Shopping, Skating and Holiday Cheer in Georgetown

December 1, 2014

People are getting set for Thanksgiving, even as the sights and sounds of the holidays are about to pop. So, get ready, Georgetown, here are a few selections to begin the season.

Small businesses make up 73 percent of Georgetown’s retail offerings, according to the Georgetown Business Improvement District, and it has switched into overdrive to promote Georgetown as the place to be — and to shop and dine — just days before Thanksgiving and weeks before Christmas arrives.

Small Business Saturday, Nov. 29, is the day after Black Friday, and is an event begun by American Express, to promote small businesses across the nation.

Here is a fun BID project: Brighten up the holiday season with the Third Annual Georgetown Holiday Window Competition, which 19 merchants participated in last year. Throughout the neighborhood there will be light art installations and festive decorations. Windows should be completed by Monday, Dec. 1, and voting will take place from Dec. 3 to 17. Photographs will be posted on the official Georgetown Facebook page, and the shop window that earns the most “Likes” will announced as the winner.

The annual Swedish Christmas Bazaar will take place Dec. 6, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Experience and learn about Swedish Christmas traditions — including St. Lucia Day — and shop from a number of different Swedish vendors. The bazaar is at the House of Sweden at 2900 K St. NW, next to Washington Harbour at the Georgetown waterfront.

The Washington Harbour Ice Skating Rink is open now through March. Washington Harbour — 3050 K St. NW — is the largest skating rink in the D.C. area and will host many events through the season.

The Georgetown Glow Winter Public Art Exhibition is an outdoor display of public art and light installations and sponsored by the Georgetown BID. It will be on display Dec. 12 through Dec. 14. The installations will be lit nightly from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The artwork is by local and regional artists, and the art of international artist Luisa Alvarez of the Spanish art collective, Travesias de Luz. The BID will create a program brochure and map for the weekend that will feature the public art installations as well as local in-store holiday promotions, activities and events.

Helping Out and Dining Out in the Spirit of Thanksgiving

Not everyone is fortunate enough to dine out on Thanksgiving or to buy all the ingredients for one at home. Here are some opportunities for charity and volunteering to help others in the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Before your Thanksgiving dinner go for a run at the 13th annual Thanksgiving Day Trot For Hunger held by So Others Might Eat. The 5K run/walk will begin at Freedom Plaza at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. Money raised from the race will benefit homeless families and adults, by providing food, clothes and healthcare. $35 for timed participants.

Another opportunity for a Thanksgiving run will be at the Arlington Turkey Trot, which supports local charities. This 5K race will start at 8 a.m. at the Christ Church of Arlington, 3020 North Pershing Drive.

Capital Area Food Bank’s mission is to provide food the hungry in the Washington metro area and now through November 30, CAFB is running its Thanksgiving campaign Turkey @ Every Table, which provides senior citizens with a turkey and other Thanksgiving foods. 4900 Puerto Rico Ave. NE.

Sign up for a shift to prepare food or deliver meals with Food & Friends on the days leading up to Thanksgiving and on Thanksgiving Day. Food & Friends provides food to people living with life-challenging illnesses like cancer and HIV/AIDS. 219 Riggs Road NE. 202-269-2277.

Meanwhile, looking for a restaurant for your Thanksgiving dinner? Here are a few places around D.C. where you can go to enjoy Thanksgiving 2014.

The Grill Room at Capella — 1050 31st St. NW — has a brunch and dinner buffet available on Thanksgiving. On the menu: pan-roasted diver scallops with pumpkin and carnaroli risotto. The buffet is $95 per person. 202-617-2424.

Martin’s Tavern — 1264 Wisconsin Ave. NW — is one Georgetown classic not to be missed. This is where Jack Kennedy proposed to Jacqueline Bouvier in 1952.

Peacock Cafe — 3251 Prospect St. NW — is another Georgetown classic. While best known for its weekend brunch, the friendly place is ready for Thanksgiving and has excellent vegan selections. And, yes, previous occupants of the White House have dined here. 202-625-2740.

1789 Restaurant — 1230 36th St. NW — is yet another Georgetown classic for dinner. The ’89 tastes and looks the part. This is where President Barack Obama took German Chancellor Angela Merkel for an intimate dinner in 2011. 202-965-1789.

Equinox Restaurant — 818 Connecticut Ave. NW — offers Thanksgiving Day Dinner, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.: $65 per person for three courses – $90 with wine pairing; $35, children 12 and under for three courses. The wide selection includes leek chowder, beet salad, quail, venison, pork, scallops or turkey, along with pumpkin tart, chocolate torte or coconut cake.

Tony and Joes — 3000 K St. NW — where you are skate and dine this year for Thanksgiving. For $20, enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner. Also, enjoy fall cocktails and ice skating at the Georgetown Waterfront. 202-448-8005.

Bourbon Steak– 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW — is offering a three-course set menu on this day with seating from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. The set menu is $110 per person and can be seen at

Cafe Milano — 3251 Prospect St. NW — will offer a sparkling brunch buffet, 11a.m. to 4 p.m. Also, enjoy familiar favorites from the regular dinner menu from 6 to 9 p.m.

Old Ebbitt Grill — 675 15th St. NW — will be having a traditional turkey dinner along with stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. Adults, $25.95; children’s portions, $15.95. 202-347-4800.

Nage Bistro — 1600 Rhode Island Ave. NW — is having a Thanksgiving dinner with Southern favorites. The menu includes Cajun deep-fried turkey, cornbread, mac and cheese and more. 202-448-8005.

Cafe Dupont and Bar Dupont — Dupont Circle Hotel, 1500 New Hampshire Ave. NW — will have a prix-fixe Thanksgiving menu with a choice of appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts. $55 per person. 202-797-0169.

Ardeo and Bardeo — 3311 Connecticut Ave. NW — has a three-course Thanksgiving dinner available, serving gnocchi, sweet potato, apple soup and, of course, turkey. The meal is $45 per person and $23 for children 10 and under. 202-244-6750.

DBGB Kitchen + Bar — 931 H St. NW — is offering a three-course prix-fixe menu: $65 per person; children under 12, $35; noon to 8 p.m.

Latham Apartment’s Get Zoning OK’s

November 6, 2014

Developer SB-Urban moved past the last major obstacle to building micro-residential units on the 3000 M Street site of the Latham Hotel, which closed in 2012.

On Tuesday, SB-Urban was granted a series of variances from the Board of Zoning Adjustments for the project.
According to an Urban Turf article, the requests were for: a rear-yard variance for an addition, a special exception to a parking requirement that would allow the company to provide 42 off-site spaces, a variance for the remaining 74 parking spaces and a variance for a loading dock and delivery space.

The micro-unit project will create retail spaces along M Street and will have 140 furnished apartments with an average size of 330 square feet. There will also be 11,000 square feet of shared-living spaces, such as kitchens, laundry rooms and living rooms. The lease agreement will prevent residents from parking on Georgetown streets, but residents will receive Capital Bikeshare and car-share memberships.

Among its other projects, Bethesda-based SB-Urban will also convert the Patterson Mansion on Dupont Circle into rental apartments. The company bought the historic 36,470-square-foot mansion from the Washington Club for $20 million in June.

Ferguson March: Peaceful, Committed Protestors Coordinate With Police

October 28, 2014

Protesters marched through Georgetown Saturday evening, Oct. 4, calling for justice in the Aug. 9 killing of Mike Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo. The members of the #DCFerguson movement called for the arrest of Officer Darren Wilson, the demilitarization of the police and a review of all D.C. police killings since 2004. The protesters gathered in at Foggy Bottom Metro stop and marched to Georgetown.

Protesters marched east to west on M Street and then up Wisconsin Avenue, stopping at various intersections — including Wisconsin and M, Wisconsin and N as well as M and 34th Street — to interrupt the nighttime traffic flow. The march surprised those at various restaurants and drivers, who had to wait at least 15 minutes.

The crowd, averaging about 250 , chanted “No justice, no peace,” “Whose street? Mike’s street,” “Justice for Michael Brown, racist cop shot him down” and “We’re young. We’re strong. We’re marching all night long.”

One of the march’s leaders was Eugene Puryear, who is also a candidate for an at-large member of the District Council.
At the same time, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama celebrated their wedding anniversary at Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel, as protesters walked past.

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Saturday’s Ferguson March on M Street Expected to Be Well Coordinated

October 23, 2014

There is still a lot of national momentum around the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo.

On Saturday, Oct. 4, the D.C. Ferguson group will hold a march and rally through Georgetown, demanding “Justice for Michael Brown” and changes in policing practices. Demonstrators are gathering at Foggy Bottom Metro Station at 7 p.m. and will be marching through Georgetown.

“The march is starting at Foggy Bottom, and then we will be marching down M Street,” said Salim Adofo, one of the organizers of the event.

Saturday’s march calls for the arrest of Officer Darren Wilson, the demilitarization of the police and the institutionalization of a civilian review board with the right to hire and fire. Organizers also want further investigation into all police killings in D.C. since 2004.

“Past marches have had a turnout of about 250 to 300 people. So, we are expecting a similar turnout this Saturday,” said Adofo.

“The group has been cooperative and caused minimal problems in the past,” said John Wiebenson, the operations director for the Georgetown Business Improvement District. “The Metropolitan Police Department is prepared for the march but since it is a Saturday night in Georgetown we are unsure what to expect. Past marches through Georgetown have been well organized.”

The sponsors of the march include the National Black United Front, the ANSWER Coalition, We Act Radio, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the American Muslim Alliance and others.

Other marches in D.C. by the same group, concerning police brutality and justice in Michael Brown’s shooting, include stops through Chinatown, H Street NE, Adams Morgan and elsewhere. Protesters have also demonstrated in front of the White House and the Justice Department.

Time for Oysters

Oysters are best in the months with an “R” in them, so don’t miss your opportunity to eat them during the fall season. In D.C., oysters used to be cheap and abundant due to the proximity to the Chesapeake Bay. At the turn of the 20th century, Washington had more than 150 oyster bars. The oyster population of Chesapeake Bay had dropped to about one percent of the population in the late 19th century due to overfishing, disease and pollution. But recently, there have been a number of successful efforts taken to restore populations, which has seen the return of oysters’ popularity in Washington. Check out our calendar with the area’s best oyster-themed events this fall and winter.

Oct. 11
Holly Point Art & Seafood Festival
The 11th annual Holly Point Art and Seafood festival has something fun for everyone. The festival will offer oysters, seafood, art and family fun. Visitors will also see restored buy-boats, used for harvesting oysters. The event takes place at the beautiful Holly Point Nature Park and Deltaville Maritime Museum on the waterfront. Admission is free. 287 Jackson Creek Rd, Deltaville, Va., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information visit

Oct. 18 and 19
St. Mary’s Oyster Festival
Enjoy live music, entertainment and lots of food at the 48th St. Mary’s County Oyster Festival. There will be fun for everyone with activities from shellfish exhibits to carnival rides. People come from all over to compete in the National Oyster Shucking Contest and the National Oyster Cook-off. Admission is $5 for adults; free for children 12 and under. Hours on Saturday are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Location: St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds. 42455 Fairgrounds Road, Leonardtown, Md. For more information visit

Oct. 25
The Inaugural 1905 Oyster Roast on the Roof
Deck with DC Brau
1905 Bistro & Bar along side DC Brau will be hosting their first oyster roast. Enjoy all-you-can-eat Rappahannock oysters and your choice of two sides prepared by Chef Joel Hatton. DC Brau will be supplying $5 drafts and their first-ever Oktoberfest. The oyster roast will take place on the roof deck of the 1905 Bistro & Bar, 1905 9th St., NW. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advanced; $25 at the door.

Oct. 25
Bull, Shrimp and Oyster Roast
Chesapeake Down Syndrome Parent Group is hosting their 5th annual Bull, Shrimp and Oyster Roast at Columbus Gardens in Nottingham, Md. The buffet will feature pit beef, pit ham, pit turkey, shrimp, oysters and more. Beer, wine, soda and cocktails will be available. All proceeds from the roast will benefit CDSPG educational programs, family outreach and community advocacy. Visit for more information.

Nov. 7 and 8
Urbanna Oyster Festival
Come by boat or car to the Urbanna Oyster Festival, the largest and longest running oyster festival in the United States. During the festival, the streets of Urbanna, Va., are closed to vehicles and filled with crafts and seafood vendors. Visitors can enjoy music at the concert stage, learn about the history of the area or participate in oyster shucking and wine tasting. The focal point of the festival has become the Saturday Parade which has continued to grow over the years from an event featuring floats and antique cars into a much larger parade with marching bands and more. Visit for additional information.

Nov. 21 and 22
Old Ebbitt Grill’s Oyster Riot
Held each year the Friday and Saturday before Thanksgiving, the Oyster Riot is back for the 20th time. Each night, tens of thousands of oysters are devoured by nearly 1000 guests who enjoy live music while they dine. The bivalves will be served with the gold medal winning wines of the International Wines for Oyster Competition, which selects the best wines to go with oysters from over 200 entrees. The Oyster Riot runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings. The most recent addition, the Saturday Matinee Oyster Riot, takes place from noon to 3 p.m. Visit for tickets and more information.
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Healey Center Becomes New Hub for Georgetown Students

The Healey Family Student Center at Georgetown University opened last month, offering 44,000 square feet of social and programming space and providing a new gathering place for students on campus.

The student center is in the New South residence hall and is open to the entire academic community. There are study rooms, a TV lounge, music practice rooms, dance studios, 12 study rooms and three conference rooms. The “great room” has a fireplace, couches and chairs, and it overlooks the Potomac River.

Along the end of Prospect Street, the south side facing the Potomac River will also feature a new terrace with fire pits, green space and outdoor seating. The two-floor student center includes a new entrance from Library Walk and redesigned entrances at the ground level across from Leo’s, the main dining hall, as well as from the Village A courtyard.

On Oct. 31, the Bulldog Tavern — a pub serving food to everyone and alcoholic drinks to those over the age of 21 — will open in the student center. The pub will be managed by Bon Appetit Management Company, which manages more than 500 dining halls and restaurants, including Google, eBay and many on university campuses.

A salad and smoothie restaurant called Hilltoss will open in the building on Nov. 1.

Via Umbria to Pop Up in Former Tari Space

September 29, 2014

Authentic culture and cuisine from the Umbria region of Italy is coming to Georgetown in form of Via Umbria, which moved into the old Tari space.

Via Umbria will open its doors Sept. 27 initially as a pop-up shop with the full store and gallery experience to occur this spring.

Located at 1525 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Via Umbria will feature four main businesses, the emporio (the shop), vino (wine), casa (the rental villa in Umbria) and galleria (events and gallery space).

Owners Bill and Suzy Menard spent a semester in Umbria, when they were students, and fell in love with the region. They have returned dozens of times since. Inspired by their trips to Italy, the couple opened Bella Italia, a shop in Bethesda, that offers authentic Italian products.

Then, the Menards decided to relocate to Georgetown with a new name to develop their concept even further.

“We closed on the purchase of a new home for the new Bella Italia. . . . 1525 Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown,” the Menards wrote on their blog. “The purchase has been months – nearly a year – in the making. To say we’re excited would be an understatement worthy of Guinness.”

In 2008, the Menards purchased a rustic farmhouse villa in Cannara in Umbria, starting a rental and tour business. In 2013, the couple began importing wines from vineyards near by the rental villa.

The second floor of Via Umbria will be a gallery event space to expand the store into a cultural center. Guests are invited to attend events, such as tastings, classes and exhibits and to join book club. Friends of Bill and Suzy, such as chefs, winemakers and artisans from Umbria, will frequently be invited to host demonstrations, hands-on workshops and tastings.

Also, there are plans for a cheese counter, an area for cured meats and coffee bar with tasty dry goods.

Via Umbria’s website is still under construction and will be up and running in early October.