Category Archives: Neigborhood Businesses

Washington Post Neighborhood Guide Profiles Brookland


Yesterday, the Washington Post ran this story on Brookland,  calling our neighborhood “the place to go right now”.  The feature, which is accompanied by a  handful of cool photos, is the most comprehensive write up I think I have ever seen on Brookland. The story covers local eateries Smith Public Trust, Brookland Pint, Brookland’s Finest, Brookland Cafe, Hälsa, and Menomale. The story also explores local stores Bartered Threads and Scrap DC, and Arts Walk studios Analog, Wild Hand Workspace, and Stitch and Rivet as well as Dance Place. This is a good article to bookmark for the next time a friend or family member asks about where you live!

Chocolate City Beer To Close On New Year’s Eve

We are sad to report that local brewery Chocolate City Beer will be closing on December 31st. Here is a Tweet from them announcing their closure:

Beer lovers sampling Chocolate City Beer.
Beer lovers sampling Chocolate City Beer.

On their website, they posted this message:

After three and a half years in business, Chocolate City Beer will be closing its doors and turning off the lights on December 31st 2014. We want to give a heartfelt THANK YOU!!! to all our supporters, friends and family, to our neighbors in Brookland, Edgewood and to the greater DC/DMV region. It was our pleasure to be a part of the local craft beer renaissance since 2011.
We will remain open for our regular Growler Hours both Saturdays December, 20th and 27th, as well as a couple TBA weekday nights approaching New Years Eve.

Our latest and sadly, last brew is in the tank, a New Brew: a heavily hopped Black IPA named GoodBye.P.A.- w/ Citra and Galaxy Hops and a strong roasted malt backbone.

Be sure to swing by, say farewell, pick up some Growlers of the last Cornerstone Copper Ale, Cerveza Nacional Black Lager and our swan song GoodBye.P.A.

Longtime Brookland Business, M&S Barber Services, Threatened By Development

M&S Barber servicesANC 5B04 Commissioner-elect Joe Barrios has been quietly working for months with Mr. Duane Johnson, owner of longtime Brookland business M&S Barber Services, in trying to keep this great neighborhood business here. In a letter sent recently to constituents, Barrios stated:
“…After 19 years in our community, the M&S Barber Shop (12th and Girard) is seeking to relocate. A new owner has purchased the property at 2900 12th Street NE to redevelop it and has chosen not to extend the barber shop’s lease. That means Mr. Duane Johnson, the owner, must vacate by the end of February 2015…I would like to enlist Brookland’s help in finding a new space that is affordable for a barber shop and as close as possible to 12th and Girard.
M&S moving is a grievous loss to our community. Many of us frequent the barber shop and know that it serves a much greater role than just a place to get our hair cut. Mr. Johnson has long been the eyes and ears of 12th and Girard, has helped spearhead the recent increased police presence in Brookland, and has worked with MPD countless times to solve crimes. He provides help and support to many seniors in our community. He also serves as a badly needed role model and advisor to many of Brookland’s youth.
He has welcomed change and new residents in Brookland with open arms because of the improvement it has brought to the neighborhood. Now that this change threatens to displace him I feel it is our duty to do everything possible to assist him…If anyone has word of commercial space that is available or may soon be available…please reach out to me as soon as possible. He is willing to sublet and/or share space if needed.”

We reached out to Mr. Johnson for a statement, and this is what he had to say:

“I’ve witnessed the many positive changes in the Brookland community, from a crime riddled section of NE to a community that displays vibrant and positive hope for professional people of all colors and creed and new businesses..and to the redevelopment Mecca which it has become.

I arrived in this community in spring 1993 and started my career as a barber/stylist at Miss J’s Beauty Salon, at 12th and Hamlin St., the owner was Mrs. Eunice Johnson.  My plan and goal was to achieve a profession and to establish and pursue  the desire of becoming a business owner…After two years of working at Miss. J’s, she and I took a walk in the direction of 2900 12th Street. We both got to the middle of the block and she stopped me, looked me in my eyes, and said “Go for it”, she said, “your taking me to the vacant spot on the corner, my son you’re ready, and your going to do well.”

On Sept. 16, 1995, at 11:34 am, my dad, mom, sister and myself signed a lease for 5 years, which opened the doors to M&S Barber Services. “M&S” are the  initials  of my parents, the late Mr. Medell Ford and my mom’s nick name Sweetsy Ford – and I was considered the “&”.  All my life my parents raised me to be considerate of others, to respect mankind, and to be humble no matter what. I promised them both that this would be a business that’s going to make a difference in the community and will change lives in a positive way…a business that will have pride and commitment to its community.

My goal was to make an major impact…M&S is not your average small business, its a establishment where all is welcome and you count as a human being, a place where you look forward to coming back too, and most importantly, where you are respected and not judged…you’re part of a large community family.

Small business don’t stand a chance, times have changed…Redevelopment  comes in and sees value, and destroy’s hard work and dreams,  no matter what it takes or what the cost is to the businesses and communities. By no means am I against redevelopment, I truly believe change has great offerings, but so does consideration (for small businesses).”

M&S will survive, thanks to the people that support the community. And I’ve proven to be one of those citizens.  19 years is a long time to just walk away, hard work has taken place my dream has come true, and now this is what’s become of it. My question is, how many condos and restaurants can one community have? Somewhere there’s going to be a need for small businesses.”

Joe and Duane have reached out to many commercial property owners on 12th Street with no luck so far. We are hoping that by spreading the word through a grassroots appeal, someone in the community will know of a workable option. Small businesses like M&S are a big part of what gives Brookland its “small town in a big city” appeal and make the fabric of our community stronger. If you know of any affordable commercial space options, please reach out to Joe Barrios at jbarrios9396 (at) gmail (dot) com and/or Duane at djluvs2cut (at) icloud (dot) com.

Petals, Ribbons & Beyond Invites To Open House On Saturday Dec. 13

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Here is a message from our good friend Sara at Petals Ribbons & Beyond. Please see her invitation to her open house below:

Hello Everyone,
 There is no time more fitting to say “THANK YOU” and to wish you a Happy Holiday Season and a New Year of Good Health, Happiness and Prosperity… Please drop by Petals Ribbons & Beyond for Holiday Celebration and Open House on Saturday, December 13, 2014.
Please see the attached invitation. If you can not come by, please pass this invitation on to a friend or family member. 
  Warm regards,
   Sara Lucas
PRB Holiday Open House Flyer

Right Proper Brewing Company To Open In Brookland!

Nathan at Brookland's Franciscan Monastery. Photo Courtesy of the Washington Post and WildCraft/Nathan Zeender.
Nathan at Brookland’s Franciscan Monastery. Photo Courtesy of the Washington Post and WildCraft/Nathan Zeender.

Some readers may remember when we posted a story two years ago on Nathan Zeender, a Brookland based artisan beer brewer . At that time, he was looking to open a brewpub, which he did, just over a year ago called Right Proper Beer Company. The popular restaurant is located in the Shaw neighborhood. We got rumblings that Right Proper would be moving their brewing operations to Brookland from this Washington Post article a couple of weeks ago, that stated:

Right Proper Brewing, reports owner Thor Cheston, has secured a location in Brookland for setting up a second brewery, one that will keg and bottle for off-site sales.

Now we have gotten word from multiple sources that Nathan really is bringing his brewing operation to his home neighborhood and opening up at 920 Girard St NE! Awesome! We will bring you more details as they become available, and hopefully catch up with Nathan for a quote or two. Keep up with Right Proper at their Facebook page or their Twittter feed.

Local Business Spotlight: Chef Shannan Troncoso Of Brookland’s Finest

Readers have told us that they enjoy our periodic in-depth stories on Brookland businesses, so we plan on continuing our interviews on a regular basis and hopefully develop them into an ongoing series. To kick off the series,we spoke with a young lady who most of know from her delicious offerings at Brookland’s Finest. Chef Shannan for sure has left her mark in the expanding Brookland culinary scene. Her menu represents a successful combination of comfort food, paired with creativity and innovation, all based on seasonal ingredients. We asked Shannan a few questions to give us and you the opportunity to learn a little bit more about her:

IMG_11951) Chef Shannan, tell us a little bit about yourself, and what inspired you in your culinary career.

I was born in to a large Italian-American family in Kansas City, MO, and gravitated to the culinary arts as a very young child when I would cook alongside my grandmother.  During grade-school, my family relocated to Valdosta, GA, a small town just north of the Florida border.  It was there that I first became exposed to an appreciation for food that inspired me to pursue a career as a chef.  Although I do not consider myself a ‘southern chef,’ growing up in the south undoubtedly informs my approach to cooking.

After high school, I moved to Athens, GA and obtained a Bachelors of Science in Community Health and Wellness. This degree allowed me to study nutrition and the affects food have on our bodies.  Athens’ progressive culinary scene enabled me to gain important experience in a variety of kitchens while pursuing my undergraduate degree.

After graduation, I moved to Colorado to attend the Culinary Arts School at the Art Institute of Colorado.  I focused my course of study on the theory and technical execution of classic and modern French techniques. While in school, I worked at a number of restaurants, ranging from fine dining to fast casual. Upon completing my culinary degree, I settled in as a Sous Chef at AIX, a fine dining French restaurant in Denver, CO.  In a few short months, I was promoted to Chef de Cuisine.

In 2009, I was hired by the Matchbox Food Group to help open the Capitol Hill location.  Since joining Matchbox, I became integral to the operation.  I helped open and design the menu for Ted’s Bulletin, and I was promoted to the Culinary Board within the Matchbox Food Group. 

I left the Matchbox food group in January 2014 to pursue my goal in opening/owning her own restaurant. With partners, Tony Tomelden and John Solomon, this dream has come to fruition.  Brookland’s Finest Bar and Kitchen is a neighborhood restaurant based on classic American cuisine. 

Brookland’s Finest has become one of the busiest casual eateries in The Brookland neighborhood of Washington DC, but we pride ourselves on the fact that our volume does not undermine our commitment to quality.  Through my 15+ years in the restaurant industry, I have worked with many different Chefs and am able to take these experiences and develop my own style of cooking. I am happy to have a career that I actually consider more of a hobby and passion rather than a daily grind. I show this enthusiasm and experience through my food every day.

2) What initiated the collaboration between yourself and the Brookland’s Finest Proprietors? 

I have been friends with Tony T. for years. When my husband and I first moved to DC in 2008 we lived off of H St. we didn’t know many people. So we probably spent more time and money than was healthy hanging out at The Pug. As with many great collaborations, I guess you could say that the idea to start Brookland’s Finest was inspired by whiskey! We first started talking seriously about the idea of opening a restaurant together about 4 years ago. Tony grew up in and still lives in Brookland, so he was the driving force behind the location.  It’s always been a dream of his to open up a restaurant in the neighborhood, and now that I’ve spent more time in Brookland I completely understand why. 

3) What convinced you to join the BF Team?

Like most chefs, I’ve always dreamed of opening my own restaurant. When I was presented with an opportunity to step out of a corporate structured kitchen and into a space that I could help design from the ground up I couldn’t turn it down.  Getting to do it with such experienced and respected partners and friends made the decision that much easier.

4)  What was your approach when creating the menu? 

When I’m creating the menu for Brookland’s Finest I think about what my friends and I like to eat when we’re out for a low key evening.  I like to keep the menu seasonal and simple using traditional techniques that allow the ingredients to shine through by not over complicating the dish.

5) What is your personal favorite dish?

My favorite dishes are the cannolis and the spaghetti and meatballs which are both based on my grandmother’s recipes.  When I taste those dishes, I’m immediately reminded of being 7 years old and sitting with my older sister at my grandparent’s kitchen table.

6) Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers?

I would like to thank the neighborhood for being so welcoming and supportive of what we’re trying to do. Getting to come to work every day and serve such awesome neighbors is really gratifying.  

Zeke’s Coffee On Rhode Island Celebrates It’s One Year Anniversary!

Zeke's Coffee Rhode IslandMany thanks to John from Zeke’s Coffee DC, for letting us know about the following events they will be hosting. For those of you who haven’t checked it out, Zeke’s is a small batch coffee roastery on Rhode Island Avenue NE near Brookland in Woodridge. Congrats Zeke’s!  Here is what they have going on:

One Year Anniversary
We will be celebrating one year on Rhode Island Avenue on Saturday, November 1. A lot has happened in the first year, and we’re looking forward to celebrating with our friends and neighbors. Come by for coffee and donuts!

Upcoming events:
November 8th: Coffee Bike Crawl: Local roaster edition. Ride and get wired.
November 15th, 10am-12pm: Coffee: Four ways. Taste and compare the differences in brewing methods. Tickets $10.
November 29th: Single Origin Tasting. Taste and compare the impact of various coffee growing regions.
December 13th: Holiday Coffee Tasting. Sample Zeke’s holiday roasts, past and present.

Zeke’s is located at 2300 Rhode Island Avenue, NE.

Providence Hospital Debuts New Emergency Room Tomorrow

Providence Hospital NE Washington DC Providence Hospital is having a grand opening celebration of its new Emergency Department on Thursday October 16 from 5 pm to 7pm. The ceremony will be held on the Emergency Department parking lot on 12th Street. All are invited to attend. Providence Hospital is the hospital nearest to Brookland, located at 12th and Varnum Streets, NE. Last year we wrote about how the hospital will be expanding, modernizing and improving its Emergency Department. The renovation includes an expansion from 13,000 to 24,000 square feet; and the creation of 4 zones for patients with specific needs – each with their own exam rooms, doctors, nurses, and other staff. Providence Hospital is the longest continuously operating hospital in Washington DC, was chartered by President Lincoln in 1861, and has been in its current location for 57 years.

“District Vet” Hosts Open House Tomorrow In Anticipation Of Grand Opening

District Veterinary Hospital BrooklandAfter many months of preparation the new veterinarian practice District Vet is going to start seeing patients soon.  Dr. Teich and his team is inviting pet owners and neighbors to their Open House on Monday at 3748 10th Street. Here the announcement on their facebook page:

We are having an OPEN HOUSE on Monday, October 6th. We will start seeing patients a few days later. Come say hi and take a tour! Your pup is welcomed to come, too, but we will not be providing services for a few days.

We contacted Dr. Dan Teich and asked him a few questions about himself, his work and the team he surrounded himself with:

- What was the incentive or reason to choose the greater Brookland area as the location for District Vet?

Brookland and the surrounding community is an established and dynamic community with caring pet owners and many families. I have been performing housecalls in the neighborhood for a number of years and fell in love with the community and people. A number of locals suggested that I open a hospital here in Brookland as the neighborhood was in need of a full-service hospital. The combination of spending a lot of time in the area, love of the community and the apparent need convinced me to fully embrace the neighborhood. I wanted to be in a neighborhood of neighbors, and I found that here in Brookland.

When I walked into the space at 3748 10th Street, NE, I saw an awesome space with original tin ceilings and a fantastic wooden floor. It was a vision of blending established community with new medicine.

- What is your personal approach in veterinary care?

The single most important factor in veterinary medicine is trust – trust with the owner / guardian and trust with the pet! You will usually find me on the floor talking with the dog or cat first – the most important thing is to make friends first, the rest can follow.  I strongly believe that spending tome and creating a positive dialogue is so very important. At many corporate practices, your pet is a number and you see a doctor for a maximum of eight minutes. That’s not my way. Myself and the staff working with me want to know you and your pet on a personal level – to be able to say hi on the street – to look forward to seeing you again. And per our facility – I wanted to create a space that I want to come to everyday and one that I would take my dog to, as well.

- What made you choose to become a veterinarian?

I guess you could say it was predestined, if you believe in such talk. Ever since I was four, I knew I would be a veterinarian. But it is for several reasons – I love pets, I love medicine and I have a great love of communication. To me this is the perfect profession and one I love dearly. And that’s why I branched off to open District Vet – I want to see my vision of veterinary medicine become the new standard for the city.

- Who did you choose as your team members?

While facility design is important, having caring, excellent coworkers is essential to the mission of District Vet. I asked Beth Grimes, a licensed veterinary technician, who has been in the field for 13 years and has worked with me in the past, to return to DC and be the Hospital Administrator. She has a great way with clients and the pets and will be an asset to the practice and the community.

Jennifer Wright is our Client Services Manager. She is originally from Texas, but has been in DC working with Dr. Teich for multiple years. She has prior experience in clinics and she hopes to bring the highest of customer service to our clients. I am uncertain how, but Jennifer always has a smile on her face.

Brian The DogBrian, The Dog, is our main executive officer. He is a golden retriever I adopted nearly five years ago and is my constant sidekick. Brian will be coming to the office regularly and loves attention.

Shawn Nelson Schmitt is my partner in life. He has been steadfast in his support of me establishing this hospital and is the best partner I could ever have asked for.

- Do you know yet what your hours of operations are going to be?

Our hours are mostly finalized, but there may be a bit of tweaking in the next few months, and we plan to expand hours with time. We are discussing taking the practice 24 hours in the future as well.

​Hours of Operation:

Monday – 7:30a-8p

Tuesday – 8a-7p

Wednesday – Closed

Thursday – 8a-6p

Friday – 7:30a-6p

Saturday – 8a-2p

Sunday – closed​

- Why do you say pet owners should choose you over other veterinary practices?

We believe in creating a warm, approachable, progressive, and comprehensive environment focused on client care and the very best that veterinary medicine can deliver. While our facility is modern, bright, and spacious, and has the best technology in a general practice, it is customer care and the level of attention that clients receive that is our biggest asset. We want to take the time to understand you and your pets’ needs and craft an individualized medical plan to meet both of your needs. It is only with a good doctor-client-patient relationship, that the best veterinary medicine can be practiced.

- What are the services you are going to provide?

District Veterinary Hospital is a full-service hospital providing wellness and sick pet care, including surgery and dental care. We also believe in making housecalls – this service will be limited the first few months, but will be expanded with time. The hospital has all routine vaccinations and a full veterinary pharmacy.  Surgery includes routine spays and neuters, mass removals and emergency intervention. Our dental suite is equipped to perform most dental procedures, including cleanings and extractions. Other equipment includes a digital x-ray machine and digital dental x-ray machine, the latest anesthesia monitors and machines, a full in-house laboratory and lots of sunshine.

We also have The Tub –  a self-service dog washing room with two tubs – one for smaller dogs and one for large dogs. We will provide shampoo, aprons and towels. Wash your pup and leave the mess to us to clean.

We have the luxury of having an outside patio! During the summer, you can be sure that we will have a doggie pool party and other fun activities. We also will be hosting other events, including dog adoptions and fundraisers for local rescue organizations.

A dog trainer will also be working out of our space. Many people would like to have puppy / dog training, but do not have the time to travel far or the flexibility in the evenings to visit a trainer. A certified trainer will have set hours and will take appointments in our large exam room and patio.

Is there anything else you would like us to add or mention? The more the better!

All of us working on District Veterinary Hospital are doing this because of our love of medicine, pets and people. Opening a community practice is done out of love – it is not done for financial reasons. The overhead – including rent, utilities, the buildout of the facility, equipment, monthly fees for alarms, all of the annual licenses, etc., make it a daunting project. But we all feel that if we build a practice that we want to go to, so will everyone in the community.

Steel Plate Brings DC Beer Week To Brookland On Wednesday August 20th

Mmmm DC Bau
Mmmm DC Brau

DC Beer Week is always a good time for those of us who enjoy a craft brew or two. Unfortunately, this city-wide event always skips over Brookland, but this year that drought has come to an end! Yesterday we posted about a home brewing event on Saturday at  Smith Public Trust and now from the DC Beer Week website:

Steel Plate Tap Takeover with DC Brau & Heavy Seas at Steel Plate

DC Brau and Heavy Seas will be taking over the taps at Steel Plate Gastropub in Brookland for Wednesday night of DC Beer Week. Join us for a pint!
Awesome! The event will take place on Wednesday August 20, from 5:00 – 9:00 pm. Make to sure to show up and prove to the DC Beer Week organizers that Brookland is great place to host future events. Steel Plate is located at 3523 12th Street, NE.