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How Capitol Hill Books co-owner Kyle Burk would spend a perfect day in D.C.

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In D.C. Dream Day, we ask our favorite people in the area to tell us how they would spend a perfect day in the District.

Capitol Hill Books co-owner Kyle Burk had spent a lot of time during the pandemic brushing up on his guitar skills, to the point that he decided to record an album. With a limited budget, recording in a traditional studio was out of the question. So he went with the next best option: the bookstore.

“Given that our store was closed for 14 months, a bookstore is actually not a bad place [to record] and has built-in acoustics already, because the books absorb so much sound,” says Burk. “In the evenings, I’d often wander over there and put my gear in and play really loud music, which helped my sanity during the pandemic.”

The result was “Death of the Novel,” released on Jan. 4. Recording under the moniker The Failed Poets, the record comprises Burk’s breezy ruminations about all things books. The one negative from the experience? “Sometimes you do get a little book dust in your throat while you’re singing,” Burk says.

Burk worked at Capitol Hill Books for several years before eventually purchasing the store from longtime former owner Morton “Jim” Toole in 2018 with Aaron Beckwith, Matt Wixon and Shantanu Malkar. On his dream day in D.C., when he’s not stocking up Capitol Hill’s rare, used book collection, Burk would spend time exploring his Capitol Hill neighborhood and, of course, enjoying a good book.

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The first thing I’d do is get coffee at Peregrine Espresso. I try not to speak to anyone prior to getting my iced coffee. It’s for everyone’s benefit.

Next move is either, depending on the day, Bullfrog Bagels, which is right down the street. [I’d have] an onion bagel with jalapeño cream cheese, that’s my usual go-to. Or, if I’m hungrier, I could do brunch at Mr. Henry’s Restaurant. I usually get the smoked salmon scramble.

I’d then take a book to Lincoln Park. Right now, I’m reading “How to Live: A Life of Montaigne” by Sarah Bakewell. Lunchwise, sometimes I like to go to Eastern Market and get something from Canales Delicatessen or Market Lunch. The crab cakes at Market Lunch are really good. If I have time to ramble, I would go to the El Chilango taco truck off Route 50 in Arlington. I used to work at the Mexican Embassy and the whole staff would go to that taco truck. It’s got the official stamp of approval basically.

The next move is E Street Cinema. God, I miss that place. I like to do a matinee. Few people, quieter, I can concentrate more on what’s happening. I’m a bit of a cinephile. I want to see “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” of course! That’s my afternoon move.

Dinner move is Joselito for sure. It’s a Spanish tapas restaurant at Seventh [Street] and Pennsylvania [Avenue]. It’s my girlfriend and I’s date spot. The food is just amazing. They have these cod fritters that make you want to die, in a good way. And they have this tuna with avocado mousse, fantastic.

Ideally, I would see a show at 9:30 Club. I’ve seen some great shows there, from Fleet Foxes to Wu-Tang Clan. For a nightcap, I would go to, if I’m in Northwest, Lyman’s Tavern. I like that place, it’s got a nice, friendly owner and I have some friends that go there a lot. Or, if I’m on the Eastside, I’ll go to the Pug on H Street.

My last move is always Tune Inn, which is a block from my house, on Fourth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue [SE]. It’s divey. They have a jukebox and it’s a great place to go for late drinks and make a lot of bad food decisions, like [getting] the extra jalapeño poppers. But it’s a dream day, so there are no consequences!

Read more D.C. dream days from:

H.R. Records co-owner Charvis Campbell

Joe Lapan and Alisha Edmondson, the co-owners of Sondbyrd Music House

Andre Johnson of Rare Essence