Category Archives: Neigborhood Businesses

Congrats To Excel Pilates And Monroe St. Market For Earning City Paper’s Best of DC

So, we are a little late on this one,  but we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that Excel Pilates and Monroe Street Market were recently recognized by the Washington City Paper‘s Best of DC poll! Way to go!!

Photo courtesy of Excel Pilates
Photo courtesy of Excel Pilates

For over 15 years, Excel Pilates DC has been helping Brookland area residents get and stay in shape. The studio underwent a complete renovation in 2013 and remains, as always, dedicated to a personalized classic Pilates practice, It should be no surprise then that Excel won the readers poll for Best Pilates Studio 2015Excel Pilates is located at 3407 8th St. NE.

Brookland Development NE Washington DCMonroe Street Market won Best Up-and-Coming Arts Neighborhood in the staff picks. The write up notes the:

clever mix of apartments, restaurants, and 27 artists’ studios (otherwise known as the Arts Walk) right next to the Brookland-CUA Metro stop. It’s worth a stroll through this neighborhood to get a feel for this new arts scene that includes photography, painting, leather work, and printmaking.

Monroe Street Market is located at 625 Monroe Street NE.

Sneak Peek – The Bakers’ Lounge – Brookland’s New Bakery Opens Soon

A few weeks ago we posted a story about The Bakers’ Lounge, a new bakery coming to the corner of 12th and Evarts Streets, NE. Yesterday we got a sneak peek of what is to come via their soft launch event. Catherine Cotay, the Director of The Bakers’ Lounge told us that there is still work to do to get the store ready to be open on a daily basis, which she thinks it is only a matter of weeks away. So for now, enjoy the photos we took of the yummy treats we sampled. Our favorite sampling was the creme puffs – heaven on a plate! Other stand outs were the lemon bars -not too sweet, with just the right touch of tartness and the super moist cake balls. There was also a wide variety of yummy cupcake flavors. Warning, for future customers, my dinner appetite was definitely ruined, LOL. Also included in the slideshow are the menus of the products to be offered and info on high tea and party packages.

Clearly the space has been completely transformed from the previous tenant, and features high ceilings and bright white walls. But, there is still a lot to be seen, as a large wall in the bakery that currently creates a hallway will be coming down to open up the space in a big way. Still, you can see the ascetic they are going for- bright, modern and welcoming, with a punch of British flair.

Lastly, Ms. Cotay let us know that she is listening to Brooklanders – namely yes(!), the store is already wifi enabled, coffee will be served, as well as non-sweets like breads and bagels. We will let you know when the bakery opens its doors. The Bakers’ Lounge is located at 2701 12th Street NE. Keep in touch with the latest on their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest sites.

Askale Cafe Seeks Beer And Wine License

Askale Cafe Liquor License Askale and Asratie, owners of Askale Cafe, Brookland’s Ethiopian eatery, posted ABRA placards in the cafe’s windows yesterday. The cafe is seeking to re-establish the beer and wine license associated with location that expired before they took over. Hopefully all will go well and there will be no issues at their ABRA public hearing.  We were happy to hear from Asratie that their application has the support of ANC Commissioner Higgins. They are seeking a stipulated license, which means they may be able to serve during the hearing period if approved. Askale Café is located at 3629 12th Street, NE.

Filter Coffeehouse/Bike Rack Location Opening April 18th

Storefront of
Storefront of Filter/Bikerack

The prospect of a combination coffeehouse  by  Filter  and bike shop by the Bike Rack coming to the South East corner of Monroe Street Markets’s Artswalk has been in the works for quite some time.  We were pleased to hear from Erin from the Bike Rack that the location will open April 18th. Here is the press release:

Two of D.C.’s favorite pastimes, coffee and bicycles, are coming together in the historic Brookland neighborhood under one roof on April 18. The Bike Rack and Filter Coffeehouse are excited to be part of the growing community at the Monroe Street Market.

The April 18 Grand Opening will be held in conjunction with the first Brookland Farmer’s Market of 2015.

The two businesses will share space within the Brookland Works building at 716 Monroe St. NE. The Bike Rack will be open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Filter Coffeehouse will be open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday andSunday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“Bikes and coffee just go together, ask any cyclist,” said Chuck Harney of The Bike Rack. “ We feel that a bike shop should be a community gathering spot for the local community and for cyclists. A coffee bar helps to create that feel year round.”

WHAT:    The Bike Rack and Filter Coffeehouse Grand Opening
WHEN:    Saturday, April 18th, 9:00 a.m.
WHERE:  The Bike Rack and Filter Coffeehouse, 716 Monroe St. NE, Washington DC, 20017

Visit for more information.

About The Bike Rack
The Bike Rack is a friendly community of people who care about cycling and improving their customers’ biking experience. The Washington Post Express and Washington City Paper named The Bike Rack 2014’s Best Bike Shop. Brookland joins The Bike Rack family as the second location, the first being at 1412 Q St. NW. Learn more about The Bike Rack at

About Filter Coffeehouse
Filter Coffeehouse and Espresso Bar opened in March of 2010 with the intent of sharing truly amazing coffee with Washington, DC. Their coffees are carefully and artfully roasted by Ceremony Coffee, a local roaster in nearby Annapolis MD. Brookland marks Filter Coffeehouse’s third shop along with a Dupont Circle and Foggy Bottom location. Learn more about Filter Coffeehouse at

New Bakery – The Bakers’ Lounge – Coming To Brookland!

The Bakers Lounge 2Brooklanders with a sweet tooth rejoice!  A new British bakery concept called The Bakers’ Lounge is opening  at 2701 12th Street NE, at the corner of 12th and Evarts. The bakery’s soft launch will be on Saturday, April 11th – check out the event page here.  The bakery will have a British spin, even offering High Tea once a month, with a selection of fine pastries, cucumber sandwiches, and a pot of tea! Awesome. We caught up with Catherine Cotay, the Director of The Bakers’ Lounge and asked her about the plans for this new neighborhood business. She said:

The Bakers’ Lounge refers to multiple bakers who are cutting edge and happy to infuse traditional dessert with a slight twist; whether it’s changing the shape of a dessert, or an added ingredient. The Bakers’ Lounge is an extension of a family owned business that dates back to the 60’s.

We asked her about her inspiration starting the business:

Baker's Lounge 1My passion for baking started at an early age, I grew up in a bakery and my grandmother was a renowned baker and caterer. I would sit with my grandmother for hours watching as she hand piped wedding cakes, one tier at a time, with such intricacy which is such a lost art in today’s cake-making. She was very particular about her flavours and ingredients, and that is the corner stone of The Bakers’ Lounge, hence our slogan: “Taste the difference.” I started my virtual business in August of 2012 and it has steadily grown. The Bakers’ Lounge menu spans from cookies, to a selection of cakes, and a number of English puddings, (especially  the ones I grew up with like sticky toffee pudding, ginger pudding, trifles and more).

Why did you choose to open up shop in Brookland?

Since I moved to the USA, I have always marveled at Washington D.C and the character that it has. When I first started searching for my space, I fell in love with Rhode Island Avenue row and decided to explore the area in more detail. The more I explored, the more I appreciated the community that is Brookland and saw the potential that it has. Brookland was sold to me by the very sound of the phrase, “Bakers’ lounge comes to Brookland.”

What is your vision for The Bakers’ Lounge?

The vision for my store is a lively lounge and a very people-friendly environment with soft lights, comfortable seats, and decadent desserts. We will have a function room for children’s cupcake parties or poetry and pastry nights, and painting and pastry nights. Our goal is to know all our customers by name so they get a sense of a personal touch. We cater for every event-birthdays, weddings, and the works!

We can’t wait to check it out! Keep in touch with the Bakers’ Lounge on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Serenity Place DC Spring Open House Today

Dust off those yoga mats and support local business!
Dust off those yoga mats and support local business!

On Saturday, March 14 from 3-6 pm local yoga studio Serenity Place DC will  be having their Spring Open House. Since we last wrote about the studio, they have moved a couple blocks down from their original location above Zeke’s Coffee. At their new place they have lots more space and greater flexibility with their scheduling. The community is invited to come by and check out the studio, meet the teachers, and learn more about their classes. There will be several yoga demonstrations occurring throughout the day as well as raffles. Check them out and  and register for the open house  online here. Admission is free and Serenity Place DC is located at 2008 Rhode Island Avenue NE.

Longtime Brookland Business, M&S Barbershop Relocates- To Have Grand Opening Soon

Back in December, we posted this story about how the owner of M&S Barber Services, Duane Johnson, was struggling to find a new location to set up shop.  The property where the barber shop has been for 19 years, at the corner of 12th and Girard, has been sold to a developer and is likely to become condos. Fortunately, Mr. Johnson has re-opened nearby at 2221 Kearny Street, NE. Unfortunately, the property where the shop was located has been vandalized, as you can see in the photos  below.

We learned the following information from a newsletter from ANC 5B04 Commissioner Joe Barrios:

Mr. Johnson has told me that business is already brisk at his new location and is very appreciative of the outpouring of support from the community in response to his relocation. He will announce the formal Grand Opening date soon.

On a more sour note, the now-unoccupied building at 2900 12th St NE was vandalized with graffiti last night in protest of M&S Barber Service’s relocation. Mr. Johnson informed me of the fact this morning and told me he considers this kind of behavior unacceptable. I agree. Anger and grief over the loss of M&S at 12th and Girard is fully understandable, and many in the community have responded to that by doing everything in their power to facilitate M&S’s successful transition with a minimum of pain and dislocation for Mr. Johnson. Vandalizing a building is not the way to resolve the situation.

The graffiti has been reported to the Metropolitan Police Department for investigation. I have also reached out to the building’s owners to inform them and urge them to remove the graffiti as soon as possible.

We wish the best of luck to Mr.Johnson at his new location and will follow up with additional details about the grand re-opening.

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.