Tag Archives: Restaurant Retail Mix

ANC6B Gives & Pizza on Barracks Row a Second Chance

8:30am on the 400 Block of Barracks Row, Tuesday, May 13

8:30am on the 400 Block of Barracks Row, Tuesday, May 13

Steve  Salas at ANC6B Meeting, Tuesday Night

Steve Salis at ANC6B Meeting, Tuesday Night

ANC6B Gives & Pizza on Barracks Row a Second Chance

Neighbors Unconvinced by Owner’s Maneuver

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday night, an earnest Steve Salis, owner of &Pizza, breathed new life into his moribund request for a fast food exception to open a pizza place on Barrack Row.  Salis appeared before ANC6B with a new proposal calculated to head off what appeared to be certain rejection of the exception.  He announced that to allay the primary concerns of his 7th Street residential neighbors across the back fence, he had asked for a one month delay in consideration of his case by the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA).  Salis said he has applied for a variance that would allow him to build an enclosure attached to the proposed restaurant for indoor trash storage, and dispose of stored trash by moving it out to 8th Street. He said he would make the application for the exception contingent on approval of the variance and that the delay would allow parties to look at his new proposed solution through an “unbiased lens”.

If the delay is granted, Salis would come back before the ANC on June 10, to present the case for the variance and the request for the exception – to be considered as a package – with the request for the exception  contingent on approval of the variance.  Such an offer appeared to some observers to indicate Salis’ confidence that he can get BZA approval of the variance.

Neighbors were having none of it.  They say that the new proposal is where Salis should have started at a meeting with them in April – rather than stonewalling them then and coming in with a proposal 24 hours before Tuesday night’s meeting.  Neighbor after neighbor arose to ask ANC6B to oppose the application, citing their underlying concerns that an additional fast food restaurant on the 400 block of Barracks Row will increase the rodent, trash, noise and odor issues.  For several neighbors, the trustworthiness of the applicant was at issue.  Salis allegedly told neighbors that with the exception of a couple of DPW warnings because homeless people were dumpster diving in the alley at the H Street &Pizza, he had no violations from either agency.

In response to the claim, neighbors produced evidence of 23 Department of Health violations at the H Street &Pizza between May 23, 2013 and April 15, 2014.  According to InspectionMapper (a website that tracks restaurants and grades them according to number of violations) as of mid-April, H Street &Pizza received an “F” for the accumulation of violations. At that time, InspectionMapper said, 25% of restaurants were rated “A”, 21% “B”, 22% “C”, 16% “D”, and 16% “F”.  Neighbors say the infractions show that Salas has not demonstrated the attention to detail necessary to address their concerns.

Apparently reflecting concern of the neighbors and underlining the need for a comprehensive approach to the rodent problem in the immediate area, Commissioner Ivan  Frishberg told Salis that he expected a good “chunk” of his product would end up being consumed on 8th Street or in Metro Plaza.  Salis agreed and acknowledged a systemic rat problem, but said that he can only control his space and his operation.

Frishberg expressed his concerns regarding the block’s rodent problem in an email to his constituents earlier this week, saying, “If we do not set the highest standard for current and future operators on these densely populated blocks we will only be adding to the problems of rats that are running rampant in backyards, across the metro plaza and all around the restaurants most of us frequent.”

In the end, ANC6B voted 8-0-2, to oppose the application, but added language addressed to the BZA acknowledging that the applicant has requested a delay and encouraging a delay in order to provide an opportunity for the issue to be resolved by negotiation between the restaurateur and neighbors and allowing ANC6B to consider the fast food exception and the variance at the same time.

Those commissioners voting for the delay:  Peish, Frishberg, Pate, Campbell, Garrison, Oldenburg, Opkins, and Loveland.

Those commissioners abstaining:  Flahaven and Jayaraman

(Flahaven said he abstained because he wanted to see a compromise.  Jayaraman said he did not want to say he was opposed to &Pizza on Barracks Row while there was an opportunity to see if the strategy Salis is proposing works better than what other restaurants are doing.)



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On the Eve of Potbelly’s Arrival on Barracks Row,​ Is Capitol Hill Losing It’s Character?


Some residents fear that homogeneity will accompany Potbelly’s arrival on Barracks Row.  The restaurant is scheduled to move into the space formerly occupied by Tandoor Grill.  Plans for the Indian restaurant to re-open on the newly constructed second floor have been shelved in favor of office space.

Some residents fear that homogeneity will accompany Potbelly’s arrival on Barracks Row.  The restaurant is scheduled to move into the space formerly occupied by Tandoor Grill.  Plans for the Indian restaurant to re-open on the newly constructed second floor have been shelved in favor of office space.

Residents want more retail like Danna Oweida’s recently opened Pinktini Fashion Boutique, 705 North Carolina Avenue, in the former home of The Village Gallery, adjacent to Port City Java.

Residents want more retail like Danna Oweida’s recently opened Pinktini Fashion Boutique, 705 North Carolina Avenue, in the former home of The Village Gallery, adjacent to Port City Java.

Inside Pinktini Fashion Boutique

Inside Pinktini Fashion Boutique

 …and more like the deceptively named “Homebody” at 715 8th Street, SE, one of the coolest retail outlets on Barrack’s Row.  Homebody, co-owned by Henriette Fourcade and Erin Mara is in its ninth year on 8th Street.

…and more like the deceptively named “Homebody” at 715 8th Street, SE, one of the coolest retail outlets on Barrack’s Row. Homebody, co-owned by Henriette Fourcade and Erin Mara is in its ninth year on 8th Street.

Mara interacts with customers outside the store on Saturday.

Mara interacts with customers outside the store on Saturday.

On the Eve of Potbelly’s Arrival on Barracks Row,​ Is Capitol Hill Losing It’s Character?

by Larry Janezich

On April 8, a City Paper reporter said of the closing of Remington’s: ​ “As reported by PoPville, the building, located at 639 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, was sold a year ago and will be renovated.  If a Potbelly moves in, I’m moving out.”

Well, it’s a good bet that in the coming months Potbelly will move into the space now occupied by Tandoor Grille, and “& Pizza” will replace OXXO Cleaner’s on the same block.  A series of recent changes in Capitol Hill business fixtures point to the state of flux in the neighborhood’s​ commercial corridors.  The continuing trend toward food and drink venues – including fast food – worries residents.

Gone:  The old Hawk ‘n’ Dove, the 18th Amendment, Li’​l Pub, Remington’s, Fusion Grill, Hello Cupcake, Monkey’s Uncle,  Capitol Hill Fitness, the Dollar Store, China Wall.

On the way out:  Tandoor Grill, OXXO, Capitol Hill Sporting Goods, Kraze Burgers.

On the way in:  Potbelly, &Pizza, Capitol Teas, District Doughnuts, Sprint. (The owners of the former Remington’s are reportedly looking for a way to open a food venue in the half of the building not occupied by Sprint.)

Recently arrived:  Pinktini Fashion Boutique, Capitol Frames, Pure Barre. Barrel, Sona, Rose’s Luxury, Chiptole, District Taco, Medium Rare, Kimchii Cafe.

Status uncertain:  Nine restaurants formerly owned by Xavier Cervera.  (A recent rumor that Mr. Henry’s was going on the block was knocked down by owner Alvin Ross, who told CHC “Larry Quillian will never sell the building and I’m here ‘til I die.”)

The list above reflects changes in community demographics,​ ​as ​family​-​oriented businesses replace the edgier – and to some, more interesting – food and drink venues.  As the edgier places turn over,​ landlords look to increase revenues by renting to food and drink providers.  City agencies seem disposed to businesses which provide the most tax revenue.  Rodney Smith of Capitol Hill Sporting Goods, who has until January before his lease is up, says the building’s owner has been approached by a sushi bar operator.

One factor that contributes to high rent (and the bias in favor of chains that can afford them) is the major transportation hub at Eastern Market Metro.  A high volume of foot traffic provides fertile ground for fast food outlets.  Rents in the 400 block of 8th are reported to be $80 – $100 per square foot compared with $40 – $50 in the 700 block of 8th Street.

Residents and Barracks Row Main Street would like to see the street become home to more retail.  Five of the more successful Capitol Hill retail outlets are Homebody, Labyrinth Games and Puzzles, Hill’s Kitchen, Metro Mutts, and Biker Barre.  It’s noteworthy that owners of all five businesses live on Capitol Hill.  Erin Mara, co-owner of Homebody,​ says that it helps to have a good landlord and says “sometimes, we don’t pay ourselves.”  The Labyrinth Games & Puzzles and Howl to the Chief were recently listed as two of the 24 coolest small businesses in DC by Business Insider.  http://read.bi/1ntYv7G   Owner Kathleen Donahue of Labyrinth points to customer service and making your store a destination as the keys to retail success on Capitol Hill.   Leah Daniels of Hill’s Kitchen says that engaging the community beyond the store by participating in community events, embracing the “unbelievable amount of work,” and framing your selection around customer interests and listening to their feedback is key to her store’s success.

With the current legal trouble of Kraze Burger and Cervera​’s former empire, the recent anonymous comment on a recent posting on CHC: “the monoculture of food establishments on 8th is taking a beating. Maybe 8th St. needs some evolutionary diversity to survive as a commercial corridor,​” ​seems​ all the more relevant.​

So too do policies favoring restaurants over retail – like those which allow restaurants to pay far below minimum wage and allow tips to compensate (and exceed) the difference.  Visitors from Europe and Asia – including South Korea – must be surprised at the expectation of tips in American restaurants.  It’s worth remembering that customers subsidize artificially low labor costs for restaurants and bars, which depend upon greater numbers of workers to function, but which can also rely on a high mark-up for alcohol to produce a higher net profit.

And then there is the question of quality, and local versus chain.  Some of the people who would pass by a Potbelly’s will try an affordable yet more interesting spot like H Street’s Toki Underground, Chupacabra, or Taste of Jamaica.  Yet it is hard to design a policy tool that will facilitate one type of business over another.  Likewise, the success of the locally owned Biker Barre exercise and fitness business on 7th Street probably factored in to the Pure Barre fitness chain’s decision to open an outlet over Metro Mutts on Barracks Row.  It is difficult to see any threat to Biker Barre’s popularity as a result, especially since the fitness studio keeps its prices competitive.

In light of the city’s hunger for revenue at the expense of integrity of the community, it’s up to residents to hold ANC6B and city agencies accountable to preserve the commercial diversity and unique character of our neighborhood.  And in the end, it will be up to the neighbors to vote with their credit cards – in either direction.


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Xavier Cervera Comments on Wall Street Journal Report On Hawk ‘n’ Dove Bankruptcy

Wall Street Journal Reports Hawk ‘n’ Dove Files for Bankruptcy

by Larry Janezich

The Wall Street Journal reported tonight about 7:30pm, that Barrack’s Row Entertainment filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.  The action also apparently protects Boxcar Tavern, The Chesapeake Room, Lola’s Barracks Bar & Grill, Molly Malone’s, Pacifico, Senart’s Oyster & Chop House, Park Tavern in Canal Park, and the soon to open Willie’s Brew and Que, on the Southeast Waterfront.  According to the WSJ, Manager Richard Cervera signed the bankruptcy petition.

Capitol Hill Corner reached original co-owner Xavier Cervera, who sold the restaurants to Boston Equity Firm in 2013  (Richard is Xavier’s brother, and part of the group which purchased the restaurants.)    Xavier Cervera said, “Not really sure what’s going on. My business partner and I sold the company in December of 2012. We did finance a large part of the sale so I guess our attorneys will be very busy next week trying to establish what difficulties they are having .”   (Update:  CHC erroneously reported Xavier  has a contract with the new owners   to manage the day to day operations of the nine restaurants.   He has no such contract.   Xavier does not and has not since the sale managed the restaurants.  He has a contract to work as a consultant.   CHC regrets the error.)

See the WSJ Story here:  http://on.wsj.com/1pljTNL

For CHC posting on the sale of the restaurant group to Boston Equity Firm in April of 2013, see here:  http://bit.ly/1dVMFgU


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Barracks Row Main Street Celebrates Success in Attracting New Businesses


Martin Smith, Executive Director of BRMS, recaps the group's 2013 accomplishments

Martin Smith, Executive Director of BRMS, recaps the group’s 2013 accomplishments

Barracks Row Main Street Celebrates Success in Attracting New Businesses

CSX Continues Major Financial Support of BRMS

by Larry Janezich

Last Wednesday, Barracks Row Main Street (BRMS) held its annual meeting celebration to highlight the 13 new businesses on 8th Street in 2013 and four new arrivals so far in 2014.  One of those new 2014 arrivals, the soon to open Capital Teas, at 731 8th Street, hosted the event.

The majority of businesses which opened on Barracks Row in 2013 were food and beverage and service providers, including the restaurants Ambar, Kraze Burger, Nooshi, Tash, and Rose’s Luxury.  Service providers included Capitol Hill Fitness (now defunct), Metropolitan Wellness Medical Marijuana Dispensary, Momentum Dance & Fitness, The Nails Spa, Optimus Website Design, and End to End Strategies.  The oil industry environmental advocacy group, Oil Change International also set up shop on Barracks Row last year, as did the lone retail operation, DCanter, purveyor of artisan wines and craft beers from around the world.

Martin Smith, Executive Director of BRMS also touted four early-2014 new business arrivals, including the prix fixe steak house Medium Rare and the vintage donut shop, District Donuts (opening soon in the former Sneed’s Barber Shop), Capitol Frame (formerly Capitol Hill Fitness), and lastly, Capitol Teas.

A Spot of Tea

A Spot of Tea

Capital Teas is especially welcome as a of one-of-a-kind retail outlet which brings a different product line to the corridor.  The company is headquartered in Annapolis, and has an outlet there as well as Bethesda Row, Dupont Circle, Bethesda Wildwood, Fairfax, and National Harbor.  In addition to Capitol Hill, the company will open up in Charlottesville this year. The company is family-owned and operated by fifth generation tea merchants and traces its tea heritage to co- founder Manellle Martino’s great-great grandfather, Francis Van Reyk.  See: http://www.capitalteas.com

Manelle Martino, co-founder of Capital Teas.  BRMS Martin Smith (center) confers with BRMS President David Perry in background.

Manelle Martino, co-founder of Capital Teas. BRMS Martin Smith (center) confers with BRMS President David Perry in background.

The BRMS board of directors is made up of representatives of business interests in the broader Capitol Hill retail corridors.  According to Martin Smith, the board recently broadened its membership to bring in more retailers and property owners.  BRMS oversees efforts to recruit and retain small businesses, enhancement projects for public spaces, the Barracks Row façade improvement program, and a series of annual Barracks Row events.

Day to day operations of BRMS depend upon contributions and support from the corporations, DC Government agencies, foundations, businesses interests, and the broader Capitol Hill community.  For the second year in a row, the major cash and in kind donors contributing $10,000 or more included CSX Transportation, DC Department of Housing and Community Development, DC Department of Small & Local Business Development, and the National Capital Bank Foundation.

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&pizza Looks Again to Barracks Row for New Gourmet Pizza Outlet

&pizza Looks Again to Barracks Row for New Gourmet Pizza Outlet

by Larry Janezich

Last Tuesday night at Hill Center, &pizza chain owner Steve Salis told ANC6B that he hopes to open a sixth location at 405 8th Street, SE, the current location of OXXO cleaners.  Veteran readers of Capitol Hill Corner will remember that Salis flirted with Barracks Row in 2011/2012, when he announced plans to open in the space at 415 8th Street, currently occupied by Chipotle/Kraze Burger.

Salis is again reaching out to engage ANC6B, Barracks Row Main Street, and the community, saying he will apply for a fast food exception which will allow him to open up on Barracks Row.

Barracks Row zoning requires a special exception for fast food restaurants.  &pizza falls into the fast food category because you have to pay for the food in advance, even though inside seating will be provided.  Zoning regulations provide some 15 or requirements an applicant must meet in order to qualify for an exception.  The request will come before ANC6B, likely next summer and approval by that body will send the request to the Board of Zoning Adjustment for final approval.

The issue is a sensitive one for nearby neighbors who have been vigilant in policing food venues on the 400 block of 8th Street because of operational issues contributing to rodent and odor problems.  Salis said he is aware of these concerns and is prepared to address them.

In February of 2012, Salis said he pulled the plug on the Barracks Row project after it became clear to him that he could not launch the business according to schedule in spring of that year.  He cited the uncertainty involved in getting a fast food exception – even though the Capitol Hill Restoration Society had already signed off on it – and uncertainty as to when Streetsense could deliver the store space.  In addition, Streetsense had asked Salis to “put down a substantial amount of capital as a deposit in order to hold the space.”  He said he found his position untenable being faced with “a bad use of my capital and no guarantees” on how the process would be resolved.

&pizza’s website and menu can be found here:  http://www.andpizza.com/


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Capitol Hill Sporting Goods and Apparel Looks for a Way Out

Rodney Smith, proprietor of Capitol Hill Sports Apparel, reflected on the past 11 years on Barracks Row

Rodney Smith, proprietor of Capitol Hill Sports Goods and Apparel, reflected on the past 11 years on Barracks Row

Capitol Hill Sporting Goods and Apparel Looks for a Way Out

Flight of Retail from Barracks Row Continues

by Larry Janezich

Rodney Smith, proprietor of Capitol Hill Sporting Goods and Apparel at 737 8th Street, SE, has a “Liquidation Sale” sign in his window.  After 11 years in business he is looking to get out of his lease which runs until 2017 and close up shop.  He says he is overstocked and business is not good.  He’s asking his landlord to give him a year to liquidate and then get out of his lease so “I can leave with clean hands.”

“It’s a landlord’s market,” he said, adding “nobody comes up to shop – they come up to eat.  And a lot of the restaurants aren’t doing that well because there are so many.”  He also blames the city for not being friendly to small business, “any time you bring in five Walmarts into an area this small, we can’t compete.”

Smith was born and raised in the neighborhood and attended J.R. Giddings school, now the site of Results Gym.  He played semi-pro basketball until an injury forced his retirement.  He has had other businesses before this sports shop, including a NE carry-out.

If he can get his landlord to agree, he says he’ll be gone by this time next year.  He hopes to avoid calling in a liquidator who will give him cents on the dollar, preferring to let the community in on a good deal.  But, he says, “it’s up to him” meaning the landlord.  “If I don’t get out of the lease, I don’t know how I’m going to make it.  It will cost me $200,000 if I stay until 2017 – we don’t want to, we can’t survive.”

He said when he first opened there was a lot of retail on Barracks Row.  Now, he points to Homebody and Capitol Hill Bikes as the only two retailers left on the block.   He remembered the stationery store, the toy store in the 500 block which was succeeded by a jewelry shop, and the art outlet – Attitude Exact.  Regarding the latter, he said, “When the lease came up, the landlord raised the rent to $7500 a month wanting to lease it to a restaurant.  They eventually lowered the rent – there’s a nail shop there now.”

In February, 2011, Capitol Hill Corner reported that the ANC was gearing up to fight the application of the building’s owners for a CT (tavern) license to open the 8th Street Bar and Grill in place of Capitol Hill Sporting Goods.  At its November 9, 2010, meeting, ANC 6b voted 10-0 to protest the application for the new tavern license.  ANC6B and neighbors mounted a success campaign to prevent ABRA from granting the license.  See that story here: http://bit.ly/1k06PND





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Kimchi Carry Out Debuts on Barracks Row

Cafe Old Town's Sign is not up yet, but the former Capitol City Sub Shop is open for business

Cafe Old Town’s Sign is not up yet, but the former Capitol City Sub Shop is open for business

Kimchi Outlet Debuts on Barracks Row

One of “World’s Healthiest Foods” – Health Magazine

by Larry Janezich

The popular Alexandria carryout Café Old Town has opened a second location on the end of Barracks Row in the space formerly occupied by Capitol City Subs at 751 8th Street, SE.  Owner Cristina Kwon leased the building last summer and remodeled it.  The Barracks Row location is primarily carry out, but does have limited seating for inside dining.

What makes this place special are the Korean Specialties – particularly the imaginative kimchi tacos (with gluten free corn tortillas), kimchi burritos, and kimchi quesadillas – all with the customer’s choice of marinated rib eye steak (bulgogi), spicy pork, or grilled chicken.  For the uninitiated, kimchi is a traditional spicy fermented Korean side dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings.

Kimchi has acquired its reputation as a health food because it is low in calories and contains a high concentration of dietary fiber.  One serving is said to provide over 50% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and carotene.  In February, 2008, Health Magazine named kimchi as one of the “World’s Healthiest Foods” for being rich in vitamins, aiding digestion, and even possibly reducing cancer growth.  Kimchi is rich in vitamin A, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), calcium, and iron, and contains a number of lactic acid bacteria, among those the “healthy” species Lactobacillus found in yogurt.

Other Korean specialties on the menu include Bibimbap – lettuce, eggs, carrots, cucumbers, squash, bean sprouts, red cabbage and bulgogi, and the Bulgogi Burger – green peppers and onion with provolone cheese, bulgogi, and Korean hot sauce.

Sandwiches such as the California Club, the Turkey Avocado Wrap, the BBQ Sub with slaw and the Reuben with corned beef and/or pastrami have been popular choices at Café Old Town Alexandria, according to owner and chef Kwon.  The traditional breakfast menu features a Tomato and Fresh Lime Burrito.

The shop is open 6:00am – 6:00pm, Monday through Friday and 8:00am – 5:00pm on Saturday.  Closed Sunday.  202- 546-7827

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Pot Belly Sandwich Shop Seeks Barracks Row Location

Tandoor Grill Wants to Move to a New Second Story and Lease First Floor to Potbelly

Tandoor Grill Wants to Move to a New Second Story and Lease First Floor to Potbelly

Pot Belly Sandwich Shop Seeks Barracks Row Location

by Larry Janezich

A plan for opening a Pot Belly Sandwich Shop on Barracks Row was revealed at last night’s ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee meeting.

Consideration of two cases by the Committee, chaired by Commissioner Francis Campbell, revealed Pot Belly’s interest in expanding onto Barracks Row.  The chain restaurant serves sandwiches, salads, soups, chili, shakes, malts, smoothies and baked goods, and has several outlets in Northwest and one near the Navy Yard in SE.  Since its founding in 1997, the chain has spread to more than 280 locations.

One of the cases which touched upon Pot Belly’s interest was that of the Capitol Hill Tandoor and Grill at 419 8th Street, which is seeking ANC6B’s approval for a Historic Preservation (HP) application to permit a second story addition to the restaurant.  Tariq Hussein, owner of both the building and the restaurant, presented the plan in terms of expansion of the Indian-Pakistani restaurant.  Commissioner Ivan Frishberg – who admitted to being a frequent patron of the restaurant – expressed reservations, saying he suspected that the addition anticipated another purpose and expressed concern that it might be for a fast food restaurant.

Barracks Row currently has a ban on fast food venues – any additional establishment would require an exemption.  Hussein said that although he had had discussions with Pot Belly as a potential first floor tenant, no agreement had been reached.  Given the city’s tendency to give the benefit of the doubt to revenue-producing developments at the expense of the nearby community, ANC6B seems justified in its concern that the city will turn a deaf ear to their concerns.

As of now, the only issue before the ANC is whether or not the proposed design for the addition is compatible with the adjacent buildings and the architectural environment.  Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg read notes from the CHRS Historic Preservation (HP) Committee which met on Monday night to consider Hussein’s Historic Preservation Application.  The HP Committee – which under CHRS bylaws speaks for the CHRS on historic preservation matters – found that the original structure is too new to be a contributing structure to the Capitol Hill Historic District and expressed the wish that the architect refine the design and be more adventurous and creative in planning the addition.  This finding actually gives the architect considerable flexibility in designing the second story – it also means that there are few historic preservation roadblocks which can be raised to prevent it.  The ANC’s Planning and Zoning Committee voted to take no position on the HP application, pending receipt of more detailed drawings from Hussein before next Tuesday’s full ANC6B meeting.

Pot Belly’s interest in Barracks Row came to light as well in an earlier case heard by the ANC last night.  Maurice Kreindler – who owns several buildings in the 400 block of 8th Street – is seeking to build an enclosure at the rear of OXXO Dry Cleaners – ostensibly for storage.  Since OXXO’s lease is up in two years, building out the rear of the building could be a way to make it more interesting to potential tenants.  When neighbors expressed concerns that a new tenant might be yet another restaurant, Alan Kinney, representing Kreindler, said a new tenant would likely be retail and noted that Pot Belly Sandwich Shop had looked at the location for a possible establishment, but found it lacked the necessary space.  The ANC Committee told Kinney that they could not support the request for a variance to allow the construction because the property lacked the unique circumstances under which a variance can be granted.

Also last night, several residential and business neighbors were in attendance to cite trash and cleanliness problems associated with the area where Kreindler seeks the expansion, voicing fears that new construction would push the rat problems associated with the area onto their properties.  Commissioners pointed out that these were two separate issues, and while the rat problem was ubiquitous and needed to be addressed, it had to be considered separately from the question of granting a variance.  To the extent that the two issues are related, some commissioners told Kinney that they might try to find a way to support the variance if a proposed structure could be used to solve the neighbor’s concerns regarding the rodent problem.


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NY Entrepreneur Looks to Open Upscale Pizza Outlet on Barracks Row – Seeks Exception To Ban on Fast Food Restaurants

NY Entrepreneur Looks to Open Upscale Pizza Outlet on Barracks Row – Seeks Exception To Ban on Fast Food Restaurants

by Larry Janezich

Steve Salis, a New York-based entrepreneur with four years of experience in hospitality management, consulting, and event production, announced at last night’s ANC6B meeting that he has begun the process of seeking an exception to the establishment of a fast food restaurant on Barracks Row.  He termed the restaurant – which would be at 415 8th Street in the space formerly occupied by China Wall – “a quick-casual pizza concept featuring made to order personal pizzas.”  The concept is similar to that of Chipotle Mexican Grill, which would be next door.  This is the first restaurant in what Salis hopes will be a fast-casual pizza chain.

Subsequently, Salis said, “[w]e are a fast-casual pizza concept; focused on creating customizable made to order personal gourmet pizzas, using top quality fresh ingredients. We are not in the slice game or in the take-out/delivery business. Our goal is to bring a high quality product to the customer in a timely manner.”  He estimates that ten percent of the business will be carryout.

Salis won’t reveal the name of the new establishment since it is undergoing the trademarking process.  He said he would like to serve beer and wine but understands the sensitivities in the neighborhood, “so there are some things what would have to be worked out.”  If everything goes according to plan, the restaurant could open in spring of 2012.

Mr. Salis worked for top hospitality clients before starting his own hospitality and marketing company in 2006, serving as a consultant to such organizations as China Grill Management, Riese Restaurant Corporation, and Food Scope.  He is currently a managing partner in a successful West Village boutique bar called Su Casa, where he personally handles the operations, marketing, and promotion of the business. He is also a partner and executive producer of This Is Burlesque, a riotous and racy supper club show, proclaimed “The best of Burlesque” (AM NY).


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ANC 6B Approves Chipotle Application; Vows No Alcohol Moratorium for Barracks Row For Now; Accepts Finding of Fact on Bylaw Violations

ANC 6B Approves Chipotle Application; Vows No Alcohol Moratorium for Barracks Row For Now; Accepts Finding of Fact on Bylaw Violations

by Larry Janezich

In a varied and lengthy meeting Tuesday night, ANC 6B unanimously approved the application for a special exception in order to allow Chipotle Mexican Grill to open a restaurant on Barracks Row.  In other business-related news:  Pitango Gelato, now open on 7th Street, obtained ANC 6B’s blessing to provide outdoor seating on benches outside their storefront; and Pound on The Hill was also approved for outdoor tables and chairs.  Most significant, the Commission voted unanimously to accept the recommendation of the ANC’s Retail Mix Taskforce that the ANC forgo discussion of an alcohol moratorium on Barracks Row for the time being.  Commissioners concerned with the removal of this “tool” from the ANC “toolbox” accepted the resolution once language was added clarifying that the Commission reserves the right to revisit the question of a moratorium should conditions or constituent sentiment seem to warrant it.

The Commission also voted unanimously to accept the guiding principles set forward by the Retail Mix Taskforce outlining what should be under discussion when considering a liquor license application.  These principles stressed alleviating undesirable neighborhood effects, including encouraging staff to park their cars on non-residential blocks or to take public transportation.

In other business, the Commission voted to accept the findings of fact approved at Monday night’s Executive Committee meeting that stipulated the violations of the bylaws that occurred when Commissioner Garrison testified before the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) regarding the Hine project.  The findings extended to Commissioners Metzger and Oldenburg, on whose behalf Garrison also spoke.  The vote to approve the findings was 7 – 0 with three abstentions (Garrison, Metzger, and Oldenburg).  The Commission then voted to send a letter detailing the violations for the benefit of the HPRB and clarifying the position of ANC 6B on Hine for their record (abstaining on this vote were Campbell, Garrison, Metzger, and Oldenburg).  Taking a tack Garrison had refused in Monday night’s emergency Executive Meeting on the matter, Commissioner Oldenburg read a statement on behalf of herself, Metzger and Garrison.  Included in the statement was an acknowledgment of the infractions as well as an expression of “regret,” followed by an apology, and then a promise to “fully comply” with the bylaws in the future.  This statement seemed to mollify the Commissioners who seemed the most upset at the absence of “contrition” at the Executive Committee meeting last night; it also seemed to obviate the need for a lengthy and contentious discussion.

Near the meeting’s end, the Commission voted to send a letter – the exact content of which was to be determined – objecting to the abrupt removal of Councilmember Wells from his duties as Chair of the DC Council’s Transportation Committee today.  Seven Commissioners voted to approve the effort, while Commissioners Green and Critchfield opposed it and Commission Chair Neil Glick abstained.

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