PAUL Opening Rescheduled

November 28, 2011

The building at 1078 Wisconsin Ave. was built in 1889, the same year PAUL Bakery started in northern France, Marketing Manager Laetitia Steiner said about the bakery’s new location in Georgetown.

“So that’s like destiny,” she said.

PAUL began in Lille in northern France as a family-built company, and is now an international chain bakery with 453 shops in 25 different countries around the world. The new Georgetown location, however, gives PAUL an advantage because of its authentic old structure that adds to PAUL’S experience.

PAUL, which has announced various opening dates, is set to open up in Georgetown on Nov. 21, marking its first official day of business.

“When we started building the store we had to re-secure the whole thing,” Steiner said. “But we kept as much original stuff as we could, like the brick walls.”

She explained that all of the decoration is imported and that they made sure with their local architect that everything stayed true to PAUL’s spirit. She said she feels that Georgetown seems to have some knowledge of what PAUL is supposed to be like and that this location provides what the bakeries in France offer.

“I feel that Georgetown knows what this bakery is, what PAUL is,” she said. “Georgetown residents have a great knowledge of our breads and they tell me they’ve been to PAUL and ask if we will keep that certain grain they like. I say yes, we will.”

There were some Georgetown residents, she said, who asked her if a specific bread, Badine, was going to be served at the new location. Steiner is hopeful for the success of the new shop because the future customers have a good knowledge of the product.

“We are going to make sure that we reach the quality expectation of the company every single day,” Steiner said.

Steiner said she is excited that the specially-crafted breads and gourmet coffee that PAUL has served for many years, will be available at Georgetown’s location.

“At the end of training there are people that want to come in and we say, look we’re not open but let us give you some food and we have had amazing feedback,” Steiner said. “We are just so happy to finally open because it has been an ongoing story for more than three years,” she said.

There was another PAUL that opened May 2, 2011 in downtown D.C., but what makes this new location very different, according to Steiner, is the way it will staff its café with servers rather than providing a self-service café.
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Ritz Restaurants get New Looks, New Menus

October 31, 2011

Greater guest demand at the Ritz Carlton in Georgetown is causing the hotel to transform its current restaurant, bar and grill design.

The restaurant, located on South Street NW, will become a permanent banquet rental space titled Fahrenheit Ballroom, opening on Nov. 1. The current bar and lounge that is featured will be called Degrees Bistro.

General Manager Grant Dipman stated that within the past year there was a significant increase in demand for rental of Fahrenheit restaurant. These requests were for corporate and social events.

The new design and business strategy of the Ballroom and Degrees Bistro will allow the Ritz Carlton of Georgetown to increase group room nights and improve their food and beverage revenue.

The Degrees Bistro’s design was chosen to compliment the current industrial style that the hotel offers. It has classic bistro table and banquet seating for up to 46 guests. The bar features a design prototype modeled for an upscale, casual restaurant which seats up to 20 additional guests.

Executive Chef Quang Duang, who serves the hotel’s in-room and banquet meals, created a new menu that offers traditional French bistro exclusives with cocktail and wine lists to compliment. Some of the new dishes featured are Chesapeake Crab Cake Sandwiches, Grilled Chicken and New York Strip, and Pan-Seared Atlantic Salmon.

Some traditional French bistro classics like Roasted Chicken Grand Mere, French Onion Soup and Steak Frites with Béarnaise Sauce are also included on the new menus.

For business guests and early-risers, breakfast hours on weekdays will still be 6:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. For dinners, service will begin at 5:30 p.m. and close at 10 p.m. and lunch service will take place between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. They will also have a Friday through Saturday Light Fare Menu for very late guests starting at 2:30 p.m. and closing at 1 a.m.

The new design is meant to continue to provide a sense of community in the heart of the historic Georgetown neighborhood. [gallery ids="100350,109446" nav="thumbs"]

LOFT Grand Opening Welcoming Party

October 27, 2011

When a LOFT store opens a new location they host a party called the “LOFT Warming Event,” according to Georgetown’s LOFT manager, Khalilah Branch.

“It’s much like you would have a house warming. We’re all moved in and we got our beautiful product on the floor to showcase,” said Branch.

This is exactly what’s happening on Saturday, Oct. 22 in Georgetown. The store opened its doors on Sept. 30 but is designating this weekend to showcasing their product to the community and their friends.

LOFT is a women’s clothing retail store that features casual dresses, blouses, sweaters, pants and more. The Georgetown store’s current location on Wisconsin Ave. NW, is the newest spot its had since its last location closed down a couple years ago off M Street. It has had some great success since last month’s opening, according to Branch.

“The feedback on the store from the community has been awesome so far,” she said. ” We’re seeing a lot of our Georgetown clients returning to this location.”

Meghan Gallery, a returning customer since the new location opened, explained that she is a regular LOFT client.

“I’ve been here three or four times since it opened,” she said. “The location is very convenient and the sizing of their product is consistent so I can buy what I want without too much trouble.”

The event on Saturday will have a DJ, some style specialists, sponsored treats from Georgetown Cupcake, and the serving of prosecco (sparkling wine) from Better Events Catering. There will also be a photographer from Lucky Magazine taking pictures of guests in their LOFT looks during the event’s 1 to 4 p.m. window.

Lacey Maffettone, the blog host of a D.C. fashion blog called A Lacey Perspective, has partnered with Lucky Magazine to host the LOFT “welcoming event.”

“One of our goals is to get all of my readers and Lucky Magazine’s readers to come on site at LOFT on Saturday,” Maffettone said. “We want to show that the city of Washington, D.C. has a fashion side to it just as much as it has a political and business side.”

Maffettone explained that Lucky Magazine reached out to her and asked her to co-host with them for the LOFT event. She also explained that the store is expressing a new winter collection to its customers. They are encouraging a new color-block, or matching scheme, with brighter colors and fabrics for their products.

“Lucky and myself are hoping to continue to bring this style into focus for D.C. by partnering with LOFT,” Meffettone said.

According to the Facebook event invite page created by A Lacey Perspective, there are 76 expected attendees so far for Saturday. Khalilah Branch, the store’s manager, said that the event isn’t just for the Facebook invites but that it’s open to the rest of Georgetown and the public.

Lincoln Theatre to Remain Open

October 13, 2011

Unlike the words Langston Hughes once used in his poem “Lincoln Theatre,” the movies won’t end.

For the past 24 months the Lincoln Theatre has struggled with financial sustainability and still does. Yet it will not be closing, but is in a state of dire financial struggle. At the press conference held Thursday afternoon, it was confirmed that the theatre is in need of operating funds from the District to keep the doors open past the end of the calendar year.

However, the theatre may not be getting the city funding that it needs and has scheduled a meeting with the mayor to resolve these issues.

Rick Lee, a board member of the U Street Foundation Board which operates the theatre, explained the frustration the theatre is going through.

“We found out that there is $89 million to be [divided] up across the city [for operation funding], and we’re not going to be getting any of it,” said Lee.

According to the board, the mayor has not responded to the request they put forth and the theatre must continue its struggle to maintain sustainability in the constant economic crisis affecting them.

Cynthia Robinson, another board member, stressed how important the resources they get later on in the year are. “In order for a public theatre owned by the District to operate effectively, it must have committed resources to support the operations,” Robinson said.

Robinson detailed how they have been getting the money in the past, saying that they receive their own revenue, rentals, fundraising and finally District funding for operations.

“Most of the money we get is going to go straight to keeping the doors open,” said Robinson. However, there is a staff that must be provided for and also monthly payments to be added in.

The average annual budget for the theatre is $1.7 million and their general monthly operating expenses come out to $60,000 per month. The cash on hand for them as of now is $50,000.

These problems could impact the theatre in different and drastic ways including: the ability to leave the doors open until the end of the year, the power to stage some shows and the inability to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Lincoln Theatre.

Council member Jim Graham of Ward 1 made an appearance at the conference and gave his assurance that the theatre will continue with its doors open. “We are hopeful that once we meet with the mayor, we can discuss a new system and new governance of reconsideration of these [funding] issues. That way we can assure the people that this theatre will continue to function,” Graham said.
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Protestors Rally Against Death Penalty

September 26, 2011

Approximately 45 minutes after the convicted cop killer, Troy Davis, was executed, protestors outside the Supreme Court were already speaking out about what’s next to come in their battle against the Death Penalty.

At 11:08 p.m. Wednesday night, Troy Davis was executed for the murder of a Savannah off-duty police officer, Mark MacPhail, in 1989.

Protestors stood at the bottom of the steps of the Supreme Court even into the early minutes of Thursday morning, Sept. 22. They had been out front nearly all Wednesday giving their support to Davis’ case, according to Jack Payden-Travers, one of the protestors wearing a blue shirt that read “I am Troy Davis.”

“I think what’s happened tonight and today, in the whole Troy Davis affair, has been years in the making,” Payden-Travers said as he reflected on his time spent there in front of the Supreme Court building. “I think that tonight’s execution may be the end of the death penalty.”

Many protestors have argued that there was simply not enough evidence to be sure Davis was guilty and many of them bring up the fact that seven of the nine witnesses against him had recanted their stories, according to sources in a CNN report.

However, the MacPhail family feels quite opposite about the innocence of Davis.

The Associated Press talked with MacPhail’s mother, Anneliese MacPhail, after the execution was complete. She dismissed Davis’ claims of innocence and said that the family feels that justice had finally been served.

Demonstrators outside the prison where Davis was to be executed began hugging, crying, praying and gathering around Davis’ family after the Supreme Court commented on their decision to not free him of the execution, the Associated Press wrote.

Davis claimed that he was innocent during the moments leading up to his execution and also made a statement, according to the Washington Post, that “the incident that happened that night is not my fault.” He left his supporters with the words “continue to fight the fight,” referring to the fight against the Death Penalty the Washington Post also wrote.

For protestors such as Jack Payden-Travers, “The Death Penalty will end,” he said, “it’s just a matter of when.” Payden-Travers hopes that for the people that turned out for Troy, the Death Penalty ended tonight.”

Late on Wednesday evening in front of the Supreme Court, Payden-Travers led the crowd of people in what he described as a custom that is used in Latin America when someone dies. The crowd shouted in the silence, “Troy Davis! Presente! Troy Davis! Presente! Troy Davis! Presente!”
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