Category Archives: Food and Booze

New Neighborhood Blog, Brookland Cooks, Launched This Week

We recently learned about a new neighborhood blog, Brookland Cooks that just launched. From their first posting:

Who loves food?  Who loves to share food with their family, friends and community?  Who loves telling stories?  Who wants to contribute to a food centered history of Brookland?

Brookland Cooks is a new project that aims to collect local stories and recipes from the community to publish a Brookland Community Cook Book.

Want to participate?

Get in touch!

  • Participate in an interview and share your story for inclusion in the book
  • Submit your favorite recipes
  • Recommend other community members to participate

Sound like a great idea – and just in time for Thanksgiving!

Free Ethiopoan Coffee Ceremony At Askale Today!

Make sure to try some delicious food when you are there!
Make sure to try some delicious food when you are there!

Brookland’s local Ethiopian eatery, Askale Cafe, will be having a pre-Thanksgiving celebration with the community featuring an authentic coffee ceremony. From their Facebook page:

PRE TURKEY COFFEE CEREMONY AT ASKALE CAFE
Saturday Nov 23rd, 2013 from 3:00 pm-5:00pm.
Come and Enjoy the free coffee and notice the ongoing improvements of 12th and Otis St. corner.
Yes Askale’s Cafe 225 square foot outside sitting deck is just completed. The 195 Sq. ft canopy over the deck facing Otis st. is to be started soon. We are investing in Brookland! We truly would like to transform Askale Cafe into Brookland’s family room. Come and support us! See you Saturday Nov 23rd!
Team Askale!

Askale Café is located at 3629 12th Street, NE.

Steel Plate’s Open House Saturday – Learn About The New Restaurant From The Owners Of Rustik

Photo Courtesy of Rustik Tavern
Photo Courtesy of Rustik Tavern

Like many Brooklanders, we were quite delighted to learn that the owners of Bloomingdale restaurant Rustik Tavern signed a lease in July for a new location in Brookland at 3523 12th Street NE . We caught up with owner Diton Pashaj, and he  wanted us to share information about their upcoming Open House this Saturday, November 9th, from 11am-2pm. The idea behind the event is give the community and the restaurant team the opportunity to meet one another and for them to share their restaurant concept and design. This will also be a great chance to check out the location before it is renovated and opened. The name of the new restaurant will be “Steel Plate”, but Diton assured us that the food will not be served on steel plates, instead it is a nod to the railroad tracks that are a prominent Brookland feature. For more information follow the restaurant on Twitter @Steel_Plate_DC.

Wine/Cheese Pairing And Vegetarian Holiday Cooking Classes At Union Market Thursday

Produce Stand at Union Market
Produce Stand at Union Market

We thought our readers would like to know about the following events taking place at Union Market this Thursday, November 7th. Union Market is located at 1309 5th Street NE. From the Union Market event page:

Bazaar Spices | Vegetarian Holiday Cooking Workshop with Como Water | 6:30-7:30PM

In this part hands-on/part demo workshop, Tiffany Griffin of Como Water will guide you through techniques that will take your favorite veg-centric, holiday dishes from bleh to spectacular by incorporating fragrant and flavorful herbs and spices.
At the end of the workshop, participants will have a chance to sample veg-centric holiday cuisine (cranberry sauce, baked sweet potatoes, stuffing and more will be featured), and to share their tried and true tips for making the most out of their holiday dishes. Sign up soon.

Cheese & Wine Pairing 101 | 7:00PM

Come to Cheese and Wine 101, held the first Thursday of every month, to get your education on. We’ll sample 3 wines and 7 cheeses, while teaching the tasty basics of cheese and wine pairing; wine styles; cheese profiles; and how to differentiate between different styles. You’ll leave class with a full belly and a full brain – armed with all the info you’ll need to navigate the cheese counter and recreate your favorite wine & cheese boards at home. Tickets are $39 and require advanced purchase, as seats are limited.

Brookland’s Finest Liquor License Approved – Eyeing December Opening

Brookland Finest ABRA Hearing 8/14/2013. Photo courtesy of Frank Rettig.
Brookland Finest ABRA Hearing 8/14/2013. Photo courtesy of Frank Rettig.

Many Brooklanders have been waiting on pins and needles to find out the fate of the Brookland’s Finest liquor license application. As many of you know, there was a protest against the licence that culminated with an ABRA hearing on August 14th. We were happy to learn from Tony Tomelden, a Managing Member for the restaurant and longtime Brookland resident, that yesterday their liquor license was approved without any additional restrictions. We asked him when he thought the restaurant would open and he said sometime in December. If you are interested in viewing the ABRA decision, it can be viewed here.

Joe Barrios, the neighbor that coordinated the Settlement Agreement with 149 nearby residents in favor of the restaurant had this to say:
The [ABRA] order demonstrates that the Settlement Agreement drafted cooperatively between the neighborhood and the establishment played a key role in the Board’s decision. This shows that we can do great things when we come together as a community to decide what kind of future we want for Brookland.

For our most recent update on Brookland’s Finest construction with photos, click here.

Restaurant By Owner Of Smith Commons To Replace The Vacant Library Bar!

The Library Bar. Photo Courtesy of WJLA.

Well, this the best news I have heard in a while! Brooklanders have been hoping for something positive to happen to the vacant storefront at 3514 12th St NE (between Newton St & Monroe St) that was last known as a bar called the “The Library” and closed in March 2012. We are super-happy to read in the Washington City Paper that the owner of popular H Street restaurant Smith Commons will be opening a restaurant at this very location! The restaurant will be called Smith Public Trust and will focus on small plates dishes with an international twist. The article in the City Paper describes the restaurant:

…as a place where people can come in to have a coffee and use free wifi during the day, grab a beer and some grub, or enjoy some live music on weekends. [Owner] Gray says the idea is for  the restaurant to be an incubator for local musicians. The 3,500 square-foot space has a small stage for electro, indie, hip-hop, jazz, and other performances, which will all be free.

How amazing is that? We have eaten at Smith Commons and I can attest that the food, service and decor were fantastic, so this news makes us extra happy. Welcome to the neighborhood!!

Menomale Granted Permit To Build An Enclosed Patio!

Menomale Outdoor Dining as it is today.
Menomale Outdoor Dining as it is today.

We caught with Mariya, co-owner of Brookland hotspot Menomale and learned great news! They got the go-ahead to start building an enclosure for their existing outdoor patio. At this point, they aren’t sure how they are going to go about it. For now, they are shopping around for estimates, or maybe Ettore, her husband, will try his hand at building it himself. Either way, we are very excited for them – and for us! With the sometimes long waits for table it will be nice to have an enclosed waiting/dining area outside.It might be a while before the build out is complete, and she asked for customers’ patience during the construction. Mariya said that since they are still deciding on the design, they can’t guess on a completion date, but that it will be before it gets too cold. Congrats on your continued success, Menomale! We can’t wait to dine on your new patio when it is complete.

Askale Cafe – Lots Of Updates: Outdoor Seating, New Hours And More

Askale Patio - Demolition BeginsRestaurant from Otis Street NEDeck under constructionDeck PlansCanopy PlansVeggie Platter
Tibs Wot - a yummy beef stewOwners Asratie and AskaleSatisfied Customers

We sat down with Asratie Teferra, the co-owner of Askale Café to get caught up with how the Ethiopian restaurant that opened this summer is doing. As is to be expected, they have learned a few lessons along the way and are excited about new improvements they plan to make. Here is a rundown of what is going on at the Café:

    • The most exciting development is that the outdoor dining area they have been planning along Otis Street NE is finally underway. It took a while to secure the permits from DCRA, but now the project is going full steam ahead. Asratie told us “the deck under construction is 15 by 15 feet and wheel-chair accessible to bring in patrons in to the cafe. It is also a green deck, with five planter-boxes to be installed around it. Rain water will be harvested and contained to water plants that will be in the planter boxes.” We love that they are incorporating green elements into the deck! It is expected that the deck will be completed in about 10 days. They hope to serve guests on the deck year-round. It will have an iron railing and dogs will be allowed.
    • The Café is also planning on installing awnings along 12th Street and a 13 by 15 feet canopy over the deck. Asratie said “they will beautify the front and also reduce the sun-glare coming in the afternoon. The Café is spending a substantial amount of money for the improvement of the customer experience.” Indeed, we appreciate the investment they are making in this corner of our neighborhood, especially given that they have a 5 year lease and do not own the building.
    • Once the deck construction is complete, Asratie will seek to renew the Café’s beer and wine license. It is expected that the renewal process will take 45 days if there is no protest. (Once they have submitted their beer and wine application, we will let readers know how they can support if they choose.)
    • Another exciting event for the Café was a live feature on WUSA Channel 9 yesterday. Check out the video here. Way to go Chef Askale! Congrats on your first TV appearance.

  • Asratie wanted me to be sure to share Askale Café’s new hours with everyone – they will now be open Monday through Thursday from 7:00 am – 7:00 pm, Friday 7:00 am – 9:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am – 9:00 pm and closed Sunday. Of course, as they grow the business they may tweak these hours again.
  • Lastly, look out for a new Café website coming soon. For now, you can check them out at their current website, Facebook and Twitter.

Askale Café is located at 3629 12th Street, NE.

Brookland’s Finest Finished Another Phase Of Construction.

Front View 1Front View 2Pass Through Window to PatioBackdoorView Behind The "Bar"Open Kitchen Area
Exposed Brick WallMore Exposed Brick And Wood BeamsReclaimed Wood As Accent BeamsBar Area From The Front Of The RestaurantView Outside The Pass Through WindowSky Light Was Salvaged From The Original Building
Roughed Out BathroomsBackdoorView Out To 12th StreetMetal Troth Installed As Flower Boxes12th Street Side Facade With Large Reclaimed Warehouse Windows

Brookland’s Finest Finished Another Phase Of Construction., a set on Flickr.

A few days ago I had the chance to visit the construction site of the Brookland’s Finest Restaurant Project. It looks like they are really moving along at a good pace. The spaces are defined and it is easy to envision the seating and bar area, the restrooms, storage and the kitchen, which will have an open concept.

The owner and builder Scott Evans (Positive Space) was able to expose some interesting brick walls and to salvage a great skylight. He also incorporated salvaged wooden accent beams along the ceiling, and very cool windows from an old warehouse were installed on the 12th Street side of the building. Since the last time we caught up with Scott, they have also put in a new roof and a lot of the fundamental needs like a grease trap, plumbing, air conditioning and electricity. This week they started putting in drywall, so it looks like things are starting to come together.

The deadline for the ABRA decision on the liquor license application for Brookland’s Finest is quickly approaching. The hearing, which we reported about here, was on August 14. The ABRA Board should make a decision within 60 days after the hearing date. Once we learn about any further information regarding the ABRA process, we will post it right here.