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TD Burger’s BBQ: The Taste Doesn’t Match the Smell

1 Sep
Patio at TD Burger

Patio at TD Burger

We really want to like TD Burger (250 K Street, NE).  It has a great location right across the street from the always popular Indigo and who doesn’t like a good burger place with an awesome patio?  Sadly our previous experiences at TD had taught us to avoid the place.  However, recently the restaurant has set up a smoker on its patio that wafts delicious hickory BBQ smells for multiple blocks.  After attempting to avoid the temptation multiple times, we finally gave in and gave TD Burger another shot.

Brisket at TD Burger

Brisket at TD Burger

Unfortunately, we should not have.  Let’s start with the logistics of takeout: an unnecessary nightmare.  You order the BBQ inside and then pick it up from the guy at the smoker outside.  Makes sense but wait: there are only certain BBQ items that you pick up from the guy outside–for other random ones, you pick them up inside.  For example, we ordered a half BBQ chicken and an order of brisket.  The chicken comes from outside, the brisket from inside.  It didn’t make any sense, but we went with it.  We placed our order and then went outside to pick up the chicken.

BBQ Chicken at TD Burger

BBQ Chicken at TD Burger

TD Burger was not busy at this time.  There was one guy in front of me also waiting for chicken.  It took about ten minutes for him to get his chicken (even though it was already done in the smoker), and then it was our turn.  The chef manning the smoker told us to wait a minute and then he would be right with us.  He disappeared inside for five minutes or so and reemerged with a tray of raw pork ribs.  He proceeded to marinate the various racks of ribs and threw them in the smoker while we waited.  He then washed his hands in a bucket full of dirty water (no soap) and then proceeded to grab our chicken out of the smoker.  Using his bare hands (which he had 30 seconds ago been marinating the raw pork ribs with) and tongs that he had also “washed” in the dirty water he divided my (measly) half chicken into thirds and cut it up.  When we asked about having BBQ sauce on the side, it was interpreted as an odd request.

The whole process took at least 20 minutes, despite the fact that the chicken was done and ready to go the second we walked outside.  We walked back inside to pick up the brisket that was surely done by this point.  Wrong.  Took another 5-10 minutes for that to come out as well. Continue reading

Seoul Spice Coming to NoMa

6 Aug

seoul spice

A restaurant called Seoul Spice is slated to move into 145 N Street, NE in NoMa’s Constitution Square development.  This space had previously been leased to Kraze Burger, prior to that chain running into financial difficulties.  The restaurant’s owners aren’t ready to divulge details yet, but we will share them as we get them.

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


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.

Wunder Garten, a Pop-Up Beer Garden and Park, Coming to NoMa in April

9 Feb

Last summer, NoMa came close to getting a beer garden in the vacant lot in between the NoMa-Gallaudet Metro station and the Flats 130 apartment building (at 150 M Street, NE).  The large lot has previously been used as a construction staging area but is now vacant for the time being.  At that time, negotiations between the potential business partners and Stonebridge Carras, the landowner, did not work out.  Now, however, negotiations have resumed and it seems very likely that the beer garden will become a reality this spring.

Business partners, including the owner of L’Enfant Cafe in Adams Morgan, are planning a hybrid beer garden and park that will cater to guests of all ages (and will likely allow dogs as well).  The fenced in lot will be leveled and landscaped in a way that maintains a large open area for recreational activities.  The partners in Wunder Garten are working closely with the NoMa Business Improvement District on the design to maximize the park area as NoMa currently has a deficit of parks.  There will be beer benches like one would find in a German beer garden and a significant portion of the space will have a tent over it for rain.  They will have multiple beers on tap at the bar they will build on site that will mostly be German and Austrian, but they do plan on having a few local microbrews as well.  The space will not have a kitchen (the nearby Harris Teeter that is technically on the same land restricts what kinds of food can be sold in the space); however, there will be 2-3 food trucks in the space that will rotate.  High end portable restrooms will be available for customers.  In all, the space will be designed to fit 200-300 people inside.

Continue reading

Todd Gray’s Watershed Changes Chefs, Freshens Menu

14 Jan
New Braised Pork Shank with Sweet Potato Hash at Watershed

New Braised Pork Shank with Sweet Potato Hash at Watershed

Todd Gray’s Watershed, the coastal cuisine restaurant located within the Hilton Garden Inn in NoMa, has undergone several changes over the past couple of months.  Less than a year after opening the restaurant in 2011, Todd Gray turned over operations of the restaurant to Culinaire, a food and hospitality management company (Gray operates several restaurants and wrote a cookbook).  According to David Wood, Senior Vice President with Culinaire, Gray still plays an active role with Watershed and spends time in the kitchen every month with the staff.  He recommends and changes certain dishes on the menu so that they maintain his “style and vision.”  Culinaire’s vision for Watershed is to have the restaurant represent “a road trip down the Eastern Seaboard” like Todd Gray initially envisioned.

Executive Chef Joseph Paire

Executive Chef Joseph Paire

Now, the restaurant has brought in new Executive Chef Joseph Paire who has conducted an overhaul of the menu that features several exciting new dishes (view menu here).  A D.C. native, Paire graduated from Johnson and Wales culinary school and has since worked in several kitchens around D.C. including Sonoma, Mussel Bar, Lincoln (opening Chef de Cuisine), and most recently Farmers Fishers Bakers in Georgetown.  He was excited to come over to Watershed because of the restaurant’s beautiful space and the growing NoMa neighborhood. Continue reading

Union Market: The Eastern Section

20 Nov
Eastern Section of Union Market

Eastern Section of Union Market

For the purposes of this post, the eastern section is defined as the area and buildings starting on the northern side of Florida Avenue, NE at 5th Street, going over to 6th Street, and then running up in between both streets until Penn Street (including Morse Street).  You can view our interactive map here (note: this is not perfectly drawn to scale and does not perfectly reflect lot lines, etc).  The properties are colored by owner; the color purple indicates that the property is not owned by one of the large development companies.

The eastern section of Union Market is the area that has seen the most development recently thanks to Edens’s construction of the Union Market building.  This section is also likely to see significant additional development in the coming years thanks to two owners controlling the majority of the real estate: Edens and Gallaudet University.  Edens has elaborate plans to add to the existing Union Market building, while Gallaudet University has an elaborate vision for redeveloping 6th Street to add retail and to integrate Union Market with Gallaudet’s campus that is currently somewhat isolated.  Recently Gallaudet University chose JBG–a major DC developer that controls several parcels in NoMa–as the firm it would partner with to develop its land.

Starting at Florida Avenue in between 5th and 6th streets (view interactive map here):

500 and 520 Florida Avenue

500 and 520 Florida Avenue

  • 500 and 520 Florida Avenue (purple on map): this land that comprises the entire block of Florida Avenue is controlled by one owner.  Currently, 520 Florida Avenue houses a Hess gas station.  No plans have been announced for any kind of redevelopment.

Turn left down 6th Street and walk north (view interactive map here):

Large Section of 6th Street Owned by Gallaudet University

Large Section of 6th Street Owned by Gallaudet University

  • Right (east) side of the street (yellow on map): all of this land on 6th Street is owned by Gallaudet University, all the way up to Neal Place (across the road from the Edens’s Union Market building).  In the coming years it will be developed by Gallaudet working with JBG.  Past Neal Place, the land is part of Brentwood Park and will not be developed.

Turn left onto Morse Street and head west (view interactive map here):

Continue reading


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