12 Chili Flights, yum!

12 Chili Flights, yum!

On Memorial Day, St. Ex hosted a chili cook off with all proceeds going to Ross Elementary’s cafeteria. For $3 you got a chili flights of 6 chilis and for $5 a big bowl of chili. There was face painting and lemonade as well. Metrocurean, who was a judge to determine the winner, tells us that the chef and manager of St. Ex and Bar Pilar ended up winning in a blind taste test. I didn’t end up staying around for the judging but went on the earlier side to avoid lines. It was a good time, and a nice neighborhood reach-out for a restaurant who has had some issues with the neighbors lately.

I missed this the first time around because somehow Gmail thought it was spam. Saint Ex is appealing to their neighbors regarding their liquor classification and their business model in general. Excerpt of the letter here, full letter after the jump.

Our successful business model, sometimes referred to as a “gastropub” or a “brasserie,” has posed a regulatory challenge for the ABRA. The success of operations that blend restaurant and bar is in high demand by many of the young, single professional DC residents that have recently moved to the city.  But, this demand has also caused many groups of vocal and active neighbors to demand that ABRA strictly define these businesses into either restaurants or taverns and enforce regulations accordingly.  This increased enforcement of kitchen closing times and other restaurant restrictions to slow the growth of the restaurant-bar hybrid is only encouraging operations like Café Saint-Ex to seek Tavern licenses in order to maintain control over their businesses.

Café Saint-Ex wishes to operate legally, but does not know of a successful way to extend our kitchen hours without compromising our dedication to food quality, or compromising our fiscal responsibility to our investors.  The only other option is converting to a Tavern, but this term has become a lightning rod for conflict in the neighborhood.

Get in touch with your local ANC and voice your opinion. I certainly don’t want to see St. Ex go anywhere, in between meeting my boyfriend there, enjoying their patio, and having fun, crazy dance nights there, it’s become important to me. And it is definitely an important part of the neighborhood’s character.

Full letter after the jump.


Fixing the damage, courtesy of Allison Acosta (Flickr)

Fixing the damage, courtesy of Allison Acosta (Flickr)

I was planning on stopping by for a drink just in case they were open to show my support, but DCist confirms that Solly’s will be open for business tonight. They also have a lot more details about the accident:

There is now a pending arrest for Afework Behrane, the cabbie involved in the crash. He is still receiving treatment at GW Hospital for his injuries.

Behrane was operating the cab with a suspended driver’s license and an expired taxi license. He had picked up a fare across the street from Solly’s and, with the door still open, suddenly accelerated and hit right into the bar.

Those who were injured have suffered from a broken nose, lacerations, and bruises. Some were expected to have broken bones but with an x-ray that proved not to be the case.

I encourage everyone to stop by Solly’s in the next few days to show your support.

I was shocked to read this morning that a cab had crashed into Solly’s last night, my favorite neighborhood bar. Almost immediately I got dressed and walked over there to see the damage. A cab had crashed completely through one of the bay windows. When I went there around 11 AM, there was already a construction crew working on patching up the damage. It looked like they were making significant progress. I brought my camera, but it just didn’t feel right to take any pictures.

The good news is that while a few people were injured, no one was seriously hurt. I just feel terrible for Solly, he’s such a friendly, great guy. He’s the type of local business owner you love. No news on when they will be able to reopen, but let’s hope it’s fast. It was great to see that they are already fixing up the building. This couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy and a greater bar. It’s really made me sad, my thoughts are with Solly and his wife and let’s hope they open up stronger than ever.