Sweet Mother Maria – The Wharf is Trying to Usurp North Shaw’s Dominant Dining Scene!

Wharf Rendering 092116-2

But seriously, this area is fixing to be pretty sweet.

From a press release:

“Hoffman-Madison Waterfront (HMW), developer of The Wharf, announced new additions to its expanding dining and entertainment scene, where the District’s best chefs, restaurant owners and entertainment impresarios are creating the region’s most eagerly awaited waterfront destination.

New concepts coming to The Wharf include:

Eric and Ian Hilton, renowned for creating neighborhood mainstays including Georgetown’s Chez Billy Sud, and The Gibson along 14th Street, will open The Brighton, a high-energy waterfront pub

● Chef K.N. Vinod and Surfy Rahman, the DC area-based hospitality veterans behind Indique and Bombay Bistro, who, after over a decade of serving diners some of the most celebrated and exciting Indian cuisine in Washington DC and Maryland, will open a new Indian dining concept at The Wharf.

Cathal Armstrong will open Kaliwa, a new dining destination with a distinct Filipino, Thai and Korean menu

● Nick Fontana, Bruce Gates and Henry Gandy, the team behind DC’s original dock bar, Cantina Marina, are bringing a small-format, live music venue and tavern named Pearl Street Warehouse to the waterfront

These new additions will open at The Wharf starting in October of 2017, joining:

Nick Stefanelli, the chef behind Masseria, is opening a three-story Italian market and restaurant at The Wharf that will include an 80-seat trattoria, a rooftop bar, an Italian eatery, a butcher shop, cheese counter and bakery. Stefanelli’s yet-to-be-named Italian market has an anticipated opening of Spring 2018.

Potomac Distilling Company, a multi-story rum distillery with an inventive new twist on a Tiki Bar from “master mixologist” Todd Thrasher.

Del Mar by James Beard Award-winning chef Fabio Trabocchi will pay homage to the island of Mallorca with Del Mar. The two-level waterfront Spanish and seafood restaurant is destined to become a standout in the DC restaurant scene.

Hank’s Oyster Bar by Jamie Leeds, one of Washington’s most highly recognized chefs, is a reinvention of her famed Hank’s Oyster Bar for The Wharf. Hank’s On The Water will be known for its simple, approachable seafood menu, consisting of “urban beach food” in small and large plates for sharing—in an incomparable waterfront setting along 7th Street Park and Wharf Street.

Rappahannock Oyster Bar by cousins and fourth generation oyster farmers of Chesapeake Bay, Travis and Ryan Croxton, will open at The Wharf. The new location will occupy the restored historic oyster shed (circa 1912) at the Municipal Fish Market and will have 40 seats indoors and another 80 outdoors.

Requin by Top Chef Mike Isabella and Top Chef Finalist Jennifer Carroll will open at The Wharf. Their restaurant, situated on the edge of District Pier, will bring the Mediterranean coast of France to The Wharf. The riverside restaurant will have an extensive European wine menu and a social-centric sharing menu. The restaurant’s indoor-outdoor setting will have expansive waterfront views.

Kirwan’s by Ireland native Mark Kirwan will be an authentic Irish Pub that will honor the rich Irish heritage of the Southwest Waterfront. Live Irish music will complement the convivial scene.

Stretching across 24 acres of land and 50 acres of water, The Wharf is the largest mixed-use development in the Greater Washington area. In addition to diverse and innovative dining experiences, The Wharf will reconnect the District with its waterfront, and when complete, create a vibrant, amenity-rich, 24-hour neighborhood for businesses, residents and regional visitors alike.”

84 Comment

  • This is shaping up to be pretty great for the neighborhood.

  • There will also be water taxis. (They should be announced soon.)

  • Would be cool if a pedestrian bridge connected East Potomac park to the wharf to walk off all the eating going on.

  • What is North Shaw? Is it Shaw? Can we just agree to call the area Shaw because that’s what it is called?

    • Prince Of Petworth

      North Shaw is of interest because it is the direction indicated as north on a properly functioning (but uncorrected) magnetic compass. The difference between it and true north Shaw is called the magnetic declination (or simply the declination where the context is clear). For many purposes and physical circumstances, the error in direction that results from ignoring the distinction is tolerable; in others a mental or instrument compensation, based on assumed knowledge of the applicable declination, can solve all the problems. But simple generalizations on the subject should be treated as unsound, and as likely to reflect popular misconceptions about terrestrial magnetism.

      Or it is just a joke…

    • It’s something that real estate developers are frothing at the mouth over. They want people to start calling the area north of the Shaw Metro stop, specifically around Florida and 8th Streets, “North Shaw”. This way they can separate Shaw into areas that are safer from areas that have higher crime rates. I disliked it when developers forced the “NoMa” name down everyone’s throats because it seemed as if they wanted DC to by like NYC, but “North Shaw” just sound ridiculous. I’d much rather call it Shaw or come up with an entirely different neighborhood name.

      SodoSopa for all.

      • The whole “NoMa” business set a terrible precedent. I didn’t mind the invention of “NoMa” as a neighborhood name per se, but I really DO mind the subsequent trend of shortening neighborhood names, like “CoHi” and especially the ridiculous “AdMo.”

      • What about NoShaw…… Oh wait that sends an entirely different message.

      • If you look at a map, technically Shaw ends at Florida Avenue and north of Florida Avenue is actually Ledroit Park. JBG branded that area “North Shaw” because half of their mixed-use development is in Shaw proper and the other half actually north of Shaw in Ledroit Park. So calling that area “North Shaw” simplified the marketing of that development and actually makes a lot of sense.

    • Shay and Atlantic Plumbing developer JBG is trying to brand that area as “North Shaw”, much to everyone’s dismay. Yes, that area is just Shaw (or more specifically U street). This is just a running joke at JBG’s expense.

      • OK good. As long as popville is not catering to the whims of the developers on this one. The area is Shaw. There is no reason to rename it. We know it as Shaw. No need to SoDoSoPa this one….please.

        • The problem is that JBG is sprinkling PR dollars all over the WaPo, NYT, and local blogs to keep up with the “North Shaw” branding. Anyone who actually has lived in DC for more than two years knows that it’s a fake neighborhood. JBG even went to far as to launch a faux-guerrilla street art campaign with stenciled “NORTH SHAW” spraypainted around the ‘hood.
          So f#cking lame.

          • If this blog is getting money from developers to use certain words and phrases, such as “North Shaw”, I’d hope that it would at least have the courtesy of letting readers know.

          • Prince Of Petworth

            hahaha sadly I’m not getting paid by developers to joke about North Shaw. God willing one day I will be and I’ll be sure to let you know.

        • Tsar of Truxton

          I honestly don’t understand why people care so much. Shaw is a huge neighborhood, so it makes sense to have micro-neighborhoods within it. If you say you are going out to eat at a restaurant in Shaw, I have no idea where you are talking about, but I would likely assume somewhere south of Florida on 7th. I know exactly the area you will be if you say North Shaw. It gives context.

          • I don’t think anyone “cares” about this as much as you seem to think – this is just conversational fodder.

          • It is conversational fodder to the extreme. And I suppose it will just lead to issues when people (new residents vs old in this case) are discussing neighborhoods with each other. But to say Shaw is a “huge neighborhood” is silly. It’s tiny…

          • NoPe, Shaw is HuGe (Howard U/Georgia Ave). No really, it’s about as far from”tiny” as DC neighborhoods get.

      • You are very misinformed. Technically only The Shay is in Shaw proper, and The Atlantic Plumbing Building is in Ledroit Park (Florida Avenue is a border), and neither of those developments are part of the U Street Corridor (which ends at 9th Street). So rather than having to deal with the long-winded explanation that I just told you, JBG decided to simply call the area “North Shaw” (Shaw + North of Shaw). Look at a map and see for yourself!

    • The latest, and one of the more egregious, uses of this label is in this Times article about DC dining: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/11/travel/five-places-to-go-in-washington-dc.html?_r=0

      • It’s absurd how that article was basically planted by JBG’s PR firm. I didn’t realize the NYTs was in the business of running – without edits – articles written by real estate interests. It’s pretty obvious that the “author” didn’t even bother to visit those places mentioned in the article.

    • Why do people insist on calling neighborhoods after BIDs? (Capitol Riverfront, I’m looking at you)

      And what about the DMV? Can we just have an entire post on calling Washington the DMV?! It’s appalling.

  • I thought Atlantic Plumbing was in Pleasant Plains. I thought it was a PoP thing to needle Pleasant Plains residents the way he needles Park View residents (or at least those who care) by redrawing restaurants/bars out of Park View.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      For years Atlantic Plumbing was called U Street when that was en vogue. I have nothing but love for Pleasant Plains. The block of Georgia Ave south of the Petworth metro to Otis with Looking Glass Lounge (nee Temperance Hall born firmly in Petworth territory), DC Reynolds, Walters etc is Petworth to me (and many others) because that is what it was called from at least 2002-2008 by everyone I knew including and especially by long time residents. That block was officially annexed in 2011 by order of the Prince of Petworth and subsequently recognized as Petworth in many official maps. So it is written.

      • I have a feeling all of this will be referred to as Lower Georgia Avenue eventually when everything from Howard U through Upshur flips like u-street did. But to be clear, the restraunts and bars your refer to are currently in Park View, and I base that fact on the evidence that I live in park view and want to claim those businesses as my neighborhood.

      • Tsar of Truxton

        “It is known.”

  • justinbc

    Wait why does Mike Isabella call himself “Top Chef” but Jen is “Top Chef Finalist”? That nomenclature suggest he actually won, when he was just a contestant. If I were her I would be pretty pissed at that billing, but then again he’s been pretty vocal in the past about taking credit for others’ successes.

  • Does he? That seems like a pretty valid point that one could come to after reading the post, which would take….30 seconds.

    • Yeah, was meant to be good natured but that doesn’t always translate in the internet. But he also mentioned in the Pokemon post that he made it to level 30 several weeks ago so I’m guessing he has a ton of time on his hands and I’m totally jealous.

  • The Wharf is intended to be running along the lines of Inner Harbor or Fisherman’s Wharf, so it’s supposed to be a tourist destination. That, of course, is not to say that locals can’t also enjoy everything that will be coming in but it’s not really a neighborhood in the same sense. It will be good for DC tourism as we have the cultural attractions but don’t really have a concentrated, commercial entertainment center which this will provide. It just seems odd to be discussing it in comparison with an area such as Shaw, at least to me.

    • Sorry, we do have Gallery Place/Verizon Center/Chinatown but that’s not really enough to handle the increasing tourism that DC is experiencing.

    • We now have several concentrated commercial centers and the wharf will be another among them. As far as fancy dining goes, this is certainly shaping up to be more attractive than Georgetown or CityCenter.

      • You’re right, and CityCenter is probably the closest in terms of intent which is why the Shaw comparison felt odd to me. But in any case a dedicated area like this, especially with more hotels which are needed, is a good move.

        • i disagree – there is a good amount of existing housing and residents in SW that will be increased in the new development. Currently the neighborhood lacks fancy dining and attractions, not unlike shaw 15 years ago. If you build it they will come.

  • I’m going to say it – I’m getting serious “Disney” vibes with this project, and I don’t like it. I spent an hour walking around the Old Town waterfront last week and I couldn’t help but think of how forced the whole place felt. I get that all redevelopment will not happen organically, especially in a city like DC with sky high rents, but this project has zero semblance of any authenticity. Sadly, I would not be surprised if these “top chefs” are buying in solely because they know this project will allow them to hawk subpar food to tourists at an uber-high markup. Again, I don’t know what the solution is – but I just hate to see another outdoor shopping mall.

    • If you spent an hour you must have not walked very far and I guess you missed the beautiful warehouses. It is certainly no more or less “forced” than Georgetown, or Annapolis. If you think Old Town is all that Disneyfied, than pretty much anything will bring your disappointment.

    • I’ve heard this a few times and don’t really get the complaint. My plan is to try out some of these places if the eats are well-reviewed, and when I want to spend time in a more “organic” DC neighborhood, those will still be there!

      Also,. consider the dearth of options in SW right now. This seems to be a solid improvement for those who live nearby and the city as a whole.

    • It’s like like authenticity was happening in this area. I’d be more upset about a complaint like this if they tore down an existing, interesting neighborhood. I actually fear this a bit more with Shaw than I do with the Waterfront; I already kind of miss the little shops and rowhouses around 8th & U.

    • What is “organic” redevelopment? Especially of an area that was already tourist-driven? (it axed a crappy motel, Phillips Seafood that catered to the giant tour buses, and a nightclub.)

      Moreover, 9 of the 11 businesses in this press release are local (it’s Jen’s restaurant, Mike’s financing, so I’m not counting Requin as local). Talents developed here in town, supported by DC-area diners over the long term. That’s pretty damned grassroots.

      I just don’t understand this criticism of this particular project. There wasn’t an authentic neighbourhood here that got blitzed by a false notion of the town square or rowhouses overcome by the market for stainless steel condos. The fish market is getting necessary renovations. And the profits are going to local restauranteurs, not imported conglomerates, which seems to be rather the opposite of Disneyfication.

      • Of course, there *was* an authentic, small-scale neighborhood… but it got blitzed by bulldozers 50 years ago. I really sympathize with concerns about organic, authentic, incremental development, so much so that knowledge-sharing and coming up with ways to teach people how to do it is a big part of my career. (Those in places like AdMo can do their part by telling their officials to make it easier [even automatic!] to build small improvements — rather than continuing with our current process of bottling up all of the pent-up new demand to the point where only scores of 300-unit buildings can meet it.)

        But I’ll co-sign with Belinskaya: the Wharf is trying to do something very different. There will be narrow and slow streets, tiny blocks and shops in the alleys, local merchants and an honest-to-god 200-year-old fish market. The 10,000 of us who live in Southwest, the 10,000 more around Navy Yard, and the 60,000 who work in Southwest will provide the core of the local market; the millions of tourists on the Mall (who hopefully will have something better than L’Enfant Promenade to wander down) will be icing.

    • The whole attraction of the project to developers is precisely that it’s Disney like. They have realized if they do redevelopment projects in places that already have existing businesses, those businesses capture some of the benefit from the increase in traffic. Here not only can they develop several entire blocks, those blocks are surrounded by freeways and housing projects, making visitors a captive audience.

      This is more aimed at suburbanite and tourist dollars than anyone who lives in the city. You can’t see that “Jazz Alley” sign and not think Chinatown annex. I don’t envision going there much.

      • LOL — “surrounded by freeways and housing projects” does not describe this location.

        It’s also 2 blocks from the Waterfront metro station, and 4-5 blocks from L’Enfant Plaza.

      • maxwell smart

        “This is more aimed at suburbanite and tourist dollars” – um, okay. So Arena Stage, Nationals and United crowd will not want to come here before/after events? Or have HH outside on the wharf?

      • +1 to Dave. Have you even been to SW? Also, “captive audience?” You realize what freeways are used for, right?

        As I said above, SW is a really residential area – unlike what you think, plenty of housing beyond projects, filled with people who are excited to have the opportunity to dine in-neighborhood and waterside. Can’t wait! Glad you’ll miss out.

    • maxwell smart

      There was literally nothing here worth saving from an “organic development” perspective – which I am taking to be a mix of existing and new, so it’s hard to avoid the shiny-and-new “Disney” look when you are essentially building an entirely new district from scratch. That said, of all the building boom in DC, this is probably the only one I would seriously consider moving to (if I had the money). Easy commute to downtown, close to activities (Arena Stage, Nationals, future United Stadium, Museums), AND you’re on the water. What’s not to love?

  • “Pearl Street” reminds me of the Pearl District in Portland, and seems to bear about as much relation to the city around it (based on the last time I visited).

    I’ll at least make the trip down there for the Cathal Armstrong restaurant, though with tempered expectations. We’ve been fans of Eve and Eamonn’s for a while.

  • I am immediately suspicious of any establishment that is described as “high-energy,” especially a “pub.”

  • Gah, I am going to have a baby before any of these open up! I hope some of them are baby friendly, I don’t want to miss out completely 😀

  • When I moved to the 1300 block of Wallach Place NW in 1988, real estate agents advertised it as Dupont East or Logan North, North Logan. and some folks later tried to make it Mid City. Over time the neighborhood became 14&U and now U Street. Eventually., each neighborhood will find or reclaim or create its own name no matter what the developers do. They leave, we stay.

  • It all sounds kind of pricy. Not interested.

  • “Chef K.N. Vinod and Surfy Rahman, the DC area-based hospitality veterans behind Indique and Bombay Bistro, who, after over a decade of serving diners some of the most celebrated and exciting Indian cuisine in Washington DC and Maryland, will open a new Indian dining concept at The Wharf.”

    Why didn’t the “hospitality veterans” re-open the the former Indique Heights that used to be in Friendship Heights? !?!?!?!?! Salty over here, after the false “closed for renovations” farce that they put us through a couple of years ago.

  • Lupo Verde is also opening at the Wharf Oct ’17.

  • “Pearl Street” is actually named after the ship from which a major slave eacape occurred; possibly the largest single event in the region (possibly the entire South). So it does connect to the surrounding DC area, contrary to what the poster above states. I just wish that they would install a permanent ship/museum in honor of the event. If they ran the circulator down from the Mall, you could hop from that event to the National Museum of African American History (perhaps via the Banneker Monument) a neat knitting together of history!

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