Last night, Black & Orange, the new burger joint on 14th just south of U Street opened. I swung by the opening party (yes, they were kind enough to invite me) and checked out the space. It is pretty large, with ample seating. I dig their minimalist decor. Checkout after the jump for a few more photos. (more…)

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CrossFit Praxis, now open

Crossfit Praxis is now open at 14th and Florida. That didn’t take very long, as I first noticed the coming soon sign back in November. Most of you might already know this news, as the gym was profiled in the Express yesterday, but I’m more of a New Yorker reader on the Metro in the morning.

While I’ve never done a Crossfit work out, I know the gym has its devotees – so glad to see another gym option in the hood.

U Wine and Beer back open

I heard word from owner Steve Tekle that U Wine and Beer is back open following a fire that closed them down back in July.

Glad to hear that they are finally back in business, everyone stop by and say hello.

courtesy of prettywar-stl

Apologies for being a tad late to this – but yes, the Dunkin Donuts at 14th and U is finally open. I understand they are giving away medium coffees through October 30 – so definitely take advantage while you can!

Photo by roadsidepictures (Flickr)

Well joy of joys, the Subway at 14th and U is now open. Those of you who just needed 3 Subway sandwich shops within 4 blocks of each other, your prayers have been answered.

Standard's menu, courtesy of @DCBrit

Standard, which at one point was going to be a burger place modeled on New York’s shake shack, is now open in the old (old) Garden District space at 14th and S. The restaurant now is barbecue based, with very odd pricing. Check out the menu – what is wrong with having rounded off numbers?

I walked by this weekend and it was packed with people enjoying the weather and beer. I’ll be sure to stop by soon – but have you been?  What did you think?

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.

Runners up: Estadio, Dickson Wine.

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.

Runners up: Cafe Nema, Polly’s, Axis.

Winner last year: Inspired Yoga (sniffle).