Sona Creamery and Wine Bar (Photo via Facebook/Sona Creamery and Wine Bar)

The District’s only cheese maker has called it quits, closing its Capitol Hill restaurant.

Sona Creamery and Wine Bar at 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE shut down Monday, according to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

“After 3 years of working the regulatory chain to get raw milk in the District, and become the first cheese creamery, we were paying rent for space that wasn’t supporting itself,” the message says. “Unfortunately, this has made it impossible to remain open.”

The post adds: “We are grateful for the memories and wonderful people we met along this journey. Thank you for all of your support.”

Founded in 2013 by Conan and Genevieve O’Sullivan, Sona sold its house-made goat cheese, as well as more than 100 other cheeses from around the world, for lunch, dinner and brunch, according to its website. It also offered cheese and wine classes.

Photo via Facebook/Sona Creamery and Wine Bar


Summit to Soul (Photo via Barracks Row Main Street/Summit to Soul)

A purveyor of women’s running, yoga and fitness clothing is set to arrive on Barracks Row this summer, a neighborhood group announced late last week.

Summit to Soul is slated to open in June at 727 8th St. SE, according to Barracks Row Main Street. The shop will replace Capitol Hill Sporting Goods & Apparel.

Billing itself as a “athleisure boutique,” Summit to Soul has “a curated collection of eco-friendly, responsibly-sourced athletic apparel and accessories for running through meadows, exploring forests, hiking mountains, and finding your om,” according to its website.

Photo via Barracks Row Main Street/Summit to Soul


Photo via Facebook : East City BookshopCapitol Hill will have a new independent bookstore by the end of the month.

East City Bookshop will host a grand opening party at 645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE on April 30, according to the company’s website. The grand opening event will feature authors, food, giveaways.

The new bookstore will sell books, toys and gifts.

More information about East City Bookshop from its website:

East City Bookshop aims to become a gathering place for book lovers of all ages, a place to talk about books, ideas, to learn something new or revisit something you once knew well.  We plan to provide top-notch customer service, author events, books clubs, and more.  We want to connect you with the books you want and need.  And some that maybe you didn’t even know you wanted and needed.

We’ll also have a selection of toys, gifts, and bookish items that we love and think you might need to have for yourself or for someone you like a whole lot.

Photo via Facebook / East City Book Shop


madeindcWard 6 Councilman Charles Allen introduced a bill today that will make it easier for District residents to shop locally.

The Made in DC Program Establishment Act of 2015 would task the District Department of Small and Local Business Development with making a “Made in D.C.” logo, brand and marketing campaign. The DSLBD would then certify local products and help market them at major District events.

“With the holiday season in full swing, I’m proud to help promote the District’s growing creator economy with a program to communicate the importance of buying local and having pride in DC-made products year-round,” Allen said in a statement about the bill.

The bill also includes instructions for the DSLBD to look into opportunities for a District-sponsored “innovation space” that would provide local artisans with studio space, shared equipment and classrooms.

The bill was co-introduced by District Council Chairman Phil Mendelson.

Photo via Councilman Allen/ Compass Coffee


New Frame of Mine Location (Facebook:Frame of Mine)

A Barrack’s Row business will celebrate 33 years of business in their new location this Friday.

Custom frame shop Frame of Mine is set to throw a grand reopening party on Friday at their new location in the former Playseum space at 545 8th St. SE. The store, which has been on Barracks Row for 33 years, moved across the street earlier this month from its former location at 522 8th St. SE.

Though the new location has been open for several weeks, customers will have a chance to officially welcome the store to its new location at Friday’s party, which will feature complimentary wine and cheese and a silent auction of framed art. Half of the proceeds from the art auction will go to Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, a non-profit that supports arts education around Capitol Hill.

Retail Manager D.J. Case said that a lot of the art in the auction are things that the store framed but were never picked up.

“You wouldn’t think people would forget things but they do. Or they don’t come back for whatever reason,” he said. “Over the years we’ve collected quite a pile of stuff.”

The grand reopening party will also mark the beginning of a week-long, 25%-off anniversary sale at the store to celebrate 33 years in business.

Photo via Facebook/ Frame of Mine


The Chic Shack's new location on H Street NE

(Updated at 2:05 p.m. Wednesday) A boutique and consignment shop on the H Street corridor has moved to a new location, about a block away from its former home.

The Chic Shack opened its doors at 1230 H St. NE with a grand opening celebration on Saturday, according to storeowner Domencia Tyler.

The shop, which has called 1307 H St. NE home for the last two years, specializes in designer items for resale. It also has an online store with clothes and accessories available for purchase.

Tyler said the new location is not only bigger, but it also is more suitable for retail because it’s on the ground level with a large window out front.

“We’re offering the same things as before, just on a grander scale,” she said. “We still have contemporary, vintage and designer resale items, and we try to have a little bit of everything so anyone can come in and find a piece that works for them.”

The Chic Shack is open Wednesdays through Fridays from 2 to 8 p.m., Saturdays from 12 to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 12 to 6 p.m.

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New Frame of Mine Location (Facebook:Frame of Mine)

A longtime Barracks Row business is slated to begin framing locals’ art, mirrors and diplomas again this week at a new location.

Custom frame shop Frame of Mine is scheduled to reopen this Friday in the former Playseum space at 545 8th St. SE. The 33-year-old business closed its location at 522 8th St. SE on Oct. 1 to make the move across the street.

After Friday’s reopening, customers can expect the same framing, mounting and matting services as before, manager DJ Case said.

“It’s a nicer, more pleasant environment to do business in,” Case said. “We’ll have a lot more space, and it’s all new.”

Owner Cissy Webb has said she was happy to stay on Barracks Row, noting that moving from the area “would have been heartbreaking.”

“It is wonderful to discover a building owner who is not interested in a restaurant tenant — someone who wants to maintain the spirit of the old retail tradition on 8th Street,” Webb said in a statement in July.

Frame of Mine is the first tenant to move into the former Playseum space after the children’s used bookstore and play space closed down in May.

The shop will occupy the basement unit and is the only business in the space so far, Case said. The store also is hoping to host a grand opening event later this month, he said.

Photo via Facebook/Frame of Mine


Michael Webb and Wes McCann (Photo via Facebook/National Capital Brewing Company)

(Updated at 12:30 p.m. Friday) A home brewer on Capitol Hill is reviving a defunct neighborhood brewery with hopes of opening it in 2016, he said yesterday.

National Capital Brewing Co., which went out of business almost a century ago, is on its way back with high-quality craft beer back for the District, said Michael Webb, who is working to recreate the brewery with partner and head brewer, Wes McCann.

The original company opened around 1891 after German immigrant Albert Carry bought an existing brewery in Hill East between 13th, 14th, D and E streets SE. Prohibition threatened the business, and it was sold in 1918. None of the original brewery building remains.

“We’re not only reviving the name, but reintroducing the brand to our thirsty customers,” Webb said. “Our work is focused on creating beers that honor the District and recognize the brewery that was successful for so many years.”

This Friday, the company is holding a tasting for friends and interested investors at the National Capital Bank (316 Pennsylvania Ave. SE), about 10 blocks away from where the brewery once stood.

The bank is run by Carry’s descendants, and Webb said he is grateful to have the family’s “unqualified endorsement” moving forward.

“They’re very supportive of the idea and are glad to have it honor the tradition and the craftsmanship that was used a hundred years ago,” he said.

Friday’s event is also a fundraiser for the company. They hope to raise $2 million by the end of December to stay on track to open next year.

The other hurdle facing the company is space. The pair are actively seeking a location for a full-scale brewery. The efforts are focused within the boundaries of D.C., Webb said. But they are not ruling out any options, including a space at Eastern Market.

While the real estate search continues, the new National Capital Brewing Co. is previewing three beers: their Belgian IPA, Honey Brown Ale and Bavarian Hefeweizen.

“The flavors we’ve chosen are unique and different and not available locally,” Webb said.

He added many of the flavors are inspired by the people of D.C. For example, he has plans to brew an Irish Red Ale to honor the people who lived in Swampoodle, which is now known as NoMa.

The brewery has an initial set of seven recipes, each representing a different style of beer. Webb hopes to expand that to 10 offerings once they are fully operational.

National Capital Brewing Co.’s beer will be available in kegs and 16-ounce cans.

Photo via Facebook/National Capital Brewing Company

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Children's books (Photo via Flickr/Lydia Liu)

(Updated at 9 p.m.) A store on the H Street corridor is asking for book donations this weekend to help bring more reading opportunities to children who use a nearby recreation center.

Akae at 1320 H St. NE will accept gently used books for the Sherwood Recreation Center from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, during the H Street Festival.

The store, which  opened in June, is looking for books for readers of all ages, said Aphra Adkins, who runs Akae with Seda Nak. Adkins noted, however, that many of the locals who visit the recreation center at 640 10th St. NE are 18 years old or younger.

“The center does a great job ensuring that everyone has a positive experience,” said Adkins, who is also the business manager of Sally’s Middle Name, which shares the same building as Akae. But the center has “a sad book collection,” she said.

“Anything is helpful,” Adkins said of book donations.

Photo via Flickr/Lydia Liu


Honey from H Street Honey (Photo via Facebook/H Street Honey)

D.C. locavores have another chance to buy honey from two Kingman Park beekeepers. But the supply from H Street Honey might not last long.

Gavin Cepelak, who owns H Street Honey with his wife, Raquel Sherman, said he has harvested about 150 jars’ worth of honey, about half of what he sold last year. Cepelak said he has fewer hives than last year and has new hives that he didn’t want to over-harvest.

“With a new hive, you don’t want to take all of their honey away because they need it to survive through the winter,” he said. “Survival is the main focus this year.”

Cepelak and Sherman started the colonies later than usual this year because Sherman gave birth to their first child at the beginning of the year.

Although H Street Honey’s last batch was available at H Street Organic Market and several other local stores, Cepelak said he and his wife are planning to sell the honey themselves this year.

Locals interested in purchasing some of the honey can email H Street Honey. The honey is $16 for a 9-ounce jar.

Ceplak said he and his wife hope to find a location where they can sell their honey in September. In October, Ceplak is planning to host an event through Mess Hall, a culinary incubator and shared kitchen facility out of which H Street Honey operates. The event will feature two separate sessions for children and adults to learn more about beekeeping and honey cultivation.

“We’re going to do a kind of a bee education and harvesting demonstration for children in the early afternoon, and then in the evening, there will be an adult side of it where we’ll bring in a local pastry chef, a mixologist [and] probably a chef as well so people can taste the honey in different foods and drinks.”

Photo via Facebook/H Street Honey


A family-owned organic grocery store on the H Street corridor is set to close down after about a year in business.

H Street Organic Market at 806 H St. NE will stop selling soy milk, kale chips and other organic foods tomorrow, workers at the store confirmed today. It wasn’t immediately clear what would happen to the space after the store’s departure.

A cashier, who declined to give her name for publication, said the market has been struggling since it opened last year.

“The people, they walk by and they aren’t interested,” she said while pointing out the window. “They think it will be too expensive.”

“It’s too bad because some of them could use it,” she added, referring to the all-natural health foods inside the shop.

The owner of the market couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The store is discounting all its products by 20 percent until it closes.


545 8th St. SE (Photo via Google Maps)A custom frame shop will move across the street from its current location on Barracks Row into the former home of the Be With Me Playseum this fall, a neighborhood group announced yesterday.

Frame of Mine is expected to relocate from 522 8th St. SE to 545 8th St. SE in October, according to Barracks Row Main Street, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to the street’s revitalization. Playseum left the space after it closed down in May.

The 33-year-old frame shop will remain at its current location until the move is complete.

Another business also is expected to join Frame of Mine at 545 8th St. But a tenant hasn’t been announced yet.

“The idea of leaving 8th Street would have been heartbreaking,” Frame of Mine owner Cissy Webb said in a statement. “It is wonderful to discover a building owner who is not interested in a restaurant tenant — someone who wants to maintain the spirit of the old retail tradition on 8th Street.”

Frame of Mine is one of several businesses that are planning to leave or already have left Barracks Row storefronts this year.

In addition to the Playseum, the businesses include Capitol Hill Sporting Goods & Apparel, Homebody and Las Placitas Restaurant.

Homebody, which is in the process of relocating to 7th Street SE, is losing its space to a spinoff of Rose’s Luxury. Las Placitas, which is moving down to 8th and M streets SE later this year, is giving up its space to its neighbor, Matchbox, which is expanding.

A new tenant for Capitol Hill Sporting Goods & Apparel’s space hasn’t been announced yet. But Rodney Smith, the store’s owner, said he is set to shut his shop down before the year’s end.

Photo via Google Maps

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Hilly Awards (Image via Facebook/HillyAwards)Capitol Hill residents can show their support for their favorite local businesses by voting for them in this year’s Hilly Awards.

The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce (CHAMPS) hosts the annual Hilly Awards Gala, which recognizes top businesses and nonprofit organizations on the Hill. Voting for this year’s awards began Monday.

More than 400 local businesses were nominated last year, according to CHAMPS. The group presents awards to restaurants, pet service providers, healthcare organizations, arts groups and auto mechanics, among other businesses and nonprofits.

Voting will remain open until Sept. 20. Winners will be announced at the Hilly Awards Gala at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (301 A St. SE) on Nov. 7. Each category will have one winner and one runner-up.

Tickets to the gala are available online for $50 before Aug. 31. Admission includes food and drinks from local Hill eateries.

Image via Facebook/HillyAwards


After more than six months of delayed openings, a sports bar on the H Street corridor is set to welcome customers for the first time tomorrow, with breakfast.

Permit applications and construction repeatedly delayed the unveiling of 6th and H Street Bar and Grill at 6th and H streets NE. But the eatery will open at 7 a.m. Friday, co-owner Leslie Defour said.

For now, the restaurant will serve breakfast and lunch Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will offer weekend brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eventually, the eatery will have dinner and expand its hours, Defour said.

The 1,200-square-foot restaurant has seating for 41 customers — 14 people at the bar and 27 diners in tables and a booth. In addition, the bar’s owners plan to host 22 additional patrons in a patio along 6th Street, pending the permit approval for the planned sidewalk cafe.

A menu was not available to preview earlier this week, but Defour said the restaurant will start by serving American bar food like Buffalo wings, french fries and salads. Then, based on customer suggestions, it will add and alter menu items to suit locals’ tastes.

Defour is opening the bar with her brother, a sports fan who she said always dreamed of owning a restaurant. One day at work as a real estate agent, she saw the space was available and decided the time and location were right for her brother’s ambitions.

They decided to make their restaurant a family-friendly place to watch games. The walls above the granite bar are covered with 10 TVs and a diverse collection of signed jerseys, banners and other sports memorabilia.

“We’re excited to open,” Defour said. “We want it to be a neighborhood spot for everyone to come meet up.”


Hundreds of people descended on the H Street corridor today to revel in half smokes and go-go music for the grand opening of the new Ben’s Chili Bowl.

Virginia Ali, who opened the original Ben’s on U Street NW with her late husband in 1958, cut the ribbon to open the restaurant at 1001 H St. NE this morning with the help of Mayor Muriel Bowser, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and others.

Ali said opening a restaurant on H Street signifies the neighborhood’s turnaround since riots devastated the area after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.

“This area had a downturn after the riots in 1968,” she told Hill Now. “Now it’s in the process of growing, and we’re very happy to be a part of that growth. We’re here to serve a community, to support a community and we anticipate the community here will support us as well.”

Prior to the ribbon cutting, Bowser, Norton, Councilman Charles Allen of Ward 6 and other local officials applauded the Ali family’s focus on local business and community.

“This is a small, family-owned business whose owners call D.C. home and care about what happens here,” Bowser said. “This is a small business who saw other opportunities on H Street and said, ‘Ben’s Chili Bowl needs to be there.'”

Norton said she was excited that H Street not only got a Ben’s, but that they also got a chance to dance along with the go-go music of the Chuck Brown Band before and after the speeches.

“H Street was the heart and is the heart of this community, but it did not arrive until today because only today did it get a Ben’s,” Norton said. “Everybody here knows there will never be enough Ben’s for D.C.”

Inside, the restaurant is filled with mustard-yellow and ketchup-red decorations, a long bar, a handful of booths and a wall of well-known celebrities who have visited the restaurant. Comedian Bill Cosby, who has close ties to the Ben’s chain and helped open its Rosslyn location, didn’t appear among the photos.

Cosby, who has faced allegations that he sexually assaulted women, was in a photo on the wall before the eatery opened, The Washington Post reported. But the photo wasn’t there today.

Outside, a line to enter the restaurant began to form at 9 a.m. Mattie Callaham, who lives near the eatery, had the first spot in the line.

“I’ve been going to the U Street one for over 20 years,” Callaham said. “Since I live in this neighborhood, I could walk here, and it wouldn’t be no problem. I just can’t wait to get one of those hot dogs.”


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