Despite fears that the economic crisis will lead to business closures, Shaw saw a burst of business openings in July. The crop of new businesses includes the District’s latest Whole Foods Market. A number of Shaw establishments have also announced new initiatives in order to adjust to the current challenges.
Whole Foods Comes to Shaw
The opening of the new Whole Foods (967 Florida Avenue NW) in Shaw is a much-anticipated event for the neighborhood and the city. The Whole Foods Florida Avenue takes up 46,000 square feet, about 6,000 more than the 20-year-old Whole Foods on P Street. It provides large displays of produce, cheese, seafood, baked goods and meats as well as prepared foods. The store also has stands for PLNT Burger, a new plant-based fast food concept from Chef Spike Mendelson, and Kikka Sushi. Whole Foods Florida Avenue anchors The Wren, which will soon bring 430 new apartments to Shaw, 30 percent of them affordable units.
Four New Businesses Open in Shaw
The Roasted Boon (1018 Rhode Island Avenue NW) is a new coffee shop at the southeast corner of 11th Street and Rhode Island. Taking over the space of a former liquor store, the shop is decorated with murals surrounding socially distanced tables, as well as providing a large outdoor patio for customers. It even has a space for a traditional East African coffee ceremony. The Roasted Boon (“boon” being the Eritrean word for bean) roasts its coffee beans on site, providing a menu of coffee, espresso, chilled drinks and smoothies. It also provides pastries, fruit and sandwiches and hopes to add wine soon.
Pearl’s Bagels (1017 Seventh Street NW) has finally opened, offering a selection of classic bagels. Orders are placed online for bagels, a wide variety of spreads and brunch boxes providing the fixings for making salmon lox or bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches.
Electric Cool-Aid (512 Rhode Island Avenue NW) is an outdoor venue on a former parking lot at the corner of Sixth and Rhode Island. The decor consists of picnic tables framed by psychedelic murals, an homage to “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” Tom Wolfe’s report on 1960s counterculture. The three proprietors have had extensive experience at diverse cocktail establishments around town, including Ghibbelina, Nellie’s, the Drink Company, Ivy and Coney and Espita. The emphasis is largely on mixed drinks and in the summer, frozen ones. Food will be provided by the venerable Astro Donuts and Fried Chicken and other local establishments serving from their food trucks driven onto the site.
Nineteen Fourteen (1914 Ninth Street NW) is a new Vietnamese restaurant in the former Dino’s Grotto space. The interior commemorates a famous Hanoi street lined with restaurants, to include a streetcar replica and motor scooter. The theme reflects the menu which will include popular, but less familiar Vietnamese items that go beyond just pho.
Shaw Sees Reopenings, Pivots
There were also a number of Shaw businesses that pivoted in July to adjust to the current economic crisis. Four restaurants in Blagden Alley, The Dabney, Columbia Room, Tiger Fork and Lost and Found have set up a “streatery” in the alley, supporting outdoor seating for the establishments. Parklets have also been established on the 1200 and 1900 blocks of Ninth Street with applications for more of them being submitted to the District government.
Dogtopia of Downtown DC (1232 Ninth Street NW) has recently opened. Previously the site of Wagtime, one of the oldest businesses in Shaw, Dogtopia took over after Wagtime was sold by the owner. Dogtopia is a national chain providing doggie daycare, longer term boarding and canine spa services. Dogtopia of Downtown DC represents the fifth location for the chain in the DMV area.
Right Proper Brewing (624 T Street NW) has announced that Barrett Lauer will be its new Director of Brewing Operations, taking on the duties held by long-term brewer Bobby Bump, who is retiring. Lauer had been the Head Brewer at the DC ChopHouse for over 15 years.
Ivy and Coney (1537 Seventh Street NW), Shaw’s beloved dive bar, has opened its roof deck for appropriately socially distant dining and drinking. The bar is also establishing the Ivy Club as a means of satisfying baseball fans during this period of stadium baseball games without people in the stands. Members of the Ivy Club can reserve a spot in authentic stadium seating to watch major league baseball on their big screen TV. The menu will be adjusted for the Ivy Club with theme-appropriate items such as barbeque sandwiches during Kansas City Royals games, and Cubanos when the Marlins come to town.
Lulu’s Winegarden (1940 11th Street NW) added patio seating in front of the restaurant to complement existing courtyard seating. Gogi Yogi (1821 Eighth Street NW) added a new sidewalk seating area and has started to serve frozen drinks in plastic pouches (like Capo’s Fauci Pouchies).
Oyster Oyster (1440 Eighth Street NW) has not yet opened for dine-in service, but chef/owner Rob Rubba has unveiled the latest iteration of his Scrappy’s pop up there, with vegetarian sandwiches, burgers, mushroom “cheesesteaks” and salads. The Brixton (901 U Street NW) has partnered with celebrated chef Erik Bruner-Yang (of Maketto, Spoken English and Toki Underground fame) to create a new popup, dubbed Coinworld, featuring a menu of mezze, barbecue and pizza. Jake’s Tavern (1606 Seventh Street NW) has brought in Nim Ali Guatemalan Shukos and Antojitos for a change of pace, including their massive sandwich that is a meal onto itself, with a beef frankfurter, chorizo, carne asada, pastor, bacon, ham and other ingredients.
All Souls (725 T Street NW) has not reopened for onsite service but is packaging their signature cocktails (numbered in the order they were offered since the bar opened), beer, wine and whiskey available for takeout.
A number of businesses are offering virtual events to engage their customers while in-person events cannot be held. Concert venues DC9 and 9:30 Club both are offering streaming concerts. Shaw’s Tavern has migrated its weekly music, bingo and trivia nights online. Touchstone Gallery has moved its art displays and openings online.
Fuel Body Lab will be offering virtual trampoline (including tramp rentals), Pilates, barre and sculpt classes via Zoom for the rest of 2020.