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I’ve lived here about three years; the neighborhood wasn’t as rough as a lot of people who don’t live here seem to think even when I first moved in, but it’s also been improving rapidly and steadily, both in terms of safety and in terms of general livability.
People have mentioned Harrar, Sankofa, and Kokeb above; there’s also a good Indian takeout place that delivers a couple of blocks south (Salt and Pepper) and a couple more restaurants set to move in a block or so south on Sherman in the next year. Plus it’s an easy walk to Park View, lower Petworth, and Columbia Heights. All my neighbors are friendly and “neighborly”, and if you’re off the major streets it’s generally pretty quiet. Next year when the Safeway renovation is done in Petworth we’ll be a mile or so from the biggest one in the city 🙂
When I first moved in, my opinion of the neighborhood was “eh, it’s an okay area to buy a starter house.” Now I’d be claiming prescience if I could, with the way that every week seems to bring news of another restaurant or development coming in, and it’s become a great, fun neighborhood that I almost never need to leave for a meal or a night out.