Shaw Streets – April 2017

Best New Shaw Business of 2016 winners from Grand Cata (first runner up), Bazaar Spices (winner), and Service Bar (second runner up). Photo: Pleasant Mann

Shaw Main Streets Holds Annual Meeting
Shaw Main Streets held its annual meeting at the Marriott Marquis hotel the evening of March 21. Board Chair Gretchen Wharton and Executive Director Alexander Padro started the meeting by recounting the accomplishments of the organization over the past year.

Shaw saw 40 new businesses open in 2016, bringing 355 new jobs to the neighborhood. Perhaps the biggest milestone, however, was getting the Great American Main Streets Award from the National Main Streets Center in recognition of exceptional work as an economic revitalization organization. Padro then went on to outline the progress expected in the coming year, expecting at least 36 new businesses opening in the neighborhood during 2017, while Shaw Main Streets investigates the potential for establishing a Business Improvement District in Shaw.

Then the winners of the Best New Shaw Business of 2016 poll were announced. Bazaar Spices, located at 2130 Eighth St. NW, received the most votes in the 12th annual contest sponsored by Shaw Main Streets. Owned by Monica Grover and Ivan Fitzgerald, Bazaar Spices is Washington’s first locally owned and operated gourmet spice shop, offering a wide range of curated, small-batch spices, seasoning blends, bulk herbs, botanicals, rice, flours, lentils, and specialty food products from around the world. The shop also offers frequent classes, workshops, and demonstrations highlighting the use of spices and herbs.

Grand Cata, a Latino wine shop at 1550 Seventh St. NW, received first runner up honors. It specializes in Latin American and heritage nation (Spain, Portugal, Italy) wine, spirits, beers, and specialty foods curated by owners Pedro Rodriquez and Julio Robledo.

Service Bar, located at 926-928 U St. NW, received the second runner up nod. Offering affordably priced classic and contemporary cocktails, beers, and shots plus a limited food menu, Service Bar is owned by DC bar veterans Chris Willoughby, Chad Spangler, and Glendon Hartley.

The proceedings concluded with the election for the Shaw Main Streets board. Four new members took seats on the board. Bernard Demczuk is a 33-year Shaw resident who recently retired as an assistant vice president for government relations for George Washington University. Demczuk also served as director of intergovermental relations under mayors Sharon Pratt Kelly and Marion Barry. William Lansing is a founding and managing partner at Valor Development, a mixed-use, multifamily real estate development company. Theresa E. Watts is the owner of nationally recognized Lettie Gooch Boutique, as well as a professional life and style coach. Robert Yule is vice president, senior producer, and writer at Long Story Short Media, an award-winning DC creative consulting and production firm specializing in narrative and documentary storytelling across multiple platforms.

No Shaw Massacre
When three Shaw restaurants closed or announced their closing in February, alarmists started to refer to a “Ninth Street Massacre,” predicting doom for the premier dining destination in the city. In reality the Ninth Street Massacre quickly joined the Bowling Green Massacre on the list of historic non-events.

Two new establishments quickly opened in Shaw during the month. Union Kitchen Grocery, a spinoff of the famed Union Kitchen, opened at the corner of Ninth and N. The shop boasts a breakfast bar, salad bar, and hot bar, sandwiches made fresh until 9:30 p.m., a coffee bar, an extensive selection of wines and beers, and fresh fruits and vegetables, along with food products made by DC entrepreneurs.

Also, Tiger Fork, a Hong Kong-themed dim sum shop with Chinese medicine-inspired cocktails, opened at the end of February in Blagden Alley. The proprietors are best known for their work at the renowned Tail Up Goat restaurant.

March saw two more openings in Shaw. Etete, the venerable Ethiopian restaurant, reopened after a substantial makeover, with both levels of the restaurant now having a hyper-contemporary decor. While Mama Etete still runs the kitchen, chef Christopher Roberson is modernizing the menu. Beef, lentils, and collard greens are still available, but Roberson is expanding the selection to include fish and chips and a kitfo that uses Wagyu beef. Also, Arroz, the Mediterranean-themed restaurant of top chef Mike Isabella, opened in the Marriott Marquis, completing the hotel’s portfolio of dining venues.

Shaw Architecture Gets Noticed
The latest issue of Architecture DC, the quarterly publication of the Washington chapter of the American Institute of Architects, has a special section featuring the architecture of Shaw. A lead article goes over the design of a number of recently completed buildings including the Atlantic Plumbing building, the AP 2030 apartment building across the street, and the Channing E. Phillips Homes. A review of new projects includes a set of micro-unit apartment in Blagden Alley, Roadside Development’s 1336 Eighth Street NW, Ditto’s Parcel 42 at Seventh and R streets, and Monument Realty’s planned development at Ellington Plaza. The article also gives prominence to the design of notable Shaw restaurants like as Haikan, Kyirisan, and The Dabney, and notes the role of Shaw architectural and design firms including Suzane Reatig, Brian Miller at Edit Lab, R. McGhee and Associates, and GrizForm Design Architects in developing the contemporary look of Shaw.