Food and Drink, The Features

First Look: The Bistro at Pound The Hill

Photo courtesy of bonappetitfoodie
Back Patio at Pound The Hill
courtesy of bonappetitfoodie

Walking out into the back patio at Pound The Hill, it hits you: this is the slice of the outdoors that every Washingtonian wishes they had in their backyard. Even better than having it in your own backyard, is the fact that The Bistro at Pound has plenty of good food and wine to serve you, so you don’t have to be in charge of cooking for yourself. They launched the concept (coffee shop becomes bistro for dinner service) earlier this year and now that’s it’s off the ground running, I headed to Eastern Market to check out it out for the first time and see what they have to offer on their new summer menu, launching today.

The Bistro was born out of the owners’ desire to feature a menu that pulled from the group’s international inspirations. You’ll see dishes with a French influence, due to executive chef Jon Taub’s background, but also some Latin and Asian influences highlighted in the menu as well. Taub was previously the sous-chef at Station 4 and Art & Soul. While you’ll only find The Bistro in Eastern Market for now, owner Karl Johnson hints at future expansion, saying that they branded themselves with the father concept of “Pound [insert neighborhood]” on purpose.

Photo courtesy of bonappetitfoodie
Duck confit at Pound The Hill
courtesy of bonappetitfoodie

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Farm Fresh, Ward 6

Farm Fresh: New Tuesday Market at Eastern Market

Photo courtesy of ep_jhu
Eastern Market on a Hot Day
courtesy of ep_jhu

So I have to admit, I really do not love the outdoor farmer’s market at Eastern Market on the weekends. I’m not talking about the flea market with all the mirrors, animal hats and necklaces, I’m talking about the food part. Maybe I’m spoiled, but I don’t think repackaged baby carrots or oranges and bananas (clearly not grown in the Mid-Atlantic region) count as a farmer’s market. See, in the picture above, you see strawberries right next to apples. If you’re growing locally, the strawberries would happen for a few glorious short weeks in early spring and the apples arrive much later in fall.

When I go to a market, I want 100% local. And I want fresh, as in, vine to me in less than 24 hours. And sadly, I don’t see a ton of that at Eastern Market normally. But all this might change today with the announcement of the new “Fresh Tuesdays” farmer’s market at Eastern Market. 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.

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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

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Tune Inn Re-Opens on Capitol Hill Nov. 4th

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘furcafe’

After months of being closed after a fire damaged the restaurant, the Tune Inn will re-open its doors this week. According to The Washington Post, the restaurant and bar will re-open at 8 AM on Friday, November 4th.

We Love DC had reported earlier that a grease fire in the kitchen was the cause of the blaze. While staff at the Tune Inn originally anticipated the bar and restaurant to reopen in a few weeks, repairs ended up taking several months.

On behalf of all of us at WLDC, we welcome back the classic institution on Capitol Hill.

The Daily Feed

Own a piece of the Hawk n Dove

Photo courtesy of
‘Club Hawk Birthday’
courtesy of ‘yostinator’

This weekend was the last hurrah of famed Capitol Hill dive bar, The Hawk n Dove, with the bar shutting its doors last night for good. If you’ve been inside the Hawk n Dove, or seen it on the likes of the West Wing, you can understand the enthusiasm about the place, and the sorrow of those regulars contained therein. Losing it is like losing a piece of the city. Now, though, you can own a piece of the Hawk n Dove yourself, as they’re auctioning off the bar’s contents.

You can have one of the decoy ducks, or the bear skin taxidermy, or even one of the wrought iron outside lamps or the Hawk n Dove flag if you’re fast enough on the bidding, or have deep enough a wallet.

The space will reopen in the spring with a pub run by Xavier Cervera, of Senart’s Oyster & Chop House fame.

Food and Drink

One Year Later: Acqua Al 2

more are and soul 003
One year later and I still want to call this fantastic Italian restaurant Acqua Al “Two,” so apparently I still need to brush up on my grasp of languages. Acqua Al 2 came to Capitol Hill a little more than one year ago thanks to DC natives Ari Gejdenson and Ralph Lee. The first location is actually in Florence, Italy and the other is located in San Diego.

Acqua Al 2 is long and narrow. You just can’t imagine how far back it goes when looking at the small front. Still, good luck trying to come here during dinner hours and not have to wait – it’s impossible. Thankfully, you have a bar to your right to hold you over (with extra seats). Or walk around looking at the plates encased in glass and signed/decorated by patrons.  

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The Daily Feed

Food Tweet of the Week: Sonoma

Photo courtesy of
‘Yelp Elite Event at Sonoma, Washington, D.C.’
courtesy of ‘’
If you’re a Capitol Hill staffer, chances are Sonoma is probably one of your go-to places (this does not apply to unpaid interns!).

The Pennsylvania Ave. restaurant & wine bar boasts, “We use the Mid-Atlantic’s best naturally-raised and local ingredients to make great Italian food & pair the creations with the best American and Italian wines.” As big fan of their pastas (double portion, please), I can tell you that everything tastes fresh and delightful.

Not only does the restaurant have a blog, it’s also starting to tweet like crazy. So far, it has a small 240 followers and actually follows more than 400, but I expect that to change soon. The account just has so much personality, and who on Capitol Hill doesn’t love that?

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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.

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The Daily Feed

Tweet of the Week: Pound Coffee

Photo courtesy of
‘Pound the Hill’
courtesy of ‘Samer Farha’
I don’t know what it is about coffee shops catching my attention lately, especially because I don’t drink what they sell unless it tastes more like a chocolate milkshake than coffee. It must be because they are using Twitter like pros!

Pound Coffee, The Hill has been tweeting away for about one year and a half. The shop’s description has changed a bit though, since @PoundCoffee opened up on Capitol Hill the same day it closed in NoMa. Everything else social media wise has stayed the same: contests, special codes and general musings about life.

The “tech/social media geek” (his description, not mine) behind the account is Pound owner Karl Johnson. He says Pound’s food concept depends on the use of dynamic media daily to let people know what they’re serving and make them hungry enough to walk in the door. Pound, of course, serves a different lunch every day.

See the winning tweet after the jump.
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Food and Drink

First Look: Pound the Hill

Photo courtesy of
‘Pound the Hill’
courtesy of ‘Samer Farha’

Nestled within the cozy confines of a turn-of-the-century Pennsylvania Avenue row building, lovingly restored by Karl Johnson and his co-owners, lies the newest addition to the Capitol Hill neighborhood, coffee shop and world bistro, Pound the Hill. Sporting an exposed brick and timber scheme and original plaster ceilings, Pound the Hill evokes a decidedly urban feel perfectly suited to its DC environs.

In complementary contrast to its historic interior, Pound the Hill has incorporated modern decor and technology to transform their space into one uniquely tailored to its intended purpose. The rows of red and white cups and mugs and similarly-colored staff attire reflect the restaurant’s DC heritage, while sleek granite counters and exposed wood floors convey a sense of efficiency and speed, two elements that are enabled by the wireless iPad-based POS system that allows the baristas to roam the store to remotely take orders and process payments. All these elements seamlessly combine in a stunning visual chemistry that transports visitors to the store away from the bustle of busy Pennsylvania Avenue.

Much more after the jump.

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Eat Like Me, Food and Drink

Dining One Year Later: Bistro Cacao


All Photos by Author

The snapshot verdict: Quaint, cozy, charming French restaurant with food so good you won’t be able to stop raving about it for weeks.

Entering Bistro Cacao can be a bit of a puzzle in itself. Located next to the Mexican restaurant, La Loma, and at the site of the old Two Quail, Bistro Cacao has you walk through an almost unmarked door, make a weird left, and then navigate a flight of steps to get inside. All this makes sense given that once you’ve walked in, you feel far removed from the bustle on Massachusetts Ave.

Like many Capitol Hill restaurants, Bistro Cacao calls a townhouse home, and the design is something to be admired. It looks thrown together, but it works because it comes off as unique and not manufactured. You’ll see antique lamps, huge chairs, and thick, red drapes. It accurately describes itself as “Old-style Hill Venue meets New-style French Cuisine.”

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Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Ba Bay Kicks-Off Its Guest-Chef Dinner Series


Photo Courtesy Ba Bay

The Vietnamese restaurant Ba Bay just opened late last year, and it’s already doing one of my favorite things — interacting with the restaurant industry, even highlighting other chefs. On February 27 Ba Bay will hold its first of monthly Guest Chef Dinners, and the restaurant wants you there!

The first chef to make an appearance in the Capitol Hill kitchen alongside Ba Bay Chef Nick Sharpe is Chef R.J. Cooper of Rogue 24, the Mount Vernon Square restaurant set to open in May. Together the chefs will put make a five-course meal dinner highlighting their interpretations of Vietnamese flavors and dishes. DC foodies will remember that Cooper was Sharpe’s mentor  while both worked at Vidalia.

The five-­course will cost $65  per  person, and for an extra $35, wine pairings are also  available. The menu looks delish. Continue reading

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Lola’s on 8th Street To Bring Games Your Way


Photo Courtesy Lola's Barracks Bar & Grill

If you’re a regular at Lola’s Barracks Bar & Grill, known for its exposed brick walls, good service, and slightly older crowd, you might not have to be cramped into the narrow first floor much longer.

That’s because pending construction permits, the bar might soon be two floors taller and more fun. The second floor will have a 30-foot-bar and the third floor will be a game room. They’re brainstorming games right now that include at least one pool table, darts, shuffle board, foosball, and ping pong. I vote ping pong.

Shawn Case, one of owner Xavier Cervera’s employees, tells me that part of the left wall could be torn down for the staircase, but that the look will stay the same. He says the “change” will be one welcome by regulars, but he also hopes it will also bring new customers into the bar.

“Xavier really sees the need for something like this on the Hill,” says Case. “We want people to keep coming here after work, relax some, and play pool.”

If you’re on the Hill and looking for a good game room right now, try The Pour House at 319 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.

Lola’s Barracks Bar & Grill is located at 711 8th St. SE. The closest metro is Eastern Market Station (Blue/Orange Lines). For more information, call 202-547-5652.

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Who We Missed: More Restaurants Opening in 2011


Photo Courtesy Pound Coffee

Since I first put together Part 1 and Part 2 of restaurants opening in 2011, I’ve been bombarded by emails reminding me of yet even more restaurants coming up. We’re working on a tool that will enable us (and therefore you!) to keep a better running list of the now 50-plus restaurants opening…but for now, here are some more hot-spots for you to look forward to this year in DC.

Station 4

Another reason that as a Navy Yard resident I’m getting more and more jealous of the Southwest Waterfront everyday – not only do they have a Safeway, but now a new restaurant called Station 4. Bullfeathers on Capitol Hill just reopened earlier this month under the same management behind Tunnicliff’s Tavern, Stoney’s, and Ulah Bistro. That same team is now bringing us this 4,000 square foot American bistro-style restaurant. Again, I love patio dining, and I love brunch on the weekends, so I will definitely be at Station 4.

1101 4th St. SW

Expected Arrival: ASAP

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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

All Your 2011 Restaurant Openings to Look Forward To (Part 1)

courtesy of Tricia BarbaIf you love food as much as I do, then you eagerly track what DC restaurants are opening plus where and when. With this list, we hope to do that work for you, so that all you have to do is head to the new place and try it out!

I included every restaurant I knew of, but I’m obviously not perfect. So please email me at or send me a tweet at @SoooDC if I’m missing something. I’m always up for gossip too! This list is your list.


If there’s such a thing as a Capitol Hill watering-hole, Bullfeathers is it.  House staffers and lawmakers who have missed this mainstay, can stop worrying because the hangout is reopening on January 24. The new Bullfeathers is now owned by the team behind Stoney’s, Tunnicliff’s Tavern, and Ulah Bistro. It will be fun seeing what trademarks from those restaurants make it over to Bullfeathers.

410 First St. SE

Arrival: January 24, 2011


The popular Korean restaurant did so well in Dupont Circle that is is opening up in City Vista too.  Mandu was started by the Lee family — mother Yesoon and children Jean & Danny.  They saw many traditional Korean restaurants in the suburbs (hello, Annandale) but none in the District.  Mandu means dumpling in Korean, and here you can find beef & pork, shrimp, and vegetable dumplings.

475 K St. NW

Twitter: @ManduDC

Arrival: January 24

Jack Rose

This new upscale restaurant/lounge is expected to open in late January 2011, and we can’t wait for parking in Adams Morgan to get even harder to find. At the site of an old gym, I bet this 2-story and almost six thousand square feet building will be a new hot spot on the “strip.” One of the minds behing this venture is Bill Thomas, also the owner of Bourbon and Breadsoda.  The other is Michael Hartzer, who’s worked at Citronelle and IndeBleu. I wonder if the classic cocktail will always be on special.

2007 18th St NW.

Twitter: @JackRoseinDC

Expected Arrival: Late January 2011 Continue reading

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Bullfeathers Bounces Back on Monday


Photo Courtesy Tricia Barba

As a former Capitol Hill resident and now a proud Navy Yard dweller, let me just say that Monday’s re-opening of Bullfeathers is one that I’ve been eagerly awaiting.  And that’s an understatement.

To recap: Bullfeathers “closed” in July of last year in order to undergo a complete renovation.  The Capitol Hill mainstay is now owned and operated by the team behind the popular Tunnicliff’s Tavern, Ulah Bistro & Stoney’s. 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.

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