Saturday, June 30, 2012

Meatballs has closed

Thanks to reader Patrick for the tip, it appears Meatballs has closed. The space is completely empty.

This was a surprise to us - and now we wonder what will take the space. There is vacant space on that block (and in that building) where hot potato cafe was, too.

We hate to lose two restaurants, and hope bigger things are to come.

I Street Closed at 5th

There is a tree down on I street, blocking the eastbound lane. To get around it, you have to go in the oncoming traffic lane, where there is also some light debris.

Doesn't seem to be causing a big traffic problem, but it might if it gets busy there (say after a Verizon Center event).

We'll let you know if we find out when cleanup is expected. We doubt it is a high priority.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Food Notes

A guide for eating your way through today:

  • Stop by the White House Farmers Market, 11a-2:30p.
  • Thinking of grabbing Merzi for lunch this afternoon?  Check out The Washingtonian's review of the most healthy and least healthy options there.
  • The Penn Quarter Farmers Market from 3-7p should hold you until dinner, or...
  • Stop by Ryan's Banana Split Party at Carmine's from 4-6p.  The Tommy Show was inspired by a family who's 21 month old son, Ryan, is suffering from a heart defect.  Ryan's family wants "everyone to have a banana split for dinner, because Ryan will never get the chance to have one, and they just want us to do something with our children so they can remember and just have fun." Banana splits are on The Tommy Show.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Zola's Closing Special

As Zola heads towards its closing day (June 30th), they're offering all day happy hour prices on certain items (the lobster mac & cheese, lamb sliders and tuna tartar) and drinks (Zola martini, passion, red sage margarita, white sangria, and blue sting).  You can also grab house wines for $5/glass or 25% off wine bottles subject to availability (remember: wine went quickly at Zola Wine and Kitchen!)

Celebrity Sighting

The Washington Post saw actor Owen Wilson at Pitango Gelato over the weekend.  According to the story, he was in town "just to play" -- not here for work.  Anyone spot him?

Townhouse Kitchen + Bar Sets an Opening

We reached out to the folks at Townhouse Kitchen + Bar after we saw their signage go up on Sixth Street.  No, they won't be hitting their "Spring 2012" opening as predicted, but Marc Wuenschel, Chief Operations Officer let us know that they are now targeting late September.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Riot Act to Become Penn Social

More details today in the Riot Act closing.  Fritz Hahn at the Washington Post tell us that the space will be called Penn Social, a "social club" with games, TVs and bars.

The downstairs stage will remain but will now include live music, karaoke competitions (via District Karaoke) and "game shows," which has us intrigued certainly.  It will still be open to comedians as well, good news for those who commented that they'd miss the comedy space.

As we mentioned earlier this week, it sounds as though the space is mixing the integral elements of its two brother bars: lots of games (shuffleboard, cornhole, pool, skee-ball, darts) from Rocket Bar and giant TV screens (6 ten-footers and 1 twenty-footer) from Buffalo Billiards.

Penn Social will open on July 9th.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Updates from Sixth Street

With yesterday's news of all the closings, it's nice to focus on things that are opening - today, news from two Sixth Street establishments.

Townhouse Kitchen + Bar has put up some signage at their new home at 700 6th Street (in the Cadwalader building).  We first reported on the restaurant back in December, when they were expecting a "Spring 2012" opening.  As of today, we know that's no longer the case, but signs and permits are up. The restaurant will focus on small plates with Spanish and Asian influences, as well as wine.
Townhouse's Signage

We also heard yesterday that the new cocktail lounge coming to 6th and F will actually be run by Daikaya's owner, Daisuke Utagawa.  He'll create an otsumami menu (Japanese snacks) to go along with the beverages.  No name has been announced yet, but we do know the lounge will have a cover charge.  
The cocktail lounge will be in the basement of Fuel Pizza

Lest you think all of Utagawa's energy is going towards the bar, we're happy to report that Daikaya itself has nearly one full story of brick and mortar up - finally.
Daikaya's brick and mortar - signs of life!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Minibar To Move to the ZWK Space

We called it a few weeks back (OK, first we had cockamamie ideas about Spike moving in, but let's move past that, shall we? It's been a long day.): Jose Andres is moving Minibar into the Zola Wine & Kitchen space after America Eats closes on July 4th.

Before you go calling tomorrow at 10a to snag the July 21st reservation at the new Minibar, the new space won't open until October, per the Washington Post.  Yes, you'll still have to call 30 days in advance, and no, your chances won't be much better now that Minibar will get its own space: seating will only be for 16.

A Closings Wrap-Up

In the last twenty-four hours, we've reported on FIVE different Penn Quarter establishments closing: Buddha Bar, Zola, Potenza, Capital BBQ, and Riot Act.   Here's hoping tomorrow brings better news...

Riot Act Closing


After receiving a tip from a reader, we believe that Riot Act has plans to close on July 1st.

The tip stems from an email sent by United Social Sports - an invitation to "Penn Quarter's Newest Bar (Formerly Riot Act) on Saturday, July 9th.  You can see the invitation for yourself here (no, it's not a secret anymore.)

In looking at Riot Act's calendar of events, there is absolutely nothing scheduled after comic Rachel Feinstein's two-night engagement on June 28th and 29th. 

If the space will continue to be a bar as indicated by the United Social Sports email, we wonder what will become of the stage downstairs.  Perhaps it will be razed for more bar space?  The email indicates that by July 9th, shuffleboard, pool, cornhole, and giant jenga will be set up, which is in line with Rocket Bar and Buffalo Billiards, other bars owned by Riot Act's owners.

We have reached out to ownership for comment, and will absolutely be following up on this.  Riot Act has been in the neighborhood less than a year - sad to hear it may be going so soon.

Taxi Fuel Surcharge Expires Today

A bit of good news - taxis won't (shouldn't, anyway) charge you the $1 fuel surcharge beginning tomorrow - the 16 month temporary regulation has expired.

"The Commission will continue to monitor the cost of gasoline throughout the summer and fall and should conditions change it will consider appropriate action," Ron M. Linton, DC Taxicab Commission Chairman said.

And One More Closing...

It's been a barrage of closing news today, and we nearly missed this one (we thank an intrepid tipster for bringing this one to our attention!) - Capital Q BBQ announced that July 14th will be their last day on H Street.  Capital Q has long been a resident of Chinatown - 15 years - which in our neighborhood makes them nearly ancient.

Stream the Verizon Center Hearing

The Verizon Center graphics and signage hearing starts at noon today.  Can't make it there?  You can stream the hearing live to your desk or home here.

Read why we're in support of the jumbotrons.

Taco Eating Contest

Think you can be the campeรณn de District Taco?  Try your hand (mouth, and stomach) at their taco eating contest.

Eight entries will be randomly selected to take on the reigning champion - you'll have fifteen minutes to eat, in the following order (and repeated until the time is up): breakfast taco, pollo asado taco, carnitas taco, and carne asada taco at their Metro Center location.  Winner will get a $100 gift certificate to District Taco.  (Losers get all the tacos they can eat in that fifteen minute span, and maybe some heartburn).

Entries must be received by tomorrow (Thursday) at noon - see the official rules (like: no throwing up allowed!) for all the details.

Progress at the PQ Bodega

Profile Picture
Ideas for the PQ Bodega have been rattling around for awhile now, but today they released this chart of their progress.  

No: they haven't chosen or secured a location yet, BUT - they evidently have plans to roll out a "mobile bodega" soon!  We love the idea of a fresh fruits and veggies truck.  We reached out to the PQ Bodega who says we should expect more information on the truck in a few days. 

Rumors of More Closings in the Area

Yesterday it was Buddha Bar - today, there's a report that Zola will close on June 30th, to be followed by Potenza's closing on August 18th.  The report is from noted food blogger Nycci Nellis of The List Are You On It.

For what it's worth, you're still able to make a reservation at Zola past the alleged closing date, though we realize that may not be an accurate indicator.

Both Zola and Potenza are owned by the Stir Food Group, which recently shut down their Zola Wine and Kitchen outpost.  This latest round of reported closings would leave the group without any holdings.

NOON UPDATE:  City Paper has confirmed the rumors.  Per Zola manager Melissa Pinkerton, the owners no longer wish to stay in the food and beverage industry (Stir Food Group's parent company has other holdings such as the Spy Museum and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland).

The Potenza space will remain a restaurant, to be helmed by Vidalia and Bistro Bis' Jeffrey Buben, who is still finalizing his lease.  No word on what will become of Zola.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Has Buddha Bar Closed?

A report from the Washington Business Journal implies as much - calls aren't being returned, publicists are no longer employed, it's off OpenTable, and the website is down.

No word on why, or if the owners have plans to retool.  Shoot us an email if you see any development there.

Why We Support the Verizon Center Signage

Tomorrow (Wednesday) at noon there will be a hearing on the proposed jumbotrons at 7th and F in Room 412 of the Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW).  Yesterday, Ted Leonsis weighed in with his "take" and invited community residents to come and have their voice be heard.  We won't be able to be in attendance, but thought it was high time we weigh in.

In short, Ted: you have our support.

We see no reason that the privately owned Verizon Center shouldn't be able to supplement its income (it's still $100 million in the hole from building costs) with advertising, particularly when it has brought so much  income to us as Penn Quarter residents.

The Verizon Center has brought Caps, Hoyas, Madonna, the Dalai Lama, NCAA's March Madness and so many others within spitting distance.  The growth it spurred has brought Shakespeare, Jose Andres, comedy, movies, farmers markets, the President's favorite pizza, Tony Awards, and arts festivals.

Focusing on sites just across the street from the Verizon Center, or in the accompanying complex: you can see portraits of all 43 presidents; grab a beer from a tap at your table or have a glass of champagne on tap with a Top Chef contestant; register for a china pattern; stop by your attorney's office; and rent a car.  You can bowl, play skeeball, or play guitar.  You can stay the night in a National Historic Landmark and do pilates on the patio when you wake up.  The Verizon Center is an energy epicenter for Penn Quarter - a force that has allowed countless businesses to move in and make Penn Quarter their home as we have.

These signs are not "blight," as they have been called.  The screens are exciting.  They are far better than the vinyl tarps that currently shroud our arena.  They will not turn Penn Quarter into Times Square, a complaint that's been driven into the ground.

Not convinced?  The plan for new signage (pictures available here) will bring the square footage of advertising down and will totally eliminate any signs that make noise.  The screens will be made available to promote community events and for emergency notifications.  Absolutely none of this has implied the Verizon Center will be anything other than the good neighbor they've been to us all along.  In an effort to be a good neighbor back, we are voicing our support.

Shakespeare Theatre Deal

The Servant of Two MastersTrying to catch Shakespeare Theatre Company's A Servant of Two Masters at the Lansburgh Theatre?  Do it on the cheap, via Living Social.  $39 gets you a weekday ticket, $45 on the weekends.

According to STC:
"Delightful and delicious, The Servant of Two Masters is filled to the brim with music, dance and laughter.  Mayhem erupts when a wily servant hatches a crafty scheme to double his wages by serving two masters at once.
"This production contains mature subject matter and adult language.  Recommended for patrons 14 years and older." 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Market Today

We don't mean to jinx it but Thursday weather has really been treating us well this year.  Head down to the market to enjoy it (8th between D and E) - but first check out these fourteen tips on how to get the most out of your market experience.

Jaleo is doing a demonstration today, making a squash blossom sandwich with manchego cheese and serrano ham.  They've posted the recipe here.  Yum!

Dangerously Delicious Pies to Union Station

Dangerously Delicious PiesEater has confirmed that Dangerously Delicious Pies will be opening a location in Union Station on July 25th.

As pie enthusiasts, we're excited by this news, but a bit miffed: where is our Chinatown outpost we were promised?

We reached out to both Dangerously Delicious and Douglas Development a few weeks ago and haven't heard a peep back.  There's no news that the Union Station outpost is in lieu of the location slated for 901 7th Street, but we have to think that if Dangerously Delicious can pull off an opening at Union Station inside of six weeks, there's got to be a serious hold-up and or change of plans for Chinatown.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pilates and Prosecco at Poste

POP: Pilates on the Patio logo
Looking to both workout AND have a boozy brunch on the weekends?  Two birds, one Poste.

Beginning this Saturday, head over to Poste with your yoga mat for a 45 minute pilates class, to be topped off with a glass of sparkling wine.  

Each class is $19, and you should sign up in advance here, since each class is limited to 20 people.  

To Catch a (Vida Fitness Wallet) Thief

The Vida Fitness over at CityVista has had a spate of wallet thefts from the club - three in the last few months - but the suspect was creatively caught on camera thanks to management's (sort of hilarious) plan.

Manager Chris Kopp filled several lockers with white cooking flour and locked them with very easy to break locks.  The cartoonish plan worked wonders: a man later identified as Michael Reed broke into one and was doused with flour.  Vida has notified police.  Check out WJLA's report below:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Art of SpYn Changes Name

Just as a quick heads up - the folks at Art of SpYn were evidently hit with some trademark issues, so they now are known as Sculpt DC.  Still a half-spinning/half-yoga studio, and still planning to open in August to F Street between 9th and 10th.

Arts on Foot to go on Hiatus

A PQInsider snapshot from the 2011 festival
Arts on Foot will go on hiatus this September -  what would have been the 20th anniversary of the theater, art, museum and culinary festival.

According to the Washington Business Journal, it will come back in 2013 with a different format.

"We look forward to returning with a fall 2013 program that showcases Downtown as the premier location for visual and performing arts and culture in the Washington region," said Richard H. Bradley, executive director of the DowntownDC BID.  They'll be designing an event "that will no doubt about Downtown's rich cultural resources available throughout the year," Bradley continued in the release.

We've always enjoyed the festival - you can see our pics from last year here -  and while we appreciate the efforts to retool, we had hoped the sponsors would be able to get something off the ground for this fall.  Ah well, we're glad that the Navy Concerts are back to keep us company until then - they're back at the Navy Memorial tonight!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Navy Concerts are Back!

We've been digging for information about the Navy concerts for a couple of weeks now - they are one of the best perks about being here in Penn Quarter in the summers - and for awhile we thought they might not be bringing back the weekly tradition.

Our fears were misplaced.  Starting tonight, the free Monday night Concerts at the Capitol begin; and tomorrow, "Concerts on the Avenue" at the Navy Memorial begin (also free).  

Both concerts begin at 8p on their respective evenings and will run through August.  Grab a picnic and head over - it's truly a do not miss.

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises will be released on July 20th, and if you want to see the movie in six stories of Smithsonian IMAX splendor, the presale begins today (Monday) at noon.

Check out the preview:

More on the Mass Court Retail

Last month, we reported that a pizza place and a dry cleaners would be joining The Carving Room in the Mass Court retail bays.
Now, signage is up!  The pizza place will be called "Wiseguy NY Pizza," an outfit that originally had planned to take over the Philadelphia Cheesesteak Factory space in Georgetown.  The pizza place will open in "3 months," according to their Twitter feed - so maybe in time for Labor Day (and the arrival of the many many Georgetown Law students who live in Mass Court).  The last press report on Carving Room indicated a similar opening schedule.

Downtown Neighborhood Association Meeting

The DNA's monthly meeting will be held tomorrow (Tuesday) at the Calvary Baptist Church at 6:30p.

The featured speaker is Esther Bushman, the General Counsel & Compliance Manager for the DC Office of Zoning.  Ms. Bushman will explain the services that the Office of Zoning provides, and will give an update on the rewriting of zoning regulations project.

Building Museum Mini-Golf

Summer Programs 2012
It used to be that if you wanted to play mini-golf indoors, you'd have to truck over to H Street NE to H Street Country Club.

No more.  As of July 4th at 10am, you'll have a course right in your backyard: the National Building Museum is opening a one-of-a-kind mini golf course designed by local architects, construction firms, urban planners and designers.  Each hole will have a - you guessed it - building related theme, inspired by an actual building, bridge, landscape or monument, or one that the designer made up themselves, with the hope of winning the "Best in Show" award presented by the museum later this summer.

It costs $5 to play, or $3 with paid same-day admission or membership (which you can get for only $25 right now at LivingSocial).

The course will close on September 3rd, but not before two late-night puttputt sessions on Thursday July 26th and Thursday August 23rd.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

At the Market Today

Another beautiful day for the market.

Red Apron is on hand with these delicious hot dogs (fall can't come fast enough, we can't wait to have these guys on D Street all the time!)

Also, Chipotle is handing out $5 in free market money!  The coupons are good for today only, so get down there!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


It's hump day, and we think you deserve some deals for getting through half of this week.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Gladys Knight at Woodrow Wilson Plaza

Live! On Woodrow Wilson Plaza with Gladys Knight

Every Monday through Thursday from 12p-1:30p (weather permitting), Live! on Woodrow Wilson Plaza will feature free performances of all kinds - African dance, Celtic folk songs, jazz violin, hip hop, Latin swing and pop rock.

Gladys Knight kicks it off tomorrow at noon (should be a great day for it).

Forbes' Profile of the Trabocchis

It's no secret that we love Fiola and the chef/owner and director of special events pair Fabio and Maria Trabocchi.

Forbes agrees with us - and has highlighted them as a "power couple behind today's hottest restaurants."

Among the things we learned:  Maria and Fabio met in the space that now houses Fiola - she was in college and dining at the restaurant; it was his first day as chef.

There are a surprising amount of reservations tonight still, if you want to go see them in action.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Celebrity Sighting

Not to sound like the Gossip Girl herself, but according to Reliable SourceBlake Lively and beau Ryan Reynolds dined at Graffiato last week.

The two dined on pizza, asparagus soup and gnocchi at their second-floor table.

(xoxo, PQ Insider)