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Thursday, December 13, 2012, 2:29 PM
The Hits Keep On Comin’!
November 1, 2012 - Hill Rag
by Sharon Bosworth
2013 will usher in a growth spurt on all six blocks of Barracks Row. New restaurants and new retailers are slated to open, and, one big surprise, a farmers’ market is being proposed. Here’s a look at what’s being planned for our corridor in its 112th year of operation.
Believe it or not, the very first Eastern Market was not located where it was today. The original Eastern Market, developed around 1801, was located where we find Sousa Band Hall today, between 6th and 7th Streets, SE at Virginia Avenue, SE. It was much later, in 1863, when city fathers moved Eastern Market to reflect demographic shifts in the area. For more than sixty years local families bought their groceries from covered farmers’ stalls near today’s lower Barracks Row. Most goods arrived by boat via canal.
According to area real estate entrepreneur Leon Kafele, a modern farmers’ market is in early planning stages to be located within a block of the initial Eastern Market site, returning the presently under-developed area to its original purpose. The hand of capitalism seems to be at work: precisely when citizens of the 21st century Capitol Hill want to buy local and organic it arrives, and is open at hours when they want to shop – Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The 2013 farmers’ line would be located along today’s Virginia Avenue, SE, between 7th and 8th Streets, SE, across from a rare public parking area.
Wagtime Opens Near Proposed Truckeroo Site
A few inventions have intervened in the past 150 years. In the early days, farmers from Maryland and Virginia floated their produce and meats up a canal from the Anacostia River to Eastern Market. Instead of sailing ships and horse carts, today we have trucks – a regularly scheduled truckeroo is being considered for the private parking lot, owned by Kafele, at Virginia Avenue, SE, and 8th Street, SE. The nearby, under-freeway area has come alive with Barracks Row’s handsome, well lit murals which share their glow with the 75-cent-per-hour city parking lot. In above photo, artist Byron Peck is putting finishing touches to the area of the mural on I 295. At 8:30 pm on a Friday night it might soon be possible to grab dinner from an assortment of international food trucks then buy farm fresh ingredients straight from growers for tomorrow evening’s home-cooked repast, all in the shadow of the Navy Yard’s 1815 Latrobe Gate. Then stroll up the Row, have a night cap and toast the best little neighborhood in DC!
In other lower 8th Street developments, Lisa Schrieber and husband Ofer Khal’s Wagtime Too is nearing completion at 9thth and M Street, SE. We’ve all heard how Playseum, 525 8th Street, SE, the children’s play space, came to be locatedon the Row. Playseum owner, Gina Seebachan took one look at the home addresses on her mailing list and realized a dramatic percentage of families were driving from Capitol Hill to her location in Bethesda. Seebachan quickly opened a second play space close to her customers. The same is now true of pet day care - pet play space, Wagtime Too. If you are used to driving across town to Wagtime’s location at 9th and N Streets, NW, near the Convention Center, life is about to get a whole lot easier for you and your dog!
Adieu, BackStage - Welcome DCanter and Ambar - Sushi Crawls Ahead
Playseum shares its address at 525 8th Street, SE with legendary Backstage Costumes which opened in 1981, when the Row was sketchy on good days. After Halloween, Backstage Costumes will relocate to Virginia to make way for boutique wine and beer retailer, DCanter. Focused on small vineyards and breweries, owners Michelle and Michael Werner will also host tastings and pairings. Just a few buildings north of DCanter, the construction at Ambar (formerly Jordan’s 8), 523 8th Street, SE, is now well underway with a contemporary, Euro style makeover. Ivan Iricanian, who recently returned from a big-chef hunting expedition to Serbia, also owns Masa14 on 14th Street, NW. At Ambar the menu will be modern rather than traditional Balkan fare. Both DCanter and Ambar will open in early 2013.
At 524 8th Street, SE, (formerly the site of the original Chateau Animeaux) renovation and construction has been plagued with delays and permitting issues. Work began over eighteen months ago, and is still ongoing.. Two restaurants are planned for the building: Nooshi Sushi and Tash (Turkish kebabs). Owned by metro area couple Vanessa Lim and Nari Modanlou, each place will have separate entrances, differing color schemes and décor, distinct wait staffs and chefs and, of course, unique menus. Tash will possibly open late 2012 with Nooshi Sushi to follow early in 2013. As the new year dawns, Nooshi Sushi will be one of three sushi spots on 8th making long awaited sushi crawls a reality. Yes!Organic, 410 8th Street, SE, is opening a sushi counter, serving by mid November and Old Siam, 606 8th Street, SE, will soon convert the right side of their dining area to specially priced daily sushi.
Eight on 8th in 2013
If you’ve been keeping track so far that’s six new businesses (counting the farmer’s market concept) – all with probable openings in the first half of 2013. But, there are two more to go. At 415 8th Street, SE, next door to Chipotle, Kraze Burger, a franchise operation with one store in Bethesda, will open soon.
A kitchen will have to be added to the space, making opening day timing hard to predict. But baseball crowds returning after the Nat’s 2012 post season run might inspire the owners to aim for April 2013. Kraze Burger is a chain out of Korea with 100+ locations. The name is pronounced in Asia to rhyme with blase’ but the owners of the USA franchise plan to use the English pronunciation ‘crazy’ as in Patsy Cline’s famous hit.
Rounding out the Class of 2013 we have Rose’s Luxury. At 717 8th Street, SE, the owners of Rose's Luxury bring to 8th Street a completely new concept restaurant. Tucked between Homebody and Capitol Hill Bikes, 717 was formerly one of 8th Street's invisible buildings - not decrepit enough to draw attention but an empty hulk nonetheless. This was a building searching for a soul mate.
Enter Chef Aaron Silverman. Formerly of 2941 in Falls Church, VA, Momufuku and Insieme in NYC, and McCrady’s in Charleston, SC, Chef Silverman will fill this old building with his new concept eatery. Silverman describes the vibe as exclusively un-exclusive. Rose's Luxury is named after grandmother, Rose, and will feature $46.00 per person dinners. For the fixed price menu tables will order from four lists (one vegetable, one starch, etc) with one meat dish all to be shared family style... dessert is separate. Or, sit at the bar and order a la carte. Dress in jeans; bring your kids. Rose’s Luxury will feature an interior dining courtyard and opens summer 2013.
Barracks Row Main Street is a designated DC Main Streets commercial district. Barracks Row Main Street is funded in part by the Department of Small and Local Business Development.