By: Jill Reilly
Photos by: Sam K Lee
Known to many native Washingtonians as the home of the Atlas Performing Arts Theater, H Street Corridor sits at the crossroads of DC history, art, and culture. Though the area was severely damaged after the 1968 riots, it has undergone a significant transformation in recent years. In an effort to restore the area as a bustling commercial district, the District of Columbia Office of Planning kick-started an initiative to revamp the neighborhood beginning in 2002; the result is a plethora of modern coffee shops, globally-inspired restaurants, and juice bars juxtaposed with the large-scale street art and railroad tracks that characterized H Street in the early 20th Century. Though it would be impossible to experience all that the H Street Corridor has to offer in one day, here we‘ve highlighted a few of our favorite places to eat, study, and shop for the next time you’re looking to burst the Georgetown bubble.
Where to eat:
If you’re in the mood for a unique meal that you definitely cannot get at Leo’s, look no further than Stable D.C.. Specializing in Swiss fare, this reservation-only restaurant is best known for its traditional cheese fondue served with homemade white bread. Though the melted cheese is generally a hit and will certainly leave you feeling warm and bubbly inside, there are a variety of options for the cheese-averse as well, including Atlantic salmon with a creamy fennel, celery root, and apple puree; Venison loin with spätzli, cabbage, and caramelized chestnuts; mushroom risotto; pork belly port-au-feu; and more. As midterm season takes full force, let Stable’s hearty cuisine coupled with its rustic, après-ski lodge décor transport you to the Swiss Alps (even if just for an hour or two). You will not be disappointed.
A fan favorite, Toki Underground prides itself on being D.C.’s “first ramen house.” Though it is best known for its steaming Taiwanese ramen, Toki Underground serves everything from dumplings to curry chicken and even chocolate chip cookies made from red miso buttercream. Vegan? Have no fear; Toki offers a vegan ramen bowl made with tofu and root vegetables. Lazy? You can even order delivery (though I highly recommend checking out their trendy set-up)!
Sally’s Middle Name
Sleek, modern, and minimalist are all words that describe Sally’s Middle Name. Its white tile exterior is reminiscent of your childhood kitchen, inviting you in for a home-cooked meal. Open for brunch and dinner, Sally’s Middle Name serves a wide array of sweet and savory dishes, including coconut glazed donuts and pork hash with poached eggs in the morning, and Parisienne gnocchi and Cajun brined chicken breast with stuffing at night. Myriad vegetable dishes make this restaurant great for vegetarians. And to all the foodgrammers out there: make sure to bring your phone, because you will definitely want these beautifully crafted dishes on your feed!
Where to study:
While I’ve decided to place Maketto under “where to study” and “where to shop,” it could really fall under any category in this article. A collective comprised of a café, a full-service restaurant, and an upscale clothing store, Maketto has it all. In terms of its conduciveness to studying, the upstairs café is light and spacious. If you’re in the mood for a snack, pair a warm cappuccino (presented on a picturesque wooden board) with a morning bun or savory galette. If you are on the hungrier side, check out the full menu featuring Tawainese and Cambodian dishes like braised pork steamed bao or their spicy beef and rice bowl. Though the second-floor space, which feels a bit like a treehouse, is a cozy spot to study during the winter months, make sure to take advantage of the outdoor seating area when the weather permits.
The ultimate millennial, hipster coffeehouse, The Wydown is a bar and coffee shop inspired by the 1920s. With high seats at the bar and swanky lounge seating that extends into the lobby of the upscale Apollo apartment complex, you will certainly feel sophisticated while you study. Moreover, you will not be disappointed by their espresso drinks and cocktails made using precious glassware right before your eyes. The soft music creates a nice atmosphere, perfect for studying. However, if you are going to study, note that there are no laptops at the bar after 4pm (though they are always welcome at the round tables in the lobby). Since most of the seating is restricted to the bar and the hightop looking out at the street, I would recommend making the trip to The Wydown by yourself or with a single friend (let’s be real—you will probably get more work done anyways).
Where to shop:
Though on the pricier side, the curated selection at Maketto is certainly worth checking out (even if just to window shop). Though they sell a collection of well-known brands like Adidas, Comme des Garçons, Puma, and Vans, the addition of some lesser-known designers makes their collection far from mainstream. The sales associates are stylish and friendly, plus if you do end up working up an appetite while shopping, the two Maketto food concepts are just steps away— a major bonus in my book.
Solid State Books
This place is simply adorable. Just down the street from Whole Foods and a couple feet from The Wydown, Solid State Books is a must visit if you are in the H Street Area. String lights, witty greeting cards, storybook-inspired T-shirts, mugs, posters, and of course a huge selection of books all characterize this one-room bookstore. Though small, the space manages to feel wide open, inviting you to take a lap and see all that they have to offer. But beware: even if you go in just to browse, the sheer charm of their merchandise will likely cause you to walk out with something in hand.
Though it is closed for the season, don’t miss the FRESHFARM H Street Market located on 13th Street NE between H and I Streets when it returns in mid-April. If you find yourself running out of the produce you bought at the Georgetown Farmers’ Market on Wednesday, have no fear! Open Saturdays, from 9am to 12:30 pm, FRESHFARM sells locally grown fruits and vegetables, freshly-baked breads and pastries, smoothie bowls, pickles, kimchi, honey, and more.
So if you’re tired of looking at Georgetown’s pastel townhouses and chain stores, be sure to check out H Street Corridor. Its cool vibe, colorful street art, mouthwatering food, and cute boutiques are sure to make it your go-to DC getaway.
JILL REILLY is a freshman in the College. When she isn’t being dragged to Lau 2 by her roommate, she is likely out to brunch, taking an embarrassing number of pictures of her food. She is obsessed with the color yellow, old mirrors, and drug store candy. She also may or may not suffer from a gum addiction.