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“Jackie Lee’s relaxed and welcoming vibe, a reflection of its owners, has attracted a diverse clientele of mostly neighbors into this restaurant and bar.”

Nick Schieber. Photo by Cassandra Hetherington

Cassandra Hetherington is a a volunteer for Uptown Main Street. She wrote about Maria Villalta and Pica Taco here.

Thanks again to Cassandra Hetherington for sharing with us:

“Musicians Jamaal and David sip beer and discuss their upcoming performance at a nearby coffee house. Due to the dark cloudy skies and threat of rain, Jamaal left his guitar at home so for now, they are unable to practice playing their instruments together. Jamaal and David, both residents of Manor Park, met at Jackie Lee’s many moons ago and quickly became friends. This is exactly the kind of neighborhood bar Nick Schieber, Jason Crafton, and Amanda Kelsey hoped to create when they opened Jackie Lee’s on Kennedy Street NW.

Having moved to D.C. from Florida a decade ago, Nick spent the majority of his adult life working in restaurants; most recently at the Red Derby on 14th Street NW. Jackie Lee’s relaxed and welcoming vibe, a reflection of its owners, has attracted a diverse clientele of mostly neighbors into this restaurant and bar.

While we talk, a regular customer comes over to show Nick her freshly painted fingernails and toenails and to make a reservation for an outdoor table later that night. Nick says they recognize nearly everyone that comes into Jackie Lee’s as being from the neighborhood and has even noticed a slight uptick in new people who have recently moved into the surrounding area.

Despite the uncertainty of the moment, Nick remains optimistic that their stretch of Kennedy Street will include more small ‘mom and pop’ businesses opened by people from the local community. His optimism is not misplaced as La Coop Coffee, a stone’s throw from Jackie Lee’s, opened July 1st. Due to the pandemic, no one is inside Jackie Lee’s watching a movie on their large screen but many of the neighbors continue to stop by to purchase food and drink to take home. I discover Jamaal lives a few houses away from me and we promise to continue our conversation the next time we see each other. With one more connection between neighbors made, the mission of Jackie Lee’s is a success.”

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