skwr
Anticipated opening at 14th and K St, NW is Spring 2015

From a coming soon flyer via email:

“SKWR is brought to you by 3 friends offering kabobs and chutneys, a medley of sauces, spreads and appetizers, all house-made. Among the choices: olivieh, an exotic spin on a potato salad; chicken and lamb kabobs seasoned with simple old world spices. An open kitchen will put fresh preparation methods on full display while drawing diners’ attention to fiery grills and spinning meats. The design will promote history both recent and ancient, both local and faraway. All of this will be brought together by attentive service, making SKWR the next go-to eatery in the capital.”

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Photos courtesy Golden Triangle BID

From the Golden Triangle BID (and thanks to the others who tweeted me):

“The chalk art mural will be drawn by Whitney Waller — a local artist from the Corcoran School of Arts & Design — who will transform the sidewalk in front of 1700 Pennsylvania Avenue into an artistic canvas for commuters, office workers, and tourists to enjoy.

“This chalk art project is part of the BID’s ongoing effort to capture the vitality of the city,” said Leona Agouridis, executive director of the Golden Triangle BID. “West of the White House, Pennsylvania Avenue links the world to powerful economic institutions, including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Creating art at on one of the most influential and well-known streets in the world is another way we are connecting commuters and local residents to this neighborhood.”

The chalk art mural plays a role in the BID’s larger vision to make Pennsylvania Avenue, west of the White House, a grand urban boulevard. The Golden Triangle BID has begun working with stakeholders on the collective vision of Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and 21st Street NW. The BID and its partners on the project are exploring temporary and permanent uses of public space that will help make the corridor more vibrant and attractive for area workers and visitors.

While the chalk art project is only temporary for a few days (if the weather permits), the Golden Triangle BID has other public art displays that have made the central business district one of the city’s most vibrant commercial areas. The BID has created wall murals, painted historic call boxes, and installed six artistic bike racks, including one made of recycled parking meters.”

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casa_blanca_chipotle
1014 Vermont Ave, NW just north of K Street

Some interesting scuttlebutt from a reader after hearing of Casa Blanca’s recent closure:

“Chipotle and Native Foods were vying for the retail space in the building (which recently had a $10 million renovation, hence the removal of the granite on the facade.)… seemed to indicate they preferred Chipotle.”

Recently we learned a new Chipotle would likely be taking over the former Mixtec space in Adams Morgan and Native Foods Cafe just opened their first DC location at 18th and M St, NW. Updates when we learn the new tenant here.

zentan
1155 14th Street, NW

From an email:

“Yo Matsuzaki, formerly Corporate Chef for Ozumo Concepts International – Northern California in San Francisco and Oakland, has joined the Zentan team as Executive Chef. A native of Japan, he spent his formative years spent working under Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto after developing a strong foundation in French cuisine at the Institute of Culinary Education and multiple French restaurants in New York. Matsuzaki’s goals for Zentan include building on the restaurant’s signature robata grill and omakase experiences while embracing more of an izakaya style dining experience reflective of flavors from his childhood.

Chef Yo will preview some of his menu items during Zentan’s signature Thursday omakase nights beginning October 16. Omakase starts at 6:30 p.m. Thursday nights and costs $65 per person for up to five seats overlooking the sushi bar. Because of the extremely limited space and thoughtful sourcing from as far away as Japan’s Tsukiji Market, cancellations are required nine days in advance. Reservations can be made at 202-521-1414.”

Ed. Note: I’m told the new full menu should be released in November.

Streets of Washington, written by John DeFerrari, covers some of DC’s most interesting buildings and history. John is the author of Historic Restaurants of Washington, D.C.: Capital Eats, published by the History Press, Inc. and also the author of Lost Washington DC.

Mark Twain is said to have called it the ugliest building in America, a sentiment later echoed by President Harry S Truman, who thought it the country’s “greatest monstrosity.” Now, to tear down this monstrosity would be unthinkable. Declared a national historic landmark in 1971, the massive block-long Eisenhower Executive Office Building, as it is now called, is widely cherished as a stunningly exuberant relic from a bygone era that could never be replicated. Whatever has been thought of it across the years, the building achieves architecture’s highest calling, impressing its unique identity relentlessly upon all who witness it and demanding a response.

State, War and Navy Building 05
(Author’s collection.)

As long as the federal government has been in Washington, cabinet department office buildings have stood on this site and the corresponding space on the other side of the President’s House. George Washington wanted them here, and under his direction, architect George Hadfield (1763-1826), designed the first two distinguished, federal-style buildings, which were ready for early bureaucrats to occupy when the government moved to Washington in 1800. After the British burned the buildings in 1814, they were reconstructed, and two more matching buildings were added, one on either side, to form a neat and symmetrical Executive Branch campus surrounding the President’s House. On the east side, along 15th Street, stood the State Department to the north and the Treasury Department to the south. To the west, along 17th Street, were the Navy and War Departments. (more…)

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From a press release:

“The larger-than-life sculptures by internationally renowned artist Magdalena Abakanowicz (b. 1930) will be on view beginning September 27 as part of the New York Avenue Sculpture Project, the only public art space featuring changing installations of contemporary works by women artists in Washington, D.C. Organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), the New York Avenue Sculpture Project is a collaboration between the museum, the Downtown DC Business Improvement District (BID), the DC Office of Planning and other local agencies. The Sculpture Project illustrates the museum’s long-term commitment to the artistic beautification of New York Avenue, fostering a vibrant new identity for the neighborhood just east of the White House. Located in the median of New York Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets, NW, the installation will be on view from Sept. 27, 2014 through Sept. 27, 2015.

The Sculpture Project will include a range of figurative works by Polish artist Abakanowicz. Her monumentally-scaled sculptures of grouped human figures and birds in flight exemplify issues universal to humankind: the power of nature, the force of destruction and the resiliency of hope. Abakanowicz’s art is often inspired by her experiences and observations during World War II and its repressive postwar climate.

“This installation will honor one of the greatest monumental sculptors of our time. Her works’ placement within the capital city of our republic will be compelling,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “Abakanowicz’s sculptures of figures atop wheel axles relate to her childhood memory of traveling with coins sewn into her clothing while escaping advancing military troops. When viewed in the context of New York Avenue, with drivers and pedestrians moving by, these sculptures will allude more generally to human journeys, both actual and metaphysical.”

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Lots more photos and closeups after the jump. (more…)