A Big Cherry Blossom Blooms in Shaw
The continuing pandemic has put a crimp on one of DC’s major annual events–the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The parade that accompanies the festival is cancelled this year, with a thin series of events. Even the ability to stroll among the blossoms at the Tidal Basin will be restricted this spring. Still, a valiant effort is being made to make spring in DC this year something special. The festival has inaugurated Art in Bloom, with 26 cherry blossom sculptures installed in every ward of DC and other notable sites around the DMV, including one in Shaw.
Each sculpture takes the shape of a giant cherry blossom, customized by a local artist. The Shaw sculpture, located in front of Progression Place at the Shaw/Howard Metro entrance at Seventh and S Streets NW, is called “Petal To the Metal.” The work of DC artist and puppeteer David Greenfieldboyce, Petal to the Metal covers the sculpture’s cherry blossom shape with simulated metal plates and rivets. The industrial look of the result is relieved somewhat by cherry branches breaking through on the surface.
Art in Bloom provides an opportunity to participate in a Blossom Hunt, where people can locate sculptures, take pictures, post them to social media and tag them using festival handles. Participants in the Blossom Hunt are eligible to receive a festival prize package including a $25 Amazon gift card. The festival will also randomly select one Grand Prize winner from the Blossom Hunt entries, who will receive a $500 Amazon gift card. Art in Bloom ends at the end of April with a Blossom Auction to sell the sculptures. Proceeds will support the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Shaw Restaurants Keep Coming
While the pandemic cooled Shaw’s reputation as a dining destination, the advent of spring brings a number of hopeful signs. Applications are in to create new parklets and streateries in front of restaurants on the Seventh and Ninth Street corridors. The Hilton Brothers announced that they were reopening their shuttered establishments, include the Brixton and American Ice Company, after having closed them down to hibernate for the winter. And there are plans for new restaurants coming to the neighborhood, starting with the opening of Yardbird Southern Table and Bar on April 1.
Cracked Eggery, previously known as a famed food truck providing egg, meat and cheese sandwiches on toasted challah bread, is opening a permanent location in Shaw. With an opening planned by the summer, Cracked Eggery will be a 24-hour operation at its location at 1921 Eighth Street NW, including a dedicated take-out window. The decision was made to have a Shaw location after the weekly visits of its food truck to the neighborhood drew enthusiastic crowds.
Quattro Osteria is a new Italian restaurant moving into the space vacated by Bistro Bohem at 600 Florida Avenue. Louie Hankins, owner of Rito Loco and El Techo next door, got the idea of locating a new restaurant there. He asked Salvio and Giovanni Ippolito, two brothers who got their start in the business with legendary chef Roberto Donna if they wanted to join the effort. The addition of a fourth partner from a Michelin-starred kitchen led to the new restaurant’s name, Quattro Osteria. The restaurant, boasting a full renovation of the interior, expects to open in late spring.
9:30 Club Starts Mobile Food Drive
One of the fallouts of the pandemic has been the growth of food insecurity. A number of families have suddenly found it difficult to feed themselves. Shaw’s 9:30 Club has joined the fight against hunger by partnering with the Capital Area Food Bank to collect donations of food by using its mobile box office. 9:30 The Truck will become a weekly mobile collection point for donations of unopened, healthy, canned, unexpired and non-perishable food items. As an incentive, food donors will receive 10 points in the club’s Friends with Benefits program for each acceptable item donated, up to 100 points per day, which can used toward concert tickets and merchandise at IMP music venues when they reopen as the pandemic ebbs. And additional incentive is that for each day a donation is made, the donor will be entered to win a ”Welcome Back” package to include four VIP tickets to a 9:30 Club show of the winner’s choice.
So far, the truck has been available for donations at the 9:30 Club on Tuesdays and the Anthem on the Wharf on Thursdays. You can keep up with its schedule by following 9:30 The Truck’s Facebook page and Twitter (@930TheTruck) and Instagram (930thetruck) accounts. The effort is also looking for partners that can provide legal parking spaces for the truck when it is out collecting donations.