Jonathan Adler Finally Opens at N & Wisconsin

November 29, 2012

After several delays, the Jonathan Adler store at 1267 Wisconsin Ave., NW, has opened. The maker and purveyor of pots, pillows, acces- sories and furniture is located at the corner, where the Kids Gap store used to be, across from Martin’s Tavern. The Adler whimsy and practicality are on full display throughout the large store, which shows off a Washington bust of sorts and D.C. pillows. Amid everything else, in time for Hanukkah, beginning Dec. 8, the store offers unique dreidels and menorahs. Visit www.JonathanAdler.com, or call 202-965-1416.

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Say ‘Bienvenido’ to Massimo Dutti

November 28, 2012

Georgetown’s fast fashion appeal continues to expand . . . locally and globally. Massimo Dutti opened at 1220 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, its second U.S. location after New York. The company is headquartered in Spain.
Next to the Third Edition and described by Thrillist as a “European J. Crew,” Massimo Duti offers well-priced, updated fashions for men and women. Considered especially fetching: a classic, yet modern, dress and a nice assortment of jackets, leather or not.

Wrote the New York Times on Nov. 27 of the newly opened store on Fifth Avenue: “New to the States, Massimo Dutti has the same parent company as Zara, which means a large-scale invasion may be imminent. It is the old-school Banana Republic to Zara’s Gap, more refined and more expensive and, in this case, more desir- able. . . . This might be the least expensive way in the city for a man to dress up. Prices are rea- sonable for clothes that are worthy simulations of expensive Italian and British styles.”

Ins & OutsNovember 1, 2012

November 1, 2012

**Bowling, Bocce Coming to Georgetown Park**
That bowling might be going to Georgetown Park was first reported at a meeting of the Citizens Association of Georgetown and DCist.com two weeks. There is more to the story.

*Here is how the Washington Business Journal reported on the situation:*

Another piece of the Shops at Georgetown Park puzzle is falling into place. Vornado Realty Trust has an all-but-done deal to lease roughly 30,000 square feet to Chicago-area entertainment-restaurant chain Pinstripes. The chain, which features indoor bowling and bocce courts, hopes to open by the third quarter of 2013, Pinstripes founder Dale Schwartz said. Pinstripes plans to sign a formal lease with Vornado once it gets zoning approval. It is scheduled to plead its case at a zoning hearing in January, Schwartz said.

The chain, which opened its first location in the Chicago area about five years ago, put D.C. on a list of top markets across the country as part of a nationwide expansion. The restaurant would be its fifth, with three in Illinois and one in Minneapolis. Schwartz said Georgetown Park met the criteria Pinstripes is seeking out.

?We?ve been looking all over the country for high-quality, select-communities,? Schwartz said. ?The D.C. market, it?s just a very, very attractive market, and also a market that we would envision over time doing two or three locations.?

Pinstripes is the latest of several new tenants Vornado is lining up at Georgetown Park, with other recent additions including a combined T.J. Maxx-HomeGoods and an expanded J. Crew.

Ultimately, Pinstripes envisions adding at least two other locations in the metro area, including in northern Virginia and suburban Maryland. Schwartz put Rockville among the likely expansion towns in Maryland. It is also planning restaurants in Kansas, California and Texas, Schwartz said.
For those struggling to envision how fine dining, bowling and bocce intersect, Schwartz describes it more along the lines of fine dining than bowling and bocce. ?We?ve really redefined entertainment dining in a very high-quality, sophisticated way,? Schwartz said.

Pinstripes has retained KLNB Retail as its local brokerage firm and RDL Architects to plan out its space at Georgetown Park.

**Coach John Thompson, Jr., Honored at Nike Store Debut**

Sports legends were on hand to open the new Nike store in Georgetown Oct 25. The Vornado-owned building that formerly housed Barnes & Noble is now a three-story, 31,000-square-foot store that carries a wide range of Nike?s athletic gear at 3040 M St., NW.

Homages to Georgetown University athletics are present in numerous areas of the store. Displays include gear from Georgetown?s track & field team and a display case of Georgetown University Air Jordans.

In the entrance of the building is a commemorative display honoring former Georgetown University men?s basketball head coach John Thompson, Jr., who coached at the school from 1972 to 1999. A neon-sign quotation by Thompson reminds athletes not to ignore life beyond the court. ?Don?t let the sum total of your existence be 8-10 pounds of air.?

Tim Hershey, head of North American retail for Nike opened the ceremony. Hershey manages Nike?s 202 stores in North America. He explained how the store received 4,500 applications to work there, which were eventually whittled down to 500 interviews, and finally, to 171 employees working in the store today. One employee said he was in three weeks of training for his sales position.

Michael Jackson, who played point guard on Georgetown?s 1984 NCAA championship team, is now Vice President and General Manager of Basketball in North America at Nike. Jackson remarked on the new store and presented Thompson with a one-of-a-kind, commemorative jacket honoring his career in the basketball. Also at the event was Georgetown great and former New York Knicks star Patrick Ewing.

Thompson, who is on the board of directors at Nike, was characteristically to-the-point. ?I?d rather eat a bug than what I?m doing right now,? he said.
Thompson spoke about Nike?s commitment to Georgetown University?s basketball program when the team needed support. ?Nike was one of the few corporations who jumped in when we needed help,? he said.

On his quote in the store, Thompson explained how he convinced his former player, Jackson, to leave the NBA to pursue a career off the court. He emphasized that there is more to life than basketball. ?If that?s what defines you totally, you?re a damn fool,? Thompson said.

Current Georgetown University basketball coach John Thompson III also spoke about the new store.

After the ceremony, Thompson, Jr., was joined by his son, his two grandchildren, Michael Jackson, Tim Hershey and Jack the Bulldog for the ribbon cutting. Afterwards, eager shoppers poured in to see the new store for themselves. Along with sports gear in other sports, such as that of the Washington Redskins, the store will manage a running club.

**EastBanc West End Library Project Delayed**

A D.C. nonprofit is delaying the construction of a new library in the West End, according to the Washington Business Journal. The D.C. Library Renaissance Project wants to end a deal between the District government and developer EastBanc that would result in a new West End Library at 23rd and L streets NW. The nonprofit has appealed the decision of a Zoning Commission order, which is now before the D.C. Court of Appeals.

**In: Buffalo Exchange Opens on M Street**

The empty store at 3279 M St., NW, once a Annie Creamcheese retro clothing store, is set to be re-born as a Buffalo Exchange, a resale chain with more than 40 thrift stores through the U.S. that focuses on style trends for its customers who can buy or trade clothing. Buffalo Exchange was founded in Tucson, Ariz., in 1974. Another Buffalo Exchange is already on 14th Street.

Here is how the store explains itself: ?Buffalo Exchange is unique because clothing and accessories are bought, sold and traded locally with store customers. You?ll also find brand new merchandise and accessories.?

**Economic Forum Highlights ?Fiscal Cliff,? Dynamic D.C.**

The Georgetown Business Association joined with the New York-based Financial Policy Council to produce the first-ever D.C. Financial Policy Economic Forum at the City Tavern Club Oct. 18. It was the FPC?s first-ever event in Washington, D.C.

The forum, introduced by GBA?s Janine Schoonover and moderated by Davis Kennedy of the Current Newspapers, enlisted the advice of former Rep. Jim Moody, D-Wisc., high-tech consultant Ray Regan, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans and tax lawyer Payson Peabody.

The surprisingly lively wonkfest ranged in topics from the global and national econony to parking in Georgetown. Moody, who holds a Ph.D. in economics from Berkeley, said he was ?very worried about direction country is taking.? Evans, who went to the Wharton Business School, said, ?Now, D.C. is the most dynamic city,? and then called for a way to make many immigrants — and who are not — legal. He got the most applause of the evening. Pollster Ronald Faucheaux of the Clarus Research Group highlighted the main take-away from the forum, as he spoke about the consequences of Congress and the president not dealing with automatic budget cuts, also known as ?fiscal cliff?: ?In December, there will be the most important decision in U.S. history.??

John Fluevog Brings Funky Footwear to the District

October 15, 2012

This Wednesday, footwear company John Fluevog celebrated the opening of its ninth U.S. store at 1265 Wisconsin Ave. NW. The shoemaker, founded in 1970 in Vancouver, CA, makes funky, comfortable shoes that are popular among creative types. Company founder John Fluevog was at the event, where fans old and new were checking out the new digs.

“We’ve been doing business in New York since about 1990,” said Fluevog. “Our website’s really busy here, so [opening a store in Washington] seemed like a natural thing to do.”

Katherine, the D.C. store manager, said that the company had been looking for a storefront in Georgetown for about two years. Previously, D.C. shoppers could find Fluevog shoes at Smash!, the punk music and clothing store that used to be at 3285 1/2 M St. NW, where Jinx Proof Tattoo is currently. Smash! is now located in Adams Morgan at 2314 18th Street, NW.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on being a little different,” said Fluevog. “We’ve never really been in, like, a mainstream area. So, this is the closest to a mainstream shopping area that we’ve been in.”
The company is planning to open another new store in Minneapolis.

Washington has a reputation for dressing conservatively, especially when it comes to footwear. Amber Smith, a sales associate at the store, is also a lawyer for the IRS. Even though her job calls for suiting up and buttoning down, Fluevogs work in her office environment.

“I’m not a heels person,” said Smith. “I like a Doc Martens-comfy sole. I was thrilled when I got into this more conservative work world and learn that I could actually wear comfortable shoes.”

John Fluevog shoes are handmade around the world, and the company offers many vegan options.
“There is really good conscience behind the shoe,” said Smith. “It’s all about construction, durability but also fair labor. The standards are very high.” [gallery ids="101003,133550,133521,133543,133531,133538" nav="thumbs"]

Ins & Outs 10.3.12

October 11, 2012

IN: Opening in October — Jonathan Adler Store at Wisconsin Avenue and N Street. Opening in November — Farmers Fishers Bakers at Washington Harbour in the old Farmers & Fishers space. Also opening in November will a new spot for Sweetgreen, as previously reported in these pages, at 2200 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., which once housed BodySmith. Also on the block across the avenue at 2233 Wisconsin’s first-floor retail (partly vacant for four years in the old Vespa space) will be a new Einstein’s Bagels, which left its space near Georgetown Safeway last year during the reconstruction work of the store and other shops.

OUT: Arrivederci, Georgetown. Fino’s Italian Restaurant has closed. The eatery at 3011 M St., N.W., will decamp to be near the convention center downtown. The block will have soon a clothing store open: Scotch & Soda. The corner reconstruction continues. This is the third Italian restaurant to leave town after the exits of Papa-Razzi and Uno’s Pizzeria.

Georgetown Park Signs T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods; No DMV


After much discussion in the local media, a Sept. 24 Washington Business Journal story reported that “T.J. Maxx and sister company HomeGoods have signed on as anchor tenants at the Shops at Georgetown Park as owner Vornado Realty Trust seeks to reformat the aging retail emporium for larger-format stores. The discount retail chains have signed a combined lease for 47,800 square feet, according to a source familiar with the deal. They will have a storefront entrance on M Street, Georgetown’s main shopping drag, as well as larger space on the lower Wisconsin Avenue level of the building.”

As previously reported in the Georgetowner from a Aug. 20 hard-hat tour of the on-going reconstruction of the Shops at Georgetown Park by Vornado Realty Trust’s Jennifer Nettles, who is manager of the huge 3222 M St., NW, retail space: “According to Nettles, the Georgetown office of D.C.’s Department of Motor Vehicles — which closed May 19 and was located in the lower level — will not return to the property.”

Councilman, BID Get Tour of Georgetown Park Construction; DMV Will Not Return

August 22, 2012

Councilman-at-large Vincent Orange and staffer Elizabeth Webster and members of the Georgetown Business Improvement District, Crystal Sullivan, Nancy Miyahira and John Wiebenson, as well as a member of the press were given a hard-hat tour Aug. 20 of the on-going reconstruction of the Shops at Georgetown Park by Vornado Realty Trust’s Jennifer Nettles, who is manager of the huge 3222 M St., NW, shopping area.

According to Nettles, the Georgetown office of D.C.’s Department of Motor Vehicles — which closed May 19 and was located in the lower level — will not return to the property. The popular locale had been expected to be included in the re-do, as assured by Mayor Vincent Gray and Councilman Jack Evans.

Required to wear hard hats and take no photos of the work, the group walked around what remained of the M Street level of the former Victorian-styled shopping area, now stripped down to its walls. Escalators are gone and so are the fountains on either side of the complex. Demolition is moving along, as plans call for the floors to be extended from front to back. The group looked out at the open space of the atrium which once provided a dramatic look and feel for the shopping center, opened in 1981. The atrium and its green railings will soon disappear.

“This is the de-mallization,” Nettles said, as she guided Orange and others. Where once sat 132 stores, there will now be 15, she said. The largest one of them will take up 45,000 square feet, making it the largest retail space for Georgetown; another will be 31,000 square feet. Some will have multiple levels; all will have an entrance from the street, whether it is from M Street, Wisconsin Avenue or the remaining entrance next to Dean & Deluca. There will be no mall-like corridors for the public. (Georgetown Park’s total retail square feet, according to the Vornado website, is 316,822.)

“I love Georgetown Park, and I’m excited about its rebirth,” said Councilman-at-large Vincent Orange. “However, I will miss and treasure the fond memories of the original mall which was enjoyed immensely with family and friends. In 2013, the joy returns.”

Half of the space has been leased, Nettles said. Names of the lessees were not disclosed. Many observers have speculated or suggested such companies as Bloomingdale’s boutique shop, foodie paradise Eataly or even a Target locate there. Two or three new stores will open in early 2013. As of today, Georgetown Park can only boast a few shops that include H&M or J. Crew. The Washington Sports Club will stay open during the entire construction period.

Novel Non-Stops Take Flight: Whether Flying to Iceland, Mexico or Dubai, There Are More Choices

August 10, 2012

Washington jet-setters now have a full slate of exciting new options for non-stop travel out of the D.C. area. Several international carriers have chosen 2012 as their year to get acquainted with Washingtonians, while some of the old standbys are adding new destinations–international and domestic–to their schedules.

If you fly out of Dulles Airport, there might be a fjord in your future. That’s because Icelandair is back in the Washington region after a four-year absence. This time, instead of flying out of Baltimore-Washington International (BWI), it’s flying out of Dulles. During the summer, Icelandair has six flights a week to Reykjavik. This is an airline known for offering long-weekend deals, as the flight is less than six hours. Keep an eye on its website, particularly during non-peak travel months.

There is good news for United MileagePlus members, who can rack up plenty of points on the airline’s three international routes introduced this spring. United Airlines now flies a daily non-stop to Dublin, Ireland, to Manchester, England, and to Doha, Qatar.

If you have a hankering for seven-star hotels and a yen to see the tallest building in the world, enjoy a far-flung exotic adventure via Emirates. The highly rated Middle Eastern carrier inaugurates its daily non-stop service from Dulles to Dubai on Sept. 12. Flying Emirates, you don’t have to wait until you touch down to enjoy the good life. Business and first-class passengers have access to free onboard lounges, while those in the front of the plane can also enjoy refreshment, thanks to state-of-the-art shower spas. And this just in: if you book business class before July 5, you can save $1,000.

If you feel like a shorter hop, Porter Airlines may be just the ticket. This top-rated Canadian carrier started flying between Dulles and Toronto City Airport in April. There are now four flights each way each day. Passengers receive such perks as access to premium passenger lounges, along with free wine, beer and snacks on board.

South of the border, AeroMexico launched a daily non-stop from Dulles to Mexico City in May. If you want to get a bit of that Latin flavor without leaving U.S. territory, opt for JetBlue’s new non-stop service from Reagan National (DCA) to San Juan, Puerto Rico, beginning Aug. 23. DCA to San Juan? What gives, you say? Besides upgrading the air traffic control system, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 grants slots for eight new non-stops between DCA and destinations beyond the airport’s normal 1,250-mile perimeter. In particular, that’s a sweetheart deal for Washingtonians looking to travel to California. There are several new non-stops to the West Coast, including a daily American flight to Los Angeles and a daily United flight to San Francisco. US Airways starts flying non-stop to San Diego in July, and Virgin America wings its way to San Francisco International (SFO) on Aug. 14.

Meantime, if you want to wander up the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, Condor Airlines is scheduled to begin twice-weekly, non-stop service between BWI and Frankfurt, Germany, in July. Condor tends to offer seats at lower fares than Lufthansa. For BWI, this is a needed addition to international offerings, as the airport’s only other European non-stop is British Airways to London. ?

Laura Powell, the Georgetowner’s new travel columnist, has been on the beat for 20 years. After covering travel for CNN, she has gone on to report for a wide variety of print, online and on-air outlets. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, National Geographic Traveler and USA Today. She often appears on WUSA and on NewsChannel 8 as a guest travel expert. More of Laura’s travel punditry can be found at www.dailysuitcase.com.

The Avocado Café: Unique, Green and Appealing


“We wanted to offer a healthy alternative,” said Steve Toglia, manager at Avocado Café, on Wisconsin Avenue. An avocado lover’s dream, the Avocado Café offers Georgetown residents and visitors a variety of food options with — naturally — avocado as the main ingredient.

Included on the menu is a wide selection of wraps, salads, and sandwiches. All sandwiches are double-deckers and are large-portion meals, guaranteed fresh. “We go to the market twice a week for fresh produce,” Toglia said. “We make falafel and hummus from scratch.”

In addition to these items, the Avocado Café offers a selection of smoothies — including an avocado smoothie — a not-so-common treat around here. Why avocado? “I love avocados myself,” Toglia said. “It seemed like a unique ingredient.”

With so many options to choose from, Toglia recommends the spicy buffalo chicken, triple- decker club sandwich along with the homemade iced tea. However, the most popular item on the menu is the Booyah Wrap. It consists of grilled chicken, grilled veggies, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, feta cheese, tzatziki sauce and — of course — avocado. For those who are not avocado fans, no worries: everything is available without an avocado ingredient upon request.

The Avocado Café, which opened its doors two years ago, is unique in two ways: It’s one of a kind, and it’s a true rags-to-riches story. Owner Sam Elissawy is originally from Egypt. He immigrated to Boston, where he mopped floors and washed dishes at a local restaurant. “He saved his money to move to D.C. and started his own business,” Toglia said.

With its late hours, and discounted prices for Georgetown University students, it’s no wonder that the Avocado Café is such a local favorite. “We mostly have regulars and online orders. We’re open until 4 a.m., and we deliver,” Toglia said, “We have the freshest ingredients and largest portions for the best price.”

Feeling hungry? Visit the Avocado Café, next to Wisey’s, at 1438 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. Want delivery? Call 202-337-5115, or visit avocadocafedc.com to order. [gallery ids="102462,120873,120878" nav="thumbs"]

Capitol Hill Hotel


The Capitol Hill Hotel, formerly Capitol
Hill Suites, located at 201 C Street, SE,
has recently renovated its look from a residential
style to a more contemporary one.

Slava Lutikova, director of sales and marketing
at the hotel, explained the renovations.

“We were purchased by Hersha Hospitality
last April.,” she said. “They made a decision that
the hotel needs a little bit of repositioning and
with that came renovation of all public spaces.”
But, she is quick to add, “It wasn’t because we
needed renovation, it’s because we really wanted
to create a whole new atmosphere for our guests.”

The 3.5-million-dollar renovation includes
three new meeting areas with built-in AV equipment
and teleconferencing/videoconferencing
accessibility, a rare commodity in hotels. The
newly updated front lobby and breakfast area encompass
guests in an atmosphere of relaxation.
There is also a new public lounge, connected to
the lobby, which adds an additional 650 square
feet of space for guests. The lounge (pictured
above) is complete with its own “congressional
library,” an area where guests can read one of
many books from the library or enjoy the morning
paper. It can also be rented out for business
meetings and social events.

The new look, which local artists helped create,
includes modern pieces and new twists on
classic pieces of history. The Cherry Blossominspired
carpet and wallpaper combined with
the different art pieces inspired by the nation’s
historic past come together beautifully to create a
contemporary style that remains connected to the
rich history of the nation.

“All of the elements of the design tell a story
of the history of the hotel and of the neighborhood,
while transitioning us to a more contemporary
look. We are changing our name because
we are changing the look of the hotel so much, so
drastically. Our new name reflects our new identity
better,” Lutikova said.

The Capitol Hill Hotel is now renovating
each guest room to match the contemporary style
throughout the rest of the hotel. This final phase
is expected to be complete in early 2013.

These renovations don’t mean a change in
clientele or service. “Our guests can still expect
the same quality service as before. Just because
we are a little bit different or have a new style
doesn’t mean we are moving away from any type
of customer. We position ourselves as a very inclusive
hotel as far as our audience goes. Businessmen
and families alike can enjoy our services,”
Lutikova says. ? [gallery ids="100856,126809" nav="thumbs"]