Shaw’s Tavern Celebrates 10th Anniversary
Popular hangout Shaw’s Tavern celebrated its 10th anniversary the night of Sept. 1. Among the crowd marking the occasion were Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Planning John Falcicchio and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture Solana Vander Nat. Vander Nat presented tavern manager Rob Heim with a proclamation from Mayor Muriel Bowser congratulating the establishment on its anniversary. Then Alexander Padro, executive director of Shaw Main Streets, briefly reviewed the role that Shaw’s Tavern played in the neighborhood’s commercial revitalization. Afterwards, the celebrants continued to enjoy the complimentary champagne, snacks and entertainment.
U Street Corridor Task Force Meets
Representatives of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), District agencies and local businesses, and neighborhood residents, met on the afternoon of Sept. 27 for a U Street Corridor Nightlife Security Task Force town hall. Convened by the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture, the task force was created in July to enhance public safety for the businesses and patrons of the U Street commercial corridor. The September town hall was held to update businesses and residents on the status of the effort.
Assistant Chief Monica Kane and Third Police District Commander James Boteler noted that crime statistics were going down. For example, thefts from autos were down 20%, while motor vehicle thefts were down 67%. Boteler noted that the U Street corridor had not seen a homicide since the task force started operating.
Audience members asked what could be done about people loitering at night. The response was that while the District does not have an anti-loitering law, the appearance of task force probation officers from the federal Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) and other regional probation agencies encourages people to disperse. There were also questions on why the reimbursable detail officers (RDOs), off-duty police officers contracted to protect the area outside businesses at night, stay on Ninth Street instead of moving around the neighborhood, and why on some nights there is only one RDO officer present. Boteler noted that movement is limited by the contract. Kane pointed out that the number of officers available to serve as RDOs has been limited by the fact that MPD was not allowed to add officers to the force for a year.
The head of the Ninth Street Business Association said that he had seen improvement in public safety along U Street but that there were problems with some of the initiatives. In particular, MPD’s street closings on the weekends caused problems for customers coming by ride-sharing services. The police responded that they tried to accommodate ride-sharing by allowing drivers to come through the closed street or closing just one lane.
The meeting ended with the observation that the DC Council had approved alcohol-serving establishments to be open 24 hours a day during the World Cup, which might complicate the security situation. The U Street Corridor Nightlife Security Task Force is scheduled to terminate at the end of October but is likely to be extended. Kane also said that the task force model may be applied to other District commercial corridors.
Chef Rob Rubba Gets Another Award
Rob Rubba, chef/owner of Shaw’s plant-based fine dining restaurant Oyster Oyster, has gotten another honor this year. Food & Wine magazine has declared him one of the Best New Chefs in America for 2022. The magazine lauded Rubba for his creativity, saying that at Oyster Oyster he “executes a deeply seasonal menu with the energy and excitement that restaurants with 20 times the budget and 20 times the staff wish they could do – and for a fraction of the price.” The article also remarked on Rubba’s measures to make his operation sustainable, including dropping plants from the menu that carry a high-carbon footprint due to shipping requirements.
Food & Wine asked Rubba for his favorite spots in DC. The list is heavy on Shaw establishments, including Pearl’s Bagels, Maxwell Park Wine Bar, Taqueria Xochi and Seylou Bakery, where pastry chef Charbel Abrache “makes my favorite croissant ever.”
In Other Food News
Doro Soul Food is moving into the Prescription Chicken incubator at 1819 Seventh St. NW. Led by Chef Elias Taddesse, chef/owner of Melange (the burger and sandwich shop in Mount Vernon), the new outpost will provide casual food that is a mix of American soul food and Ethiopian traditions. Expect fried chicken with Ethiopian spices, cumin cornbread and doro wat spiced mac and cheese.
Shaw’s Dacha Beer Garden has been nominated again by USA Today to compete for a spot on the list of the 10 Best Beer Gardens in the nation. Dacha made the list last year and is going against 20 nominees this year for the prestigious designation. You can vote for it by going to https://10best.com. Voting goes until Oct. 24.