H Street Life

Mark your calendar for the H Street Festival September 15th. Elise Bernard

August is often said to be the sleepiest month in the District, but September bring renewed life. It also brings neighborhood festivals. I’ve heard the first whispers of what’s planned for this year’s H Street Festival, and it is not to be missed.

H Street Festival

The H Street Festival returns this year, and promises to be bigger and better than ever before.  Favorites like British Ink’s tattoo contest, and the art cars will return, but there will be many new attractions as well. The Festival has traditionally been a time to check out new businesses, as well as to support existing favorites. What are some of the new places that have opened up over the past year? Cusbah, 1128 H Street NE), Boundary Road (414 H Street NE), Le Grenier, (502 H Street NE), H& pizza (1118 H Street NE), and the Big Board (421 H Street NE) are among the new arrivals.

Le Grenier Opens on H Street NE

Le Grenier (502 H Street NE) is a new French restaurant from the owners of Le Chat Noir (Friendship Heights).  I was only able to stop by for a quick preview night (the full menu was not available) before press time, but what I saw was impressive. The owners gutted the long vacant space (there was even a small tree growing out of the building), and obviously put a great deal of thought into its new décor. The menu is traditional Northern French, but they also offer a nice list of craft cocktails.

DC Scoop

DC Scoop will be back on September 9 so you can try ice cream, gelato, and other frozen creations from across the District.  The crowds for last year’s event well surpassed all expectations. Free and family friendly, and sure to offer a fun time for both the young, and the young at heart.

Union Market Opens September 8th

Scoop DC isn’t the only action happening in the Florida Avenue Market. Union Market (1309 5th Street NE) is set to open very soon in the former DC Farmers Market building. Union Market is a vast departure from the building’s past. The new space will boast a variety of upscale artisanal vendors, and even some restaurants.  A number of notable culinary names are involved.


I’ve been eagerly anticipating the opening of Cusbah  (1128 H Street NE), which brings Pakistani cuisine to the H Street NE Corridor. I able to visit on the night of their soft opening, and Cusbah did not disappoint. Though they opened with a short menu (to be expanded later), they had plenty of options for meat eaters and vegetarians alike (even a few vegan options). The menu offers authentic (spicy) versions, and well as a mild preparation for those who dislike spicy fare. Cusbah also offers a very attractive cocktail menu. With their attractive patio, this new addition to H Street NE is likely to become quite the summer hot spot.


Chances are that you’ve heard of Popularise, the innovative crowd-sourcing project that helped select a tenant for the space at 1351 H Street NE. The Popularise website allowed readers to suggest business concepts, and then to vote on those concepts. This lead to a number of interesting ideas, and the property owners ultimately went with Maketto. Maketto is a joint project between Erik Bruner-Yang of local ramen house Toki Underground (2nd floor of 1234 H Street NE), and Will Sharp of local men’s clothing line DURKL.

Maketto will offer, among other things, Asian street food, coffee, craft cocktails, and men’s fashion. Fundrise, from the creators of Popularise) is a new way to raise start up money for the venture. People with as little as $100 can become investors in Fundrise. Fundrise owns 1351 H Street NE, as well as a 30% interest in any potential profits from Maketto.

Mythology Coming to H Street

Mythology (1005 H Street NE) is an upscale steakhouse from Atlas Room (http://theatlasroom.com, 1015 H Street NE) General Manager Mark Medley and Mythology owner Todd Luongo.  1005 was formerly home to WillPower Fitness, and is two spacious floors. Details are still few, but expect great things.

The future of R. L. Christian Library

Though long shuttered, the building that once housed R. L. Christian Library still stands at 1300 H Street NE. Currently, the District is considering six different bids for redevelopment of the site. A recent Washington Business Journal article laid out the different developers expressing interest. Many have other residential projects peppered throughout the District. Among the interested parties is a subsidiary of WestMill Capital LLC, which brought us both Popularise, and Fundrise. Westmill owns multiple properties along the H Street NE Corridor.

Art in the Alley Returns October 27th

Trinidad’s twice annual Art in the Alley returns for its third iteration Saturday October 27th. The even features the work of local artists, both professional, and amateur. It’s a fun chance for neighbors, and interested visitors to take in a taste of the local arts scene in a casual outdoor setting. In a twist, Art in the Alley will actually make a brief visit to H Street NE prior to the October festivities. Works from last’s June’s Art in the Alley will be on display at H Street’s Gallery O/H  (1354 H Street NE) during the September 15th H Street Festival. The hope is to create a little cross pollination between the two events, as well as to connect the two adjacent neighborhoods. Art in the Alley, like the Gallery O/H exhibit, is free, and open to the public.

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

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