butchery Update

Photo: Out getting pasted in Penn Quarter today...
We had introduced Red Apron Butchery to the neighborhood as part of the piecemeal grocery store we're building around these parts - but we have to apologize: we undersold the butchery.  According to their liquor license, the D Street location will have 110 seats and will in fact be a restaurant as well.  It's due to open in early 2013.

Monday, October 22, 2012

PQ Odds and Ends

  • Penn Quarter is finally getting a little love from Google... we now have an officially defined neighborhood that shows up on Google maps: 
    We noticed the change last week or so.

  • And finally, don't let the fact that we're going to hit the 80s this week fool you - only forty days until the Downtown Holiday Market opens.  The market will be open for 24 days - November 30th through December 23rd from noon to 8pm and will feature over 180 regional artisans, crafters and boutique businesses. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012


FINALLY: a decision from Wagamama.

Ingrid Williamson, Wagamama's Director of Marketing, who we have spoken to in the past, reached out to Eater DC today.  According to the article, Wagamama's board decided to NOT open a restaurant in Washington, DC as planned.

You'll recall that they signed the lease after Olsson's Bookstore left the space in 2008.  

When?  Oh, when?  Never.
Those seeking a noodle fix will be pleased to know that Absolute Noodle and Daikaya are still on track to open in the neighborhood.

Woolly Mammoth at Penn Social

The Pajama Men, a two man show with a "unique mash up of stand-up, sketch comedy and physical theatre" will be coming to the Woolly Mammoth from December 11 - January 6th - but you won't have to wait that long to see them.
The Pajama Men Preview

Next Friday, October 26th at 7pm, Penn Social will be hosting a special preview showcase in what's being called "the beginning of what will hopefully be a long relationship of arts performance on [Penn Social's] corner stage."  Admission will be free, but you should make reservations by calling Woolly's box office at (202) 393-3939 or by emailing their box office.

While you're there, don't forget to get 50% off!.

Penn Social Deal

If you have the ScoutMob app, pop in to Penn Social for 50% off (up to a $15 discount).  Get the details here, and get the app here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cafe Atlantico Space Gets an Owner

405 8th Street has housed Cafe Atlantico, Minibar, and America Eats all under Jose Andres' direction.  Soon, there will be a new sheriff in town: chef Frederik De Pue.  De Pue has plans to open a new restaurant by the end of this year.

The restaurant doesn't yet have a concept, but he says "it will be something new for Penn Quarter that doesn't currently exist." We like the sound of that.  De Pue currently owns Table, a restaurant in Shaw described as "seasonal and casual fare."

Don't expect a lot of construction to the space - "just a facelift" - and removing Minibar's six seats.  We'll be watching for concept, menu and opening date.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Nutella Truck Heads Our Way

Nutella® Breakfast Tour – D.C.
There's a truck for everything these days, and now that includes the delicious (and extremely addictive) Nutella truck.  It's up at Shaw today (1630 7th Street) but will be coming our way tomorrow.  Right now they're only handing out samples of Nutella, but the plan is to have waffles and baguettes on hand for all of your spreading needs.  Catch them at 502 4th Street NW (near the Judiciary Square metro) from 7a to noon tomorrow. Don't get used to it though, it moves on to Baltimore and Atlanta later this week.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

National Law Enforcement Museum Gets More Funding

Ground broke at the National Law Enforcement Museum in late 2010 on the 400 block of E Street with the intention of opening in 2013.  As residents know, there were construction challenges (causing E Street to be closed for about a year), and there were evidently fundraising issues as well.

Thanks to a generous donation from Motorola, the project is again moving full steam ahead.  With a $10 million grant and $5 million in products and services, the museum is now scheduled to open in 2015.  According to the museum, it will "help visitors better understand and appreciate the vital contributions our law officers have made to our nation... [and] will tell the story of the courageous work of the men and women who have spent their lives protecting us... through interactive exhibitions and compelling first-person narratives. ...They'll experience the physical and emotional challenges that law enforcement professional face every single day."

In June of this year, the construction was deemed 50% complete.  You can see the update from Memorial Fund Chairman & CEO Craig W. Floyd here:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The NHL Lockout Bar Crawl

The NHL season should have started tomorrow, but due to the lockout, there'll be no hockey until at least October 25th.  Well, the Penn Quarter bars want to point out that just because the players on the bench, doesn't mean you should be.

Head down to Fado, Ironhorse, RFD, Redline, Irish Channel, The Green Turtle, Rocket Bar, Penn Social, Hill Country or Clyde's on Friday for drink specials, hockey films, and potentially a Slapshot sighting.  Specials start at 5p.

Honk! Honk! Honk!

Fuel Pizza Deal

Looking for delicious (and half-price) pizza?

Look no further.  Fuel Pizza is offering $20 of pizza for just $10 today at both their F Street and K Street locations.  Get it from LivingSocial here.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Origins of Penn Quarter

Reporter Jonathan O'Connell tweeted at us yesterday to ask when the term "Penn Quarter" first came into being.  We didn't immediately know, but he piqued our interest and we started poking around a bit.

It wasn't until January 2004 that WMATA announced its intent to amend the metro stop to include Penn Quarter with "Archives-Navy Memorial," which implies it was in use for a spell before that - though this September 2004 Washington Post article written by Eve Zibart uses the term as if it was relatively new:
"Now, in what sometimes feels like a development abracadabra! D.C. is Downtown Chic.  Penn Quarter, as the neighborhood is now called, is packed with restaurants and nightclubs, bars and brewpubs -- all of them full at once, it seems..."
In a somewhat recent article by the folks at InTheCapital which focuses on this very naming issue, a bit more light is shed:
"Interestingly enough, the name Penn Quarter is relatively new and has only been around for the past few decades.  It was originally referred to as Old Downtown until it experienced a massive rejuvenation phase spearheaded by the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation in the 1990's.  The name Penn Quarter sprung up due to the neighborhood's border running along Pennsylvania Avenue."
We know that the PADC certainly helped to change the landscape of our neighborhood - using millions of dollars appropriated by Congress and billions garnered from private industry - but the PADC was dissolved in 1996, and we can't find any reference of "Penn Quarter" dating back that far.

Long-time residents: what say you?  When was the first time you heard the term?

Memorial Service for Rhett

We continue to have a heavy heart after Rhett Leverett's tragic passing earlier this week.  A reader in the Lafayette has passed on information regarding memorial services for "The Mayor of Penn Quarter."

  • At Joseph Gawler's Sons Funeral Home, 5130 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016
    • Visitation: Saturday, October 6, 3-7p
    • Memorial Service: Monday, October 8, 11a
  • Penn Quarter (Time and Place TBD) - Memorial Service
  • Marymount Campus (where Rhett was a professor) - Memorial Service, Wednesday, October 17, 11:30a-1p on the Ireton Lawn
For Lafayette residents, if you're interested in making a contribution towards flower and wreath, you may place an envelope under the door of unit #130.  

Many have asked about his dog Beth - the two were inseparable - she is staying with neighbors and friends in the building but may ultimately end up with family friends of Rhett's in his home state of Alabama.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pedestrian Struck and Killed This Morning

WJLA is reporting a tragic story from our neighborhood this morning: a man was struck and killed on the 500 block of 6th Street at about 9am today.  DC police spokesperson Tisha Gant says that the driver of the vehicle may have suffered a medical emergency just before striking the pedestrian.

UPDATE:  The man struck this morning was longtime Lafayette resident Rhett Leverett. He was out walking his West Highland Terrier, Beth, when the car jumped the sidewalk.  Neighborhood regulars know that Rhett was often called the Mayor of Penn Quarter, and he was never anywhere without Beth.  We believe Beth has already been taken in by a neighbor.

We will miss seeing his infectious smile around the neighborhood each day.  If you become aware of plans for a memorial service, please leave it in the comments.

The New Minibar

Minibar has announced its opening date in the old Zola Wine & Kitchen space: November 2nd.

That's just thirty-one days out, so yes, that means you can start getting reservations tomorrow at 10a.  Before you scramble to get that res, some things you should know:

  • Reservations will no longer be accepted over the phone.  You must email Minibar at 10a tomorrow, and reservations will be accepted in the order received.
  • Seatings are at 6p, 6:30p, 8:30p and 9p, Tuesdays through Saturdays.  Parties larger than 6 cannot be accommodated (there are only two six-seat bars).
  • The price has gone up from $150 to $225, and that's still excluding tax, tip, and alcohol.  You want drink pairings?  Tack on an additional $75, $120, or $200.  What economic slump?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lime Fresh to Replace Potbelly's

According to the Washington Business Journal, Lime Fresh Mexican Grill will replace the Potbelly at 726 7th Street in "mid-2013."

We're struck by the fact that Potbelly will be closing - particularly when another Mexican restaurant, California Tortilla, is right next door (and Chipotle is right across the street!).

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A New Noodle Shop

A new noodle shop is coming to Penn Quarter/Chinatown, and no, it's not Wagamama.

According to the folks at The 42 Bus blog, the owners of Absolute Thai will be opening a new noodle themed restaurant in the space formerly known as Quiznos on 5th Street, called Absolute Noodle.  We think of Absolute Thai as kind of a sleeper-hit in our neighborhood, now run by celebrechefs and the like, and we're excited another neighborhoody-type-place will be opening.  Opening is on course for November.

Dine Out & End Childhood Hunger

Every September, Share Our Strength's Dine Out For No Kid Hungry brings together thousands of restaurants and their customers to raise funds for the campaign.  This year, Penn Quarter has a few options if you want to help:

  • Hill Country - donate $2 or more through 9/22 and receive a small side on your next visit.
  • California Tortilla - donate $1 or more through 9/23 and get a free taco on your next visit.
  • Corner Bakery - donate $1 through 9/22 and get a free Whoopie Pie on your next visit, or donate $5 and get a coupon book worth $45.
  • Bruegger's - donate $3 or more through 9/22 and get a coupon book worth $20.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Celebrity Sighting

Heigl's Facebook picture
Katherine Heigl was in town last night for the Angels in Adoption Gala at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

According to Maria Trabocchi, she, husband Josh Kelley and daughters Naleigh and Adalaide dropped by Fiola as well.  Trabocchi categorized Heigl as "really beautiful" and "charming," and followed up with "And yes, she eats pasta too :)" 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sculpt DC's Opening Presale

We mentioned last month that Sculpt DC was moving towards opening - and indeed - the official opening date is Monday, September 24th.

If you want to try it out, they're offering an opening month special - $40 for one month of unlimited yoga, $60 for one month of unlimited cycle and yoga.  Your month begins on the day of your first visit (so long as that first day is between Sept 24th and October 24th).  You can register here.

Their pricing will go up after that: $180 for one month unlimited yoga, or $160 if you auto-renew (you get cycling with that price also).

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Red Apron Contest

Red Apron Butcher plans on opening in "early 2013," but you may have seen their signs up in the neighborhood already, inviting you to register for their mailing list.  You could win a dinner for you and nine friends if you win, or a Red Apron skateboard.

Hope you win!

At the Market Today

Actual apples from today's market:
image via @FRESHFARMMktsDC
Autumn's creeping in - winter and acorn squash from Garner's Produce and figs come highly recommended from the Farmer's Market - which as you know is on 8th Street between D and E until 7p today.

Plus: if you're a BASIS student or teacher, FRESHFARM is celebrating your first week by giving you a free apple.

The Daisuke Utagawa Projects Get Closer to Opening, Names

File:Phasianus versicolor in field.JPG
The Gosai Kiji bird
Today we got an onslaught of news from the Daisuke Utagawa projects.  Buried in a press release from Douglas Development, we now have some more information on when the 600 F Street cocktail bar (the Fuel Pizza corner) he's had in the works will open:  about "six months."  It's also been given a name: Kiji Club - named after the national bird of Japan.  The bar is still in development - per an interview with the Washingtonian, the only certain aspects are whiskey and snacks.  We're not complaining (unless the rumor that there would be a cover still holds true...)

Utagawa also says that the original ramen shop concept at 705 6th Street, Daikaya (next to Graffiato) - will open by the end of this year.  The ramen bar will serve Sapporo-style ramen and seat about 40, where as the upstairs izakaya ("where you drink, eat and be merry," according to Utagawa himself) will seat about 100.

No News from Wagamama

This is hardly a news story these days, but we thought we'd let you know that we recently reached out to our contact at Wagamama.  The Director of Marketing told us:
"I am afraid there is no new news on this subject."
When asked if there was anything she could tell us about the reasons for delay, she responded "I am afraid not."

Wagamama has had plans to take over the old Olsson's Bookstore since it closed in June 2008.  Four plus years - and still a huge vacant cavern on 7th Street.  Nearly every establishment in a block or so's radius of Wagamama has turned over in that time: Hill Country, Merzi, Sei, Luke's Lobster, Protein Bar, Red Velvet, Tangy Sweet, Carmine's, Iron Horse and Pitango.  At this point, we would be thrilled to even hear they had given up on the development - just so that the space could turn over to someone else.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Table for One in Penn Quarter

Eater DC asked its readers where they'd be most likely to make a reservation for one - and they overwhelming picked Penn Quarter restaurants.
A bit of Eater's map - 9 of their 12 restaurants are here in the 20004

We wonder if it's our great restaurants that attract singles, or if it's because our lively neighborhood is enough stimulus to keep a solo-eater entertained.  The Eater article cites the fact that reservations at places like RasikaGraffiato, Fiola, and Oyamel can be hard to grab, but sidling up at the bar for a bite can be much easier.  Either way, it's a great list to check out - and helpful if you're here on solo business or maybe looking to meet a new friendly face in the city.

Sculpt DC Looks Like It's Set an Opening

It being the 28th, it should come as no surprise that Sculpt DC is not opening in August as they have long promised.  The website, however, has been updated, indicating a September opening, and better yet - their class schedules are now up.

Per their scheduling app, it looks like a potential soft opening for a Club Sculpt class (a Friday only "total-body class set to club beats by [their] resident DJ") on Friday, September 21st - and then the full opening on September 24th.

Monday, August 27, 2012

French Classes at Lunch

Alliance Francaise is hosting a week-long open house this week - you can drop in to free mini French classes between 12 and 1:30p each day though the 31st.  You'll also get a 10% discount if you register for a full session of French courses, which begin on September 15th.

They're located at 421 7th St NW.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

First Look at Protein Bar

We were able to drop by Protein Bar last night just before closing (at 9p on weekdays) and the place was pleasantly populated for late-evening in Penn Quarter.

The staff was incredibly friendly and patient with us while we perused the menu.  We opted for the Buffalo Bar-rito to go.

It was only about 3 minutes or so from ordering to when our order was ready at the pick up window, but we appreciated the fact we got a buzzer so that we could wander the restaurant, checking out their hot sauce bar and fountain soda machine (no Coke or Pepsi products, which we realize is a plus for some... not us, sadly.  We think it was Boylan's in the machine, though we forgot to take a picture!).

Our bar-rito nicely survived the short walk home (we like how it was half-wrapped on the inside as a little sleeve to eat it in). The bar-rito was grilled (though some are available chilled) and had chicken, quinoa, blue cheese, salad, and buffalo sauce.  Though we found it could have used a bit more sauce, we easily supplemented with some of the available hot sauces they have on hand.  The cheese wasn't overwhelming, but frankly, we're irked when "health food" restaurants load up on caloric ingredients - Protein Bar struck the perfect balance of adding flavor but not too much fat. 

We will definitely be back to try some of the other items.  Welcome to the neighborhood!