Tag Archives: joe englert

H Street Residents and Restaurants Spar Over Longer Hours for Rooftops

18 Dec

This evening the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6A Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee–which has jurisdiction over the eastern end of H Street–held a discussion about possibly changing its policy that currently prevents restaurants and bars from operating public space patios (i.e. patios on the street) and rooftop decks after 11pm on weeknights and midnight on weekends.  While the D.C. Government’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) handles alcohol licenses in the District, ANCs play a very important role in the process through recommendations to ABRA and by holding hearings to help restaurants/bars and residents come to mutually beneficial agreements that will help the establishment thrive in the community without negatively affecting its neighbors.  The current policy of ANC 6A is to require restaurants and bars to agree to not serve alcohol on patios and rooftops late at night even though the establishment can stay open until much later in the evening.  This meeting was to discuss a potential change to that policy.

Over 20 residents showed up to protest any potential change vociferously.  Most of the comments were similar: allowing later hours outdoors would create more noise and prevent residents from sleeping, later hours would encourage more drunken debauchery along H Street and in the surrounding neighborhoods, and that there was no benefit to the community for allowing restaurants to have later outdoor hours.  Several residents argued that allowing restaurants to have later outdoor hours would lead to an increase in crime.

Only two restaurants testified in favor of changing the current policy to allow for later hours.  Joe Englert–owner of several H Street establishments and arguably one of the main reasons that H Street is currently experiencing such a renaissance–countered many of the residents claims that a change in policy would have negative effects.  Englert argued that he and other H Street restaurants have invested many millions of dollars in the community and have no reason to be bad neighbors.  He offered to install any kind of noise barrier to help alleviate any noise problems that arose in neighborhoods surrounding H Street.  After several residents questioned the need to keep outdoor areas open so late (one said that there was no reason for people to be drinking or even out after midnight), Englert pointed out that many young people are going to be out late drinking “because that’s what they do.”  He implied that if they weren’t out drinking and spending money on H Street they would be doing it elsewhere around the city which would hurt the H Street economy.   Continue reading

Early Thoughts on Vendetta

23 May

Vendetta (1212 H Street, NE) opened earlier this week in the space that used to be the Red Palace until it closed last New Years. The restaurant had been planned for several years by H Street titan Joe Englert, and many in the neighborhood were quite excited to see it open.  We stopped by the second night it was open to check it out.

Outside of Vendetta

Outside of Vendetta

We were very impressed with redesigned space–it was almost impossible to recognize that it used to be the Red Palace (check out a Frozen Tropics post here for more details on the space).  Vendetta is an Italian restaurant with a strong focus on pasta (check out their menu here).  To start, we tried Vendetta’s bread which was served with an unusual, but quite good, peach jam.  Their olive appetizer was fine but only as exciting as a plate of olives can be.

For entrees, diners are encouraged to try one of the different preparations of pasta featuring a variety of proteins ranging from pancetta to pork meatballs to squid as well as several vegetarian offerings.  Once you have selected a preparation, you pair it with one of their many different types of pasta (there are seven different types ranging from penne to gnocchi).  We sampled two of the different pastas.  We tried the squid ink with seared squid accompanied by penne pasta.  While the appearance of the dish might be off-putting to some because of the squid ink sauce, the dish’s taste made up for it.  Tender squid combined with a savory sauce made for quite an enjoyable evening.  We also sampled the meatball and turnip ragu which featured somewhat spicy meatballs in a garlic and pepper sauce.

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