Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Plans for "Local 14" Take Shape

As we mentioned briefly in an earlier post on the subject, the owners of popular U Street establishment Local 16 are preparing to move forward with a new 14th street location titled, appropriately, Local 14.

The plans for Local 14--to be located at 1832 14th Street--are quite sizable, even by 14th street standards: room for nearly 200 people, rooftop deck until 2 AM every night, live DJ entertainment and outdoor seating on the sidewalk and a balcony.

This morning, a group of 35 protesters, acting independently of the ANC, filed the necessary paperwork with ABRA to initiate a protest in order to negotiate a voluntary agreement with the new establishment. The lead protesters are former DCCA Chairman Joel Lawson, and Ronald Clayton, the lead protestant in the recently completed Saint Ex and Bar Pilar negotiations.

According to Lawson, while neighborhood residents are excited with the ongoing renaissance of 14th Street and are generally supportive of the redevelopment plans, certain aspects of Local 14's proposed operations do raise concerns for nearby residents.

"We all want 14th to keep developing and expect it to get noisier, " said Lawson, "but when a restaurant wants a rooftop bar with a DJ until 2am every weeknight, 3am weekends, facing a lot of people's bedroom windows in the back, we obviously need to talk."

In addition to noise concerns, the protest also raises concerns about alley access while deliveries are being made, since the property backs up against a "T" in the alleyway.

While several meetings will take place over the coming days, the "roll call" hearing at ABRA will take place on August 17, when protestants will officially be recognized and the process will begin.

Lawson stressed that he, Clayton and the group of protesters are committed to "reasonable" expectations and goals for the protest.

"We're reasonable, I know their attorney to be a straight shooter, and we can only hope the owner will be reasonable too."

We'll keep you up to date with the ongoing developments in the Local 14 negotiations over the coming months.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Saint-Ex and Bar Pilar Saga FINALLY Over

We are pleased to report that local restaurants Bar Pilar and Saint-Ex have, at long last, been granted their request for a change in their liquor license after overcoming a last-minute attempt by a small group of neighborhood activists to insert themselves into the process.

Their application had been protested by both the ANC and a group of protesters. Though negotiations had at times been tense (as reported in a number of previous posts on this topic), last week it was reported that an agreement had been reached.

Shortly thereafter, Phyllis Klein, DCCA Licensing Regulation Committee chair, sent a letter to ABRA director Fred Moosally requesting to be added as a signatory to the VA. Such a move could have had significant consequences for the agreement--including sending the matter to a hearing and potentially costing the community its ability to have a say in the restaurants' operations.

According to Klein, she asked to be added because she said that she believed that five individuals were needed to sign an agreement.

"In my long history in the neighborhood, I've signed two VAs," she said, "[and] at least five neighbors signed on."

However, ABRA regulations stipulate that while a minimum of five protestants are required to protest a license application, only lead protestants need sign it. This was a sensitive aspect of Saint Ex and Bar Pilar's VAs, which involved a number of ANC and community representatives. According to former DCCA board member and Chairman Joel Lawson, Klein's actions were an unnecessary complication to finalizing the agreement, and in her capacity as Licensing Regulation Chair she should have been aware of that fact.

"She's Chair of DCCA's Licensing Regulation Committee, so she should know exactly what she's doing here," exclaimed Lawson. "The potential risk of this regulatory machination is incredible, and sadly can undermine the resident's side of things; we have to be precise and professional."

In the end, however, the ABC Board ruled that Klein had no standing to protest since her group--which included herself, her husband Juan Mayer, and ANC2B commissioner Ramon Estrada--lacked the requisite number of protesters (five) in which to file a protest, meaning that Saint-Ex and Bar Pilar's license change will finally go through.

Estrada's attempt to join as a protestant is particularly noteworthy, as ANC2B had reached an agreement to withdraw their protest if ANC1B was satisfied with the agreement--which they were, since the agreement was signed by commissioner Pete Raia. ANC2B also passed a binding motion stipulating that Mr. Estrada's role could only be as support to the 1B commissioner, Mr. Raia--which certainly seems to make Estrada's role in the matter questionable.

This seemingly closes a chapter in what was truly an interesting and, at times, aggravating process to secure a change in license for two popular neighborhood establishments. This has been an important process to observe however, since the city's recent crackdown on ensuring that restaurant-class license holders are meeting their food sales requirements will likely mean that a number of other establishments may soon be seeking similar changes.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Pizza Place, American Restaurant For 14th Street; New Wine Bar Headed to U Street

My, aren't Logan and U Street busy these days?

We've received a number of requests recently regarding the status of some of the new bars/restaurants that are looking to set up shop in the area. Rather than put together a bazillion posts about each one, we thought we'd be economical and condense everything into one single post. One caveat: in some cases, I might not have the most up-to-date information, so by all means if you have something to add do so in the comments section.

The guys that brought us U St. hangout Local 16 are about to make a foray onto 14th St. with Local 14, to be located at 1832 4th Street (next to the L&N Thrift Store). They are applying for a restaurant license class, and are planning to serve American fare. This one will likely raise some eyebrows: seating for 199, a sidewalk cafe, a rooftop deck with seating for 40, and a balcony with seating for 8. I sense a voluntary agreement in their future...

Over on U Street, plans are in the works for a new wine bar by the name of Dickson Wine. Dickson, which is petitioning to be open until 2 AM during the week and 3 AM on weekends, is planning to serve some light food and is applying also for live music--perhaps planning to bring in some jazz to go along with the charcuterie? Dickson will be located at 903 U Street, near Nellie's.

Further down 14th Street, at the corner of 14th and Church (in the old Metropole sales office), we have received a tip that a pizza joint is going to be opening up. That's all the info I was able to obtain as of writing--if anyone has any additional info, please provide in the comments section.

Many of you are no doubt aware of the pending arrival of Masa 14 at 1825 14th Street, just north of the Black Cat. Masa will feature (wait for it...wait for it...) small plates with a Latin and Asian theme and "specialty cocktails". Masa is a co-venture between Kaz Sushi Bistro chef Kaz Okochi and Zengo's (Penn Quarter) Richard Sandoval, and is aiming for a September opening. Sadly, no plans to offer sushi are currently in the works...

Finally, not a restaurant per se, but the old El Paraiso market (between Pulp and Home Rule) is set to become Cork Market, an upscale wine and gourmet food shop with a "neighborhood feel". (You may recall that the space was originally to become "Blu Lounge"). No official opening date for the Market yet, but Cork's Khalid Pitts and Dianne Gross are anticipating an early autumn grand opening.

One final note: U Street wine bar Vinoteca has petitioned to extend their outdoor patio hours from midnight until 1 AM. I've heard mixed feelings about this request, particularly since Vinoteca's outdoor space immediately abuts residences. We'll keep you posted on how this turns out.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Two Logan Eateries Featured in Washington Post

In case you missed it, yesterday's Food section in the WaPo featured front page articles about two Logan businesses: recently opened Pitango Gelato, and the soon-to-open Mid City Cafe.

The Post took an up-close look at Pitango's gelato creations, detailing how founder Noah Wood goes about producing the frozen treat, which has won over people so quickly that, after only one taste, Posto owner Paolo Sacco decided to serve it in his 14th street Italian eatery. Offering 60 varieties (only 20 are available each day), Dan's gelato shop has proved quite popular since its opening last month. For those who have complained about the high prices (this blogger included), Dan points out that the higher prices are "what makes [the gelato] possible."

Immediately opposite the Pitango story was a piece on North Carolina-based Counter Culture Coffee, which will be served at the Mid-City Cafe, which will be opening soon in a second floor space above Miss Pixie's on 14th Street. Seems that Counter Culture Coffee has a number of fans around the DC area, and is currently being served at places such as Peregrine Espresso in Capitol Hill and the Big Bear Cafe in Bloomingdale.

Learning that Mid-City will be serving Counter Culture, and is actually taking the time to train their employees, gives me hope that they might actually make it in their space. Initially, I was concerned that a second-floor space would hurt their business...particularly if it is run in a similar fashion to other area independent shops.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Partner of ANC Commissioner Attempts to Scuttle Saint-Ex Agreement; Goes After Policy Employees

UPDATE: We have learned that the voluntary agreements for Saint-Ex and Bar Pilar were signed by all interested parties yesterday evening, and were delivered to ABRA this morning. For all intents and purposes, this means that Saint-Ex and Bar Pilar's license change request will go through.


14thandyou has learned that neighborhood activist/filmographer Elwyn Ferris and his partner, ANC2B commissioner Ramon Estrada, have been involved in two dubious actions aimed at local restaurants Saint-Ex, Bar Pilar and Policy. These actions include delaying and attempting to scuttle an agreed-upon voluntary agreement, videotaping patrons, and recording--and identifying, possibly through illegal means--license plates of cars driven by employees whom Ferris believed were violating a voluntary agreement.

Two weeks ago, we reported that local restaurants Saint-Ex and Bar Pilar had reached an agreement with a group of citizen protestants and ANC1B to change their liquor license from a "CR" (restaurant) class to a "CT" (tavern) class, in spite of the best efforts of Ferris, who was seen videotaping Saint-Ex patrons as "evidence" to be used against the establishment. According to sources, the discussions were quite heated, with Ferris growing quite agitated and, in a truly ungrounded tactic, attempting to use Bar Pilar's conversion application as leverage against Saint-Ex's.

Failing initially to prevent an agreement being reached between the two sides, Ferris tried again. In a June 8 email sent to ABRA director Fred Moosally, ANC1B commissioner Peter Raia (who had agreed to sign the agreement), Saint-Ex attorney Andrew Kline and others two days before a status hearing before ABRA, Ferris--who is not the lead protestant--makes clear that his intention is to draw out the process for as long as possible. His reasons for doing so are not explained, nor is his apparent animosity towards two of 14th Street's most popular establishments.

"I want to remind you that there are 31 protestants to this...conversion," Ferris writes. "We are not rushing [this]."

Two days later, Ferris followed through on his threat. Ferris, along with commissioner Estrada, began a fervent campaign to strong-arm Raia and others into not signing the agreement with Saint-Ex that had been reached days prior. These actions led the lead protestant, who was furious at the back-door, 11th hour tactics engaged by Ferris and Estrada, and frustrated at what would inevitably be a futile status hearing, to ultimately decide not to attend the hearing. Ferris had succeeded in throwing an unnecessary wrench into the proceedings.

One week and several additional revisions later, an agreement still has not been reached, but sources have told us that one is imminent--news which will certainly not sit well with Ferris, who is largely powerless to prevent it.

The Saint-Ex/Bar Pilar fiasco is but one in an ever-increasing string of questionable activities engaged in by Ferris and Estrada, all built on a foundation of bizarre or absurd motivations. In addition to the filming if Saint-Ex patrons, you may recall that it was Ferris and Estrada who caused an uproar several years back by filming young, gay Latino men entering a U Street nightclub as part of a protest.

Privacy issues have been raised again, this time in the form of a complaint drafted by Ferris and submitted to ABRA targeting recently opened 14th Street restaurant Policy. In the complaint, which was not raised to Policy owner Omar Miskinyar until after its submission, Ferris breathlessly details seven full pages of complaints against the restaurant, ranging from a lack of a sushi kitchen on the second floor to deliveries being made on T Street.

Most egregious, however, is a section on "parking." Ferris, it seems, has a problem with Policy employees parking on T Street which, while legal, was in violation of the voluntary agreement. (As was the process Ferris used to issue his complaint, incidentally. The agreement stipulated that such issues should be directed first to Miskinyar, as opposed to being sent directly to ABRA.) Rather than approaching the situation as most neighbors would--that is, arranging to speak directly with the restaurant's owner and working out an arrangement acceptable to both parties--Ferris decides to stake out the restaurant and record the employee cars parking along T Street. But he doesn't stop there.

Using unknown methods that are frightening in their invasiveness, Ferris then provides not only the license plate and make/model of the car, but the name of the owner and other personally identifiable information in the complaint--a clear invasion of privacy, and one which did not sit well at all with Policy's personnel. How he managed to obtain this information is unknown. While license plate searches can increasingly be conducted online, there are laws that limit how that information can be utilized.

Also unknown are Ferris and Estrada's motivations for repeatedly engaging in behavior that borders on sociopathic. Of course neighbors and community associations have a right to have their voices heard with respect to the operations of neighborhood businesses, particularly when such operations could threaten the quality of life for a neighborhood' citizens.

But this kind of behavior extends far beyond that. Videotaping restaurant patrons, including personally identifiable information in overblown ABRA complaints, and working vehemently to make life as difficult as possible for popular neighborhood businesses are not the actions of individuals with a community's best interests at heart.

Viewed in the context only of how this relates to the aforementioned 14th Street establishments, Ferris and Estrada's actions constitute little more than a nuisance. But it is important to ensure that such actions do not foster the creation of a hostile business climate in the neighborhood. "Balance" in these issues is key, but actions such as spying on ones neighbors, engaging in legally questionable behavior and going out of ones way to create tension between businesses and residents does not lead to balance--it leads to confrontation, and is ultimately harmful to the ongoing development of our neighborhood.

Protest to Save Historic Mansion From Demolition Tonight

I know it's short notice, but an ad-hoc group of DC area preservationists and Dupont residents are getting together this evening at 7PM in front of the mansion at 1841 16th Street to protest the pending demolition of the structure. The mansion has been declared structurally unsound by the city and could be torn down within weeks.

Borderstan has more details.

The current issue of the Dupont Current has the full story about the house, which is owned by a George Washington University professor. The building has been very poorly maintained, to the point that an inspection by DCRA found the building to be at imminent risk of collapse. The mansion, constructed during the late 19th century, is a stunning piece of architecture and would be a great loss for the neighborhood. Unfortunately, the building's condition is so dire that the cost to stabilize and renovate the structure could exceed half a million dollars.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"Room and Board" Deal Back On (For Now); Plus, a New Restaurant From the Policy Team

Those hoping for a 24 hour diner at 14th and T will have t put those hopes on ice...maybe.

The on-again off-again courtship between Minneapolis-based furniture retailer Room and Board has veered back into "on again" territory, as the report came out today that the chain has once again announced plans to purchase the building at 14th and T streets.

This is the second time the furniture retailer has announced that it is buying the building; the first time around, the economic crisis caused the deal to implode.

Our reaction to this news is: blah. Just, blah. Yes, we're glad to see the "Taylor Motors Building" (so called because it used to be a car showroom, way back in the day) renovated and put to use. The building and its fantastic space have stood empty for far too long. But a furniture store? You'll forgive me for failing to get myself all worked up about that.

For one, 14th street is awash in furniture stores. If you don't believe that, check out our post on that very topic from last year. Secondly, and perhaps even more frustrating, is that this means that the pipe-dream plans for a Constantine Stavropoulos diner/comedy club/yoga studio for that space can be put to rest. (Although I do have it on good authority that Stavropoulos remains very interested in the 14th Street corridor and continues to look for available spaces there.)

And, yeah yeah...I'm sure Room and Board has fine things, and yes I'm sure they have some affordable things, and yes I know that big box chains aren't all bad...but this is like your father coming home and announcing with great excitement that he had just purchased a new Ford Taurus.

As to whether or not Room and Board will actually open up this time...all signs point to yes, but I'll believe it when I see it.

"Policy" Guys Opening New Spot

Speaking of the "Room and Board space", the 14thandyous have learned that the same team that brought you trendy DC restau-lounge "Policy" are making plans to open a new establishment soon, in the space immediately adjacent to the future (?) Room and Board space. No formative plans as of yet for what the new space will be, but with Policy's success and generally favorable reviews, it's a safe bet to believe that yet another popular, trendy dining establishment is on the horizon.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Congratulations to Cork

In case you haven't heard the news, 14th Street wine bar Cork was recently named the winner of the "Best New Restaurant" award at the Restaurant Association of Washington's annual RAMMY awards. Cork was the only Logan/Shaw restaurant to collect an award at the RAMMYs, which are awarded to the "best" DC restaurants across a variety of categories.

Congratulations to Diane, Khalid and the entire Cork crew!

Thunder 'n Lightnin'

So, how was your commute in this morning? In spite of some truly fantastic thunder amd lightning over our fair city, this dutiful corporate citizen was up and out the door by 8 AM, and had no troubles whatsoever catching the Metro to work. Of course, that's because I don't take the Orange Line, which by all accounts was a giant cluster.

The great thing about loud storms is the wonderful responses they tend to generate. For the "Storm Comment of the Day", we turn to DCist, where commenter AMDCer had this to say, with regards to traffic light outages:

All of the traffic lights around Dupont Circle were flashing red this morning due to the storm. Not surprisingly, traffic was moving much better than usual...

Hear, hear.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Blogger Resigns

Many people don't notice this, but 14th & You had been written by two authors. I am, however, turning over the reins of the blog entirely to my husband, Mr. 14th & You. In truth, he's been the one doing nearly all of the work recently. This is simply making official what had already happened; with a return to school, I no longer have the time to keep up with blogging here. I may once again see you all back here after graduation next spring.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Saint-Ex, Bar Pilar Reach Tentative Agreements for License Change; Partner of ANC Commissioner Involved in Questionable Surveillance Tactics

Popular 14th Street restaurants Saint-Ex and Bar Pilar have tentatively reached an agreement with protestants to obtain a change in license class from "restaurant" to "tavern". The change will help both establishments escape restrictions imposed on restaurant class license holders that they viewed as financially burdensome and unnecessary (discussed in a previous post on this topic, available here).

The tentative agreement was reached on Friday between the restaurants' management and ANCs 1B and 2B, along with a group of citizen protesters led by T Street resident Ron Clayton.

The agreement should not result in a substantial change in operations for either establishment. Saint-Ex, for instance, will be required to meet a standard of a minimum 40% of gross receipts from food sales during the year. The restaurant currently derives 65% of its gross annual receipts from food sales and has no plans to disrupt kitchen operations, so meeting the 40% requirement should not prove difficult. Other requirements contained within the agreement include a cessation of outdoor food and drink service by 11 PM, and a clearing of their outdoor area by midnight.

The process to obtain approval for the change in license was not without controversy. During the past month, Elwyn Ferris--partner of ANC2B commissioner Ramon Estrada--was seen filming from across the street as patrons entered and exited Saint-Ex, an action which hearkens back to Ferris's controversial filming of gay patrons of former U Street nightclub Cada Vez in 2005.

Ferris's motivations for filming Saint-Ex patrons were unclear, and no evidence derived from the filming was entered against the restaurant as part of the protest. Ferris's actions also raised questions as to why an individual who was not a protestant of the application would even bother embarking upon such surveillance.

The change to a tavern license relieves Saint-Ex and Bar Pilar of certain burdensome regulations, such as requiring the presence of a chef on the premises within two hours of closing. (John Snellgrove, owner of Saint-Ex, had stated that the restaurant--which closes at 2 AM on weeknights and 3 AM on weekends--did not incur significant food sales after 10 PM and that requiring a chef to remain on site until midnight or 1 AM was a financial burden.)

The next step in the process is a status hearing before ABRA on June 10, when all parties will appear and confirm that an agreement has been reached.

Friday, June 5, 2009

ANC Roundup: New Owners for "The Space"; Cafe Salsa Threatened with "Show Cause" Hearing; Veranda's patio

Several items of interest related to neighborhood restaurants to pass along from Wednesday evening's ANC2f meeting:

Many of you may be familiar with the ongoing saga of The Space, the trendy "private" nightclub operating in Shaw. The Space, it seems, was operating in violation to its liquor license and the voluntary agreement it had signed with its neighbors (more details can be found here). At February's ANC meeting, following a terse exchange with ANC2f chairman Charles Reed, the ANC voted to recommend that ABRA initiate a "show cause" hearing regarding the club, a step towards the revocation of the club's liquor license.

ABRA elected to proceed with a "show cause" hearing, and a date was set. However, while this was going on, some significant internal changes were occurring with the club's management that has left more questions than answers.

The Space owners, Mitchell Cox and his wife Heather Karen, put the club on the market--unbeknownst to The Space's neighbors. In April, a deal was struck by Cox to sell the club to Columbus, Ohio-based veteran's organization "American Sacrifice Foundation". In an apparent attempt to circumvent ABRA's pending hearing and the potential loss of the club's liquor license, according to comments from Chairman Reed, a deal was proposed to ABRA that would make the American Sacrifice Foundation a 10% owner of the club, with the Cox's retaining a 90% interest (and responsibility for day-to-day operations) in the club. ABRA rejected that deal completely.

Why a Columbus-based veteran's association would have an interest in owning a Washington, DC nightclub was not discussed, and the ABRA-rejected deal between the Foundation and the Cox's leads one to believe that something more is going on here than initially appears.

Whatever the relationship between the Foundation and the Cox's, at this point the ownership issue of the club remains murky. A representative of the Foundation was in attendance at the meeting and indicated that the club had been completely sold to the Foundation, and that the Cox's no longer had any interest in it. However, Mitchell Cox's name remains on the lease for the premises, and--according to the club's representative--many details remain "to be worked out."

In the meantime, ABRA has issued an order--which has been drafted but yet released--detailing how the matter will be handled. According to neighbors, The Space has been closed for the past several weeks. The Foundation representative indicated that when it reopened, it would be a completely different type of operation, something more akin to a "VFW hall". So while the future of The Space's operations is unclear, what IS clear is that whatever opens in its place will be operated under much closer scrutiny by the ANC.


Also discussed at Wednesday's meeting was recently opened 14th Street restaurant Cafe Salsa. It seems that Cafe Salsa's rear vent fan, which many neighbors have complained about, is not only obnoxious--it is a violation of the voluntary agreement signed between the ANC and the establishment.

Unfortunately, no representative of the restaurant was in attendance at the meeting, which appeared to irk Reed. Noting that the owner had indicated that "approvals were in place" to move the fan, without being in possession of any documents proving that assertion, Reed moved to send a letter to Cafe Salsa threatening them with a "show cause" hearing unless the problem was addressed. The ANC will take up the matter again at the July meeting.


One final note: during the early part of the meeting, Reed, in discussing problems with DDOT representative Chris Ziemann, cited a persistent problem of parking in the public space. To those unfamiliar with DC's arcane property ownership structure, many property owners do not in fact own the land immediately in front or to the side of their properties; this land actually resides within the public space, and parking here--or otherwise using the land--is illegal. As one particular example of this, Reed cited the existence of a parking pad and an illegally constructed concrete patio in front of Shaw restaurant Veranda.

Reed put forth a motion--passed unanimously by the ANC--to issue a letter to DDOT encouraging them to crack down on such public space violations, going so far as to say that the Veranda patio should be "shut down" if compliance is not gained.

It's worth noting that the matter is up to DDOT, not the ANC, and that while it is DDOT's responsibility to ensure that District laws are followed with regards to the use of the public space, it's unlikely that Veranda's patio would be "shut down" over this issue.

For more information about upcoming ANC2f meetings, and to view notes from past meetings, visit their website at http://www.anc2f.org/.

Look! It's the Real World Cast!

...or perhaps just a bunch of interns looking to get high? Not sure, but whatever it is apparently we've got the scoop over here, at least according to why.I.hate.DC's predictions on who is going to break stories about the upcoming "Real World" DC filming.

A small bone to pick with their predictions: they've got Prince of Petworth tagged as the blog most likely to provide proof of the location of the "Real World" house. I'd like to point out that an anonymous commenter on here a couple of days ago indicated from a "good source" that the house will be located on the southwest corner of 20th and S streets. And if an unsourced quote from an anonymous commenter isn't considered "proof", then I don't know what is.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why We [Heart] DC

Overheard while eating lunch today in the courtyard of the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum:

Guy #1: I want a hit piece done. I really like the sound of that.
Guy #2: OK, but if we do a hit piece on (company name), it has got to come from a respected journalist. Someone who will be read. And you know this means all out war, right?
Guy #1: Oh yeah. I'm ready for war. I'm prepared.

Real World Coming to Dupont?

According to DCist, it seems that the forthcoming "Real World" series set in DC will in fact be based at a house in Dupont. Now, the question in our minds is: is this in *real* Dupont, which ends on or about 16th Street? Or is this "real estate agent" Dupont, which extends over to around 12th Street or so? Inquiring minds in Logan would like to know.

I can see it now...Tre and Ashley get into a General Tso's-slinging fight at the Great Wall Szechuan House, then kiss and make up over a Charo at ACKC. Meanwhile, Donovan and Brianna are caught locking lips in a booth at the Gibson, unaware that Kelly's friend Cole is watching it all from his perch on a stool just a few feet away. Oh, the drama!

Borderstan, it seems, is wondering the same thing.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

ANC Set to Tackle 'The Space' and 'Cafe Salsa' on Wednesday Night

There are a couple of interesting items for tomorrow evening's ANC2f meeting. In addition to the usual transportation and crime and safety reports, two ABRA matters might get the community's attention.

The ANC will hear complaints regarding newly opened 14th street restaurant La Cafe Salsa's vent fan, which according to nearby residents is exceptionally loud. Attempts to work with the restaurant to come an agreement without involving the NC were unsuccessful, so Chairman Reed et al will discuss the issue tomorrow evening.

The second matter deals with an issue that we have written about previously; that is, upscale Shaw nightclub The Space. When we last heard from The Space, owner Mitchell Cox was cursing at Chairman Charles Reed and angrily dismissing complaints from neighbors regarding noise, sanitation and violations of the voluntary agreement signed with the building next door. The tense meeting ended with Reed requesting a "show cause" hearing with ABRA, the first step towards a potential revocation of the club's license.

According to a neighbor of The Space familiar with the proceedings, Cox subsequently sold the club to a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, which now operates it. The sale of the club resulted in no findings against the club being presented at the "show cause" hearing before ABRA. Whether this is satisfactory to residents and neighbors remains to be seen, but the issue will be discussed tomorrow evening.

The full agenda for the meeting can be found at the ANC's website. The meeting will take place Wednesday at 7:00 PM in the Washington Plaza Hotel on Thomas Circle.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pedestrian Struck and Killed at 15th and W Streets

A sad bit of information to pass along from an otherwise (rather) quiet weekend: the Washington Post is reporting that a woman who was attempting to cross W Street at 15th Street (near Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park) was struck and killed by a car that was turning right onto 15th from W W from 15th.

Although 15th and W streets was not an intersection named as one of the city's most dangerous (the runner-up to that title goes to our very own 14th and U Street), this intersection is a difficult one for pedestrians to traverse, what with Florida Avenue cutting through at an angle and 15th Street branching off into two directions. Couple that with confusing walk signals and times, and you can understand how such an accident could take place. (Conversely, the driver may simply not have been paying attention.)

The woman was one of two pedestrians killed yesterday (the other was a signaller who was struck on the Southeast/Southwest Expressway).