Transformation of 9th and Q St, NW Continues with Shaw Bijou opening “this winter”

by Prince Of Petworth February 22, 2016 at 10:22 pm 30 Comments

1544 9th Street, NW

The liquor license placard says has an un jewel-like description for Shaw Bijou:

“A new class “C” tavern with 99 seats and a Total Occupancy Load of 99.”

Previously The Washington Post reported last July:

“25-year-old Kwame Onwuachi, whose résumé includes stints at such cachet-carrying eateries as New York’s Eleven Madison Park and Per Se. Onwuachi expects to open the Shaw Bijou later this year.”

Their website says:

“Gregory Vakiner and Kwame Onwuachi became friends after meeting in culinary school and soon began collaborating throughout the course of their education. From putting on catering events together during school to working with one another at Eleven Madison Park, these two have a vision for fine dining that stems from their combined experiences with travel and food. Come see what this team plans to offer the culinary world at The Shaw Bijou in Washington D.C.

We will open this winter. We are finishing the build-out of our space and look forward to serving you.”

Looking towards the old slum historique:


This corner back in 2010:


  • Alex

    In case you’re not aware, he’s on this season’s Top Chef!

    • sproc

      And kicking ass too, along with Marjorie Meek-Bradley. He’s slipped a bit in the last few episodes, but his food has overall looked really exciting.

      • BRKLND

        I want Marjorie to win so badly!

        • Hill Denizen

          Me too! She’s been so awesome, and she’s a rock star baker to boot!

          • 9thStreetNW

            Looking forward to trying her pastrami shop she is opening up. That area is in need of a solid fast-casual option. Anyone know an opening date for that?

            As for Kwame, I’ve been really impressed with him for how young he is. The photos of the wagyu beef he is drying for The Shaw Bijou are incredible. Kudos to both of them for making it this far.

      • halfstreet

        I always wonder about whether my perceptions of Top Chef contestants are accurate, since it’s a tv show and subject to editing, but Kwame certainly comes across as not only a great chef but also a nice guy. I’m excited to see this place open and I wish him best of luck!

        • sproc

          Agreed, and pretty amazing backstory, too. But if comes down to it, I don’t think he’s been as consistently awesome as Marjorie. Really enjoying this season.

          • It would have been even better if Garrett from Barrel didn’t get booted on episode 1. Of the three I actually think he’s probably the best chef, even though he might not have performed as well on that one episode (and arguably the annoying girl they brought back should have gone home, but they always keep annoying people to boost ratings).

        • Anony

          I met Kwame when he did dinner lab and he seemed like a genuinely nice in person. His mom was really nice too. Also, our meal that night was awesome.

  • anon

    Exciting! I hear the owner has been having major issues with the city trying to open up this joint.

    • Petworther

      Between this and swampoodle it’s almost as if the city wants to stop popular restaurants from opening.

    • 9thStreetNW

      Do you think it has to do with the enormous hole in the ground next door? I walked by the other day and it was a war zone.

  • Curious George

    I cant wait for this place to open. Their instagram feed is great: https://www.instagram.com/theshawbijou/

  • JohnH

    What the heck is online ticketing?

    • sproc

      Instead of a reservation, you’re literally pre-paying for a specific time and meal in advance, like an event ticket. For better or worse, the idea is guaranteed revenue for the restaurant and to minimize no-shows.

      • JohnH

        So you gotta buy tickets to go eat dinner. Mmmmk.

        • Anon Spock

          You just need to show up. A tasting menu rarely gives multiple options, so you’re not being limited by the ticket, and the restaurant is also not losing money by people no showing. I’m sure you could walk in and see if they have room if their reservation set-up isn’t to your liking.
          The beauty of an optional service.

          • JohnH

            Sorry – partially just frustrated with this area’s lack of normal restaurants. The restaurants around here all seem to be incredibly specific, not just a neighborhood restaurant to go grab dinner. Someday….someday…

          • You’re not looking hard enough then.

        • Adam on Hanover

          And the ticket typically includes all food and drink, plus tax and tip. So you leave at the end of the meal without getting your wallet out at that point. For a destination/special occasion type of restaurant, this certainly makes at least as much sense as refusing to take reservations and instead having a 4-hour wait for tables. I know which experience I’d generally prefer, anyway.

          And, if you can’t make your meal, you can resell your ticket. Depending on how successful the place is, you might even turn a little profit on your ticket.

          • skj84

            I really love this idea. No muss, no fuss. No splitting checks. Just sit down and dine!

          • Duponter

            No, you just have to figure out how to split the cost in advance without the benefit of a waiter who could, you know, just split the check for you. Actually sounds like quite a bit of fuss.

          • skj84

            Actually I think it’s better to split before you even get to the table. And if drinks, food, tax and tip are already included how is it difficult to grab a calculator and divvy up the cost? I can’t math and I think I can figure that out.

          • skj84

            Not to mention if the restaurant gives you the option to pre-pay, I would assume the POS system allows the check to start out split. You wouldn’t even be dealing with the rest of the parties portion of the check.

      • tom

        I’m going to first need to see proof this is what urban sphisticates in Tribeca and Williamsburg do. I hope it is! I can’t wait to tweet back to my friends back in flyover country about how au courant dinning in DC is.

        • 7thStTechGuy

          I love this.

  • textdoc

    The renovated exterior looks nice overall… but it also looks like they’re purposely growing some kind of climbing vine on the side wall. That seems odd to me — isn’t it usually bad for the brick?

    • Shawshanked

      There are certain varieties of vine that do not damage the brick. If they are deliberately growing it I would assume this is one of those varieties.

  • Davester

    How is Shiloh not up in arms over this? For us ‘old timers’ we remember them fighting tooth and nail against Vegetate. I thought this was more of residence too when it was bought and redone 6 years back. Interesting… welcome to the neighborhood.

  • LIsa

    Adjacent to this NPS is planning to renovate the Carter G Woodson home and open it as a museum, with a visitors center next door. This block will be much less forbidding when that happens, and make the walk to Shaw Bijou from the south much less bleak.


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