Archive for the 'Life on RIA' Category


Lace’s Liquor License Is Up for Review

laceLace DC, the bar with an identity crisis, located at 2214 RIA NE, will have an ABRA hearing to review the renewal of its Class C Tavern liquor license on December 16, 2013. Petitions/letters of opposition or support must be filed on or before December 2. Back in August, Lace was listed for sale, and with a realty lock box still on the property, we’ll have to assume that it is still for sale.

The ABRA hearing will take place at 10:00AM on Dec 16, at 2000 14th Street NW, 4th Floor.


RIA’s (Not So) Secret Deli

When you first approach the sandwich shop, you wonder if this could possibly be the place that you have heard everyone rave about. It’s small. It has rusted security grates next to the windows and the window decal says “Subbs”. Why the extra “b”? The window also says “The Best Subs in Town”, so you dare to enter. As soon as you walk in, there’s always several customers already there, either waiting, looking at the menu on the wall, or ordering. A guy with a fisherman’s cap and a grey beard, wearing a waist apron, acknowledges you from behind the counter. He’s ready to take your order. I order a #1 and he scribbles it down on the pad of blank white paper and asks if I want hot peppers. Of course. He asks for my name, and then gives the order to the sandwich makers behind him.

I wasn’t asked if I wanted anything to go along with my sub. There isn’t anything else. That’s what Carl’s Subs is all about. Just cold-cut deli sandwiches. And they do them really, really well. If you want chips or a bottled drink, you can grab that as you pay (they only accept cash). The shop consists of a counter to order and another behind the front counter where they make the sandwiches. No frills but a damn good sandwich. The menu has around 20 different kinds of subs and all of them are around $7. The place has no website, no facebook account, no twitter account. Heck, they don’t even have flyers or marketing but they do have a loyal following and word of mouth has kept this place afloat for years. Don’t take my word for it, here are some Yelp reviews:

let me tell you that Carl’s is the real deal when it comes to hero/sub sandwiches.  The best deli sandwich in DC. Believe it.

Carl’s Sub Shop is one of DC’s hidden Treasures. From the outside no one would dare enter this place. But from the moment you enter you feel @ home. Carl himself usually greets you as you enter with “welcome home, what will you have today”.

ALL of the subs are worth @least one try. But be warned you will be back. Carl’s is all about freshness and quality. He cuts his own meats and cheeses fresh daily and the bread and veggies are also delivered daily.

Those that live around Carl’s know how good it is, and so does others throughout the City. People flock to the place from all over. Fire trucks pull up during lunch time to pick up an order for their firehouse. Utility workers, police, and folks in suits and ties all line up during lunch for a sub.

Give it a try, you will NOT be disappointed. We try to keep this neighborhood gem as a sort of “our secret” but after eating there, you can’t help but sing its praises.

Address: 2208 Rhode Island Ave NE
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9am – 4:55pm

Take out only.


Metro Bus Changes Coming for RIA

busIf you ride any of the Metro buses along Rhode Island Ave NE, you will want to attend the upcoming public hearings on proposed new routes and options.

Here is the information regarding the new public meetings:

Metro will be holding the two more public meetings for this project on November 12 and 13.  You’re invited!

The study team will be showing a set of improvement options – including potential new routes and services – and wants to get your feedback on them.

If you’re a rider of Metrobus routes G8, T18, 81, 82, 83, 84, or 86, please come to one of the meetings and let us know which options you would like to see recommended to the Metro Board for approval!

The dates, times, and locations of the two meetings are:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Watha T. Daniel / Shaw Neighborhood Library
Rhode Island Avenue & 7th Street NW
Washington, DC
6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
(Across the street from Shaw Metro Station and served directly by Metrobus Routes G8, 70, and 79.)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Hyattsville City Hall, Municipal Building
1st Floor, Multipurpose Room
4310 Gallatin Street
Hyattsville, MD
6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
(Served by Metrobus Routes 83 and F8)

No presentation will be given at the meetings.  They will be “open house” format, meaning that you can arrive any time between 6:00 pm and 7:30 pm to review the improvement options and talk with project team members.  We would like to get feedback about these preliminary plans from as many riders as possible before completing the final report and submitting recommendations to the Metro Board in 2014.

All members of the public are invited and no RSVP is necessary. Please let your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and fellow riders know about these public meetings!

Both facilities are wheelchair accessible. A Spanish translator will be available for those who prefer to communicate in Spanish.


McDuffie Brings Help to RIA Businesses!

checkThe road to revitalization has just gotten a boost from Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie and Mayor Gray this morning at an event at the DC Dragons Martial Arts Training Center, located on RIA. McDuffie and Gray stood behind an oversized check to emphasize the size of the grants to local businesses being made in Ward 5 due to the Great Streets Small Business Capital Improvement Program, a program that McDuffie fought hard to get funded for this Ward since taking office. These grants will help businesses to improve their facade and make other improvements.

Among the $2.1 million in grants going to Rhode Island Ave businesses are:

  • DC Dragons Martial Arts Training Center
  • The Material World Boutique
  • The Avenue Day Spa
  • Provost
  • AA Enterprise
  • P&G Counseling and Educational Institute


Here is Councilmember McDuffie’s letter to the community regarding these grants:

October 28, 2013


Dear Residents,


This morning I joined Mayor Gray and Victor Hoskins, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), at the DC Dragons Martial Arts Training Center, located at 1731 Rhode Island Avenue NE, to celebrate the 29 awardees of the Great Streets Small Business Capital Improvement Program.


As you may know, earlier this year I introduced, and the Council passed, legislation declaring Bladensburg Road, North Capitol Street, and Rhode Island Avenue as “Retail Priority Areas.” This designation provides access to Great Streets grants and technical assistance from DMPED for businesses along these corridors. As a result of this legislative accomplishment, today nine Ward 5 businesses along Bladensburg Road, North Capitol Street, and Rhode Island Avenue were awarded grants to improve their businesses!


Ward 5 did exceptionally well in this competitive grant process. Of the $2.1 million in grant monies awarded throughout Retail Priority Areas across the city, nearly $740,000 went to businesses along Bladensburg Road, North Capitol Street, and Rhode Island Avenue.


Ward 5’s awardees are as follows:


  • Wonder Automotive, located at 1111 Bladensburg Road NE, is an automobile repair shop that will use its $85,000 award for building renovations and signage to attract new customers.
  • Cornerstone Bar Group, located at 1648 North Capitol Street NW, will use its $85,000 award to convert a vacant building on the site into a new restaurant to serve the Truxton Circle, Bloomingdale, and Eckington neighborhoods.
  • The Avenue Day Spa, located at 2125 Rhode Island Avenue NE, is a salon that will use its $85,000 award for store improvements and to install new signage.
  • DC Dragons Martial Arts Training Center, located at 1731 Rhode Island Avenue NE, is a family owned and operated martial arts studio that will use its $69,500 award to renovate its facility.
  • The Material World Boutique, located at 2121 Rhode Island Avenue NE, a retail store on the Rhode Island Avenue corridor will use its $85,000 award for façade improvements and equipment upgrades.
  • Provost, located at 2129 Rhode Island Avenue NE, is a new restaurant that will use its $85,000 award for façade and space improvements.
  • AA Enterprise, located at 3010 Rhode Island Avenue NE, is an automobile repair shop that will use its $73,000 award to install digital signage.
  • ICHPROP, located at 1601 Rhode Island Avenue NE, is a restaurant serving the Langdon and Brookland communities that will use its $85,000 award for streetscape and rear outdoor area upgrades.
  • P & G Counseling and Educational Institute, located at 2218 Rhode Island Avenue NE, is a mental health services company that will use its $84,996 award to renovate both its interior and exterior space.

I want to publicly congratulate these Ward 5 businesses on a job well done in the application process. I look forward to working with the community to identify additional ways to support our small businesses and to grow our retail corridors.


In service,





Zekes Grand Opening Coming Nov 2nd!

John Kepner (l), owner, and xxxxxx

John Kepner (l), owner, and Brian Bovard

The Baltimore-based coffee roaster is about to open on Rhode Island Avenue within a few weeks (check out our earlier story on Zeke’s here). Zeke’s Coffee of DC has announced its Grand Opening on Saturday, November 2nd from 9am to 2pm at its new location at 2300 Rhode Island Ave NE, and is calling itself a “DC Roaster and Coffee Lab” — see flyer at bottom of this article. This small batch roaster will offer samples of their creations as they roast them, so you’re going to have to stop by often to see what they are brewing up next! The Insider stopped by Zeke’s and met up with its owner (and DC resident), John Kepner, to take a tour of the new space (and it’s handmade 12lb roaster).

Make sure to stop by during the Grand Opening and pass the word!! Can’t wait until the Grand Opening to try Zeke’s Coffee? Check them out at locations throughout the City listed here.



Art Mural on RIA Stirs Residents’ Emotions

photo courtesy of David Miller (@themilman)

photo courtesy of David Miller (@themilman)

*** Updated continuously as comments are posted***

A couple of weeks ago, an art mural appeared on the building owned by Good ‘Ole Reliable along Rhode Island Avenue NE. The mural depicts soldiers and American flag colors in a patriotic theme. The liquor store sits across the street from the Veteran Administration’s building. So is it appropriate? The Insider decided early on to wait to see what the reaction was on the listservs. Below are some reactions, and please let us know what you think in our comment section.

From the Ward 5 Listserv:

I could not imagine why someone would paint a military mural on the liquor store at Franklin and Rhode Island Ave. At first I thought maybe an army recruiter was moving into the building. Now, I am not sure.  However, I am opposed to this military propaganda appearing in our neighborhood.  I feel that this depiction encourages war and adds nothing positive to the neighborhood aesthetic.
I am not in favor of censorship, but I know this kinda thing, an unattractive, militaristic, cartoon caricature  would not be painted anywhere in Ward 3.
With the prison looking architecture of the new library, I feel that someone is trying to make our neighborhood into a war zone.
Residents should stand up and just say no. Enough of this degradation.  -Stephanie Kristina Rones, PCDC
It is not very pleasant but it coincides with the name of the liquor store which has been there longer than I can remember (at lease 25 years or more) back when the Pizza Hut was shiney and fancy and the best ice cream in the area was up the street in the strip mall next to the Discount Mart (I think that was the name). – Eric Jones
Last week, on a daily basis, I watched the skillful hands of three (3) wonderful young artists, create a vision on the plain egg shell white walls of this business establishment (which has sometimes been “Tagged”), which evolved from the spirit of intent of the thoughts and feelings of the owners of this business to bring about a colorful, visual expression of their appreciation and deserved place of honor for those who serve our country in the military for all to see.
Ironically, this simple, highly expressive and symbolic mural, located at the intersection of 15th St, RIA and Franklin St NE, is right across the street from the I believe is the now 2 year old federal Veterans Resource Center, which is serving our Veteran population.  Perfect!
Included in this “Mind Melt” was the important need to create a work of art which the “Taggers” would also appreciate and respect, therefore would not destroy.
Rather than write an “arm chair response”, I stopped by the store this evening and talked with the owners. I learned this mural came about through funding by a DC government agency, which I think may have come from DC Commission on Arts and Humanities.  The owners were approached by the DC govt agency which was working towards placing art on blank walls to gain control over “Tagging” and Graffiti.  The property owners are teamed with the artists.  Proper paperwork was developed for this project as with the others. 
I recall when an ANC commissioner, there was a problem with tagging on private property and cars by some unidentified youth in my SMD.  From talking with Bill Howland, Director, DPW, at the time, he was working on ways to get a handle on the problem.  Thanks Mayor Gray, Bill Howland and any other agency involved with coming up with this idea, which gives our young people an opportunity to express themselves in a positive, supportive manner!
Wars and other military conflicts are hard for many people to accept.  Our system like in other countries have a military to defend “against the enemy” to protect national security.  In the US system is the military industrial complex, which sadly, at times, utilizes our troops to protect their own self serving interests, at a cost of lives, and many soldiers returning permanently injured in body and mind, but they sign up to serve.  Even more egregious, are the DC residents who sign up to serve our country, yet, pay taxes and do not have the right to vote for a full-fledged Representative or Senator.
Recognizing their service is the right thing to do.  I only hope that a woman in service can be depicted on the remaining blank wall, for we now also serve.  I will ask, with hopes that the owners will agree, and that the needed additional funding can be found. BTW, the owners, who also own the entire building, welcome anyone who wants to inquire about this beautiful tribute mural to stop by. - Albrette “Gigi” Ransom
I have to be honest…I do not approve of this military mural on 15th and RI Ave.  I feel that it is shear propaganda and I wonder why any tax dollars were given toward this.  I cringe every time I drive by it.  I live at the corner of 17th and Rhode Island and have to see this every day now.  Above all, my 11-year-old son has to see this as well?  I am all for supporting our troops and vets as well as our talented youth, however, mural looks more like a Hitler propaganda than anything else. This mural would not be accepted west of the park.  But, we in Ward 5 have to sit back and accept this? – D Roy

From the Brookland Listserv (this conversation started due to someone cross-posting Stephanie Rones’ original comment):

I thought I was the only one to think that this location is inappropriate  to honor soldiers. The artwork is good but the subject of the artwork chosen is completely off for that location. It clearly wasn’t thought out of how the public would interpret it. We already have too many liquor stores destroying our community. We don’t need anything drawing more attention to them so the can gain more business.  - JW on Quincy

Doesn’t a mural being painted on a building need approval from the ANC to get the city permit? Did the ANC approve it? - Kathy

I am a person who supports the art and persons artistic style, therefore, I took off the word Ugly in the subject matter.  When the mural was being painted, I went and met the Artist, who I asked the questions who commissioned him to do the work and why he used the theme?  The answer was there was a call for artist from Mural DC, they liked his work and he was awarded the grant.  The theme came from Mural DC and he painted in his style.  Therefore, I suggest e-mail Mural DC with questions and concerns about the subject matter and it’s location and city requirements.  I hope this helps. – Roxanne

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