Planning for the Eastern Market Plaza Moves Forward

Barracks Row

Chef Antonio, Agua301, 301 Water Street, SE, teaches Modern Mexican Appetizers.

For the past three months, a design team, led by architect Amy Weinstein (Esocoff & Associates) and landscape architect Lisa Delplace (Oehme van Sweden), has been hard at work developing two alternative Master Plan concepts for all of the publicly owned land along Pennsylvania Avenue, SE between 7th and 9th Streets, including the area around the Eastern Market Metro station.  The overall goal of the project is to renew and upgrade the public space in this two block area, both functionally and aesthetically.

At two public meetings in early December at the Hill Center (921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE), the design team will present to the community its two alternative Master Plan concepts.  The first meeting will be held on Sunday afternoon, December 8th from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Arts Room.  The second meeting will be on Wednesday evening, December 11th from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Lincoln Room.  The presentation and format of both the December 8th and December 11th sessions will be identical.  After the design plans are presented, there will be breakout sessions to get feedback from the community. Both meetings are open to the entire Capitol Hill community and all are encouraged to attend one of the two meetings.

Subsequent to the December presentations, the drawings will be posted to the project website --– and comments can be submitted through the website until Friday, January 10th.

Winner of “Most Ransacked Booth” arrives on Row

District Doughnut, the metro area’s retro doughnut bakery-caterer has signed a lease with Douglas Development for the space at 749 8th Street, SE, formerly Sneed’s Barbershop. The new shop, situated across the street from the gates of Marine Barracks Washington is scheduled to open in April, 2014. It is the first bricks and mortar outlet for District Doughnut which began selling baked goods online in 2012. District Doughnut was discovered simultaneously by hundreds of attendees at the Metro Cooking and Entertaining Show in 2012 where they earned the title “most ransacked booth” by CityEats blog. District Doughnut’s ownership team includes Le Cordon Bleu trained chef, Christine Schaefer and CFO, Greg Menna.

The new doughnut destination has aspirations beyond food, explains Menna.  Along with the “re-invention of the classic pairing, doughnuts and coffee,” District Doughnuts will also strive to “bring back the feel of proper service and hospitality…our intent is to invite each customer into an experience that frames quality and a personal touch no matter how brief their interaction with us.”  Along with a rotating assortment of classic and cosmopolitan doughnuts, the owners plan to serve coffees from Caffe Amouri, one of the only a small batch coffee roasters in the DC area.

Molly Malone’s, scene of White House lunch

Barracks Row’s sports bar, Molly Malone’s, 713 8th Street, SE, had its loftiest aspirations fulfilled on November 12 when President Obama hosted lunch there for visitors from the United States military in town to celebrate Veterans Day. At 11 a.m. we witnessed the Presidential motorcade arriving on Barracks Row. Soon the west sidewalk was sealed off by Secret Service as distinguished guests arrived and were whisked upstairs.

A long time admirer of the United States Marine Corps, owner Xavier Cervera named the upstairs dining area of Molly Malone’s for General Chesty Puller, one of the most decorated Marines in military history. On the way upstairs diners viewed a handsome case displaying the brave deeds of Chesty Puller in his 37 years in the Corps.  Surrounded by team jerseys mounted as art work, the White House group then settled in for a relaxed, casual lunch of sandwiches and drinks at a high top table overlooking Marine Barracks Washington, the oldest post in the Corps.

Restoration of Barracks Row’s oldest building

The historic buildings on Barracks Row have witnessed many presidential visits--every president since Thomas Jefferson has traveled to 8th Street to attend meetings and ceremonies at Marine Barracks Washington or the Washington Navy Yard. The oldest surviving building on Barracks Row is located at 1003 8th Street, SE. It was built in 1805 (as Jefferson’s second term began) just two short blocks from the Navy Yard’s historic Latrobe Gate which came along later in 1815. Owners of Al’s Famous Delicatessen lease the building deemed by the preservation community to be in dire need of repair and restoration. 

This fall 1003 8th Street was purchased by National Community Church, which also owns the circa 1906 movie theater located at 535 8th Street, SE—recently renamed the “Miracle Theatre.” Earlier this year National Community Church announced plans to renovate and restore the theater and to rebuild the original glass ticket booth which was located on the sidewalk in front of the theater. Work will begin in 2014.

NCC’s Pastor Mark Batterson recently confirmed the church’s plans to also restore and renovate 1003 8th St., SE. NCC also owns the adjoining site, formerly Miles Glass, 733 Virginia Avenue, SE, which was recently razed. The renovation of 1003 8th Street will be included in the overall design plan of the NCC properties nearby.  No timeline for the renovation and build-out has been decided.

Culinary Crawl Holiday Style & Santa Arrives Dec. 14

On Saturday, December 14th, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Santa will visit Barracks Row to listen to local kids (and dogs) tell him what’s on their wish lists. Barracks Row Main Street, with help from landscape architects, Oehme van Sweden, 536 8th Street, SE, will erect a “workshop” for Santa at the corner of 8th and G Street, right beside the Old City Bank building (now home to Oehme van Sweden). Photographers will be on hand and parents can download the shots from BRMS’ website. There is no charge for the photos, but BRMS requests that kids bring one un-opened new toy for Toys for Tots. After Santa departs for the North Pole, Barracks Row delivers the collected toys to Marine Barracks Washington. The Unites States Marine Corps sponsors Toys for Tots.

The Culinary Education Crawl - Holiday 2013 took place on November 16th and 17th, taught by 15 area chefs. The Holiday Crawl was designed to give students fresh recipes for entertaining friends and family. Reflecting the international mix of Barracks Row restaurants, the classes included how to create modern Mexican appetizers held at Zest Bistro, 735 8th Street, SE. Owners of Zest will soon open Agua301 in the Lumber Shed near the ball park. Chef/owner Bart Vandaele and Chef Thijs Clinckemaillie of Belga Café, 514 8th Street, SE, instructed students in how to become a Belgian Gourmand with beer pairings to go with each recipe taught. Banana Café owner George Zamarano coached his class in the secrets of Cuban picadillo and Chat’s Liquors held a France-California Champagne Comparative. Happy New Year!!!