Last year I did a best and worst of 2009 on U street. Here is the same post for 2010. Please add your best/worst in the comments.
Best new restaurant: This might be a bold choice, given that I’ve only been there once and just wrote about it a week ago – but I’m going to go ahead and say it – Fast Gourmet in the gas station at 14/W. Yes, that’s how much I loved it. I will be going there frequently, happy to support a great locally owned restaurant. Call me crazy, fine – but have one of their sandwiches first.
Who won last year: Masa 14/Eatonville.
Best new bar: Dodge City. This relaxed, effortlessly cool bar has been a go to meet up place for my friends and I since it opened. You can easily hang out and have a conversation downstairs, and if you’re in more of a wild mood, you can go up to the second floor and dance. Now in a bit of a no-mans land at U street and Vermont, the end of U Street is quickly catching up with the rest of the corridor.
Runners up: American Ice Company (haven’t been, but know it’s gotten great reviews), U Street Music Hall.
Who won last year: The Gibson.
Best meal on U street: So I’m not talking U Street proper, but the greater 14th and U area. And if I give myself those parameters, I say there is a tie between Birch and Barley and Estadio. Birch and Barley’s dining room is beautiful, the food is impeccable, and the beer list – well it’s from Churchkey. Estadio is the hot spot in the neighborhood but it delivers wonderful Spanish food, somehow relatively affordably (at least when I’ve eaten there) with great service.
Runner up: Bar Pilar (you know I love me some Bar Pilar, and the quality has not gone down), Cork.
Winner last year: Bar Pilar.
Best new business on U street: Ginger Root. I’ve made friends with the girls behind Ginger Root/ReVamp Designs, and for good reason. They have a great vision for fashion, are eco-conscious, and are just friendly, nice people. Even though they are both recent imports from outside of the city, they just optimize the new, great DC that I hope we all love. If you haven’t stopped in and said hi at their basement shop at 15/U – please do so, now.
Runner up: Can’t really think of a good runner up for this one, maybe my bias for the awesome Ginger Root.
Winner last year: Mid City Caffe.
Best story of the year: Well jeez, this is hard. While plenty of wonderful things happened on U Street this year, they were overshadowed by the bad. I think a great thing that happened for the community was the movie series at Harrison Field this summer. It brought together the community in a wonderful way.
Runner up: Great sledding, snow ball fights in Meridian Hill Park following Snowpocalypse.
Winner last year: Obama coming to Ben’s Chili Bowl.
Worst story of the year: It’s a bit sad that there needs to be a tie for this. Between the horrific daytime shooting following the funeral of Ashley McRae, which lead to Jamal Coates’s death and the death of Ali Ahmed Mohammed outside of DC9, U Street didn’t have the best year. Both of these incidents were so shocking, saddening, and horrific that it really made me think of the state of U street. A reminder that we still need to work to improve our neighborhood, and to never get complacent about anything.
Winner last year: Nori Amaya’s death.
Sad to see them go: There are a lot of U Street area institutions that closed or left. I think HR 57, on lower 14th street, is the one I was saddest to see go. While it is reopening on H Street NE next month, I will still miss it as a place to stop in for great ambiance and music. A laidback, come as you are place that seems to be coming rarer in the neighborhood, HR 57 leaves a hole in the jazz scene on U Street.
Winner last year: Inspired Yoga (sniffle).