Whether because of gentrification or revitalization, there’s no denying that the pulse of this historic district has quickened. The likes of pawnshops and auto body businesses have given way to hip restaurants and a Whole Foods. Walk the area’s 14th Street strip and one easily finds a plethora of energized businesses aiming to make their mark.
Need a toboggan? How about golf balls? Whatever one's home decor desire, it's likely to be satiated here. Now in its 18th year, the vintage shop reflects the cheerful exuberance of owner Pixie Windsor. The assorted inventory - updated weekly - moves fast. Some customers take their loyalty to another level: "What we have are people who know we actually unload the truck on Wednesday at 3 p.m.," Windsor says.
Two words: Tortilla Española. "I've been stopped maybe a thousand times," says director of operations Justin Guthrie about customers' kudos for executive chef Haidar Karoum's made-to-order take on the classic Spanish omelet. The restaurant reliably transports diners to the Iberian Peninsula not only using their palates - with a menu including cured meats and a robust Spanish wine list - but also with a rustic and affable feel thanks to wrought-iron chandeliers, Spanish tiled walls and communal tables.
Although it has served as a go-to for those seeking eclectic plays staged in intimate settings for decades, Studio also aims to tap into the young, hip exuberance of its evolving environs. Audiences can buy craft beer before performances and during intermission, while an ongoing promotion lets those younger than 30 nab tickets to shows for $25. The recently closed "Murder Ballad" had an edgier aesthetic: Think rock opera, staged cabaret-style … in a bar-like setting. [Update: "Murder Ballad" was extended to May 31.]
Co-founder Victoria Reis gets a lot of mileage out of this shoe box of an exhibition space. The contemporary visual arts nonprofit group has featured diverse works, such as a salt installation and a performance staged amid a faux cornfield. In addition to on-site presentations, Transformer collaborates with area art institutions, such as the National Museum of the American Indian and the Hirshhorn. "We're really about supporting artists who are experimenting in their artistic practice," Reis says.
Walk in and inhale deeply. Smell nothing? Exactly. Thanks to an emphasis on natural polishes and an expansive ventilation system, this nail salon doesn't, well, reek like one. The venture, started by longtime friends Andréa Vieira and Claudia Diamante, strives to create a sophisticated yet friendly vibe where District denizens can unwind. "We're a place where you can come have a really lovely almond milk cappuccino in the morning," says Vieira.
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