Photos by Donovan Gerald

In mid-February, Eatonville at 14th and V NW will transform into Mule Bone, a restaurant and community space from local activist Andy Shallal, owner of the Busboys and Poets franchise.

The project — named after a play by Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston — is a collaboration with Carla Hall, a “Top Chef” finalist and Nashville native who will oversee the menu and help secure a permanent chef.

Additionally, Mule Bone will have a retail component overseen by Desirée Venn Frederic, the founder of Nomad Yard Collectiv. Nomad Yard, a globally minded vintage shop on New York Avenue, is a playground for those who love color, history and rare antiques steeped in stories.


“Andy came to the shop earlier this year and as soon as he walked in he kept saying, ‘This is it,’” Venn Frederic says. “He loved the energy and merchandising and the concept and invited us to work with him.”

Similar to Nomad Yard, the retail component at Mule Bone will serve as an incubator for burgeoning lifestyle and craft brands, including jewelers, fashion designers and furniture makers. “My intentions are to expand the Nomad Yard brand so we can support more businesses,” Venn Frederic says. “The hope is that these businesses become stable enough to open their own small business and support other small businesses.”

Insisting that Nomad Yard is more than just a shop, Venn Frederic sees vintage as a means to connect the community to art and use antiques as a means to teach history. “My merchandise creates an environment. The space feels like it could be a part of your home, and it feels familiar,” Venn Frederic says.

The Nomad Yard portion of Mule Bone will measure approximately 2,000 square feet and will stock works from 30-plus makers and artists. In the coming year, Venn Frederic says, she will facilitate a series of discussions and exhibits with the Smithsonian, to be held at Mule Bone. “We’re open to dialogues involving the community.”

Mule Bone, opening mid-February, 2016, 2121 14th St. NW

Further reading for vintage lovers

The search for vintage furniture, made easier

How to update modern pieces with vintage accents

A store for restoration in Prince George’s