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The word yesterday from the BID is that Justin's Cafe is opening today, and, if so, that means the neighborhood gets its first new restaurant in a long LONG time and what might be considered its first "real" bar. (For a new restaurant, you have to go back to the opening of Five Guys in 2005, if you're not counting the 2007 opening of Starbucks or the arrival of the restaurant and bar at the Courtyard by Marriott in 2007 or the Bullpen.) If you get there for some food or drinks, post your thoughts in the comments.
I'm thinking of maybe next Thursday, April 22, as an unofficial little JDLand Happy Hour? (In other words, I'll go have a drink or two, and see if anyone else comes along. :-) )
Also opening today is the new and improved Safeway at Fourth and M, SW. If you shop there, pass along what you see.
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More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Justin's Cafe, Square 699n, Velocity Condos
 

It's not online that I can see, but here are some items from the most recent "FRONT Page News" e-mail newsletter from the BID:
* "Capitol Riverfront neighborhood day at Nationals Park will be Wednesday, April 21st with ticket discounts available to residents, employees, and friends of the BID." The on-street supervisor of the BID's Clean and Safe Team will be singing the National Anthem. [I think, though, that Southwest is going to be part of this "neighborhood day" as well, even though it's not in the BID. This was mentioned at an ANC 6D meeting a few weeks ago.]
* There will be a "Fitness in the Front" event at Canal Park on May 1, with free classes offered by local instructors and information tables (and freebies!). See the link for the lineup and additional info.
* Residential update: "The residential population in the Front is estimated to have reached 3,030 as of the first quarter of 2010. Rental properties including the Onyx, Axiom, Jefferson and 909 are 95% leased. For sale units including Capitol Quarter, Capitol Hill Tower and Velocity are 71% sold. The residential population is predicted to reach 3,500 by the end of 2010."
* And Justin's opens on April 16, but you knew that already. :-)
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More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Canal Park, Restaurants/Nightlife, Justin's Cafe, Nationals Park
 

I've just received the news from Justin Ross that he got his liquor license today, and that Justin's Cafe is on target for an April 16 opening. (Yes, I know I was skeptical of that date a while back, but now that I've heard it from the guy who's name is on the sign....)
If you haven't been following along, Justin's will be a restaurant with full bar serving pizzas, sandwiches, and salads, open seven days a week with regular "bar hours," just a few blocks up First Street from Nationals Park. Here's an electronic version of the menu.
We'll have to do a JDLand get-together there in late April.
 

* WBJ is first out of the gates with what I expect to be an avalanche of whats-new-around-the-ballpark stories, tied to Opening Day and now a March staple for all DC media outlets. Nothing new in it, and a few quibbles (Justin's Cafe isn't open yet, the water taxis also ran late last year, Sayres lease is 20k), but I guess it's a decent quick roundup if you're not keeping track. Which, if you're reading this blog, you are. :)
UPDATE: Ah, now I know where WBJ got the idea--the BID's State of the Capitol Riverfront Spring Update. Basically a straight copy-and-paste. (Not the end of the world, of course, but never a bad idea to be straight with readers about your sourcing.)
* Speaking of Justin's, ABRA said yesterday that there were no protests filed for its liquor license application. A reader reports that Velocity is telling residents that the restaurant will open April 16, but after watching rumored opening date after rumored opening date come and go for other places in the past, I remain skeptical of any rumor other than "it's opening tomorrow." (That isn't to say that the dates that get floated are necessarily propaganda--just that the final road to opening a business has a lot of potential pitfalls, especially in the permit process.) On the other hand, a reader passed along an electronic version of the menu, if you want to whet your appetite while waiting; though note that the web site listed hasn't launched yet.
* From the Post: the nude dancing license that used to belong to the Nexus Gold Club--on the site of what is now 909 New Jersey--is now being rebirthed as the "Stadium Club," a strip club getting ready to open on Queens Chapel Road, NE.
* Don't forget that the second public workshop in the Marines' project to build a new barracks, focusing on potential development sites, is tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Van Ness Elementary (1150 5th St., SE), with a repeat tomorrow from 8:30 to 10:30 am at the North Hall of Eastern Market. The agendas are here (and if you're trying to figure out how to get into Van Ness, the project web site says: "Enter through the main doors on the eastern side of the building (where the parking lot is) and follow the signs to the auditorium downstairs"). If the discussion going on in this comments thread is any indication, it's going to be an interesting meeting.
 

Some items of interest I've tweeted over the past few days:
* Barry Farm (Re)Mixed shames me by posting recent photos of the 11th Street Bridges construction.
* The Bullpen opens for the 2010 season on April 3, when the Red Sox come to town for an exhibition.
* Capitol Hill Tower board member (and, I assume, resident) James DeMartino has announced he's running against Tommy Wells for the Ward 6 council seat. DeMartino is running as a Republican. (Here's a WashPost brief on the item.)
* Mayor Fenty has given the city council its ballpark suite tickets for the 2010 season, leaving reporters across the city bereft at the thought of not having the on-going tiff to cover.
* Technically off-topic, but: I've been grumbling for more than seven years now about the poorly placed sign on the SW Freeway for the C Street SW exit, which points drivers to a left-side lane but then requires them to move two lanes to the right within a quarter-mile to get to their ramp, So I finally took some photos to explain the issue and tweeted them to blow off some steam. Soon after, @ajfroggie posted two great images of how to replace the signage along that stretch to fix not only my complaint but some general problems with all of the signs.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Fairgrounds/Bullpen, Restaurants/Nightlife, politics, Nationals Park
 

The snowblown February ANC 6D meeting finally went off tonight, and here's the Near Southeast-related bullet points:
* The Bullpen will be back in action this season, in its same spot on the northwest corner of Half and N across from the ballpark. There were two requested changes to the voluntary agreement between the ANC and the owner: that the bar be allowed to operate until 1:30 am (with alcohol sales ending at 1:00), and that liquor in non-frozen form be allowed alongside the already approved beer, wine, and frozen drinks, both of which are already allowed under the liquor license. The discussion was more contentious about process than it was about content (with commissioner David Sobelsohn arguing strongly that the motion should be tabled until the next meeting, which none of the other commissioners were interested in), but in the end the commission voted 6-1 to approve the extended hours, and that mixed drinks could be served during private events. There were some concerns from commissioner Rhonda Hamilton about the noise at the bar on weeknights, but owner Bo Blair said that live music will always be cut off by midnight.
* There is a move afoot by commission Bob Siegel to carve out some of the curb space in front of Capper Seniors #1 at 900 Fifth Street (which it must be noted is also across the street from his house). The street, which is one way in the block in question (between K and Virginia) gets clogged on a regular basis thanks to shuttle buses, vans, trucks, and other vehicles double-parking while at the building, and the residents want a portion of the curb cut out to allow vehicles to pull out of the traffic lane (like the one in front of the Courtyard by Marriott entrance). DDOT initially rejected the request because it was called a "curb cut," which means something different in traffic parlance, but DDOT's Ward 6 planner Jamie Henson was in attendance and pledged to help the ANC work with the engineering side of DDOT to see what could be done without taking away the sidewalk or the ADA ramps to the building.
* There was supposed to be an update from the Nationals, but no reps from the team were there; ANC chair Ron McBee did report that April 23 will be "Neighborhood Night" at the ballpark, with the first pitch and national anthem being performed by nearby residents and other goodies as well. (I imagine discount tickets will be part of the deal, but nothing was said. The game is against the Dodgers.) McBee also said that the ANC has requested a meeting with DDOT about the Traffic Operations and Parking Plan for this season, to check on how it's all going, but no specific concerns were mentioned. (With the Nats Express no longer shuttling fans to and from parking at RFK, there probably will be a noticeable uptick in traffic this year, even if attendance remains steady.)
* The next 6D meeting will be on March 8 at 7 pm, and it'll be held at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, so if you've been dying to go to a meeting but haven't felt like venturing across South Capitol, you'll get your chance. It's also worth mentioning that ANC 6B's meeting the next night includes an update by CSX on the Virginia Avenue project on its agenda.
 

For those keeping track, the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration has finally posted the hearing date for the liquor license for Justin's Cafe, and it's scheduled for March 22 at 10 am. From the notice: "NATURE OF OPERATION: New cafeteria-style restaurant serving salads, sandwiches, and pizza with 33 seats. Occupancy load of 61. HOURS OF OPERATION AND SALES / SERVICE / CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES: Sunday 11:30 am - 10 pm, Monday through Thursday 11:30 am - 1 am and Friday & Saturday 11:30 am - 2 am."
As I've written, Justin is also asking for a stipulated license, which will allow him to open the restaurant and sell alcohol before the March 22 hearing date. But I haven't heard of an opening date yet, though a reader reports that the amount of construction "stuff" in the space seems to have lessened.
 

Tonight ANC 6D gave its support in two separate votes to restaurateur Justin Ross's liquor license application for his new "Justin's Cafe" sandwich/salad/pizza place in the ground floor of the Velocity condo building at First and L streets, SE. There was little discussion, other than some concerns by commissioner Roger Moffatt about voting to support the full liquor license before the hearing is even "placarded," i.e., posted on the restaurant site, because he felt that this might prevent residents' concerns from being part of the ANC's decision (though, of course, the ABRA liquor license hearing process specifically allows for public comment). Two residents in the audience spoke strongly in favor of the proposed plans, and, in the end, the votes were 6-0-1 for a temporary "stipulated" license and 6-1 for the full license (Moffatt voting present/against on the two motions).
There's still no date set for the license hearing (Justin filed his application on Dec. 30), but he indicated that things should be moving pretty quickly in terms of getting the restaurant opened, and the stipulated license will allow him to serve alcohol until the full license is voted on.
Other Near Southeast-related tidbits:
* The Marines are going to be hosting an open house on January 27 from 5 to 8 pm at Eastern Market's north hall--they are formulating a new master plan for all of their space needs, and are looking to "partner" with residents, developments, government agencies, or any organization that can provide the space they're looking for. The open house seems to be the first step in "reaching out," though it all seemed a bit murky, and perhaps will be better explained when announcements for the open house are released. (Though "lower Eighth Street" was mentioned.)
* The commission also elected its offers for 2010, with Ron McBee being named chair. Vice chair Robert Siegel, secretary David Sobelsohn, and treasurer Jane Jorgensen retained their posts.
* This was the first time in all the ANC 6D meetings I've attended (starting in probably 2004) that I actually stayed until the very end (it lasted a mere three hours). Whether this is something to celebrate is another issue, especially on a night like this one where the heat at St. Augustine's seemed particularly, um, nonexistent. They did announce that soon the ANC and the Southwest Neighborhood Association will be moving to new digs at Waterfront (the new development about to open at the old Waterside Mall site at Fourth and M, SW). They will also have a public meeting space that presumably will have both sufficient HVAC offerings and decent acoustics, so that I will actually be able to *hear* what's going on.
 

A few items of note:
* Tonight is ANC 6D's monthly business meeting, at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church, Sixth and M, SW. But, as is so often the case, there's no agenda yet released. However, the commission should be voting on whether to support the liquor license application of Justin's Cafe, which was approved by the ANC's alcohol/beverage subcommittee last week. Other than that, the lineup will just be a bundle of surprises! UPDATE: The agenda is now posted.
* The folks with A rower from the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association has started a blog to track the move of the boathouse operations away from its current home in between the 11th Street Bridges up-river to the Anacostia Marina. The move is happening because the new bridges are going to necessitate the demoition of the two existing boathouse buildings. (UPDATED with a new name for the blog, along with a clarification)
* The Hill is Home has a "Lost Capitol Hill" post about the original Georgia Avenue, SE, which is now Potomac Avenue. On these maps from the early 1900s of Near Southeast, you can see Georgia Avenue in 1903, but not in 1909. (If you haven't wandered through these maps before, they're worth a few minutes. Go to the main page, click on a section of the neighborhood, and then you can use the links to go from 1903 to 1909 to 1915 to 1921.
*The Curbside Cupcake folks are venturing into Near Southeast these days, and will be at New Jersey and M tomorrow (Tuesday, Jan. 12) from noon to 1 pm. (They set up shop there for a while last Tuesday, too.)
* And, while outside my boundaries, I think it's worth mentioning that Big Chair Coffee opened at 2122 MLK Avenue in Anacostia this morning--And Now, Anacostia has a pile of photos of the place, which is one of the only (if not the only) coffee house east of the river.
 

A very quick update from tonight's meeting of ANC 6D's alcohol/beverage committee, which voted 3-0 both to recommend support Justin's Cafe's application for a liquor license, and to recommend that a "stipulated license" be granted. This means that the restaurant could operate under a temporary license until its (still as yet unscheduled) hearing in front of the liquor board is completed. The full ANC will vote on these recommendations at their meeting on Monday (Jan. 11).
Owner Justin Ross said that the build out isn't quite complete yet and that there's still a few weeks of work to take care of, but he's hoping to open within four weeks or so.
 
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