- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 30, 2006

As the downtown restaurant market booms, one local restaurant group is keeping its eye on the District’s quieter, underserved neighborhoods.

EatWell DC plans to open its fourth restaurant in the spring in a new condominium building above the Columbia Heights Metro station at 14th and Irving streets Northwest. The restaurant, called the Heights, will be 3,100 square feet and about half of its dining space will be outdoors, owner David Winer said.

All of EatWell DC’s restaurants are in Northwest neighborhoods: Grillfish at 12th Street and New Hampshire Avenue, and Logan Tavern and Merkado Kitchen, both at 14th and P streets.

“Some people are chasing the wealthy downtown dollar. But neighborhoods are where people live and that’s where I’m comfortable,” Mr. Winer said. “There are emerging neighborhoods that need to be served.”

The Heights, serving modern American cuisine, will be in the northern end of the Kenyon Square building, a $60 million development by Donatelli Development and Gragg and Associates. The building also will include 153 condominiums and other restaurants and shops.

Across 14th Street, the DCUSA mixed-use development is helping to attract restaurants and retailers to Columbia Heights, where most of the restaurants are fast-food establishments.

“There’s a really dense population, but there’s no place to eat,” Mr. Winer said.

But that is changing.

Chain restaurant Ruby Tuesday plans to open in Tivoli Square late next month, and Central American chicken restaurant Pollo Campero has a lease at 14th and Kenyon streets Northwest.

EatWell DC hopes to continue the success it has found at neighborhood restaurants. The company’s goal is to double its three existing restaurants and $6 million in sales in the next three years.

In the near term, EatWell DC is negotiating for space in the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood bordered by New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts avenues Northwest.

Taxes take a holiday The District’s annual back-to-school sales-tax holiday begins Saturday. For eight days, shoppers will be exempt from the 5.75 percent sales tax for clothing, shoes and accessories. The exemption is good only for products that cost less than $100.

The tax holiday was designed to give area residents a reason to shop in the District, but neighboring Virginia and Maryland are sponsoring their own tax-free holidays this year.

During the first tax holiday in Virginia, from Friday through Sunday, shoppers will be exempt from the 5 percent sales tax on school supplies that cost less than $20 or clothing, including shoes, that costs less than $100. The Virginia Department of Taxation has a list of eligible school supplies at tax.virginia.gov.

Maryland, which did not offer a tax holiday last year, will bring it back this year from Aug. 23 to 27. The exemption applies to garments and shoes that cost less than $100.

Gone to the dogs

Happy Tails Dog Spa, a North Bethesda provider of day care for pets, raised more than $2,000 during its second annual fundraiser for military dogs earlier this month. The company washed 77 dogs, which will pay for 50 cooling beds for dogs working in Iraq.

Retail & Hospitality runs Mondays. Contact Jen Haberkorn at 202/636-4836 or [email protected]

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