Shaw Wins at RAMMY Awards
Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington held its annual awards ceremony, nicknamed the RAMMYs, on Sunday night, June 30, at the Washington Convention Center. As might be expected, Shaw restaurants got a large number of nominations and some prestigious wins. Unconventional Diner won the award for Best Upscale Brunch. David Deshaies, chef and partner at Unconventional Diner, dedicated the award to his mentor, the late chef Michel Richard. Later, the diner got another award when Ana Deshaies, David’s wife, was declared the Washington area’s Pastry Chef of the Year. Soon after winning these awards, Unconventional Diner announced that it will now serve brunch seven days a week.
Another RAMMY winner in Shaw was Maxwell Park, with the nationally renowned wine bar receiving the award for Wine Program of the Year. Finally, former Shaw resident Kwame Onwuachi was declared the Rising Culinary Star of the Year. This adds to his accolades this year, including the James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef of the Year and the reception of his memoir “Notes from a Young Black Chef,” which goes into some of the details behind the demise of his first restaurant, Shaw Bijou. The memoir is being turned into a movie (really).
More Accolades for Eating in Shaw
The August issue of Food & Wine magazine features an article showcasing Jeremiah Langhorne, chef of The Dabney restaurant. The article, “From Garden to Grill,” illustrates how the Michelin-starred, James Beard Award-winning chef uses local items to produce his stellar cuisine.
Washingtonian magazine mentioned Shaw restaurants in its latest list of the 75 best new places to eat for under $25 per person, lauding Green Almond Pantry, Mason Dixie Biscuit Company and Oohh’s & Aahh’s, while also giving a shoutout to the plant-based Impossible Classic Burger at Farmers and Distillers.
Service Bar Team Commits to Blagden Alley Space
There should also be a lot more drinking in Shaw soon. Chad Spangler and Glendon Hartley, the owners of U Street’s Service Bar, have signed a lease for a space in Blagden Alley. They are taking over the impressive two-story building next door to Tiger Fork restaurant. The space had been built to the specifications of a Philadelphia restaurateur, who later went into bankruptcy. The building has 2,900 square feet on two floors, along with an 800-square-foot roof deck. The new tenants have not outlined their concept for the space yet.
DCPS Hosts Banneker Community Meeting in Shaw
DC Public Schools (DCPS) held a meeting for the community on July 25 to present its plans to construct a new Banneker Academic High School building in Shaw. There were approximately 50 people at the Watha T. Daniel Library for the meeting, but most of the crowd were Banneker teachers and parents, with few Shaw residents in attendance. Councilmember Charles Allen had previously expressed his disappointment that DCPS decided to schedule the meeting on a night when he was hosting a special Ward 6 event at Nationals Park.
The meeting started with an examination of the project’s timeline. Currently, the project is in the early stages of demolition, with permits for razing the building and starting the foundation expected to come in August and September. Construction of a steel superstructure for the new building may start as early as December, with eventual completion of the school by summer 2021. Trailers to support the construction effort will appear on the site in the next couple of weeks.
A revised site plan for the new school was presented at the meeting. The plan gives the school a full-sized athletic field and reconfigures the adjacent recreation space managed by the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), including the skate park and dog park. DPR expects to impose permit requirements for non-school use of the field, with some limited community use without permits. A traffic study on the impact of the new building is almost complete. The plan calls for 44 parking spaces for the 90 teachers and staff expected at the new building. When a question came up about Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau’s request to study the feasibility of a parking garage on the site, the answer was that DCPS policy prohibits the use of covered parking at any school.
The next meeting for the community will be in the fall, probably in October, to give an update on demolition plans for the site. The contact for the Banneker Modernization Project is Joi Ruffin at email@example.com.
Gelato Festival and Art All Night Return to Shaw
Gelato Festival America, Washington, DC, returns to City Market at O on Saturday, Sept. 7. For two days, attendees will be able to enjoy delicious gelato made onsite by world-class local and visiting artisans. A ticket grants all-you-can-eat gelato, the opportunity to participate in all festival activities and a vote for your favorite gelato. Last year’s event attracted 3,000 ticketholders. The gelato chef with the most votes from DC festival-goers will advance to the Gelato Festival World Masters 2021 competition. Information and tickets are available at https://gelatofestival.com/en/world-master/washington-dc/.
Shaw Main Streets will serve as one of the hosts of the District’s Art All Night festival on Saturday, Sept. 14. This will be the eighth year in Shaw for the nocturnal event encompassing art and musical performances. Check out the details of Shaw’s Art All Night at www.artallnightdcshaw.com.