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R Street Curb Appeal Gets Real

It’s true — R Street in Eckington seems to get prettier by the day. But these days, the beatification is turbo speed.

One house on the unit block of R and one on the 100 block were painted in the last few days and look to be getting prepped for sale. Here’s a glimpse at the transformation of 148 R Street NE:

148 R Street NE148 R Street NE Washington DC Eckington paint 148 R Street NE Washington DC Eckington

NoMa Metro Indian Food Joint – Spiced Up Name, Spruced up menu

Don’t fret. While the Indian restaurant next to the NoMa Courtyard Marriott is no more, a new Indian restaurant has sprouted in the same spot.

So it’s out with Thaaja, in with Mint. New owners, new menu, and the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet I need like a hole in the head.

PopVille shows off the new signage and earnest Yelpers have already given this place rave reviews.


Red Hen is Here!

Red Hen – at 1st & Seaton N.W. – opens today. Thanks to Prince of Petworth for great photos, a preview and the press release on the restaurant’s opening:

Red Hen Bloomingdale Eckington D.C.

Photo from

Red Hen Bloomingdale Eckington Italian Restaurant

Photo from

And press release from

Today, Proprietors Michael Friedman, Mike O’Malley and Sebastian Zutant open their first restaurant venture together, The Red Hen, located at 1822 1st Street, NW in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, DC.

The Red Hen features Italian-influenced American cuisine. Making the most of mid-Atlantic ingredients, Chef Friedman’s menu relies predominantly on components cooked in a stone hearth featuring a Grillworks custom wood-fired grill. A focal point of the restaurant’s open kitchen, the hearth is not only used in traditional ways – smoking and grilling meats and vegetables – but is also used to explore modern ideas through traditional cooking applications: roasting vanilla beans and making gelato with the pods; slow-roasting ricotta to give the cheese a slightly smoky flavor; and utilizing burning embers in oil to create a smoked aioli.

Sebastian Zutant, most recently the wine director at Proof, is responsible for the beverage program at The Red Hen. Wines, beer and cocktails are all value-driven and eclectic in nature, with a focus on Italian-made wines and spirits. The concise, seasonally driven cocktail list will change frequently, offering drinks priced under $10 that incorporate wines and spirits in unique ways, including the Piedmontese-influenced Urs, made with Campari, Gruner Veltliner and moscato grappa, and Bring out your dead, made with rum, sloe gin, Sercial Madeira, Dolin sweet vermouth and lemon juice. Zutant plans to keep a majority of the 100-bottle wine list under $60, with about 5-10 wines offered by the glass nightly.

Partner Mike O’Malley is leading the restaurant operations, serving as general manager of the 60-seat restaurant. Lauren Winter and Brian Miller of Edit are responsible for the design of the 2,400 square foot space, which boasts an open floor plan and 13-foot ceilings. Natural light, entering from the bay windows, gives way to rich neutral tones, including the painted and aged wood floors throughout the room. The kitchen is open, featuring exposed shelves to hold firewood used for the wood-burning grill. Winter and Miller designed and fabricated the rustic tables and chairs from reclaimed Nicaraguan wood, along with the bar stools, which surround an orange, embossed leather bar.

The Red Hen is located in the historic Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, DC. In the late 19th century, Bloomingdale was a mix of residential and commercial undertakings including one of the city’s two flour mills, country estates, orchards and busy transportation routes. In recent years, the area has seen a resurgence of artistic and cultural venues, restaurants and community gathering places.

The Red Hen is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, with brunch to follow shortly after opening. The hours of operation are Tuesday and Wednesday from 5-10 PM, Thursday through Saturday from 5-11 PM and Sunday from 5-9:30 PM. For reservations and more information, please visit the website at or call 202-525-3021.

One year to go – a big hole becomes a big building

That massive hole at the corner of New York & Florida N.E. (one block from the NoMa Gallaudet metro) is slated to become a 13-story sky-scraping apartment building by summer 2014.

There has been little news about the project called Elevation, which is run by D.C.-area development heavyweight MRP Residential. But it’s certainly underway.


Elevation NoMa Eckington D.C.

Forget the Tidal Basin – Eckington’s Got Blossoms

113 R Street N.E. Cherry Blossoms

113 R Street N.E.

135 R Street N.E. Washington D.C. Eckington Cherry Blossoms

135 R Street N.E.

Salvaging the Engine Company 12 Project

Neighbors will gather in the coming weeks to launch a steering committee for evaluating the terms of the City Council’s deal with those running the Engine Company 12 project — which appears to be once again in trouble.

Since both the building’s construction executive and project proprietor have gotten in bad with the city in the Shaw’s Tavern liquor license debacle and an alleged similar incident at the firehouse itself, onlookers are calling this latest try at converting the space into a restaurant another failure.

The Advisory Neighborhood Commission for 5C03 posponed a meeting set for St. Patrick’s Day to collect demand-data from the community and produce a set of advisory recommendations on the optimal use of the firehouse property, which is located at the intersection of North Capitol Street and Quincy Place. A new meeting date will be chosen once the commission has gotten ahold of the city’s main document for the project.

The relationship between the project’s heads and local neighborhood groups has been rocky from the get-go. Last spring, General Manager Steven May released an “open letter” stating that, “Due to the lack of open support from community leaders and local civic associations, it has become necessary to delay the opening of Engine Company 12 from July 1, 2011 to Sept 1, 2011.”

As we know, the project blew past the delayed completion date and the interior is still largely in shambles. Here’s a photo just taken of the first floor:

Heading Into Spring, NoMa West Construction in Full Swing

Almost exactly one year ago, construction began on the NoMa West luxury apartment complex on Eckington Place. Twelve months in, the project is in full stride, with a predicted completion date of December 2013.

The development company in charge of the 603-unit project — Mill Creek Residential Trust — says construction got slightly off schedule due to inclement weather. But work is back on track.

“Like most projects in the D.C. area, we have unfortunately been impacted by the significant rain this fall,” said managing director Sam Simone. “With that said, we are close to maintaining our original schedule.”

Those following the project have known for a while that the complex will boast an expansive 15,000 square feet of common area amenities, including two fitness centers, two business centers, an Internet lounge, a movie theater and a gaming room. Simone confirmed that the complex’s two pools will be outdoor at ground level and the builders have said the pools will be surrounded by “lush open spaces and fountains.”

The three-building complex, which is located just a few blocks from the NoMa-Gallaudet U metro stop, will be made up of a mix of studios, one bedrooms, one bedrooms with dens and two bedrooms with dens, with an average apartment size of 770 square feet.

The project is still on track to include 570 parking spaces and 1,200 square feet of retail space. Simone said the company is hopeful to attract a neighborhood convenience or service business to fill the retail space.

The complex’s three buildings, which take up a full city block at the intersection of Eckington Place and Harry Thomas Way, are just one of the major construction projects taking shape in the booming NoMa and Eckington neighborhoods. The area is transforming so quickly, passersby have been shocked to see structures sprout up on the once-empty lot where the NoMa West apartment buildings are coming to life.

“The NoMa/Eckington area is one of the most exciting in the district and Mill Creek Residential is excited about being a part of this wonderful community,” Simone said.

Mill Creek Residential Trust is made up of former Trammell Crow Residential partners and employees. The company’s most notable project is the residential component in Reston Town Center known as Market Street at Town Center.

Here’s what the NoMa West project will look like when it’s finished:

The ‘Hood Gets a Satirical Shoutout posted a video this morning on “Sh*t People in DC Say,” poking fun at all the trite remarks often uttered in the nation’s capital. Among the popular phrases, our little neighborhood got some big mention:

“Eckington is basically like the new Bloomingdale. Shaw is like the next Columbia Heights. Navy Yard is like the new Eckington.”


“Let’s get some grilled cheese at Big Bear.”

SocialStudies says that “whether you’re a native Washingtonian or a DC transplant, chances are you’ve heard people say all of these . . . sometimes in one night.”

Check it out!

And another: 58 Q Street NE goes under contract

After less than a month on the market, 58 Q Street NE joins the long list of Eckington beauties that have slipped away this summer

List Price: $629,999

This completely remodeled Victorian was built in 1900 and has 4 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. At just over 2,000-square-feet, the home includes a finished basement, which spans about half the length of the house and includes a wet bar.  

Like many of its neighboring residences in Eckington, the biggest draw during the open house was the spacious and light-filled master suite.   

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Boundary Stone Public House stays packed in opening weeks

A little over two weeks ago, a set of impressively sturdy doors opened to the smell of old wood and strong beer, and the sound of an absolutely free juke box. Since then, there has been nary an empty stool.

The pub, situated in the heart of the neighborhood’s restaurant scene, is located at 116 Rhode Island Ave NW at the southwestern corner of the intersection with First Street. An ode to DC’s roots, Boundary Stone takes its name from the stones laid to shape the city and its aesthetics from the news world’s old world – with incandescent Edison bulbs, copper ceiling tiles and tons of reclaimed wood.

For food, the bar has a consistent menu of soups, salads and sandwiches and features a different entree special each night. Saturday night’s pick was Chicken Confit. For drink, they’ve got a pretty even split between obscure and well-known beers, ranging from $3 to $6.50.

Check back for more photos and info in the coming weeks. In the meantime, visit Boundary Stone’s website and Prince of Petworth’s lovely shots of its interior.


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