Upshur Street along the 800 block is becoming restaurant row. We already have the critically and customer acclaimed Crane & Turtle, the long-standing neighborhood favorite Domku, and the local hangout Petworth Citizen. There's Dannie's and Cuzzin's for quicker take-out, and on the non-food side, Town & Country convenience store, Bentley's Antiques, Phillips Shoe Repair, Willow Fashion, Fia's Fabulous Finds and the hair care storefronts.
Coming in late Spring and early Summer 2016, Upshur Street will see the opening of five new restaurants. Timber Pizza, Twisted Horn, Alfie's, Ruta del Vino and the much anticipated Slim's Diner. I don't know of any block in DC that has so many restaurants opening all around the same time.
Here's a quick update on each restaurant:
Timber Pizza (brick oven pizza)
Work is progressing, but admittedly slower than anyone would like (my hungry pizza-loving stomach included). Between a complete down to the bare walls and rip up the floor renovation, it's been a DCRA permit marathon. Then, at the beginning of this month, architect and co-landlord Brie Husted passed away. A tough time for everyone involved or who knew Brie. According to Andrew Dana, co-owner of Timber, they are still progressing toward an opening in late Spring or early Summer. (Read a review of the food at Timber Pizza.)
Twisted Horn (cocktail bar)
Update: Opening soon! I reached out to one of the owners but haven't heard back. From the recent construction I've seen, they too have been ripping out the floor and walls to completely renovate the building. They've opened up the front for the new windows and replaced and painted the front door. I saw new interior walls and a secondary door inside that didn't exist previously. The city has been tearing up Upshur Street and the sidewalk to install new utility lines for the building. They are supposedly looking to open later in 2016.
Alfie's (Thai / Southeast Asian)
The new restaurant by Food Network Star competitor Alex McCoy, Hunter Campbell and Help-U-Sell owner Marc Dosik is still under construction. They've decided to delay their opening in order to work on completing both the interior and the rear outdoor seating areas. They hope to open by Summer 2016. Meanwhile, Alex McCoy said they're opening a temporary pop-up restaurant in the former Mothership building (3301 Georgia Avenue NW) in mid-December. Read more about Alex McCoy, and get a quick peek at their food.
Ruta del Vino (Latin wine bar)
The newest addition to Upshur, the owners of Ruta del Vino are currently renovating both 800 and 802 Upshur to create one restaurant (they're really one building that was separated by a drywall). Like the other restaurants, this is a complete build-out, creating a kitchen and bathroom and all new layout. According to co-owner Justin Logan, they've already filled up two 30-yard dumpsters and think they have it mostly cleared out.
"We have our license application in to ABRA and a community meeting on December 7 at 7:00 at Petworth Library," Justin wrote to me. "We're looking to have plans in to DCRA sometime in the next few weeks. We took possession of the Riyad space November 13th, and demo is basically done. But the more you open up, the more problems you find. The old saying is 'don't fight the building,' but our building needs the equivalent of an exorcism, a heart transplant, a personal trainer, and a makeover, so we like to think of it as something other than fighting."
You can follow along with their work by following them on Twitter (@rutadelvinodc).
Slim's Diner (self-explanatory, it's a diner)
Slim's was originally shooting for an August opening, then it became October. Now in mid-November and work is still ongoing. I'm guessing they were focused on completing work on the upstairs two floors where Ruppert's offices will be located. They also recently completed work on re-bricking the outside and fixing the windows, and just repainted part of the exterior. The red booths are sitting patiently inside, unlike me. I'm out here and eager for a local diner.
More info to come!