New Businesses on Barracks Row

You Have Options!

The fish arrive at Nooshi Sushi - Mural completed by early May.

Most of us living near Barracks Row rediscovered 8th Street first through food and then later through, well, more food. So easy to walk over to the Row and order the all-American lunch: a burger and fries. That combination can be found in abundance, along with cuisines from every part of the globe. 

It begins with lunch, expands to dinner. We get to know owners, wait-staff, bartenders, fellow patrons and eventually we find ourselves part of the local café culture, where “everybody knows your name.” There’s no denying it, “food glorious food” of all descriptions, prices and ethnicities, is the star of our show. At Barracks Row Main Street, our events mirror the corridor. We will spotlight area chefs at our Garden Party on May 21st; we just concluded Taste of 8th, our annual sampling event with a record 22 participating restaurants; and in August we will hold our Culinary Education Crawl Summer School (indoors) when our restaurant chefs will teach cooking classes.

Food vs Fitness

Many of us love to participate as often as possible in the conviviality and flavor adventures tantalizingly available on Barracks Row, but our waist size is the eternal governor.  Hence, in the shadow of Capitol Hill’s restaurant row, gyms and exercise facilities of all kinds are open now or opening soon. Happily for these gyms and studios, our unresolved calorie chase means business.

Just four blocks west of Barracks Row at 4th and G Street, SE, Results the Gym has been the full-service neighborhood work-out spot for years with a devoted local following. There is a second Results location at 1101 Connecticut Avenue, NW. Washington Sports Club at 3rd and D Street, SE, part of an east coast chain of work-out facilities, has bragging rights to a certain senator from Illinois who often worked out there. He moved on to a better job and now has his own private gym. At both Results and WSC elliptical equipment and treadmills are easy to find. A forty five minute interval session on a treadmill (every few minutes, raise the speed) will expend somewhere in the vicinity of 500 calories. Just ask at the gym for details.

New Ways to Stay Fit

Soon Results and Washington Sports Club will have company. Jumping into the full-service local gym scene at the high end is Vida Fitness, opening mid 2014 at 4th and M Street, SE.  Pretty facilities and pretty staff seem to be part of the Vida Fitness equation, but there is debate about whether Vida Fitness is a nightclub-gym or just the-best-gym-ever with eye-popping amenities. Are we seeing a crossover emerging, an exotic blend combining certain elements of restaurant culture chic with fitness? You could take a look for yourself how Vida Fitness is evolving by touring the three other Vida locations in DC on U Street, Logan Circle and in Penn Quarter. 

Just like the restaurant industry, gyms come in all sizes with wide-ranging menu options. In and around Barracks Row we have three boutique work-out facilities now open. In 2012, Biker Barre, 738 7th Street, SE, revealed a fleet of stationery bikes for music-driven cardio workouts. Biker Barre also features barre pilates to strengthen core muscles. These two niche workout offerings are wrapped in a smartly designed studio environment with wi-fi where members are encouraged to hang out.

In March 2013, Momentum Dance and Fitness Studio moved in at 534 8th Street, SE, upper level, just south of Tash and Nooshi, 538 8th Street, SE. and more or less directly across 8th Street from Lavagna, 539 8th Street, SE.  Momentum Dance and Fitness Studio’s founder and director, Roberta Rothstein, believes her job is to set your inner dancer free. Available today on her class roster are dance lessons of all kinds, except tap which would damage the hardwood floors. Also there are barre classes, pilates, plus Zumba. 

In May, Capitol Hill Fitness, a small, focused work-out facility will open at 725 8th Street, SE, just south of Capitol Hill Bikes, 719 8th Street, SE and City Bikes at 707-709 8th Street, SE. The epicenter of the calorie wars, on this short half block of 7th Street, SE, patrons can gloriously unravel their calorie heroics with a visit to Spring Mill Bakery, 701 8th Street, SE, Hello Cupcake at 705 8th Street and 32 Below (watch those toppings!) at 703 8th Street, SE, all the while inspecting display bikes and peeking into Capitol Hill Fitness.

Capitol Hill Fitness is a new take on an old concept – low impact circuit training. Already the personal trainer community is taking notice with approval. At Capitol Hill Fitness there is no membership. It’s strictly pay-as-you-go. Trainers can take their time and move from machine to machine as their clients’ fitness goals dictate.

There are two more noteworthy exercise destinations near Barracks Row: At the Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, the schedule always contains multiple dance and exercise classes throughout the year for various age groups. Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 7th Street, SE, teaches a variety of dance classes. Roberta Rothstein of Momentum Dance and Fitness Studio agrees with other experts’ general estimates: depending on age, weight and how hard you work, a 60 minute Zumba class will burn between 350 and 600 calories almost offsetting a Barracks Row cheeseburger.

Chefs and Fitness Gurus at Barracks Row Garden Party 

You’ll find Roberta Rothstein and the owners and staffs of many of our local work-out studios at the Barracks Row Garden party. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21 at the historic Deer House we’ll celebrate the continued revival and ongoing evolution of our 8th Street, SE, neighborhood. Meet the chefs, restaurant owners, and business owners who spotted the opportunity we offer both as a corridor and as a community. Every day they are there for you and, we hope, you for them. More than ever, the Row has options. Come celebrate. Tickets for the Barracks Row Garden Party are available now at www.barracksrow.org.