“The Eastern” – 7th Street’s New Wine Bar Near Eastern Market – Is Open: Photos

“The Eastern” – 7th Street’s New Wine Bar Near Eastern Market – is Open:  Photos

by Larry Janezich

7th Street’s new wine bar – The Eastern – near Eastern Market holds its grand opening Tuesday, August 30.  But tonight, principal partner Matthew Weiss told CHC, is the “secret soft opening.”  Here’s  a photo essay, including menus.

The Eastern at 360 7th Street, SE seats up to 85: 55 indoors and up to 30 at the sidewalk café.

Secret soft opening patrons included – no surprise – @barredindc at far right

 

(Click to enlarge)

Featuring 33 wines….

Your hostess: Chamell Nash

Owners Matt Weiss and Mike Schuster have a long history in the Capitol Hill hospitality industry, being owners or co-owners of a lot of local outlets:  Barrel, Union Pub, 201, McClellan’s Retreat, Truxton Inn, Café Midar, Compass Rose, Trusty’s, and the Star and Shamrock.

 

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The Week Ahead … and some Eastern Market news you might have missed

The Week Ahead….and some Eastern Market News you might have missed

by Larry Janezich

Here’s some Eastern Market news you might have missed.

The Market is getting some new signage – EMCAC has contracted with urban consultants Brick & Story to create new signage for the market.  Last Wednesday, the local company owned by Latoya Thomas, presented a selection of options to the Committee.  The consensus of the Committee was for signage as illustrated below: Click to enlarge.

New EMCAC member application – At the September 18 meeting of EMCAC, the membership committee will make a recommendation to the full committee regarding  the newly chartered Eastern Market Preservation and Development Corporation’s application for a seat on the Committee.   A previous organization with the same name – now defunct – is entitled by statute to a seat on the board.

Leases for South Hall Merchants – EMCAC agreed unanimously to recommend to DGS that the South Hall merchants have an extension of 120 days – until January 2, 2021 – to complete their appraisal’s of the market rate for rents which they should pay to DGS.  DGS had mandated that the process be complete by September 2.  A September 2017  appraisal by DGS met with vehement opposition from the merchants and was rejected by EMCAC .  DGS says the merchant’s appraisal – paid for out of pocket by the merchants themselves – will be used in in conjunction with the previous DGS appraisal  to set a rate for the new leases.

The annual Eastern Market Potluck Dinner – Wednesday, August 7 at 7:00pm, in the North Hall – more details to follow.

The Week Ahead…

Wednesday, July 31,

The Department of General Services is hosting a community meeting on the design for the Plaza at 7:00pm in the North Hall, Eastern Market.

Thursday, August 1

ANC6B hosts a community meeting to discuss the proposed restaurant complex for the 300 block of 7th Street, SE.  The restaurant is described as having three different concepts – not yet revealed – an will seat 230 on the interior and an additional 150 outside on the plaza.   The meeting will be at 7:00pm in the Club Lounge of the Residences at Eastern Market.  Enter at 700 C Street, SE.    

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Community Advisory Committee Riled DGS Dismissed Pavilion Proposal for Metro Plaza

Project Manager Cassidy Mullen (standing at left) hears from members of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza Advisory Committee, Tuesday afternoon.

Community Advisory Committee Riled DGS Dismissed Pavilion Proposal for Metro Plaza

by Larry Janezich

Community representatives on the Advisory Committee on the redesign of Eastern Market Metro Plaza are unhappy that DGS brushed aside the one recommendation they had made.  The recommendation had grown out of a suggestion by Nicky Cymrot (Hill Center, CHCF) that DGS include a pavilion in the redesign of the Plaza, located to the SW of the metro canopy, for use as an entertainment venue.  The idea gained momentum and received the endorsement of other members of the advisory committee.

But DGS chose not to include the recommendation in the final design presentation to the Commission on Fine Arts.  ANC6B Commissioner Jerry Sroufe, in whose Single Member District the project lies, wanted to know why not.

Project Manager Cassidy Mullen replied that the Fine Arts Commission had not been receptive to the construction of new structures on the Plaza, objecting even to shade structures which the project architects had wanted to build near the playground.  In addition, Mullen cited concern that the level of programming events for the pavilion (possibly no more than 12 – 13 events scheduled in warm weather months) would not justify it.  DGS is leery of public criticism that taxpayer dollars were not being well spent.

Sroufe said that he could accept the Commission on Fine Arts’ rejection of the idea, but faulted DGS for not trying to present the view of the community.  He said the whole idea was to make the plaza a place where people would go and without a pavilion there is no reason to go there other than to walk through.  A pavilion, he said, is the one idea that would draw people here.

Neal Gregory (Friends of Southeast Library) said that SE Library needs space for programming and that there are many musical groups on the Hill that would take advantage of the stage; he thought it would be no problem scheduling 2 – 3 events a week.

Donna Scheeder (Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee) said a pavilion creates a sense of place as a center which we do not have.

Martin Smith (Barracks Row Main Street) said that unless you give people a reason to use the space, they won’t, and pointed out the advantage of having space underneath the pavilion to store maintenance equipment.

Cymrot was critical of the process, saying the advisory committee has never felt that it was in a conversation with DGS and wished the idea had come up earlier in the process.  She suggested that at least the electrical and plumbing infrastructure should be included in the design so a pavilion could be installed at a later date.

Mullen allowed that given the strong feelings, DGS would take a second look at the proposal.  He made no promises but said he would cost it out and discuss it with the Commission on Fine Arts, consider different options, and bring it up at the community meeting next week.  A key question, he said, was how the venue could be realistically programmed – “We want to assure people will use it,” noting that space available would limit the number of people to 75 – 100.

A community meeting on the design for the Plaza is scheduled for next Wednesday, July 31, at 7:00pm in Hill Center.  Mullen said a new survey to gather community input on the redesign would be up on the DGS website by Friday and would remain for about three weeks.  With respect to a time line, DGS will break ground on the project in early December.  The project should take about one year to complete, since funding has been secured – that will be just about the time that construction on the renovation of Southeast Library is scheduled to start.

A Public Space Committee hearing on the project is scheduled for August 22.  (Details to follow.)

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The Week Ahead… & Ward 6 Block Party Next Sunday

Eastern Market Vendor Stall, Saturday, July 13, circa 9:00am

The Week Ahead…. & Ward 6 Block Party Next Sunday

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday, July 23

PSA 106 meets at 6:30pm at the Capper Community Center, 5th and K Streets, SE.

Wednesday, July 24

Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee meets at 7:00pm, North Hall, Eastern Market,225 7th Street, SE.

Among items on the agenda:

Capital Improvements Report on Eastern Market Signage

Report from the Committee on Nominations and Credentials: Chuck Burger (re application of the Eastern Market Preservation and Development Corporation for a seat on the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee).

Market Managers Report

Marketing and Promotion

Lease update

Parking

Business/ Strategic plan update

Eastern Market Metro Plaza Update

Thursday, July 25

HPRB considers the nomination for landmark designation of Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol Street SE, amendment of existing nomination to include 1980s wing and its interior, Case 17-07, at 9:30am. 1100 4th Street, SW, Suite 650. See here for more: https://planning.dc.gov/node/1417261

Sunday, July 28

Ward 6 Block Party and Pot Luck – CM Charles Allen hosts a block party to celebrate summer and to highlight his proposal to close a street to let kids have more play space.

13th Street SE, between K and L Streets will be closed for the 1pm – 3pm community gathering. See here for more: http://bit.ly/2Gmx0yw

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Some News You Might Have Missed:  Burgers – Playground – Parking Enforcement – Eastern Market Leases

Some News You Might Have Missed:  Burgers – Playground – Parking Enforcement – Eastern Market Leases

by Larry Janezich

Eastern Market BRGZ

Update on new Eastern Market Burger Joint…

Owner Brandon Gaynor tells curious passersby that he hopes to have a soft opening the first week of August, depending on his ability to get air conditioning up and running by then.  EAT BRGZ’ concept involves serving a “complex burger” – mixing and blending the ingredients into a locally- sourced chicken, beef, or veggie patty before cooking.  The plan anticipates 15 seats in the restaurant and another 45 banquet seats – read high end aesthetically pleasing benches and tables – alongside the restaurant on the sidewalk on C Street.

Update on temporary playground on Eastern Market Metro Plaza…

The Department of General Services has announced they will break ground on Monday, July 22, the interim playground scheduled for installation in the Northeast parcel of Eastern Market Metro Plaza.  Construction on the permanent playground will begin the first week of December, and take about 18 months. The temporary playground will be incorporated into the permanent facility.

More citizen parking enforcement…

Mark Sussman, co-founder of How’s My Driving app appeared before ANC6A last week to tout the new application aimed at helping clear streets of certain illegally parked cars. The app allows users to snap a photo of an illegally parked vehicle blocking a crosswalk or a bus/bike lane and then determine how many unpaid citations the vehicle has. The goal is to connect that information with the city’s enforcement infrastructure to initiate an enforcement response to a violation by repeat offenders. The developers are not there yet regarding the enforcement connection. The project was launched by Sussman and software engineer Daniel Schep. Sign up for the beta here: https://hmdapp.io/

Eastern Market Leases…

Eastern Market South Hall merchants and the Department of General Services edge closer to an agreement on long term leases – and a solution to a problem which has vexed merchants for years.  Eastern Market legislation requires that rent for Eastern Market leases be set at market rate.  After meeting with the Merchants on May 21, DGS offered the merchants an opportunity to move forward to long term leases with 1) rents established by a prior DGS conducted appraisal, 2) the merchant’s own appraisals which would be used in conjunction with the DGS appraisal to determine a final rent rate, or 3) open their books and agree to a rent that reflects a reasonable percent of gross sales.  The merchants were given until July 1 to respond.   According to Market Manager Barry Margeson, nearly all the vendors have decided to have their own appraisals done and will have until September 2 to complete that process.  DGS will consider both sources and decide on setting the terms of the leases.

In related news, DGS has set a July 22 deadline for contractors to respond to the Request for Proposals to produce a study and comprehensive plan for Eastern Market for the next five years.

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CM Charles Allen Pushes His Vision Zero Bill – Acknowledges Controversy

CM Charles Allen Talks Vision Zero at last Thursdays ANC6A Meeting.

CM Charles Allen Pushes His Vision Zero Bill – Acknowledges Controversy

By Larry Janezich

CM Charles Allen appeared before ANC6A last Thursday night to support his Vision Zero Omnibus bill.  Allen said that an omnibus designation means the legislation contains a bunch of different ideas – 25 in this bill.

To emphasize urgency, he pointed to the traffic related deaths the day before of two residents who were killed as they sat on a park bench near GW Hospital when a driver lost control of a vehicle.  He also referenced three deaths caused by vehicles on April 19, including that of DC bike advocate Dave Salovesh.

Allen asked, “How do we assure safer space for our neighborhoods and stop these deaths?”  Some of the answers, he believes, are in the proposed legislation:

  • build a better infrastructure by requiring developers and businesses to institute curbside management plans to prevent parking in crosswalks and bike and bus lanes
  • speed up the process for DDOT installing significant traffic safety improvements
  • require contractors to restore crosswalks and bike lanes after street construction under penalty of at $10,000 a day fine
  • revise guiding traffic safety documents every two years

In addition, there are some more controversial provisions:

  • ban right turn on red consistently across the area and lower the speed limit to 20 mph
  • require re-testing (written) for driver license renewal or transferring from another state
  • institute a one year citizen enforcement parking pilot program

Regarding the controversial parts, Allen says his approach is, “Try something – if it doesn’t work, go back and fix it.”  He says he doesn’t want a fight over policy issues to result in paralysis.

Later, during Q&A, Allen said that earlier this spring the city council funded a DDOT study to evaluate congestion pricing – imposing fees on downtown driving, for example – and to make recommendations.  (In New York City, drivers will be paying more to drive into downtown Manhattan starting in 2021.)

The night before the ANC6A meeting,  ANC6C bordering on the west, had taken up the Omnibus Vision Zero Bill and were generally supportive, although Commissioner Joel Kelty was adamantly opposed to the citizen enforcement pilot program, on the grounds that “citizens should not be tasked with enforcing the law – the city is paid to do that.”

Commissioner Mark Eckenwiler backed the program, calling it a creative proposal which would do more good than harm, and stating that he could see no harm in a one year pilot program.  The ANC subsequently voted 5- 0-1 to support the bill, with Kelty abstaining.

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The Week Ahead….And a Photo of DC Biker Party on Barracks Row Last Friday

D.C. Bike Party on Barracks Row. D.C. Bike Party is a monthly bike ride around the Nation’s Capital. Last Friday, they held a special celebratory 4th birthday ride that started at DuPont Circle and followed a route through the city that lead down Barracks Row and eventually to ride’s end at Wunder Garten, 1101 1st Street, NE. D.C. Bike Party is a no trace event and the group promotes responsible biking.  The ride has an MPD escort.

The Week Ahead….

by Larry Janezich

Monday, July 15, 2019

ANC6D meets at 7:00pm at 1100 4th Street, SE. 

Among items on the agenda:

Safety Report with MPD representatives

Presentation:  Wharf Phase II Update

Presentation:  DDOT Notice of Intent:  Parking restrictions for PUDO Research

Presentation:  Solar for All Program

Presentation:  Request for assistance re the Kiley Construction Project

Presentation:  Bridge Community Concerns

ABC Committee Report:

Mary, 2100 2nd Street, SW.

Dacha, 79 Potomac Avenue, SE.  Protest of entertainment endorsement.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

ANC6A Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee meets at 7:00pm at Sherwood Recreation Center, 10th and G Streets, NE. 

 Discussion of restaurant alcohol beverage license application for Daruwalla, at 1451 Maryland Avenue NE.

The ANC Barracks Row Working Group meets at 6:00pm, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE – First Floor Conference Room.  Entrance to the left of Trader Joe’s.

Agenda:

Safety:

Update Report on Crime & Safety in the community from MPD

DDOT’s Barrack’s Row Sidewalk Update/Plan – The Public Space Maintenance Contracting Authorization Act

Additional Ideas for Improvements

Positioning/Marketing:

New Marketing Plans for the Main Streets

Additional Ideas for Improvements

Wednesday, July 17

The ANC6B Livable Communities Task Force meets at 7pm in the first floor conference room of the Yard, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, entrance is to the left of Trader Joe’s.  

The purpose of the meeting will be to plan the process for ANC6B formal review of the DC Dept of General Services Eastern Market Metro Project (EMMP) submission to the DC Public Space Committee (PSC). The EMMP project is scheduled to be considered by the PSC at its August 22nd hearing. The deadline for submission of ANC6B’s review to the PSC is August 16th.

Agenda

Introduction: Stocktaking of process to date and summary of current DGS design plan submitted to PSC.

Current Status of DGS Transportation Study

Timeline and inputs for preparation of ANC review

Community consultation process and components

Setting objectives and dates for additional community meetings.

Scheduling ANC special call meeting

Preparation and submission of ANC review to PSC

Conclusions and follow up actions.

ANC6A Economic Development and Zoning Committee is scheduled to meet at 7:00pm, Sherwood Recreation Center, 10th and G Streets, NE. 

Among items on the agenda:

114 15th Street, NE – Zoning adjustment for special exceptions to construct a two story rear addition.

901 H Street, NE – Zoning adjustment for special exception to permit veterinary hospital on ground floor of mixed use residential building.

1101–1107 H Street, NE – Application to re-zone the five properties along the south side of the 1100 block of H Street NE from NC-16 to NC-17.

1356 North Carolina Avenue, NE – Historic Preservation Application and Zoning Adjustment for special exception to permit a one story rear addition.

 

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ANC6B & 6C at odds with Restoration Society over Folger addition

Last  Tuesday, ANC6B votes 7 – 2 to not support Landmark Status for the Hartman Cox addition to Folger Library.

On Wednesday, ANC6C voted 6-0 against Historic Landmark designation.

ANC6B & 6C at odds with Restoration Society over Folger addition

By Larry Janezich

The DC Preservation League – over the objections of the Folger Library itself – is seeking Historic Landmark designation for the 1983 Hartman Cox addition to the south side of the Library which has  been lauded in peer review.  The Library opposes the designation, claiming it will tie their hands regarding any future expansion as demand on the Library’s resources grows.   The original Folger Library, built in 1932, was designed by renowned architect Paul Cret and most of exterior and interior of the current structure is already Landmarked.

The League maintains treating the addition as a separate element minimizes the “magnificence of [the building’s] full conception,” and that it merits Landmark designation as being highly significant to the development of cultural institutions in DC, and further achieves significance under the criteria of Architecture and Urbanism, Artistry, and Work of a Master.

In a letter to the Historic Preservation Board – where the issue will be decided on July 25 – the Capitol Hill Restoration Society says, “The Hartman Cox addition masterfully carries on Paul Cret’s union of style and function and makes reference to his design without imitating it.   We agree the Hartman Cox addition meets National Register Criterion….We are sympathetic to Folger Library concerns.  If Hartman Cox addition is landmarked Folger will lose a chance to add to their building on approximately 20’ wide strip of land to the South….[But] The nomination makes a strong argument for preserving Hartman Cox addition, the argument we find convincing.”

ANC6B and ANC6C didn’t see it that way.  Both ANCs met this past week and considered the League’s request for support for Landmark designation and heard from both the League and from the Folger.

Tuesday night, ANC6B found fault with the exterior and interior of the addition on multiple grounds which amounted to a finding that it didn’t merit Landmark status.  Chairman Chander Jayaraman stated what may have been for many their best reason for not supporting the nomination, saying he has greater faith in the Folger’s ability to make decisions about its long term future and that he didn’t trust HPRB to handle it.  The Commission also found that the interior of the addition wouldn’t qualify for Landmark designation even if HPRB finds that the exterior qualifies.  The vote was 7 – 2.

Wednesday night, ANC6C Commissioner Christine Healy said the addition didn’t rise to Landmark status “because it is a subordinate part of the building;” Commissioner Joel Kelty, himself a licensed architect, said “though a great piece of architecture, it does not yet rise to Landmark status.”  In contrast to 6B, however, 6C recommended that if HPRB approves Landmark status for the exterior, 6C supports the interior alteration.  The vote was unanimous, 6 – 0.

It’s not surprising to find lack of agreement between the ANCs and the preservationists.  They are often at odds regarding preservation matters before the HPRB.  Sometimes the ANC prevails in such a contest, though not often.  The dispute reflects the different and opposing approaches of the respective organizations to the future of the city.  The ANCs are elected officials, often focused on what to do about the lack of affordable housing and how to increase density in accordance with currently popular new urbanism models. The work of the preservationists can be seen as an impediment to these goals.  This case is unusual in that we have an already Landmarked institution fighting regulation of its right to expand without having  restrictions imposed on them by preservationists – an argument many residents residing outside the city’s historic districts understand.

The Folger Library is scheduled to close for two years in 2020 for construction of an underground expansion and renovation of the front approach to make the Library more accessible and to provide outdoors green spaces and gardens.  The nomination of the Hartman Cox addition is not directly related to this project.

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City tosses membership question back to Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee

EMCAC met last on June 26th in the North Hall of Eastern Market.

City tosses membership question back to Eastern Market’s Community Advisory Committee

by Larry Janezich

Last week, Chuck Burger, Membership Committee Chair of the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee asked the Office of Attorney General (OAG) for a legal opinion on whether a newly incorporated organization has standing to apply for a seat on the Advisory Committee.  Word came down Tuesday from OAG that it was up to EMCAC to determine whether an applicant is qualified.

Burger, told CHC, “We will be moving ahead and I have requested that they [the new organization] deliver bylaws, incorporation papers and any additional relevant information to our Membership Committee…  We will examine and review and make a recommendation to EMCAC.”

The organization in question is newly incorporated as of January, 2018, and has adopted the name of a now defunct organization which is entitled by city statute to a seat on EMCAC – the Eastern Market Preservation and Development Corporation (EMPDC).

At issue, Burger says, is whether adopting the name of a defunct organization entitles the new organization to the legal rights which have been accorded to the original organization, and whether the applicant meets the statutory requirements for membership on the Advisory Committee.

The representative of the original incarnation of that body has continued to occupy an EMCAC seat without a sponsoring organization, benefiting from inertia and a change in the statute that eliminated term limits for EMCAC members.

Here’s a link to CHC coverage of a press conference held by organizers of EMPDC in July of last year:  http://bit.ly/2IGgDzY

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Ambar on Barracks Row Plans Expansion to 3rd Floor and Retractable Roof

Ambar, 528 8th Street, Barracks Row

Here’s the plan.  Click to enlarge.

Ambar on Barracks Row Plans Expansion to 3rd Floor and Retractable Roof

by Larry Janezich

Ambar, the Balkan concept restaurant on Barracks Row for seven years now, has plans to add 63 seats on a third floor which will feature a retractable roof for drinking and dining en plein air.  They also want an entertainment endorsement for their liquor license, though ANC6B’s Alcohol Beverage Committee is leery about what kind of entertainment and when it will be allowed while the roof is open.

The plan anticipates adding some 56 seats on the third floor.  For now, the ANC Committee supported the renewal of the current license, but since it will be at least September before construction on the expansion gets underway, the Committee wants them to come back then to hammer out the details regarding regulations for the new space.

Ambar’s representative at the Alcohol Beverage Committee meeting last Thursday night said he didn’t think the restaurant would have trouble filling the additional seating.  Asked where the clientele comes from, he said that many are from the neighborhood, but 30% of the customers are tourists.  He attributes this to Ambar’s number one rating on Trip Advisor:

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