H Street Life

Maketto Combines Street Food With Streetwear

HR-57 offers live jazz and soul food at their new space.


It’s officially summer in DC. That means serious heat and humidity. Luckily, H Street has plenty of great spots to cool off and relax with a summery cocktail. For the younger set, the park at Joe Cole Community Center (1200 block of Morse Street NE) now boasts a spray park.

Maketto Combines Street Food With Streetwear

Phase of the Popularise (https://popularise.com) experiment has ended, and the team behind WestMill Capital has selected a tenant for their building at 1351 H Street NE. Popularise offered community members a way to suggest ideas, and voice their support for different concepts to fill the space. The ultimate pick is Maketto, which combines food, drink, and retail. It’s a collaboration between Toki Underground’s (2nd floor of 1234 H Street NE) Erik Bruner-Yang, and the guys behind the men’s fashion line DURKL (http://www.durkl.com).

They’ve described the place as a sort of “new age Eastern Market.” This much is clear; they will have cocktails, Asian street food, donuts, and clothing for sale. The collaborators hope to create an attraction that will be active, both during the day, and at night. The mix of offerings is highly unconventional, but this could be its greatest strength. A DURKL flagship store was one of the first ideas floated for the space. It was popular with online voters, and would have answered the frequently heard pleas for additional retail along the H Street NE Corridor. But concerns about daytime foot traffic posed tough questions. A partnership with Bruner-Yang made sense because his food could potentially bring in new customers stopping by for lunch. Bruner-Yang is already well established on H Street NE, as well as in the larger DC culinary scene. His ramen bar Toki Underground frequently has waits up 2-3 hours on weekend nights. The new venture is sure to be a welcome addition to H Street NE’s growing restaurant scene.

HR-57 Now Open at New H Street NE Location\

Local live jazz bar HR-57 has opened up in its new space at 1007 H Street NE. The new location offers a great deal more room than its old home. It also boasts an open air component. Aside from the normal performance and viewing space, the new spot has a front room with more doors and windows that can open up to the street. The result is that you can enjoy your live jazz, and watch the show, but still feel a connection to the nightlife on the street outside. HR-57 retains the familiar elements that have long made it an attractive bet, namely, affordably priced live jazz in a laid back atmosphere, tasty soul food offerings, and a BYOB policy (a $3 corkage fee per person applies).

Fever Bar and Lounge Heats Up the H Street Corridor

Fever Bar and Lounge has inherited HR-57’s most recent digs (816 H Street NE). Like HR-57, they serve soul food. Unlike HR-57, they seem more geared towards a dj scene. Expect to find mostly cuts from the 1970s through the 1990s. Oh, and they have a dance floor.

Big Plans at Ben’s Chili Bowl on H Street NE

Rooftop decks are all the rage these days, and the family owned Ben’s Chili Bowl (http://www.benschilibowl.com) plans to get in on the action with its H Street space (1001 H Street NE). At a recent ANC meeting a representative announced plans to construct a rooftop deck with seating for 49. They also plan a 34 seat patio. Inside, they’ll be able to accommodate 132 patrons. This one’s still a while out, but the plans sound quite promising.

Manny & Olga’s Headed to H Street NE

The regional chain Manny and Olga’s recently announced plans to open a location on the H Street Corridor. They offer Greek influenced pizzas and submarine sandwiches for delivery. They have yet to identify the exact location, but it adds to the selection of local delivery options for those nights you just aren’t motivated to cook.

Trinidad’s Art in the Alley Stages a Second Act

Roughly 150 people turned out for Trinidad’s second Art in the Alley (http://artinthealleydc.wordpress.com). Several local artists displayed their work while two local djs provided musical accompaniment. There was even an opportunity for attendees to complete paintings begun by local artist JoJo.

Three H Street Spots Make Washingtonian’s Cheap Eats List

The Washingtonian’s annual Cheap Eats issue always garners plenty of attention, and three H Street NE spots made the list of 100 local places that are easy on the wallet. Shawafel’s (http://www.shawafeldc.com, 1322 H Street NE) Lebanese sandwiches have been popular since the place first opened, and your vegan and vegetarian friends will love the selection. Local ramen house Toki Underground (http://tokiunderground.com, 2nd floor of 1234 H Street NE) is no stranger to good press. The traditional tonkotsu broth, and the dumplings both bring out the crowds. The third spot to make the list is Ethiopic (http://www.ethiopicrestaurant.com, 401 H Street NE), which was also named one of Washingtonian’s Best 100 Restaurants 2012.

Chef Corner Café Now Open

Located at 802 13th Street NE, Chef Corner Café serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day from 7am-10pm. Offerings range from rotisserie chicken, to sandwiches, to a full breakfast menu sprinkled with omelets and waffles. Though it currently operates primarily as a carryout, the owner told me that he plans to add a patio seating component shortly.

Farewell to Zuppa Fresca and Fruit Bat

Zuppa Fresca (250 K Street NE), the young Italian restaurant operating out of the first floor of the Loree Grand (http://www.loreegranddc.com), abruptly closed its doors last month citing irreconcilable differences with its landlord. Over on H Street, Fruit Bat (1st floor of 1236 H Street NE) served its last fresh squeezed cocktail. Owner Erik Holzherr, who also owns Church and State (2nd floor of 1236 H Street NE) and Wisdom, plans to replace Fruit Bat with a new bar this month. You can follow the new bar on Twitter (@MysteryBarDC).

For more on what’s abuzz on and around H Street you can visit my blog http://frozentropics.blogspot.com. You can send me tips, or questions at elise.bernard@gmail.com.

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