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The Spot Deli: A Casual Deli and Bakery Opens on H Street

29 Oct

Approximately two months ago, The Spot Deli opened at 701 H Street after significant renovations were conducted to what had been Heaven & H Deli.  While The Spot Deli has mostly flown under the radar for the past couple of weeks, its owners have grand plans for the neighborhood.  The owners of the Deli are planning a second location (The Spot on H) several blocks east on H Street.  That location has been undergoing a complete reconstruction for well over a year now.  Once open, The Spot on H will have several bars and will serve “American cuisine with international flair.”  As they wait for construction to wrap up there, the owners of the two restaurants–including Chef Troy Williams, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a veteran of several restaurants around D.C.–hope to begin ingraining themselves in the neighborhood with The Spot Deli.  We had an opportunity last week to sit down with Basia Davis, Manager of The Spot Deli, to talk about the opening and the plans for the future.

Basia is a native of D.C. who graduated top of her class and then went to culinary school at Johnson & Wales (she laughs that there is a friendly alma mater rivalry between her and owner Troy Williams, who graduated from Culinary Institute of America).  She first met Williams through the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (CCAP) that Williams is very involved with in D.C.  The program provides public school students across the country with opportunities for education, training, and employment in the culinary world.  She stayed in touch with Williams after culinary school and became Manager of The Spot Deli a few weeks ago.

The location for The Spot Deli was acquired from the folks behind Heaven & H, which had been open on and off for several months.  After taking over the building, renovations were conducted both inside of the building and outside prior to the opening, including a new coat of paint for the exterior.  The setup of the Deli encourages takeout business, but they plan on adding some additional tables soon.  The Deli serves breakfast all day as well as lunch that includes a variety of Mexican dishes and more traditional deli items (sandwiches, salads).  As they gain more experience with the neighborhood, they are adding new items and have specials almost everyday (recent ones include beef stew and Creole shrimp).  Frequently, The Spot Deli has a rush of breakfast business around 8:30 am followed by a rush of lunch business right before the noon hour. Continue reading

DC Harvest: Our New Favorite H Street Restaurant

23 Oct
First Floor at DC Harvest

First Floor at DC Harvest

Phrases such as “seasonal,” “local,” and “farm-to-table” have become so overused in restaurants across the country that they have begun to lack meaning and simply induce eye-rolling amongst diners.  Seemingly anyone can throw a few “local” or “seasonal” vegetables on a plate and claim their restaurant fits this bill.  While such restaurants are a dime a dozen at this point, restaurants that truly embrace local, seasonal sourcing through close relationships with farmers and suppliers and combine it with superior culinary skills in the kitchen, warm service in the front of the house, and a focus on their neighborhood are truly rare.  DC Harvest is such a place and has quickly become our favorite restaurant on H Street.

Zatar Seasoned Turkey at DC Harvest

Zatar Seasoned Turkey at DC Harvest

Brothers Arthur and Jared Ringel bring decades of experience to the front and back of the house at DC Harvest.  Arthur’s resume includes graduation from the Culinary Institute of America in New York along with stints at D.C. culinary destinations BLT Steak, Vermillion, Vidalia, and Hank’s Oyster Bar, where he became head chef.  Jared’s restaurant management experience spans over a dozen years around the D.C. area, including being both a general manager and a franchisee for several concepts.  Their experience shines through in both the food and the service. Continue reading

H Street’s Horizon: What’s Coming Soon (Fall 2014)

22 Oct

Last winter, we looked at the new restaurants and bars that were coming to H Street.  Now that several months have gone by, we wanted to take a look at what restaurants have opened, what ones have made construction progress, and what new restaurant concepts have been announced recently.  For each of these categories we list the establishments in order of going west-east down H Street.  If we’ve missed a place, please let us know in the comment section.  You can see previous versions of H Street’s Horizons here, here, and here.

Opened this Spring and Summer

  • Driftwood Kitchen (400 H Street)–new Mediterranean restaurant that replaced the controversial Tru Orleans restaurant that closed a year ago.  Our coverage here.
  • Micho’s Grill (500 H Street)–in the summer, Micho’s Grill brought fast casual style Lebanese food to the western end of H Street.  Our coverage here.
  • DC Harvest (517 H Street)–in late summer, DC Harvest opened for dinner and brunch.  The new American restaurant has a seasonal menu that changes based upon what is in season.  They focus on locally sourcing as many of their ingredients as possible, both for food and for drinks.  Arthur Ringel, the head chef, was previously head chef at Hank’s Oyster Bar.  Our coverage here.
  • The Spot Deli (701 H Street)–breakfast and lunch spot that replaced Heaven & H after renovations.  From the same owners as The Spot that has not yet opened further east on H Street.
  • Po Boy Jim (709 H Street)–after many months of construction, Po Boy Jim opened for lunch and dinner in late June.  The restaurant has an extensive menu of cajun po boys as well as po boys that are influenced from cuisines around the globe.  Our coverage here.
  • Kitty’s Saloon (1208 H Street)–country-western restaurant and whiskey bar that replaced the long closed Souk restaurant.  Our coverage here.
  • Pizza Parts and Service (1320 H Street)–this space owned by Taylor Gourmet was previously Taylor Charles Steak and Ice and served cheesesteaks.  That concept closed down late last year (you can now get cheesesteaks at all of Taylor Gourmet’s locations) and reopened as Pizza Parts and Service, which serves pizzas by the pie or the slice.  They also deliver.  Website here.
  • Ocopa (previously Chicken Tortilla) (1324 H Street)–the Peruvian restaurant opened this summer and serves both dinner and lunch.  They offer Peruvian chicken, many types of ceviche, and several other Peruvian dishes.  Website here and early Washington Post review here.
  • Bullfrog Bagels (1341 H Street)–previously a pop-up bagel place around town, Bullfrog opened its permanent location in part of the space that Star and Shamrock has occupied for years.  Our coverage here.
  • Impala Cantina y Taqueria (1358 H Street)–originally a pop-up taco window several years ago, H Street residents have been waiting years for Impala to open its permanent brick and mortar location.  They opened earlier this year with a very cool first floor that opens up into a large courtyard for outdoor eating.  Website here.
  • Pursuit Wine Bar (1421 H Street)–wine bar and grilled cheese restaurant opened at the far east end of H Street.  Our coverage here.

New Concepts Announced in the Middle of 2014

  • Sticky Fingers Bakery (406 H Street)–Vegan bakery with existing location in Columbia Heights.  Space is currently undergoing major renovations.
  • Nando’s (411 H Street)–South African (with major Portuguese influence) chicken chain will open a location on the eastern end of H Street sometime next year.  The space must undergo major renovations before Nando’s can open.

Continue reading

Driftwood Kitchen (Mostly) Shines in Debut

21 Oct
Exterior of 400 H Street, NE

Exterior of 400 H Street, NE

400 H Street, NE is arguably one of the most promising locations on all of H Street for a restaurant.  Occupying a large corner spot on the west end of H Street, it is within blocks of several major apartment buildings (and many potential customers) on H Street and in NoMa.  The space was completely renovated several years ago, transforming it from a falling apart music club into a beautiful two story restaurant with a large sidewalk patio and a two sided open balcony on the second floor overlooking both H and 4th streets.  Despite this great setup, Tru Orleans–the original occupants–was unable to survive after two controversial years.

New Light Fixture at Driftwood Kitchen

New Light Fixture at Driftwood Kitchen


Tru Orleans has largely been erased from the building.  Instead meet Driftwood Kitchen from the owners of Darna in Arlington (you may notice similarities between the logos of the two restaurants).  They have spent the last several months renovating the building and removing the previous New Orleans architecture.  The owners have labeled Driftwood Kitchen’s cuisine American, but it draws inspiration from Middle Eastern cooking (unlike Darna which is more traditional Middle Eastern fare).  Even in the first week of service, Driftwood Kitchen appears to have drawn a fairly solid crowd.

New Driftwood Kitchen on H Street

New Driftwood Kitchen on H Street

We started with a drink off of their craft cocktail list.  The Hawa combined an interesting mix of gin, egg white, cucumber juice, and elderflower.  While it sounds strange, it worked well, especially with the egg white foam on top.  In addition to their eight cocktails, they have several local beers on the eleven draught beer list.

The menu (click here to view it) is divided up into “snacks”–ranging from a few bites to medium appetizers–and “offerings”–mostly small sized entrees.  While the portions are on the smaller side, they are also priced fairly reasonably.  Some of what we’ve sampled:

Snacks: The hummus guacamole snack combined two favorites from different cuisines into one tasty bowl.  The house fries were fairly standard but were served with a spicy dipping sauce that set them apart from regular fries.  And the cayenne caramel corn mixed sweet and spicy into a very pleasant bar snack.

"Snacks" at Driftwood Kitchen

“Snacks” at Driftwood Kitchen

Continue reading

Pursuit Wine Bar: Another Great Reason to Go to the East End of H Street

20 Oct
Downstairs Bar at Pursuit Wine Bar

Downstairs Bar at Pursuit Wine Bar

H Street has a great wine bar?  Most people would answer no to this question.  However, venture east of 14th street, past the many vacant storefronts and you will quickly learn that Pursuit Wine Bar (1421 H Street, NE) opened quietly this summer and is subtly filling an important void in the Atlas District.  For many people, the H Street Corridor ends at 14th street because there are not many establishments east of there besides the Argonaut.  Yet, Pursuit is well worth your time.

Wine Flight at Pursuit Wine Bar

Wine Flight at Pursuit Wine Bar

On any given night, there are well over 40 wines available by the glass as well as beer and cocktails for the non-vino drinkers.  Not sure what you want or want to experiment?  Try their flight of five wines for the very reasonable $15.  The downstairs bar has over a dozen seats and a front table in the window; if the bar is full, checkout upstairs for tables.  Their menu features a cheeseboard and a charcuterie board as well as several salads and a make-your-own grilled cheese menu.

Cheeseboard at Pursuit Wine Bar

Cheeseboard at Pursuit Wine Bar

Interested in Driftwood Kitchen on H Street? Here’s Their Menu

18 Oct

Driftwood Kitchen (400 H Street, NE) opened last Sunday for dinner.  We’ll have an initial review going up soon (spoiler: we liked it), but in the meantime wanted to post their menu which isn’t on their website yet for those who are interested in trying Driftwood.

Driftwood Kitchen Menu

Driftwood Kitchen Menu

Driftwood Kitchen Drink Menu

Driftwood Kitchen Drink Menu

Kitty’s Saloon Soft Opens, Official Opening Friday

10 Oct
Interior Wall at Kitty's Saloon

Interior Wall at Kitty’s Saloon

Kitty’s Saloon (1208 H Street, NE) had its soft opening this week and will open tomorrow (Friday the 10th) for full dinner service.  For the first month or so, the restaurant will only have its first floor open as they complete construction on the upper level.  The lower level features a bar, three two top tables in the back, and a table in the front by their floor to ceiling roll-up window that opens on to H Street.  You can see our preview here and view their menu here.

Tables at Kitty's Saloon

Tables at Kitty’s Saloon

Ceiling at Kitty's Saloon

Ceiling at Kitty’s Saloon


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