Shaw Still Attracting New Businesses
Despite continuing tough times for retail, Shaw has started to see new businesses locate here again. Prescription Chicken, the venerable delivery food service for chicken soup and other items, has staked a claim in Shaw. They have moved to 1819 Seventh Street to create a “virtual food hall,” where eateries reliant on delivery can operate without a dining room. Prescription Chicken is not open for dining, but will prepare and deliver orders from the address, as well as take pick-up orders. They are being joined by TaKorean, the Mexican-Asian fast-food fusion favorite with locations at Union Market and Navy Yard. The virtual food hall has room for at least one more brand to co-locate there.
Cracked Eggery is also moving to Shaw. Previously known as a food truck offering egg sandwiches on challah bread stuffed with unusual ingredients, Cracked Eggery is will occupy a permanent space at the Shay on Eighth Street. Expect to see egg sandwiches stuffed with things like corned beef hash. Plans are to remain open 24 hours a day in order to serve the late night U Street crowd. The owners expect to open by April or May 2021.
Shaw Entrepreneurs Get Attention
Sandra Tran Welsford, founder and Chief Ice Cream Officer of innovative creamery Nicecream has been honored by the Washington Business Journal as one of its Women Who Mean Business in 2020. Nicecream, which opened a location in Shaw in 2018, is notable for its use of liquid nitrogen to make on-the-spot ice cream. In its profile, the Journal noted Tran Welsford’s ability to address the challenges of the COVID pandemic, particularly dealing with a lockdown during the biggest months of sales for an ice cream store.
Forbes, the prestigious business magazine, published an article on FishScale, Shaw’s innovative seafood restaurant. The article focused on the owners H. Brandon Williams and Kristal Williams and how they have positioned themselves as a Black-owned, high quality purveyor of fresh fish in a gentrifying city. They also describe how they have managed to navigate the barriers to success created by the pandemic.
Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema put four Shaw restaurants on his list of the 25 top establishments in his Fall Dining Guide, which focused on pandemic-era takeout. He noted that the name of Convivial’s Chef Cedric Maupillier “more than any other came up in practically every conversation I’ve had with food fans about great takeout.” In praising the work of Eric Ziebold at Kinship, he asked “Sure you can roast a chicken at home. But would yours rival his masterpiece, whereby brioche crumbs, garlic and lemon are slipped under the skin?” In putting Ali Mesghali’s new Persian restaurant Rumi’s Kitchen on the list, Sietsema declares that “Nowhere else in town will you find finer kashk badenjoon or ghormeh sabzi.” Finally, he also puts award-winning chef David Deshaies’ Unconventional Diner on the list of best DMV places for the season.
And Sunyatta Amen, proprietress of Calabash Teahouse and Cafe got a shout out in the French edition of Marie Clare. Described as a “sorcière bien aimée,” the magazine suggests its readers visit Dr. Amen for exotic concoctions when they are in Washington, DC.
Design of New Shaw Dog Park Begins
The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) finally met with the Shaw community September 30 to plot out the future of the Shaw Dog Park. The Shaw Dog Park had to close to accommodate construction of the new Banneker Academic High School but will be reconstructed by the time the school is finished. This was the DPR’s first meeting with the community to discuss the design of the reconstructed park.
The design presented looked a lot like the old park. The crape myrtles currently there will be replaced by other trees and there will be a structure to provide shade to park users. A major addition will be the installation of lighting that can be used to keep the park open after sunset. There will also be an effort to create a buffer between the dog park and neighboring recreational areas, with the installation of a vinyl screen to reduce distractions for the dogs using the park.
There will be a second meeting with the community sometime in the winter with construction of the new dog park commencing in the spring. The Shaw Skate Park and the nearby temporary dog park will have to close at the end of 2020 to accommodate construction. Completion of the new Shaw Dog Park is expected in August 2021 when the new Banneker High School opens. Updates on the project are available at shawdogpark/splashthat.com.
Northeast Boundary Tunnel Project Update
DC Water held a virtual meeting with the community on October 15 to provide an update on the Northeast Boundary Tunnel project that intends to improve the operation of the sewer system in Shaw and neighboring Bloomingdale. First on the agenda, however, was the need to explain why a rainstorm on September 10 led to widespread flooding near Rhode Island Avenue. The storm dropped 2.2 inches of rain within 75 minutes, which was enough to overwhelm the sewage system. Actually, the current system, which can handle a five-year flooding event, worked as designed, although extensive basement flooding occurred in the neighborhood. The new tunnel project, when it is finished in 2023, will prevent flooding from a 15-year rain event and mitigate the flooding resulting from any larger storms.
DC Water has a number of ways to help residents address damage from the flooding. They have contracted with two companies for their Clean Up Relief program, which will pay the companies directly to clean up flooded homes, up to a limit of $5,000. Homeowners who cannot get their insurance to pay for cleanup can also file a claim with DC Water to be reimbursed for expenses. There is also a Backwater Valve Rebate Program where DC Water will cover the cost, up to $6,000, to install a backup valve at a residence to prevent flooding during future storms. More information is available at dcwater.com/NEBT.