by Katherine Saltzman
Another taste of Italy: A family-run Italian restaurant called Da Noi will open in the storefront most recently occupied by Banana Leaf (5014 Connecticut Avenue). Like Banana Leaf, Da Noi Hospitality has New York roots, with three locations in New York and one in New Jersey. It did not respond to a message seeking comment.
Commenters on Popville note a number of Italian and Mediterranean options to the north and south on Connecticut Avenue so it will be interesting to see how this restaurant group differentiates itself.
And Union Market makes three: Politics and Prose opened a Union Market location in June. This was the first P&P expansion to be announced, but the second to open. The Politics and Prose store at The Wharf opened in October 2017. Between the new locations and the recent expansion of the flagship store at 5015 Connecticut, owners Lissa Muscatine and Bradley Graham say, “these steps reflect both the renewed vigor of the independent bookstore business and the dynamism of the nation’s capital.”
An end and a beginning at American City Diner: The restaurant at 5532 Connecticut Avenue closed on July 9th. Almost immediately after, Steve Salis, the owner of Kramerbooks & Afterwords and Ted’s Bulletin and co-founder of &pizza announced he was taking over the diner space. But he did not share his plans for the spot.
NBC Washington spoke to the niece of the late founder of the restaurant, Jeffrey Gildenhorn. She said the family was not able to maintain the business after his death last summer.
DC Line collected some fond memories from neighbors and patrons:
“Cosima Gallina, a lifelong resident of the area, grew up just one block from American City Diner. ‘My mom took me there every week for burgers, milkshakes and arcade games,’ she said. ‘I had so many happy childhood memories there and am so sad to see it close.’ Gallina, an American University graduate, loved the jukebox and often saved up her quarters to play her favorite songs.”
Washingtonian has more on the restaurant entrepreneur who is taking over the space.
A task force looks at parking in Chevy Chase: ANC 3/4G has established a task force focusing on neighborhood parking availability.
“Parking issues have a significant impact on our residential neighborhoods and business districts. They directly affect quality of life throughout our district,” said the July 9th resolution creating the task force. It notes that local business owners are concerned about parking for patrons and their employees.
Prior to the meeting, ANC 3/4G05 Commissioner Jerry Malitz conducted a survey of available spots. He included metered street parking spaces as well as surface parking lots at the Chevy Chase Safeway, Magruders, Wells Fargo, PNC Bank and CVS. (He also included the parking lot behind Politics and Prose). The grand total: 377 parking spots, including 22 handicapped spots.
The task force will make recommendations and submit requests to DDOT.
“We are very excited about moving into Cleveland Park as we have a lot of clients in the area.” said Taher Kahiel, the salon owner. “It’s still very close to the same community we have been in for almost 20 years. The shop will be a little smaller, but the last one was too big. This is just the right size.”
The salon first opened on American University’s campus in 1998 as Hair City. It came by its current name 14 years ago, Kahiel said. In 2014, as AU made space for more student dining options, the salon was forced to close. TIGI relocated to 4000 Wisconsin Avenue, and four years later, is relocating again to better accommodate its business needs.
The salon currently has five stylists and expects to hire more when the Cleveland Park location opens. The store is expected to open at the end of July.
First impressions matter: “Most customers take less than five seconds to decide whether they will enter a store or restaurant based on a cursory impression,” said Leigh Catherine Miles, the Tenleytown Main Street executive director. In late June, the main street launched a facade improvement program for Tenleytown businesses.
The first to receive design consultations and façade updates are located at 4932 and 4936 Wisconsin Avenue. 4932 Wisconsin is home to the National Diving Center (NDC), the oldest dive shop in Washington. It opened in its current Tenleytown location in 1973. NDC was purchased in May 2018 by business partners Yovani Soto and Ronald Whalen.
Despite the store’s long success, the exterior of the shop was overdue for updates and renovations, said Soto, who is the operations and logistics manager as well as co-owner. Without the grant assistance from Tenleytown Main Street, facade improvements for the shop would have been put on hold.
“Having a program like this for a small business owner like myself, [to be] selected was an honor and we can divert funds in other places,” Soto told Forest Hills Connection. “It needed to be done, it was in the books but would’ve taken a little more time than we would have wanted to.”
The facade improvement program is funded through a grant from the DC Main Street’s Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD). It follows a 2017 commercial corridor study by Tenleytown Main Street and Streetsense, a commercial design firm.
In addition, Soto is restoring and repainting the original National Diving Center sign crafted by a longtime friend and patron of the store. And he hopes to host a celebration when the project is complete.
“This program not only helps us attract new customers but also gives our new customers a new look and something to be proud of to call their home dive shop,” Soto said.
Correction: The original piece said Streetsense is working with the National Diving Center on the facade design. The Tenleytown Main Street is leading and implementing its facade improvement program. Streetsense is not involved in the project.