Best Spot for Half-Pint or 40: Gas Station Across from CVS

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gas station booze

It’s been a while– some say too long– since we’ve had a proper “Best Spot for Half-Pint or 40” post. Thanks to a reader for sending in the above photo, taken at the gas station across from CVS on Bladensburg Road at Morse St NE.

Where do you like to enjoy your adult beverages?

DC Council Candidate Isn’t Sure H Street is So Great


Next year, Ward 6 residents will select a new councilmember to represent them, and Dr. Shelonda Tillman wants their votes.

Tillman, a native Washingtonian with a “Ward 6 family legacy for over 70 years,” showed up at last night’s ANC 6A Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee meeting, in which concerned citizens, business owners, and advisory neighborhood commissioners discussed local alcohol-serving businesses and- more specifically- operating hours for rooftop decks and patios along H Street NE.

During the meeting, business owners and supporters provided several arguments for their position: years of being good neighbors show their goodwill, the agreements are poorly written from a legal standpoint, and the years-old agreements unfairly restrict them based on the H Street of 5-10 years ago.  Some concerned citizens and commissioners, meanwhile, want to continue the additional limitations on bars and restaurants, saying they’re necessary to prevent additional noise and other problems.

Joe Englert, who is many times credited with the revival of H Street NE, purchased a handful of H Street buildings and began opening bars on H Street in 2005, starting with Argonaut.  At the meeting, he made his case:

But, Council candidate Dr. Tillman wasn’t so sure:


After the meeting, Tillman took to her campaign’s blog to post her concerns about H Street, asking, “Is H Street Really a Great Street?” The single-paragraph screed calls out Englert by the moniker “Mr. Argonaut” and chastises him for suggesting that people wanting more business variety start their own businesses. She also oddly called Argonaut, known as *the* go-to family restaurant in the area, as “not a place where I can take my small children sit, eat, and have a great time without seeing an establishment filled with alcohol behind a bar.”

This covers everything: noise complaints, intoxication, H Street’s national prominence, fear of crime, complaints about lack of business, complaints about current businesses, and more. From Tillman’s campaign blog:

Tonight was a great night listening to residents and business in regards to noise ordinances and hours of operation on H street. As Economic Opportunity and Development being a facet of my political platform. Many homeowners are not pleased with the noise and intoxicated patrons on H Street. Many residents are fed up with the noise from rooftops decks as well. As a business owner and resident of ward 6 I can definitely understand the views of both businesses and restaurants. I was there to observe and listen but a female senior (pearl of wisdom) spoke in reference to the types of businesses on H street. H street is an area in the Ward that has been featured in Forbes magazine. The development has increased property values in the area. I remember as a child being afraid to walk down H street because it was filled with homelessness and narcotics. I am pleased with the development on H street. I decided to speak when the residents around me began to complain that there are no quality places to shop during the day besides liquor stores, barber shops, and nail salons. Mr. Argonaut (who owns approximately 5-8 bars on H st a house on Linden and lives on Connecticut Avenue has done great things in the area, but makes a statement saying “if you want to see those stores such and other sustainable business that are not a bars come into the neighborhood, then how about 20-30 of you sitting here take your money and invest in building one. Wow!!! He continued to say that he has a family restaurant where children eat free on the Wednesdays. In my opinion a family restaurant is a place where I can take my small children sit, eat, and have a great time without seeing an establishment filled with alcohol behind a bar. For example, a resident stated cracker barrel is a family restaurant, IHOP is a family restaurant, Olive Garden is a family restaurant. The resident wanted to see growth and development of sustainable business not just bars, lounges, and a few other business sprawled in between. As a business owner, I understand the bottom line and seeking a return on my investment, but If I am providing a service, I must be open to listening to everyone. I may not be able to please everyone but I can definitely listen to everyone. As a candidate for council, I must listen to the unanimous decisions that were expressed by my constituents. I decided to address Mr. Argonaut and state that many of the residents do not have 10’s of millions of dollars to invest in businesses. But what they have invested numerous amounts of money into are their homes that they have worked hard to purchase and provide shelter for their families. There are tons of stay at home moms in the area and tons of seniors. So Mr. Argonaut and I have decided to connect and give seniors a chance to hand dance and have a great time on H street so they can see what a great street H st has become. I commend all of the business owners especially Mr.Argonaut for investing and developing a business in our Ward. As a candidate for council I pledge to speak with developers to build a quality strip mall on H street that can cater to moms and seniors along with the young adults that love H street just as much as I do. I am definitely going to try the Argonaut on Wednesday Night (tomorrow) and bring my 5 year old daughter since her birthday is Friday. I am glad I went to the meeting to listen to all residents and business owners.

It’s a bit odd that Tillamn’s basis for Argonaut not being family-friendly is the serving of alcohol, considering Olive Garden on her approved list, despite the national chain serving the same. Tillman announced that she will check out claims that Argonaut is a family restaurant tonight, which happens to be their weekly family night in which kids eat free:

Why is Vincent Orange pushing so hard for a Maryland parking company? That’s the $20,000 question.


Vincent Orange's Money Machine

According to DC Council staffers, an adamant Vincent Orange has been speaking up about a parking meter maintenance contract, stating that a Maryland-based company should have received the contract instead of Xerox, which was objectively selected by a city procurement panel.  Orange seems adamant that the city selected the wrong vendor, and has made efforts within the Wilson Building to make sure his colleagues know that he firmly believes Worldwide Parking is the better team for the job. That has at least a few of his fellow councilmembers getting annoyed.

Maryland-based Worldwide Parking, Inc. was one of two vendors to submit a proposal to “perform asset management services to maintain and preserve parking meter assets” for the District Department of Transportation.  After reviewing proposals, a city evaluation panel selected Xerox in 2012 as the winning vendor, and Worldwide Parking launched a series of unsuccessful attempts to appeal the decision.  The contract is worth up to $33 million for 5 years, and Orange is trying to convince his Council colleagues to interfere with the contracting process to prevent Xerox from winning the contract.  Councilmember Mary Cheh’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment is said to be less than pleased at Orange’s shenanigans and will hold a roundtable hearing today at 3:15pm for everyone to air grievances before a vote to approve the contract.

Orange has a history of interfering with the contracting process & city officials.  In February of this year, he oddly tried to derail a contract awarded to a competitor of a campaign contributor to streamline operations at United Medical Center.  We also broke news in January that Vincent Orange interfered with health inspectors in an attempt to keep a different campaign contributor’s produce store open, even after inspectors saw evidence of rat feces tainting produce for sale to the public.

Preceding the latest episode of Orange’s peculiar rallying, Worldwide Parking Inc. donated the maximum legal amount- $2,000- to Vincent Orange’s campaign for mayor on November 22, 2013.  Also donating the maximum legal amount: Marc & Joel Meisel, president and CEO, respectively, of Worldwide Parking, which is headquartered at 6000 Executive Boulevard in Rockville, MD.


As it happens, on the very same day, 7 other entities located at the same address and office suite also contributed the maximum-allowable amount to Orange’s mayoral campaign.  All in all, team Orange got $20,000 total in one day from 10 entities affiliated with Worldwide Parking or using the same address.

Santa Maria Resort Inc., for example, has a Florida business license to operate the Santa Maria Suites in Key West, which promises “a truly sophisticated and contemporary resort unlike the other hotels.”  It’s unclear what would motivate a Florida resort to take an interest in the DC mayor’s race, but Joel and Marc Meisel are listed as the corporate officers and the entity shares Worldwide Parking’s corporate home address, according to Florida records.

Relationships to Worldwide’s Rockville address or officers were also present in records for the other entities. Reviewing state records from DC, Maryland, Delaware, and Florida, these entities seem to be controlled by a small handful of people.

As stated previously, the entities’ campaign contributions were within the legal limits, and there have been no accusations of wrongdoing.  However, it’s an interesting look into the campaign finance process, especially in light of Orange’s bizarrely-timed rallying.

With the hearing set for 3:15pm today, perhaps the third time will be the charm for Vincent Orange.

Tonight: Fundraiser for military survivors; $20 for unlimited beer 8-10pm

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The Pug, 1234 H Street NE

The Pug, 1234 H Street NE

Tonight, the best bar on H Street NE (according to our reader poll, and testimony of many others) is hosting a fundraiser for a great cause.  From 8-10pm tonight (Thursday), stop by the Pug at 1234 H Street NE and get unlimited Strohs beer for a $20 donation.   The money goes to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, a non-profit group that support military survivors.

From Tony, owner of the Pug:

Please excuse the long post, but we’ve got a fundraiser tonight at the pug tonight i want to tell you about. A year ago, chaz and i were working a slow december evening when a group of ten or so came in. There was an order placed for some kind of shooter that doesn’t get done at the pug. After some discussion, whiskey was served and after further conversation, it turned out this group was in to honor the anniversary of young man who had been killed in afghanistan. With out going into great detail, Justin Schmalstieg was killed on December 15th defusing a roadside bomb. Certainly the term hero and warrior gets tossed about frequently, all i say is this guy’s actions saved the lives of the folks he was with.

Beyond serving up a bunch of whiskey, listening to these veterans, playing amazing grace on the juke box, and leaving an empty barstool for these kids killed in action, i think most of us are largely ill equipped to help.

Justin’s family are involved now with TAPS, tragedy assistance program for survivors. Look them up at taps.org. Tonight, at the pug, in honor of Justin, from 8 to 10 we will be raising funds for TAPS. A $20 donation gets as much strohs as you care to imbibe. Please try to stop by, or make a donation on line, or just take a moment to remember those who are serving and sacrificing daily to make our lives better. (if you wouldn’t mind sharing this for other people to see, i’ld be grateful.)

MPD Officer Suspected of Child Porn Found in Washington Channel; Transported to Hospital with Life-Threatening Injuries

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MPD Chief Cathy Lanier

MPD Chief Cathy Lanier

Multiple sources reported to us that the U.S. Park Police and Metropolitan Police are working an active scene near Hains Point, where they have pulled a man from the Washington Channel.

After recovering the body, police began CPR and the victim was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. According to the sources, the victim is MPD officer Marc Washington, who was recently announced as the target of a child pornography investigation.

Washington was arrested last week. At a hearing Monday on Washington’s child porn charges, a judge released Washington and ordered him to house arrest and to wear a GPS monitoring device. We have not yet been able to officially confirm the latest details with the MPD Public Information Officer. More details as they become available.

Tonight’s ANC 5D meeting canceled/postponed due to hazardous conditions

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snow plow rain

From ANC 5D chair Kathy Henderson:

Good Afternoon All:

The weather, though manageable now will turn hazardous this afternoon when the temperature drops. We appreciate all of the concerned neighbors that attend our meetings and additional neighbors that planned to attend tonight. We want everyone to be safe. This meeting will be rescheduled.

Kathy Henderson, 5D05
Chairman, ANC 5D
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

TONIGHT: Community meeting on new development on Neal Street

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From ANC Commissioner Tina Laskaris:

Hello Community Members !
Please be advised there will be an SMD 5D06 Meeting Monday, December 9 @ 6:30pm. Joseph Cole Community Center.
Representatives from Higher Development Academy will provide a presentation of their plans to establish a private school for adults st 1125 Neal St, behind Center City Charter School. The building will be leased from Holy Name Catholic Church.
The property was previously used as a child development center. They are seeking a Special Exception from the Board of Zoning to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy and utilize the building for adults rather than children.
See everyone there

Big Traffic Changes on H Street Starting TODAY

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Workers installing catenary wires for DC streetcar service.

Workers installing catenary wires for DC streetcar service.

If you usually cross the Hopscotch Bridge on H Street NE, traffic will be intermittent detours & closures around H Street starting today.

From DDOT:

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has announced the DC Streetcar construction team will implement intermittent closures of the eastbound and westbound lanes of H Street, NE between North Capitol Street, NE and 5th Street, NE starting on Friday, December 6, 2013 through Thursday, December 19, 2013. The closures are needed for the installation of overhead catenary system (OCS) and to complete the permanent traffic barrier at the Western Turnaround.

To mitigate traffic impacts, crews will attempt to maintain one direction of traffic; however, there will be occasional simultaneous eastbound and westbound closures. With the exception of a two-day period for the installation of contact wire (1/2 day closure in each direction), crews will attempt to limit the closures to one direction per day.

For any combination of closures, local traffic will be permitted access to/from the Union Station garage and Kaiser loading dock entrance. Traffic Control Officers (TCO) will be present to assist with pedestrian movements, to direct vehicles in and out of the garage, and to control traffic at H Street, NE and North Capitol Street, NE.


All eastbound H Street NE traffic, west of the Hopscotch Bridge, will:

turn left on N. Capitol Street, NE going north;
right on K Street, NE going east;
right on 5th Street, NE going south;
left on H Street, NE going east.

All westbound H Street traffic, east of the Hopscotch Bridge, will:

turn right on 5th Street, NE going north;
left on K Street, NE going west;
left on N. Capitol Street, NE going south;
right on H Street, NE going west.

During the westbound closures, traffic on southbound 4th Street NE attempting to go west on H Street NE, will:

turn left on H Street, NE going east;
left on 5th Street, NE going north;
turn right on K Street, NE and follow the detour signs back to H Street, NE.

WMATA riders are encouraged to utilize the bus stop on H Street, NE at 6th Street for both eastbound and westbound service. WMATA will provide signage at existing stops that are not in service during the closures.

Loading zones will be impacted while work is taking place in a specific block. Freight and delivery vehicles are asked to please adhere to all parking restrictions. Advanced warning variable message signs (VMS) will be updated to notify commuters of each closure. A VMS will be stationed east of the Starburst (15th Street, NE and Benning Road, NE) to direct westbound truck traffic to proceed west on Florida Avenue, NE, to the detour route on K Street, NE.

DC asks residents to run weekend errands on Saturday, stay home Sunday

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snow plow rain

We’re supposed to receive wintry weather on Sunday, and DC is asking citizens to stay home.  From the DC Department of Public Works:


The DC Snow Team (Department of Public Works and Department of Transportation) will deploy more than 200 plows to commercial and residential streets Sunday morning, December 8 to be on site in advance of the upcoming wintry mix of freezing rain and snow.  Meteorologists predict the storm will move in Sunday morning, starting as snow and maybe accumulating about 1-2 inches.  Snow is expected to change to freezing rain/sleet for most of Sunday afternoon into the evening. The temperature is expected to hover at or around 32F- 34F and then, start to rise Sunday night around midnight into Monday morning and change to all rain.


The team is closely tracking the weather.  If there is no rain Saturday, crews will apply the brine/beet juice solution to bridges, ramps, other elevated structures and challenging residential streets to reduce the chance of freezing.


“Freezing rain is the most dangerous winter condition there is, so we urge residents to stay safe and stay home,” said DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr.  “Make this a time for enjoying family, rooting for your favorite football team or catching up on that book you’ve been meaning to read.”  Director Howland added that freezing rain also may result in loss of power, so residents should be prepared.  Pepco strongly urges everyone to call 1-877-Pepco-62 (1-877-737-2662) to report power outages and downed wires (stay away from downed wires and report them immediately).


Property owners are asked to treat their sidewalks with an abrasive such as non-clumping kitty litter, a deicer or rock salt.  This snow season, the Snow Team is testing the effectiveness of pet-safe deicer on bridges with pedestrian sidewalks.


DPW leaf collection crews are the backbone of the Snow Team; therefore, leaf collection will be suspended starting Friday, December 6 through the end of the event.  These crews will return to collecting leaves and will continue collections in Area A neighborhoods until they are finished.


Winter Weather Safety and Preparedness Tips:  If you must go out, travel cautiously.  Assist elderly or disabled neighbors with clearing their sidewalks. Also, for plow drivers’ safety, “Don’t crowd the plow.”  Residents are encouraged to go to snow.dc.gov for updates before, during and after winter storms, and for tips to get one’s home and family prepared for inclement weather.  Residents also may sign up at alert.dc.gov to receive emergency alerts and notifications from Alert DC.


To track the plows, go to snow.dc.gov and click on Track Our Plows:  http://snowmap.dc.gov/.



New hookah/tobacco shop replacing Philly Water Ice?


1204 H Street NE, Home of "Hookah Tobacco & Supplies"

1204 H Street NE, Home of “Hookah Tobacco & Supplies”

A reader sent in the above photo, alerting us that H Street NE’s Philly Water Ice, at 1204 H Street NE and, has been cleared out.

From a reader:

Dear Titan, the Philadelphia Water Ice near H and 13th is completely cleared out, and there are now a bunch of “Hookahs” in the window, and what looks like a shop counter at the back of the space Could a head shop be coming to H St? Don’t they have to get community approval for that kind of use?

A quick look of city records shows a recently-granted business license for a hookah tobacco shop:
Start Renewal : 2013/09/01
End Renewal : 2015/08/31
Description : General Business
Anyone know what’s up with that location?

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