The end of the year gives us a moment to reflect on all that has happened. For the past two years I have looked at the best and worst of what has happened on the greater U Street area, so let’s look at this year’s.

Best new restaurant: So neither of these restaurants are open yet, but they will be so soon – and they are filling in a much needed niche in the neighborhood – fast, affordable, but good food. The anticipation for Taylor Gourmet and Black & Orange is high, and I know they’ll meet expectations.

Runner up: Standard.

Who won last year: Fast Gourmet.

Best new bar: This was a hard one to figure out. There have been a few new bars open along the 14th and U corridor, but none are exactly exciting in the way that The Gibson was when it opened. I reluctantly bestow this on Blackbyrd Warehouse, mostly because this new bar is one of few you can go to on a weekend night and get a seat, a good drink, and be able to hear your companion.

Runner up: None.

Who won last year: Dodge City.

Best meal on U street: I’m a creature of habits sometimes. The restaurant/bar I continue to return to, no matter the occasion, is Bar Pilar for a great meal in the U Street area. The food is good, the atmosphere relaxed – you can come in for a drink and a snack or a full meal. The fact that they have been closed for renovations for the last month has been hard on me, friends.

Runner up: Cork.

Winner last year: Birch and Barley/Estadio.

Best new business on U street: Smucker Farms. While a few of us voiced some disappointment with their opening, I think the store has great potential, is a great idea, and I look forward to continue shopping there and see where they go. It’s great to see these kind of businesses – locally-owned, lovingly run – opening in the neighborhood. It also sets us apart from other neighborhoods, who else has a business similar to Smucker Farms?

Runner up: None.

Winner last year: Ginger Root.

Best story of the year: Pulp remains open. When the store announced it was closing, it was a bummer and a blow to locally owned, long standing business in the neighborhood. It was so wonderful to hear that someone had swooped in to buy the store and keep it open. The 14th and U neighborhood needs businesses like Pulp.

Runner up: None.

Winner last year: Movies at Harrison Field starting up.

Worst story of the year: This year on U street has been much more kind to us than last year, when the neighborhood was shocked by two violent crimes fairly close together (see below). I would say the worst story of the year isn’t one story, but the overarching theme of local business being closed for mega-developments like Utopia, the small guy getting pushed out for huge corporations and chains. While development is good, I also don’t want to lose what has made me love this neighborhood in the process.

Runner up: None.

Winner last year: Jamal Coates’ and Ali Ahmed Mohammed’s death.

Sad to see them go: Mid City Caffe. They were named my favorite new business back in 2009, and I loved their coffee, relaxed vibe, and good music. Such a shame to see them go, but the area was lucky enough to have Peregrine Espresso open nearby, filling our good coffee needs.

Runners up: Garden DistrictGo Mama GoMercadito Ramos.

Winner last year: HR-57.

Taylor near Mt Vernon Square, courtesy of M.V. Jantzen

Something to celebrate for the new year: Taylor Gourmet will open their new location at 14th and T the first business day of 2012. Delicious sandwiches for all for the new year!

This new location will also mean an expanded delivery zone for the sandwich shop, before those of us living north of U Street (me included) technically weren’t in their delivery zone. Now, that will expand up to Columbia Heights and to the west in Dupont Circle.

Photo courtesy of Tristen.Pelton

El Centro D.F. is making good on its promised Cinco de Mayo opening today. Stop by starting at 5 for:

– Live Latin DJ
– $20 Unlimited Antojitos
– Over 200 Tequilas & Mezcals
– Handcrafted Margaritas & Agave Cocktails

Their rooftop will be open, and it looks like tomorrow will be the perfect night to enjoy rooftop drinking. And, boy do I love a good margarita. If you stop by, please let me know how the place is in the comments.

Boundless Yoga to open Friday

Great news for the yoga fans who live along U Street. Boundless Yoga will open their new studio at 13/U this Friday. Now with two classrooms, an expanded schedule, and 7 pm classes (great for people like me who can rarely make the 6 o’clock hour classes because of work) Boundless’s new studio will be a great addition to the neighborhood.

And, if Boundless is opening on the top two floors, I have to believe the frozen yogurt spot, as well as the dry cleaners slated for the first floor can’t be far behind.

Hi readers, apologies for the lack of posts the past week – other things have gotten in the way. Prince of Petworth has some news for the 1500 block of U Street – first the sad: RCKNDY,  the home decor store, has closed. I can’t say I’d ever shopped there but I was glad to have it in the neighborhood.

Continuing the trend of the block being a fashion destination, Match Clothing will be opening at 1526 U Street. The building used to house a hair braiding business. Match Clothing seems like a pretty nice clothing boutique, but right now the website is pretty bare so hard to say the price range of the clothes they sell and where they come from.

Go Mama Go! (courtesy of NCinDC)

Well, it seems that after announcing over a year ago that they would close, Go Mama Go will close at the end of the month. I’m sad to see them finally close, but as they made the announcement so long ago, I’ve made peace with it. Make sure to stop by and say your goodbyes before the end of March.

And, to soften the blow, word is that Current Boutique, the nice consignment store will be coming to the same space in May. Current Boutique currently has locations in Clarendon and Old Town Alexandria.

I stopped by Touchdown, the new sports bar at the old MoMo’s space on U street, last night. They are open for business today. Touchdown is on two floors (as of now, they have a third floor that hasn’t opened yet) with tons of flatscreen TVs (I counted over 15) and a pretty basic beer and bar food menu. I had a few of the appetizers they were serving last night, and while none were amazing, all were pretty good. If you stop by, tell me what you think in the comments.

American Ice Company, old Google Maps photo

Their name and the day they are opening are very appropriate: it’s so freaking cold outside. American Ice Company (Vermont/V), the bar/BBQ joint from the Hilton brothers of Marvin, etc. will be opening Thursday Wednesday. Thanks for commenter Katie for pointing me in the direction of this TBD article that quotes the owner as changing the date to Thursday. If you stop by, let me know how it is in the comments.

Chidogo's opening Monday

If you missed the announcement on Twitter: Chidogo’s is opening on Monday. I walked by last weekend and saw that the all the tables/chairs are set up, so I figured it couldn’t be long. So get excited! We’ve certainly waited long enough.

Desperados Burgers & Bar

Prince of Petworth is reporting that Desperados is opening tonight – I’ll be back in the District tonight and will try to check it out (depends on how tired I am from an 8 hour road trip). I”ll be getting back to full-time reporting this week – please send me an email if I missed anything while I was away (

UPDATE: A commenter has notified me that the bar is open but the kitchen won’t open till Friday.