News, The Hill

Frager’s Gone

Frager's Hardware after the fire, a burnt out hust

Photo by @IAFF36, used with permission

The iconic DC Hardware store is all but a ruin, this morning. Firefighters still remain on-scene to make sure the remaining paint products aren’t reigniting, and that the fire they fought most of the night doesn’t spread any further than it did. The south side of Pennsylvania Avenue between 10th and 12th is still blocked off by fire trucks and emergency personnel, and as the photo above shows, what’s left may not be salvageable.

Hill resident and COO of Anacostia Playhouse Julia Christian set up a Give Forward campaign late last night to benefit the owner and staff of Frager’s, with a target of $100,000. There is already more than $2,000 in the donations box across 32 donors. While Frager’s was likely insured, coping with any disaster like this isn’t as straight forward as the insurance commercials lead you to believe.

More than just the shop, there’s a whole staff at Frager’s who lost their place of work last night in the fire. Matchbox owner Fred Herrmann told DCist late yesterday that any Frager’s staffer who needs temporary work should come to their Barracks Row location on 8th St SE today between 2 and 5pm and he’ll do his best to put them right to work. I would suspect that following the lead of The Tune Inn and Capitol Lounge and elsewhere, there will be a fundraiser in the near future to benefit the staff as well.

There’s a big hole in the Capitol Hill community this morning. Though there are promises from Councilmember Tommy Wells and Mayor Vincent Gray to help Frager’s rebuild, it’s going to be a long and arduous process to get back to anything like normal. As a local archaeologist wrote yesterday, “It all changes, and we never seem to record the right things in the right order at the right time. It’s hard to know what to do.”

I can only think of one thing to do today: appreciate your neighborhood and city institutions. By fire or by tragedy, they may leave before we’re ready. This city is full of many beautiful, incredible places like Frager’s, places that can’t easily be replaced or rebuilt, that are unique to our place and our time, special threads that hold together neighborhoods and communities. Our communities need places like Frager’s the same way they need schools and fire stations and hospitals. They’re just not the same without them.

Help Frager’s rebuild if you can, or help make sure your own institutions stay healthy in your community, it’s doing DC a good deed, and that truly matters.

The Hill, We Love Food

We Love Food: Tash


My newest obsession on 8th street is full of tabbouleh and I just can’t stop going. Tash House of Kabob, located at 524 8th St SE, opened a few weeks ago and I’ve been three times since. (I’m not kidding when I say I can’t stop.)

Completely reasonably priced at around $15 per entree, Tash satisfies. Start your meal with the pirozhki, deep fried little fried pockets of meat, cheese and mushrooms, and then you seriously cannot go wrong with whatever kabob you choose. I’ve had the lamb, the salmon and the chicken and they were all excellent. Happy hour is ridiculously cheap (you can get a glass of wine for $3.50), so I’m really not sure why you’re still here reading this when you could be there drinking.

It’s gorgeous inside, the tile and rustic wood makes for a quick escape from busy Capitol Hill. The golden and ornate tea setup alone is worth ordering tea, and all the plates and flatware are unique (though the knife annoys me every time I go, you’ll see what I mean). So… to summarize. Cheap, obsessively good, and excellent happy hour specials. Is there really any more to say? Nope. You should just go already.

Tash is located at 524 8th Street at Eastern Market Metro stop on the Orange and Blue lines.

Adventures, Downtown, Special Events, The Features, The Hill, We Love Arts

Come for the Murder, Stay for the Masquerade

This Sunday, Labyrinth Games is bring some Louisiana charm liberally mixed with a masquerade, murder, and mystery to the DC area. Kathleen Donahue, the store’s owner, is throwing the doors open to area residents and inviting everyone to join in the fun of a good old-fashioned murder mystery party. The event is this Sunday at The Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital in Southeast from 5 to 8 pm. Just make sure you have a ticket to get in!

“This will be a mix & mingle event with all attendees receiving minor character roles and clues to share with other attendees,” said Donahue. “It will be like live-action Clue! Festival carnival garb (and Mardi Gras masks) are encouraged but not required.” Several area actors will play the roles of the major characters for the evening; just because they’re major doesn’t mean they’re not exempt from being a suspect, either. Continue reading

Food and Drink, The Hill, We Love Food

First Look: Boxcar Tavern

Photo courtesy of Tricia Barba

I went to Boxcar Tavern the first day (night) it opened – just two days before the New Year. When staring in from the outside it was impossible to see just how crowded it was, but upon opening the door, the excitement surrounding the new establishment was tangible. There were a lot of people (think standing room only) and it was loud and lively.

Boxcar Tavern is Xavier Cervera’s fifth restaurant on Capitol Hill. His empire includes Molly Malones, Lola’s Barracks Bar & Grill, and Senart’s Oyster & Chop House. With just one glance, those accustomed to dining on the Hill can tell whose baby Boxcar is. It has that “Cervera look.” The restaurant, situated right next to Tunnicliff’s Tavern on 7th Street SE in the old Petite Gourmet space, is long and narrow, filled with maple and marble decor. From the entrance, to your left is an elegant bar that stretches almost there entire length of the restaurant and to your right begins an endless row of small booths. Basically, it looks like Senart’s, just a bit darker.

Another similarity to Senart’s is Executive Chef Brian Klein, who is now running Boxcar’s kitchen.  The menus look the same physically as well; content-wise, Boxcar actually serves a Seafood Lasagna – my favorite dish at Senart’s before, sadly, it disappeared.

Continue reading

Food and Drink, The Features, The Hill, We Love Food

One Year Later: Smith Commons

Photo courtesy of philliefan99
smith commons
courtesy of philliefan99

If you remember the H Street corridor from years ago, the place where Smith Commons now stands was the home of a large carpet warehouse. The restaurant is just as massive: three stories with a main dining room and main bar on the first floor, a public house on levels two and three, plus a seasonal patio. Smith Commons is one of the classiest buildings on H Street, both on the interior and exterior, with clean lines, eccentric furniture and the quintessential exposed brick.

The first thing you’ll notice when walking through the doors is how open the space is. Here you aren’t crammed so closely together that eavesdropping on the people sitting next you is involuntary; instead, the excess space makes the restaurant a great place for groups.

Smith Commons bills itself as offering an “international menu of approachable cuisine,” so think  fusion. There’s a lot going on when you look at the menu –  not that there are a lot of choices, but those choices are quite different. The menu changes seasonally with recipes developed by Executive Chef Carlos Delgado, so it can sometimes be sad to see one of your favorite dishes gone, but then there’s always time to pick a new favorite for the night.
Continue reading

Downtown, Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Features, The Hill

Restaurants Here and On The Way

Courtesy of Tricia Barba

It seems like there’s never a shortage of restaurants opening up in DC.

To finish out 2011, Xavier Cervera plans to open his fifth Capitol Hill restaurant, Boxcar Tavern, located in the old Petite Gourmetspace on 7th St. SE right next to Tunnicliffs. The staff is currently in training mode, and it sounds like the plan is still to open by the end of the month. The Eastern Market Metro Community Association has a pic of the inside.

Places that are open 24 hours a day always excite me. Case in point: The Hamilton located in downtown DC (same block as another Clyde’s Restaurant group favorite, Old Ebbitt Grill) opened up to the public just this week. The restaurant and live music venue comes to us from Clyde’s Restaurant Group. The 37,000 square foot space has two floors, four bars and four dining rooms. Where else can you get sushi, charcuterie, and seasonal and regional American fare? For more information and a slide show check out Washingtonian’s Best Bites. Continue reading

Special Events, The Daily Feed, The Hill

H Street Festival This Saturday

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘furcafe’

According to 35,000 people pressed onto H Street NE for last year’s event. With even more activity and businesses open along the corridor now, one can only assume an even larger turn-out this Saturday when the H Street Festival 2011 takes over the street from noon until seven.

Along the six-block festival zone, there will be a wide variety of food, vendors, music stages, family activities, and more. Four stages will present ongoing music and other forms of entertainment throughout the day (and in some cases, well into the night) and there will be a fifth stage dedicated entirely to children’s entertainment. There will be food trucks, fashion shows, and a parade of art cars. Details about performances and entertainment are on the festival’s Facebook page.

If you want to see how all those things fit together, there will be expanded shuttle service available and a WABA bike valet. The event is free to enter and stroll around. Children and dogs are invited as long they can handle being around the sizable crowd.

Food and Drink, The Features, The Hill, We Love Food

We Love Food: Seventh Hill Pizza

Photo courtesy of
‘Seventh Hill Pizza’
courtesy of ‘kspidel’

Last summer, in a fit of humidity-induced insanity, my friends and I decided to taste test non-delivery pizzas around town. There were seven pies, and in an attempt to branch out a little, I picked up one from Seventh Hill. I figured this Eastern Market spot (which no one had heard of before) would finish somewhere in the middle of the pack with perennial favorite 2 Amy’s coming out on top. In a Cinderella story that ESPN would surely have composed a specific theme song for, Seventh Hill came out of nowhere and clinched the win.

Continue reading

Food and Drink, History, The Daily Feed, The Hill

Senart’s Readies for Spring Opening


Photo Courtesy Tricia Barba

Xavier Cervera’s Pacifico might still be working to get a liquor license, but Senart’s Oyster House, the restaurateur’s fourth Barracks Row location, looks more and more like a restaurant every day.

When I was putting together my list of 2011 Restaurant Openings, I noticed that Senart’s was originally “aiming” for a December 2010 opening. Of course, with the snails-pace that is DC sometimes, a “missed” target date is always expected. Still curious, I spoke with Shawn Case, one of Cervera’s right-hand-men. Continue reading

Food and Drink, The Features, The Hill

First Look: Smith Commons

Photo Credit: Greg Powers

I have to believe that one of the worst locations to open a restaurant right now is on the south side of H St. NE. If it wasn’t hard enough to establish yourself, try doing it from behind chain link fencing and the giant crater that will hopefully be a street car track one day. I have a hard enough time figuring out where to cross the street that most of the time I just give up and end up at Sticky Rice. I was determined the other night though, so I made it through the war zone that is the construction barricades and finally found myself at Smith Commons, the newest restaurant/lounge to open on H St.

Continue reading

Food and Drink, The Features, The Hill, We Love Food

We Love Food: Ted’s Bulletin

Photo courtesy of
‘Dine-In At Ted’s Bulletin’
courtesy of ‘[F]oxymoron’
Growing up on the mean streets of suburban Maryland, I ate at my fair share of diners. Silver Diner, Broadway Diner, Hoffberg’s Deli…the list goes on. There are obvious benefits to diner eating – major portions, the food you wish your mom made all the time (and made well), and breakfast all day. One thing that diners didn’t necessarily do for me was always taste good. They can be great, or they can be plastic cup of coleslaw on the side bad. I think we call that inconsistency. Now that I’m a big girl living in the big city, I’ve graduated from the diners of greater Rockville Pike to Ted’s Bulletin. Though it may not be a traditional diner, it’s the diner of my dreams.

Much like the diners of my youth, Ted’s is a fantastic fall back restaurant. Not to say that it’s not a destination unto itself, it just works as my go-to place when nothing else excites me. And in this dreary time of year, I’m uninspired and therefore eating at Ted’s a whole lot. And it’s really working out well for me. Continue reading

Food and Drink, The Features, The Hill

First Look: Ba Bay

Photo courtesy of
‘Ba Bay, Sunday Night’
courtesy of ‘Madame Meow’

Ever since Locanda abruptly closed last summer, I’ve been anxious to see what would open up in its place. I would walk by the giant picture window every few weeks and there Locanda would sit, fully made up for service knowing full well it wouldn’t be serving anyone anytime soon. It was like a shrine to pasta plates of time gone by.

And then just as unexpectedly as it closed, one day a year later the ghost place settings were gone and work was in progress for a new restaurant. Enter: Ba Bay.

Continue reading

Food and Drink, The Features, The Hill

First Look: DC-3

Photo courtesy of
‘Hot Dogs’
courtesy of ‘vpickering’
Before I go in to the specifics of my trip to DC-3, I need to confess something about myself: I come from a family of carnival people. We’re not all carnival people, but there definitely is a branch of the family tree that knows a lot about freak shows, overpriced games and convincing everyone if they just try one more time they’ll be able to throw the ring around the bottle. Carnivale it is not (we don’t have supernatural powers, at least that I know of) but it is still a dark past that I’m usually not offering up to strangers. But it plays a crucial role in my ability to dissect DC-3, since I obviously know plenty about hot dogs and cotton candy.

Continue reading

Adventures, Business and Money, Entertainment, Essential DC, Food and Drink, Fun & Games, Life in the Capital, Night Life, Special Events, The Daily Feed, The District, The Hill

Love The Hill This Friday

I don’t love the “Hill” in the way some people do – I’m not so political and certainly am not involved in all the Congressional happenings, but I do adore the neighborhoods that make Capitol Hill fabulous. Eastern Market has such charm, and I’ve found myself spending weekends on Barrack’s Row. What better excuse than to celebrate a part of the city that I love than by heading to The Hilly’s on Friday night?

Awards will be given to some of the Hill’s best eats and drinks – favorites like Granville Moores, SOVA, Ted’s Bulletin are all up to win. Plus local businesses like Frager’s and Bikram Yoga are up for awards, too. Ticket prices are $65 for CHAMPS members, $75 for Buy Local members and $80 for the general public.Price includes open bar and food, with guest bartenders from Wisdom, Tunnicliff’s, Argonaut and Matchbox.

Adventures, Business and Money, Entertainment, Essential DC, Fun & Games, Life in the Capital, Special Events, The Daily Feed, The District, The Hill

The Pearl Lady Arrives

Photo courtesy of
‘All dressed up’
courtesy of ‘Blinkofanaye’

Capitol Hill staffers have been keeping a very appealing, little secret from the rest of DCers and her name is “The Pearl Lady”. Apparently every year around the holidays, The Pearl Lady who owns a pearl shop in Beijing, visits DC to sell her pearls at ridiculous low prices. According to a WLDC author, The Pearl Lady usually operates out of a townhouse and the scene is a total madhouse with Congressional staffers waiting in line for hours and departing with strands and strands of beautiful, opulent pearls.

According to The Pearl Lady’s website ( she’s got some serious VIP clientele including Laura Bush, Madeleine Albright, Condolezza Rice, and Bill Clinton (cue pearl necklace jokes.)

The Pearl Lady opens shop today at 446 New Jersey Ave, SE from 10am to 6pm and will be opened everyday until November 16.

All Politics is Local, Life in the Capital, News, Special Events, The District, The Features, The Hill

Get Your Vote On 2010

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘nevermindtheend’

Unless you’ve been hiding in a hole for the last few weeks, then you’re well aware that today is Election Day 2010!!! If you’ve indeed been in a cave of darkness, then you can find your polling place courtesy of this DCBOEE map. The DCBOEE also has complete lists of the candidates in Ballot Order and ANC candidates.

In addition to casting your vote for specific candidates, DC is also voting on Charter Amendment IV (aka “The Elected Attorney General Charter Amendment”). Continue reading

All Politics is Local, The Daily Feed, The Hill, WTF?!

Fictional character Colbert testifies before Congress DC isn’t represented in

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘BrianMKA’

Dear Congress:

You’ll let a comedian come in and testify as a fictional character, but we’re still waiting for voting representation? Thanks for nothing.

DC, you know, your neighbors

PS: Colbert’s testimony was actually pretty pointed and is worth a watch, which you can do after the jump. Continue reading

Downtown, Legacy articles, Media, People, The Daily Feed, The Hill

50 Most Beautiful

Photo courtesy of
‘Getting Ready: 1st Annual ‘Miss Sinergy: Beauty is Skin Deep’ Charity Fashion Show’
courtesy of ‘TDLphoto’

God bless The Hill for giving Washingtonians a chance to judge based solely on appearance, every once in a while.  It’s a luxury we can seldom afford. In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about, The Hill has released its annual “50 Most Beautiful” list.  So, you know what to do.  Breeze through and wonder how Senator X beat out Senator Y, or how staffer X got number 2 when she is clearly less pretty than number 17. Scott Brown did, of course, make the list, but notably absent was Rep. Aaron Schock. All in all, the Democrats destroyed in terms of looks, with 29 representatives on the list, to the Republicans’ 17 and the Independents’ 4. I guess liberals really are hotter. What are your thoughts? Did anyone get gypped? And who would you have picked for number 1?

Adventures, All Politics is Local, Downtown, Dupont Circle, Essential DC, History, Life in the Capital, The Daily Feed, The District, The Hill, The Mall

DDOT Unveils Historic DC Photos

Photo courtesy of
‘MacArthur Marquee’
courtesy of ‘kimberlyfaye’

After years of scouring, the DDOT historians have posted some fantastic photos of our beloved city from the 1940s thru the 1960s to their Flickr account. The set features cityscapes from all over the district, including an awesome shot from an open air parking lot on H Street NE, a Harlem-esque looking F & 13th Street, and Tenley Circle with streetcar tracks.

My favorite pic is the shot of Rosslyn looking over the Key Bridge to DC taken in 1945.  It’s amazing to think of the now skyscraper filled neighborhood as only having two and three storied buildings. Some may remember one of last remaining relics of that era, Tom Sarris Orleans House, which tragically closed in 2008. That place was definitely a DC insiders go to.

Adventures, Alexandria, Arlington, Downtown, Dupont Circle, Entertainment, Foggy Bottom, Food and Drink, Fun & Games, Music, Night Life, Penn Quarter, Petworth, The Great Outdoors, The Hill, The Mall, We Love Weekends

We Love Weekends: July 24-25

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

Rachel: Well, I’m fresh off a stint in Nashville to audition for American Idol. It didn’t go my way but I learned a lot and am ready to rock out harder than ever before after being “cut” from the program before ever seeing any air-time. I’ve got a gig booked for Saturday night at the Tonic Lounge (located at 2036 G Street NW, near the Foggy Bottom Metro). I’m not the only entertainment on tap, several artists from the DC area will take the stage too. So grab a drink at the bar, stay for the tunes, and if you’re a Glee fan I guarantee a solid new cover added to my repertoire from the second half of last season’s show. Not gonna tell you what it is, you’ll have to stop by to hear it. Show starts at 8 p.m. with a $5 cover. I’ll also have albums on sale with proceeds going to the National Kidney Foundation in honor of my late father who received a heart transplant in 1999. Hope to see you there! It should be a rockin’ good time.

Patrick: Weeks of no social life ends this weekend. Noises Off! opens this Saturday at Keegan Theatre in Dupont Circle. As the stage manager I’ll be in the booth playing the role of incompetent sound technician #1. No seriously, come see the show and watch the actors freak out at me during Act III. The show will run through August so I hope to see everybody there eventually. While I’m running the show I’ll also be trying to figure out where to eat and drink before and after performances- anybody have any suggestions for places I should check out around 17th Street?

Continue reading