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Friday, April 19, 2024

Shaw Streets

Shaw Celebrates Small Business Saturday
Shaw Main Streets celebrated Small Business Saturday on Nov. 25 with a series of ribbon cuttings that welcomed new businesses to the neighborhood. The event, part of the national effort to encourage holiday shopping at small local enterprises, also introduced the use of the “ShawBuck,” a coupon resembling currency but picturing neighborhood namesake Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. A ShawBuck was worth $5 when redeemed for purchases at over 25 Shaw businesses that Saturday. Shaw’s Small Business Saturday also included holiday craft workshops at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library, with the Cambria Suites hotel serving as a distribution point for free Shaw swag bags stuffed with Shaw Main Streets t-shirts, pins, pens and magnets.

The day started at newly opened Seylou Bakery and Mill at 926 N St. NW. Joining the crowd for the celebration were DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson, At-Large Councilmembers Robert White and Elissa Silverman and Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau. After cutting a ribbon outside the bakery, proprietors Jonathan Bethony and Jessica Azeez gave a tour of their shop, which includes a huge wood-burning oven built by Spanish craftsmen and a stone mill to grind locally grown grains into unique flours.

The celebrants moved through Blagden Alley to cut ribbons at Calico (50 Blagden Alley NW) and 1230 Restaurant (1230 Ninth St. NW), before crossing the street to the Unconventional Diner at the Walter Washington Convention Center (1207 Ninth St. NW). Ribbons were also cut at the MVP Sports Bar (1015½ Seventh St. NW) and at Supra (1205 11th St. NW), one of the few restaurants in the United States specializing in cuisine from the Republic of Georgia.

The effort moved north to cut ribbons at the 1942 club (1942 Ninth St., above Etete Restaurant), FB Liquors (1905 Ninth St.), El Techo, the rooftop restaurant above Rito Loco (606 Florida Ave.), and the basement speakeasy at 600 T St. NW. Ribbons were also cut to acknowledge two new publicly financed murals completed in Shaw at Lee’s Flower & Card Shop (1026 U St. NW) and the mural “Jazz Heroes of Washington, DC,” at Right Proper Brewing Company (624 T St. NW).

At the ribbon cutting for Angel’s Share Wine and Liquors (1748 Seventh St. NW), manager Prav Saraff announced that the store intends to donate a scholarship every year to a Shaw neighborhood student. The ceremonies ended at the newly renovated Queen of Sheba Restaurant, which has reopened under new ownership. 

Convention Center Fills Out Retail Space
Events DC held a ceremony earlier in the week, on Nov. 21, to mark the full leasing of the retail space at the Walter Washington Convention Center. Mayor Muriel Bowser joined Events DC head Greg O’Dell and other dignitaries in welcoming the Unconventional Diner and Morris American Bar (1020 Seventh St.), as well as Union Kitchen Grocery (1251 Ninth St.) and Urban Athletic Club (804 N St. NW), the last two actually opening last summer.

At the ceremony in front of the Unconventional Diner, Mayor Bowser remarked that “the arrival of these new establishments will highlight and celebrate the District’s vibrant tourism and economic development, while also bringing highly anticipated economic activity and jobs to Washington, DC, and more community services to the Shaw corridor.” A ribbon was then cut to mark the arrival of the four new businesses.

The Unconventional Diner is a locally owned and operated upscale traditional American diner, run by co-owner David Deshaies, currently the chef at Michel Richard’s Central. It will start with a laid-back dinner menu, eventually expanding to a three-meal-a-day operation.

Morris American Bar is the first establishment by master cocktail craftsman David Strauss, a student of the late, renowned barman Sasha Petraske. Union Kitchen Grocery is the locally inspired market on the corner of Ninth and N streets that expands the Union Kitchen brand to the Shaw neighborhood, while Urban Athletic Club represents the third location in the District for the renowned Crossfit training center.

Final Foster House Thanksgiving Dinner Marks 20th Anniversary
On Thanksgiving afternoon, Letha Blount, 87, presented her 20th free Thanksgiving dinner for approximately 200 residents of Shaw’s Foster House Apartments, Phyllis Wheatley YWCA and anyone else who needed or wanted to share a holiday meal. Blount said that due to age and health considerations, this would be her final community Thanksgiving dinner. Originally funded by Blount out of her own pocket, the dinner is now sponsored by her American Classic Woman of the Year Pageant, along with support from Douglas Development, Roadside Development and Giant Food. A number of “Queens,” past winners of the senior pageant, helped in preparing and serving Thanksgiving dinner. Blount’s former pastor and his wife, the Reverend Walter and Dorothy Fauntroy, regular attendees to the annual dinner, greeted the crowd and thanked Blount for her decades of service.

Shaw Bars Take Up Holiday Themes
The Drink Company (1843 Seventh St. NW), which brought an estimated 90,000 people to Shaw during its Game of Thrones popup bar last summer, is celebrating the holidays again. Miracle on Seventh Street, now in its third year, celebrates just about every facet of the Christmas holiday. At the entrance, the space is devoted to holidays at home, including a toy train chugging around the room at ceiling level. In the back is a tribute to the Candyland board game, while the main bar is a riot of Christmas decorations and tinsel, with an upholstered sleigh as a prop for photos.

One room, called “Chinese and a Movie,” reflects a popular Jewish tradition for the holiday. Festooned with carryout cartons, menus and movie posters, the space has a visual display of numbered cocktails, including one called the Hebrew Hammer, a shot of mulled Manischewitz wine.

Ivy and Coney (1537 Seventh St. NW), Shaw’s famed dive bar, will also redecorate with a holiday theme. Taking on the name Chai-vy and Cohen-y, the bar will celebrate Hanukkah over the whole month of December. Starting with a blue and white makeover, the popup will offer seasonal drinks (think Slivovitz) along with an appropriate snack menu (including latkes and matzoh ball soup). A menorah will be lit during the actual holiday, with a dreidel-spinning contest scheduled for Dec. 19.

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