Shaw Streets

November 2018

New customers try out the newly opened Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. Photo: Alexander Padro

Shaw Holds Open House
Shaw Main Streets held its fall Shaw Open House on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 20. Hundreds enjoyed food and beverage samples as they toured Shaw businesses north of Rhode Island Avenue, including some that have only recently opened, such as the Nicecream ice creamery, the Rewild plant store, the Cosmo Beauty Bar nail salon and the new Shaw outpost of H Street’s Po Boy Jim Bar & Grill. The event also included a public art treasure hunt.

Shaw Open House participants tracked their journey using a mobile app passport or by getting stamps on a paper passport. At the end of the afternoon, about 100 attended a closing party at the Community Lounge of the Shay apartments, sponsored by Papa’s Pilar Rum and Pizza D’Oro. Prizes from over 30 participating Shaw neighborhood businesses were raffled off to the Shaw Open House attendees. 

Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. Opens in Shaw
The much-anticipated opening of the Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. in Shaw took place on Saturday morning, Oct. 13. People lined up early on the 1800 block of Seventh Street for the 8 a.m. opening in order to be the first to sample the renowned Southern diner fare, with gift cards for the first 100 customers. The city’s chicken-and-biscuit aficionados were deeply disappointed by the company’s closing and move from its original location in Northeast. When Mason Dixie reopened in a high-end space in Shaw, the move confirmed the neighborhood’s reputation as the place for trendy and adventuresome dining. 

Shaw Declared Best Gayborhood Again
Shaw won the designation of Best Gayborhood for the third year in a row in the Washington Blade readers’ poll of The Best of Gay DC. After one of its biggest gay venues, Town Danceboutique, closed, it seemed like Shaw might lose its standing as a hub of the city’s gay activity. But it will take more than the loss of one establishment for Shaw to lose its gay cachet.

Of course, a number of Shaw businesses were picked by Blade readers for Best of Gay DC honors. Nellie’s Sports Bar had the Best Avion Tequila Margarita; Dacha Beer Garden got awards for Best Straight Bar and Best Outdoor Drinking; while the 9:30 Club was the Best Live Music venue.

In terms of food, Beau Thai was voted Best Ethnic Restaurant, Unconventional Diner the Best New Restaurant, and Cava Best Fast Casual Dining. The recently opened Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. has the Best Locally Made Products, with Compass Coffee winning the award for Best Coffee Shop. And the Atlantic Plumbing Landmark Theater was voted Best Movie Theater for another year. The editors of the Blade also added Shaw watering holes DC9, Service Bar and Uproar as their suggestions for the Best of Gay DC. 

Shaw Stands Out in Express Best of 2018 List
Shaw businesses also took top honors in the recent readers’ poll from the daily Express. Shouk was the Best Fast Casual restaurant as well as the Best Vegan Restaurant, while Compass Coffee had the Best Coffee in the poll. The Columbia Room was the Best Bar for Cocktails, Dacha Beer Garden was the Best Place to Drink Outdoors, Maxwell Park was the Best Wine Bar and Nellie’s was voted Best Gay Bar.

Violet was the Best Women’s Boutique, the 9:30 Club Best Music Venue and Touchstone Gallery was Best Art Gallery. Finally, the editors of Express also mentioned Sunset & Chill, a biweekly variety experience that occurs at Old City Farm and Garden on Saturday nights, as the “Best Way to Experience Burning Man without Leaving DC.”

HBO Shines a Light on Shaw
Shaw got its 15 minutes of fame recently on the premium cable network HBO. In the Oct. 18 episode of “Vice News,” a segment on the opening of the Eaton Hotel on K Street spotlighted the help the hotel got from Shaw entrepreneurs. The feature showed how Kyirisan chef/owner Tim Ma, herbalist Sunyatta Amen of Calabash Tea and Tonic and Art All Night in Shaw repeat-featured video artist Robin Bell to launch the Eaton, uniquely positioned as the “anti-Trump hotel.” Also, the second episode of LeBron James’ HBO series “The Shop” was taped at Shaw’s own Barber of Hell’s Bottom. While the interviews were taped at the 14th Street location, the external shots for the show were of the barber shop at Rhode Island and Ninth.

Hearing on Shaw Middle School Set for Nov. 15
The DC Council Committee on Education has scheduled a hearing on Thursday, Nov. 15, to discuss “The District of Columbia Public Schools’ Plans for Shaw Junior High School Campus and Benjamin Banneker Academic High School.” DC Public Schools has announced a plan to move Banneker Academic High School to the site previously occupied by Shaw Junior High School at 925 Rhode Island Ave. NW.

The fact that the neighborhood has gone without a middle school for a decade has led to an organized opposition to the planned move. The hearing will be held at 10:00 a.m. in Room 500 of the Wilson Building. Those who want to get on the witness list for the hearing may sign up online at or call the Committee on Education at 202-724-8061. 

Shaw Celebrates Small Business on Saturday, Nov. 24
Nov. 24 will be Shaw Business Saturday, the neighborhood’s take on the national Small Business Saturday event sponsored by American Express, promoting the patronage of local businesses by holiday shoppers as an alternative to Black Friday shopping at big box stores. The celebration led by Shaw Main Streets will include ribbon cuttings at new neighborhood businesses and the return of $5 “Shaw Bucks” coupons that will be accepted as cash at participating stores.

The day will end with the annual Christmas tree lighting at City Market at O. More information on Shaw’s Small Business Saturday can be found at