Wunder Garten to Open in May

30 Apr

Good news for NoMa today–Wunder Garten, the beer garden planned for 150 M Street, NE in NoMa, is planning on opening in the month of May.  You can see our preview here.  Wunder Garten received building permits this month and over the past several days we have noticed light construction activity taking place inside.

Complete press release from NoMa BID:

NoMa Beer Garden Opens in May

WASHINGTON, DC, April 30, 2015 — In May, Wunder Garten beer garden is opening at 150 M Street, NE, just steps from the NoMa/Gallaudet U Metro station. The beer garden will occupy the last parcel in the 2.5 million SF Constitution Square development. The 300-seat venue is styled as a Bavarian beer garden and is a place neighbors and friends can meet, socialize,or take an outdoor education class with REI. The drink menu will feature Bavarian, Austrian, and German beers, as well as regional microbrews. Food will be provided by a rotating selection of the region’s most popular food trucks.

“I’m looking forward to sitting down and having a Hefeweizen with my friends,” said Robin-Eve Jasper, President of the NoMa Business Improvement District. “We’re tickled to combine great outdoor education, craft beers and good food in a fun neighborhood space.”

Wunder Garten is operated by Proust Partners, which is owned by Christopher Lynch (co-owner of L’Enfant Cafe in Adams Morgan) and Biva Ranjeet. Munich native Allon Pultuskier advised on the beer garden’s design and ambiance. The owners have been working with property owner StonebridgeCarras and the NoMa BID over the last year on this initiative.

REI, which is opening a 52,000 SF flagship store in the Uline Arena just a few feet away, will hold free classes at the beer garden on a wide range of topics on how to live a life outside. Whether locals want to learn a new activity or advance their skills, REI will offer its expertise on bike repairs, camping, the best local outdoor destinations and more. REI will also host fun events like presentations from outdoor personalities and celebrations of the local nonprofits that take care of DC’s trails, bike lanes and rivers.

Wunder Garten will use umbrellas and tents to shade benches and tables on the rear of the lot. Decorative landscaping will create a causal and inviting atmosphere and transform a currently unused lot into an urban oasis.

“We are excited to provide an inviting space for the neighborhood and the city to gather, enjoy themselves outdoors, and have a beer,” said Christopher Lynch. “With all the rapid growth in NoMa, bars and recreational spaces were two things we have consistently heard that residents want.”

Operating hours are as follows:

MondayThursday: 4 PM to 10 PM

Friday: 12 PM to 12 AM

Saturday: 12 PM to 12 AM

Sunday: 12 PM to 10 PM 

For more information, visit wundergartendc.com.

 

Wunder Garten in NoMa Applies for Alcohol License

31 Mar

wunder garten license

In a promising sign, Wunder Garten–the large proposed outdoor beer garden in NoMa–has applied for an alcohol license.  You can read our preview post here.

H Street Restaurants Speak Out In Support of Streetcar

26 Mar

Street Car

Much has been said of the H Street Streetcar over the past several weeks and months (years actually).  Often overlooked in that discussion is the impact the streetcar has already had on H Street restaurants and bars and the impact that it will have on them in the future.  For restaurants that opened several years ago, they endured months of major business disruptions due to construction.  For some of them, the road in front of their restaurants was torn up and completely blocked for months on end.  For newer restaurants, many of them chose to invest their money in the H Street Corridor because of the promise of the streetcar running.  We caught up with many H Street restaurants and bars–both brand new and those open for awhile now–to get their perspective on the importance of the streetcar opening and operating on H Street. *As you will see at the end, we did talk with one restaurant that has become frustrated with the D.C. Government’s handling of the streetcar and no longer supports it.

The Argonaut (1433 H Street): “10 years ago when Joe Englert and I (Scott Magnuson) opened the Argonaut, we had a grand vision of a packed streetcar bringing people up and down the street.  This vision is something I latched onto as we struggled being the only business open at the time.  We struggled through two and a half years of construction which had one side or the other of the Argonaut closed.  Like many of the other businesses it was extremely painful to go through.  City officials need to not only get the current line up and running ASAP, but they must finish the line downtown and to Minnesota Avenue for the streetcar to have a chance to succeed as a transportation option.  Failure to complete the line will result in a failed streetcar.  The one advantage businesses have with the current track is that it will bring people from NoMa to the bars and get them home.  It will not be a valid transportation option until the line goes downtown.  We are pro streetcar and can’t wait to see it up and running!”

&pizza (1118 H Street): “The streetcar opening up is important for H Street because it provides a proper means of transportation from a transit hub such as Union Station but also, further, it starts to lay the foundation for further means of transportation going east of H Street.  I (Steve Salis of &pizza) believe that there will be a lot of development taking place east of H Street in the years to come and this is a great vehicle to support the maturation for those communities while leveraging the leisure components that H Street provides.”

Dangerously Delicious Pies (1339 H Street): “As a business that moved onto H Street in 2009, we, along with our fellow H Street businesses, have certainly dealt with some crazy challenges in general, but certainly in regards to the preparation of the streetcar in particular.  Collectively, small businesses and local residents have put up with a lot and have paid out a lot in taxes and it only seems logical that we at least see the project through, now that we are so close to completion, as opposed to cutting some major losses.”

Driftwood Kitchen (400 H Street): “The streetcar, if implemented as promised, would really help do two things: connect the two sides of H Street for the consumer, and open the H Street Corridor up to Metro traffic by ease of accessibility.  We would love to see Northwest D.C. have a convenient means to see what H Street has to offer.  Connecting us to the rest of the Metro would simply be a boon for businesses in our neighborhood.”

Le Grenier (502 H Street): “The streetcar is a nice option to fix the parking issues that hurt business but above all, an easy, fancy, green way to go up and down the corridor and stop by any businesses.  We will be proud to be part of the first (new) streetcar in D.C..”

Smith Commons (1245 H Street): “With the limited parking on H Street, the streetcar would provide travel from Union Station where guests could park and take the streetcar to all H Street locations.”

DC Harvest (517 H Street): “The opening of the streetcar would continue the revitalization of H Street and be instrumental in bringing more new people to our proud part of D.C..”

Micho’s Grill (500 H Street): “Most of us on H Street are mainly small business family-owned restaurants and (many) serve authentic international foods.  We rely on foot traffic to keep us going.  The streetcar will play a major role in exposing us to the rest of D.C..”

Sol Mexican Grill (1251 H Street): “The streetcar is very important to us.  It will promote tourism in our neighborhood which means more business for everyone.”

Ocopa (1324 H Street): “(the streetcar will) increase traffic and broaden market audience for businesses in the neighborhood because parking is limited and difficult.  Union Station offers great Metro access but is too far from most restaurants.  It’s also (currently) challenging to keep employees who do not live in NE D.C..”

Tony’s Breakfast (1387 H Street): “It (the streetcar) matters because too much money went into the project (to abandon it), and because it is a good tourist attraction.”

Biergarten Haus (1355 H Street): Biergarten Haus has become frustrated with the D.C. Government’s handling of the streetcar and no longer supports it: “one more example of the lack of accountability, planning, and impact for the District of Columbia’s residents and businesses by the government in the District.  Not to mention, the waste of 200 million of our hard earned tax paying dollars.”

Construction at Fare Well Bistro and Bakery Progressing on H Street

24 Mar
View of Construction (from backside) of Fare Well Bistro and Bakery

View of Construction (from backside) of Fare Well Bistro and Bakery

Fare Well (406 H Street), the vegan bistro and bakery serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner by the owner of Sticky Fingers Bakery in Columbia Heights, is aiming to open by this spring or summer.  However, before opening, the building needed a complete renovation and reconstruction.  The building’s construction has significantly progressed over the past several weeks and a wood skeleton of the building is now up.  There is still significant construction ahead, but the building is steadily progressing at this point.

As Winter Melts Away, DC Harvest Begins Rolling Out Spring Menu

19 Mar
Pan Roasted Arctic Char Has Made Way for Ruby Trout at DC Harvest

Pan Roasted Arctic Char Will Soon Make Way for Ruby Trout at DC Harvest

As H Street begins to thaw out slowly from January and February, DC Harvest is beginning to transition to its spring menu.  During the winter months, DC Harvest featured a delicious Arctic Char that was pan roasted and served with maitake mushrooms and topped with a smoked walnut romesco.  Just a few days ago it was rotated off the menu to make way for a dish featuring ruby trout.  Additionally, the vegetable pairing for DC Harvest’s scallop entree will change as winter vegetables give way to early spring ones.  In the coming weeks, look for ramps, additional wild mushrooms, spring peas, and spring asparagus to be worked into the menu.  Despite the seasonal changes, our favorite dish–the sous vide old bay fried chicken–remains a staple of the menu on Monday and Tuesday.  The sides for the fried chicken do vary by season and are currently multicolored carrots.

Old Bay Fried Chicken at DC Harvest

Old Bay Fried Chicken at DC Harvest

DC Harvest is also now booking its upstairs rooms for large groups during the week.  It seats up to 25 people and features a view of the open kitchen.  Anyone who is interested can stop by or reach out to the restaurant.

Six Months In: Our Conversation with Driftwood Kitchen

18 Mar
driftwood brussels

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts at Driftwood Kitchen

 

Approximately six months ago, Driftwood Kitchen opened at 400 H Street.  Their space has a large (dog friendly!) patio, first floor bar and dining area, and a large second floor with retractable doors for when it is nice outside. We enjoyed our early taste of the restaurant, and recently caught up with Eric Tollar, General Manager of Driftwood, to ask about the first six months of service.

District Cuisine: What has been the most popular dish so far?

Eric Tollar: Our gnocchi, caramelized brussels, and mac and cheese with house cured tasso ham have been very popular in regards to our smaller plates. For our larger plates we find that our guests absolutely love Chef James Duke’s bourbon glazed beef ribs, served with turnip greens and house made corn bread. People are also raving over our house made Honey Cheesecake from our pastry Chef Carrie Jenkins. (You can view the dinner menu here).

Bedrock Ribs with Greens and Glazed Onions at Driftwood Kitchen

Bedrock Ribs with Greens and Glazed Onions at Driftwood Kitchen

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Sally’s Middle Name Hosting Popup at Boundary Road on March 29th

17 Mar

Sally's Middle Name popup

Sally’s Middle Name (1320 H Street), the restaurant that will be replacing Pizza Parts and Service on the eastern end of H Street, will be having a popup tasting at Boundary Road (414 H Street) on March 29th from 10pm-12am.

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