Shaw Streets

Cutting the ribbon at Station U & O Apartments. Photo by Jamaal McKenzie, Courtesy Dantes Partners and Dumas Collective.

Station U & O Apartments Open

Station U & O Apartments, the new building at 1707 Seventh Street NW, officially opened on the morning of January 18 with a dignitary-filled ribbon cutting ceremony. Sitting on a lot known as Parcel 42, which had been vacant for most of the 21st century, the new building has been eagerly anticipated by the Shaw community as an addition to its stock of affordable housing.

Developer Buwa Binitie announces that the Station U & O apartments will be named after his daughters, Uyi and Osai. Photo: Pleasant Mann

The ceremony was opened by Kivette Bouknight, a new resident in the building, who expressed her excitement in moving to Shaw with its good schools, available transportation and commercial and cultural activity. Mayor Muriel Bowser followed by noting that ANC Commissioner Alexander Padro had told her that Shaw had been waiting 25 years for this day to come. She celebrated the 110 new apartments being delivered by Station U & O, with 108 of them being affordable units.

Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto, who stressed how important it was to have safe and stable housing, thanked the public and private leaders that led to Station U & O’s completion. Christopher Donald, the Executive Director of the District’s Housing Finance Agency, noted that the building is an important milestone in the historic Shaw community.  Senthil Sankaran of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund, which helped with the financing of the project, told the crowd that the Amazon fund to date has devoted $1.1 billion to preserve and create 8,000 affordable units in the DMV. Station U & O is one of the first new buildings completed in the region that the fund has supported.

Buwa Binitie, principal of Dantes Partners, which built and will manage the building, thanked all the people and institutions who had faith in his ability to complete this much anticipated project. He noted that his involvement in the project has lasted as long as his daughters have been on earth. He then called up his daughters Uyi and Osai to the podium and announced that the building was being named Station U & O in their honor.

The ceremony ended when all the dignitaries to the event were lined up and a long red ribbon was cut. Besides its 110 apartments, Station U & O will also be the new home of Corinto Gallery, a working art shop that also plans to offer coffee service when it opens.

Shaw Still on Top of Washingtonian’s 100 Best Restaurants

Washingtonian Magazine has just released its annual list of the area’s 100 Very Best Restaurants and Shaw restaurants remain on top. Number One on the list is Blagden Alley’s Causa, which has won national attention for its Peruvian cuisine. Last July, Causa won the prestigious local RAMMY award for New Restaurant of the Year. The Dabney, last year’s Washingtonian top restaurant, is still ranked Number Four on the list. The Shaw establishments on the unranked portion of the list include All Purpose, Convivial, Kinship, Metier, Nina May, Oyster Oyster, Petite Cerise, Rumi’s Kitchen and Unconventional Diner.

In other restaurant award news, the James Beard Foundation has nominated Shaw’s Service Bar for its Outstanding Bar award. Service Bar is owned by Chad Spangler and Glendon Hartley, the proprietors of Causa. The James Beard Awards will be announced in June. Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema also put Jake’s Tavern and its New Orleans style cuisine on his list of favorite places to eat for the month of January. If you have ever wondered if Shaw was a national destination for dining, consider this: the Michelin Guide gives its much sought star designations to five restaurants in Shaw, the same number of restaurants with Michelin stars in the entire state of Colorado.

Shaw residents browse in the new Urban Grape store. Photo: Pleasant Mann

Urban Grape Opens in Shaw

Urban Grape, the famed Boston wine shop, opened its new DC location in Shaw on January 25. The owners TJ and Hadley Douglas were joined in the celebration by interim Director of the Department of Small and Local Business Development Rosemary Suggs Evans, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture Salah Czapary and Alexander Padro, Executive Director of Shaw Main Streets. Evans assured the owners that Mayor Bowser and the District government would be along to support them on their journey as new small business owners. Padro noted how appropriate it was to have the nation’s largest Black-owned alcoholic beverage retailer in the historic Shaw neighborhood. He also announced that Shaw Main Streets would give Urban Grape a grant for their new signage.

Shaw residents browse in the new Urban Grape store. Photo: Pleasant Mann

Then TJ Douglas took a bottle of champagne and sabered it, opening it with a sword, knocking the cork down the sidewalk to kick off the celebration. Inside the store, Douglas introduced the store’s all-female leadership team. Rick Wade, Senior Vice President at the US Chamber of Commerce noted that Urban Grape had won the organization’s “America’s Top Small Business” award in 2021. Larry Webb, District Director at the US Small Business Administration and DC Nightlife Director Czapary also offered their congratulations to the Douglases on the opening of their DC shop.

Urban Grape DC, on the northeast corner of Ninth and N Streets, takes up a much larger space than its Boston sibling. There are two large rooms of wine, organized by Urban Grape’s proprietary Progressive Scale, grouping wines by weight instead of varietal. Besides the large Tasting Table in the main room of the store, there is also a separate Tasting Room for special events.

Urban Grape will have a full schedule of tastings, largely focused on the wines and spirits of BIPOC, LGBT+ and women-owned producers. The Douglases also hope to join with Howard University to bring their internship program to the DMV, an academic and hands-on program to prepare minorities and women to enter the international beverage industry.

Other Shaw Openings

And there are new spots opening in Shaw that might be the award winners of tomorrow.  Mita (804 V Street NW) is a vegan restaurant with a Latin focus, offering plant-based versions of Western Hemisphere classics. At Minya’s Pizza (1932 Ninth Street NW), a new bar called Segreto DC is opening in the basement. In another basement, Jerimiah Langhorne and Alex Zink just announced that they are reopening the Dabney Cellar (1222 Ninth Street NW), their popular and crowded wine bar with sophisticated snacks. Finally, Shaw’s streetscape will see an improvement with the opening of Duccini’s Pizza (1537 Seventh Street NW), taking up a long vacant and dilapidated ground floor space.