East Side News

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New Inn to Holiday In

More ground was broken in Mount Vernon Triangle as the hotel project at 317 K St. NW finally began last month. It its final form the building will be a Holiday Inn Express that will rise 14 floors above the burgeoning neighborhood.

The site, which previously housed Henry’s Soul Cafe, has been owned by Birchington LLC and its owner Habte Sequar for a handful of years, but the Holiday Inn Express plan was only recently released. Sequar had previously announced another plan for the space that included a hotel called the Lima that would contain apartments on the upper floors, per the zoning code at the time. When the code changed in 2016, allowing for 100% hotel use, the new plan for the Holiday Inn Express was formed.

The hotel will be designed by BBGM Architects of Washington, DC, the same team that designed the new Intercontinental DC at The Wharf. Urgo Hotels & Resorts of Bethesda will operate the property, and Construction Inc. will be the general contractor.

“With 634 rooms spread across three hotel properties and nearly 75% of end-state hotel development either under construction or currently in the pipeline,” says Kenyattah Robinson, president and CEO of the Mount Vernon Business Improvement District, “our hospitality growth will yield a 266% increase in hotel rooms available in Mount Vernon Triangle at full-buildout.” He adds, “The addition of this nationally recognized hotel brand at one of our community’s key intersections exemplifies how the bookends of Mount Vernon Triangle’s development continue to push east toward the Northwest One and NoMa neighborhoods.”

This project is just one of several hotel projects planned for the neighborhood. Douglas Development recently broke ground on a Marriott venture that will house 234 rooms, and Kline Enterprises is said to be planning a 152-room hotel on the 900 block of Fifth Street NW.

 

Bite Into the New Apple

After a year of anticipation, the new Apple Store opened on the first floor of the historic Carnegie library in Mount Vernon Square. The opening drew all the big names, including Mayor Muriel Bowser, who proudly stood next to Apple CEO Tim Cook as the doors opened.

Apple spent a reported $30 million to overhaul the space, restoring the Vermont marble exterior and ensuring that the interior beauty was preserved at the same level as the exterior. The inside space was kept as open as possible, with a primary relaxing space in the anterior and working stations and tables in the farthest room.

Apple currently holds a 10-year lease on the building at a cost of $700,000 a year. Make your Genius Bar appointment today!

 

Carving Space for Dinner in NoMa

Long desperate for a sit-down restaurant that’s open for dinner, NoMa residents can finally rejoice that Carving Room NoMa, 300 Massachusetts NW, carvingroom.com.has opened its doors. Not since Union Social closed in early 2017 has the fast-developing neighborhood had a true bar and restaurant combo it can call its own.

It has not been an easy road. Owners Oded Weizmann and Rachel Steiman announced their plan for a second location (their first being in Mount Vernon Triangle) in NoMa in 2017, but opened the doors and got the cocktails flowing only last month. The menu has similar offerings to their MVT menu but is tailored to the needs of the neighborhood and the ambience of the hip, modern space.

Now that build-out troubles, equipment-order issues and permitting are behind them, Weizmann and Steiman are excited to finally start feeding the needy neighbors. “When seeking a new location, we like to find a good mix of business and residential and a spot that really needs a restaurant like ours,” explains Weizmann. “We want to give people a place they can call their own and feel like regulars.”

Weizmann was born in Israel and moved to the US with his family when he was six months old. While working in sales in New York City, he realized that all he wanted to do was feed people and open a restaurant, so he and his wife Rachel embarked on the journey that led them to DC, where Weizmann was raised as a child. Their restaurants have become a family business, with Weizmann in the kitchen, Steiman running front-of-house and Weizmann’s sister usually behind the bar.

The ambience is modern but not in-your-face posh. The space is much brighter and more open than their other location, a decision they say was intentional. “We designed the first place on a shoestring budget. This time we used our time and resources to our best advantage,” explains Steiman.

The restaurant has the flair of a Jewish deli mixed with Israeli fare but does not forego the pork or other non-Kosher items. The menu includes Sephardic dips and salads, a variety of ktzitzot (meatballs) and flatbread, as well as full dinner items. A full bar menu offers two refreshing cocktails on tap.

Carving Room is open daily for lunch and dinner with the bar closing at midnight.

 

Taylor Barden Golden is a real estate agent with the Stokes Group at McEnearney Associates Inc. A former Hill staffer, Taylor lives in Brentwood with her husband, two dogs and a cat. She’s always on the lookout for new places to explore and ways to spend time outside. Get in touch: taylor@midcitydcnews.com; @rtaylorb.