Barracks Row Chefs Host Pre-Thanksgiving Cooking Classes

Barracks Row Mainstreet

Pizza Chef at Matchbox, 521 8th Street, SE demonstrates how to throw at Culinary Education Crawl

In response to a survey after the sold-out February session of Barracks Row’s Culinary Education Crawl, where area chefs teach a packed schedule of cooking classes, respondents told us loud and clear they wanted even more cooking classes. Our next series of cooking classes will be held pre-Thanksgiving on Saturday, November 16 and Sunday, November 17. Now you can tell Aunt Cheryl that you will bring the dessert course this year. Our chefs have your back!

Tickets are sold on-line. Most classes will take place at the restaurants and some will also be scheduled at Hill Center’s teaching kitchen. Go to later in the fall to reserve your seat in class.

We Are Listening!

We’d like to hear from you in our first-ever general survey, as we put together plans for all of our Barracks Row Main Street projects in 2014.  What do you think of Capitol Hill and what are your ideas are for the future here?  Go to our website and take the survey. We are listening! 

As we wrap up FY2013 at Barracks Row Main Street, we are not only planning the annual Barracks Row Fall Festival on Saturday, September 28th and the Culinary Education Crawl in November but we are also in the midst of a major public space enhancement project:  developing a plan for the beautification of Eastern Market Metro Plaza and Park. This project was kicked off by Councilmember Tommy Wells in July when he hosted two public meetings to gather input from the community on what residents envision for an improved Eastern Market Metro Park / Plaza.  The meetings turned up a long list of ideas. More feedback is expected from the suggestion box set up in North Hall at Eastern Market. Drop by before August 6 and use the cards provided to tell us what you’d like to see when you come up the escalator at the Metro plaza.

Eastern Market Metro Plaza-Park Task Force Meets in August

The idea-gathering process will remain live even after designers begin to work in mid-August.  There is an interactive website dedicated to the project: On this user-friendly website there is a map of the entire metro plaza area. Navigate to the exact spot on the plaza you’d like to change and mark it with a virtual “sticky note” containing your idea. You can also access the project blog with ideas or comments. 

A task force comprised of representatives of many well known Capitol Hill organizations will be another source of ongoing guidance to the design team. The team is led by architect Amy Weinstein of Esocoff and Associates, and includes landscape architect Lisa Delplace of Oheme, van Sweden and Brandon Nevers of traffic planners Kittleson and Associates. An open-to-the-public task force meeting is planned on August 8 at 5:00 p.m. For location call 202-544-3188.

Openings, Construction and Renovation Projects

A new construction project is imminent at the south end of the Row. Mark Brody, owner of the parcel at 8th and L Streets, SE, facing the Blue Castle had plans approved recently by the Historic Preservation Review Board. Soon Brody will be building an outdoor beer garden. With a winning team at Nationals Stadium just ten minutes west of the location and pricy beer inside the ballpark, the new facility, appropriately named The Bavarian Beer Garden, soon will be available to thirsty fans both before and after games. Another new Barracks Row business focused on craft beer and boutique wineries, DCanter, 545 8th Street, SE, opened in late July.

Iconic Barracks Row eatery, Banana Café, 500 8th Street, SE, will be undergoing a major renovation soon. The familiar banana-yellow color will morph into a more neutral palette, the entrance will shift and the signage will be updated. The popular outdoor café will remain but with awnings redesigned and updated. Work is expected to begin January 2014.

Party on the 11th Street Bridge

In city planning as well as life, it’s all about connections. A major, long-awaited connection to Barracks Row along M Street, SE, is about to be completed. The 11th Street Bridge is opening and to celebrate the District Department of Transportation is throwing a party on the bridge from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 7, 2013. There will be cyclists, runners, walkers, magicians, bands, food trucks, many District agencies and politicians all gathered in the middle of the bridge for the big day. 

When the bridge opens, the River Walk Trail System will cross the bridge with access to the trail beginning at Yard’s Park and ending in Anacostia – including entry spots in the lower Barracks Row neighborhood for walkers, runners and cyclists. Earlier this year a new slip ramp for vehicles has been under construction on 8th Street at Interstate 295-395. The new bridge features designated cycling and pedestrian lanes as well as overlooks jutting out into the water where non-drivers can pause and admire river views. For information about the 11th Street Bridge Celebration call 202-558-6543 or visit Bridge.

Panama Canal Widening Effects Capitol Hill

It’s not just the bridge that’s been completed; in the past few weeks CSX released the draft of their Environmental Impact Statement.  CSX has hosted a series of community meetings in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood to gather input from local stakeholders. Even though rail is the most environmentally sound method to move freight, few stakeholders have been keen on the tunnel project, citing local traffic and noise issues.  Now, the new draft EIS contains excellent illustrations to further clarify the project and help us to visualize the various construction options still available.  It’s worth a look, just for the graphics! Go to

The 100 year-old tunnel which runs under Capitol Hill from Garfield Park to 11th Street, SE, is one of the few remaining impediments to the effective flow of freight on large modern rail cars in the mid-Atlantic area.  Recently a new CSX Railroad Police Station was opened on New Jersey Avenue, SE, to begin training police for the tunnel expansion. Presently US railways are “working around” this last choke point which is slow and costly. The widening of the Panama Canal in early 2015 will double the canal’s flow-through tonnage, and America’s rail infrastructure is expected to become a key component in efficiently moving goods between Asia and US ports to meet future demands of global consumers.