What’s happening in Shaw Main Streets

Washingtonian magazine declared Chef Jeremiah Langhorne’s The Dabney the Best Restaurant in the DMV. Photo: Alexander Padro. Courtesy of Shaw Main Streets.

Shaw Restaurants Come Out on Top

In another sign that things are getting back to normal after the pandemic, Washingtonian magazine has just published its first list of the 100 Best Restaurants in the DMV since 2020. Not only are 10 Shaw establishments on the list of 100, the top spot is taken by Blagden Alley’s venerable The Dabney. They explain: “Why do we love chef Jeremiah Langhorne’s ode to the Mid-Atlantic the most? For one, it’s soulfully rooted in this region and its history,” adding “And it hasn’t slacked after seven years of considerable accolades and popularity.” In Washingtonian’s rankings of the top 25 restaurants, The Dabney is joined by Shaw’s Causa (No. 8), Kinship (No. 18) and Convivial (No. 20). Shaw restaurants on the unranked portion of the list include All-Purpose, Haikan, Nina May, Oyster Oyster, Rumi’s Kitchen and Unconventional Diner.

Shaw was also well represented in the recently announced national semi-finalists for this year’s prestigious James Beard Awards. Rob Rubba, at the helm at plant-based restaurant Oyster Oyster, was nominated for Outstanding Chef. Causa, which has just recently opened, is nominated for Best New Restaurant in the nation. Shaw chef Elias Taddesse is up for the Emerging Chef award, while David Deshaies is nominated for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic. The finalists for the awards will be announced on March 29, with the winners coming on June 5.

New Businesses Open in Shaw

New businesses continue to sprout in Shaw. The Pho House (634 Florida Avenue, NW) has opened, expanding the options for Vietnamese cuisine in the neighborhood. There is now an outlet of Insomnia Cookies (1924 8th Street NW) in Shaw, with very late night (3:00 a.m.) hours.

The Little Gay Pub coming to Shaw at 1100 P St. Photo: Alexander Padro. Courtesy of Shaw Main Streets.

But wait, there’s more to come! Work is proceeding on the Little Gay Pub (1100 P Street NW). The pub, led by veterans of LGTBQ+ nightlife businesses, could open as early as March. Nearby, there are plans to convert the old Logan Laundromat to a tavern called Dog Daze (1100 Rhode Island Avenue NW) with a summer garden, a sidewalk café and live entertainment.

Plans for Kennedy Recreation Center Outlined

The Friends of Kennedy Playground, which supports the Kennedy Recreation Center at 1401 Seventh Street NW, met with Tommie Jones, Chief of External Affairs for the Department of Parks and Recreation on January 9th to go over plans for the renovation of the center. Although Kennedy had only recently reopened to the public, there are long delayed plans with funds set aside to make improvements to the facility. Jones started by saying that construction work would not start until the fall, since the neighborhood needed recreation programs throughout the summer. Then he outlined the scope of work for the project, which included renovations of the front desk, office and kitchen, improvements to the restrooms and basketball court and repartitioning of the rooms to create an expanded senior center and a music studio.

Jones said that while construction would take from three to six months, he hoped that they could continue some programming while the recreation center was closed. At this point, members of the Friends expressed their disappointment with operations at Kennedy. They said that the center did not seem welcoming to the Shaw community. They also pointed out that there were other DPR sites with better programming than Kennedy. Jones promised to improve the center’s connection to the community, while the Friends committed to working with DPR to get the word out on events and programs at the Kennedy Recreation Center.

Streetscape Redesign Begins at the Washington Convention Center

Events DC has begun work on the N Street side of the Washington Convention Center to initiate a long-planned redesign of its streetscape. The construction includes removal of existing trees, pavers and base materials and installation of new planters. New trees will be planted during the spring planting season. The renovation of the Convention Center streetscape will proceed until the entire perimeter is redone, probably by October 2023. Provisions will be made to allow pedestrian access during the construction period.

Councilmember Forms T Street Taskforce

Councilmember Brianne Nadeau has formed an informal taskforce to deal with safety issues on the 600 and 700 blocks of T Street NW. The area, which is currently under redevelopment, has had problems of loitering, open air drug sales and drug use and at one time was a center for the fencing of porch pirated goods. The deteriorating situation was starting to wear on the businesses in the area. The Taskforce is made up of representatives of the Councilmember’s staff, the Metropolitan Police, local Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, Shaw Main Streets, Cleveland Elementary school, business owners and neighborhood residents working with property owners to mitigate problems on the street. So far, the Taskforce has been able to move a Capital Bikeshare stand that became a stage for loitering and drug sales, fenced off a grassy patch next to the vacant CVS that became a hangout spot, installed speed bumps on the 1800 block of Eighth Street and is working to secure a space in an alley that has been used for nefarious activities. The Taskforce meets once a month.