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…)

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).

Dr. K Vintage is open

I walked by yesterday and was happy to see a sign up at Dr. K Vintage (16/U). Then I noticed a handwritten “OPEN” sign in the front window. Hooray! I didn’t have the time to stop in (nor anything other than my phone to take a picture with) but I will soon.

UPDATE: The owners have written in to let me know they are open everyday from 1 to 10 pm. Stop in!

Beautiful hat from Ginger Roots

Ginger Roots (1530 U Street) is open! I stopped by this weekend and talked with the lovely Kristen and Erin for nearly an hour – they’re very friendly and sweet women, and very talented. Ginger Roots hours are 12-7 Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and 1-6 on Sunday (closed Tuesday and Wednesday).

I was a bit misunderstood when I characterized Ginger Roots as a vintage boutique. What Kristen and Erin do with their clothing line, and what a lot of the artists they feature do as well, is take second-hand, vintage materials and revamp them (therefore the name of their clothing line is ReVamp) into something new. Their shop does feature some vintage finds, but most of it is made with vintage materials that have been repurposed. Kristen and Erin also do tailoring.

While the store is open now, they will be having their grand opening sometime in September, when their clothing line is finished. They have a few pieces out now and they are beautiful. Price points on the clothing will depend on labor and material (not surprisingly) so the more complex pieces will be about $100, but there will be more affordable options. The jewelry is also pretty reasonably priced, I walked away with two pairs of cute earrings, both $12.

I’ll keep you posted about the grand opening, but in the meantime check out their store and say hi! And I wish them the best of luck.

Seemed like everyone enjoyed my list of businesses coming to the U street corridor. A commenter suggested I write a list of recently opened businesses along U street, as they’re hard to keep up with (I agree!) – so here’s a list of businesses that have opened along the 14th and U corridor in 2010 (there are a lot more that opened in late 2009 – think Cork Market, Masa 14, JJ’s Philly Cheesesteaks):

  • Angelico Pizza at 14/U – Formerly drunk-haven Jumbo Slice, Angelico Pizza, a local pizza chain, seems to be catering to the same drunk pizza crowd. U Street Girl says that based on a small sample it’s still best consumed drunk.
  • Bistro La Bonne at 13/U – This French-themed bistro opened after Axis closed in January. The same owners bring you good French cooking, a great beer list, and a relaxed vibe  – U Street Girl hasn’t been to dinner yet but gives thumbs up to their brunch.
  • Cork &  Fork at 14/Church – this local wine store chain opened in May. A lovely French family with a history of winemaking sells affordable wines. U Street Girl was skeptical as Cork Market is so close by, but loves the passion and knowledge that the family behind Cork & Fork offers.
  • Dickson Wine at 9/U – This wine bar concept from the guys behind Marvin, the Gibson, etc. opened in March. U Street Girl says that the food was really good, atmosphere cool, and recommends you sit at a table not at the bar-like seating.
  • Dodge City at 9/U – this quiet bar opened in April. A good beer list, no frills, not crowded, dance bar on the second floor – U Street Girl says this might be the one bar on U Street where you can get a seat and hear your companion.
  • Homemade Pizza Co. at 14/Church – This take a premade pizza home and stick it in an oven store opened in January. U Street Girl says my bad, still haven’t been. I like my pizzas homemade or already cooked from Pete’s or Coppi’s but I’ve heard from a friend that the pizzas are good but pricey.
  • Patty Boom Boom at 14/U – This Jamaican-themed bar opened in January. U Street Girl says the bridge and tunnel crowd lines up to get in during the weekend, but the vibe inside is chill and the music is fun. Plus the patties are great.
  • Pica Taco at 14/Florida – the second outpost for this small taco restaurant opened in April. U Street Girl says tacos are good, cheap, and a great “I forgot to make dinner” solution.
  • Point Chaud at 14/S – this creperie opened in June, serving a long list of savory and sweet crepes. U Street Girl says it’s good but hopes service will improve as the people who work there get more experience.
  • Room & Board at 14/T – this national, high-end furniture chain opened in June. 4 stories of beautiful furniture and a great roof deck. U Street Girl says it’s pretty but she can’t afford it.
  • U Street Music Hall at 12/U – This DJ-haven dance club, again from the Hilton brothers of Marvin, etc., opened in March. U Street Girl says sorry, I still haven’t been! It’s not really my scene but I do want to check it out, it’s on my to-do list.