If you’ve done much reading on this site, you know that I love my DC neighborhood, Navy Yard. Sure, it’s crawling with cranes and there’s construction everywhere and on a Nats game day there is likely the highest concentration of bros in the area than anywhere else in the city (no offense bros, do you). But, at least for now, it’s still a relatively underrated area to live with tons of green space, friendly people (and dogs!) and a legit neighborhood vibe.
If it’s a nice day, you can bet I’m going on a walk along the river or along nearby residential streets lined with colorful rowhouses. On Fridays in the summer, there are free outdoor events galore that attract people from all over the DMV. In fact, I can’t think of anywhere in DC that holds more festivals than Navy Yard. There are beer fests, cider fests, wine fests, music fests, light fests, jazz fests, food trucks fests, art fests and more all year ’round. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been roaming the neighborhood aimlessly and stumbled upon some fun outdoor happening by chance. It’s a wonderful thing.
Recently, Thrillist put out an article on the best dining neighborhoods in DC and notably left out Navy Yard (and Petworth). And I don’t disagree. We do have a generous handful of wonderful dining establishments in our little corner of the district. Osteria Morini, Bluejacket, Whaley’s and Due South hold their own when compared to any other restaurants of their kind in DC. Justin’s Cafe, Scarlet Oak and The Big Stick are wonderful neighborhood spots that cater to those of us who don’t live right next to Yards Park. Las Placitas, a little further out, should not be overlooked along with its neighboring beer garden The Brig. And Takorean, Sweetgreen and Chix make for excellent weekday lunch grabs. Not to mention, we have one of only two Philz Coffee locations in the district.
There are also a number of high profile spots slated to open within the next year, and I could not be more excited. All Purpose and The Salt Line are opening at Dock 79. We’ll also be getting a Slipstream (be still, my heart) at the Ore 82 building and a trifecta of fast casual joints – Chipotle, Chop’t and Taylor Gourmet – at the upcoming F1RST complex. And in news that is both glorious and terrifying, a Shake Shack is slated to open up sometime next year as well (be still, my waistline). We also might get a Bardo location someday, emphasis on the might. The most epic opening will probably be Whole Foods (though I shudder to think what it will do to rent prices). My patience is wearing thin and I can only hope I’m still around when all of these new joints open.*
Despite all that fabulousness, I can’t help but dream of a few other choice places I would love to see pop up in my neighborhood. Here’s my list of restaurants that should absolutely open in Navy Yard ASAP.
A Ramen or Pho Shop
Eating a bowl of steaming noodle soup is one of life’s truest pleasures. All of the senses are engaged and you feel like you’re eating a hug. While I’m more than happy to travel for my ramen or pho fix, I think this addition to Navy Yard would be an instant smash hit. I also can’t help but this back to Winter Storm Jonas and my deep, visceral cravings for ramen during that time that went un-sated.
A Chill Wine Bar
The lack of a place to casually sip unusual wines is perhaps the biggest deficit I notice in Navy Yard. Considering that DC residents drink more wine than any other state in the U.S. (and we’re just a tiny little district), this is a no brainer. I’d love to see something along the lines of The Pursuit or Flight open up in Navy Yard offering a long list of wines by the glass and a place for us Southeast winos to call home. (While the District Winery is coming soon, I’m on the fence as to whether or not this will satisfy my needs.)
Tom and I were just wondering last week why there are not more Shophouse locations around the district, and then the news broke that Chipotle was dropping the chain (how dare they!). Shophouse is quite possibly my favorite fast casual restaurant in DC, yet so hard to obtain. The tofu is a thing of beauty, and that green curry sauce haunts my dreams. I really hope the entire franchise does not go belly up and really, really wish that someone would open a location in Navy Yard. If that doesn’t happen, I’d also happily settle for a Cava Grill.
Look, I don’t care who makes them or how they get here. I just need the ability to roll out of bed on a Saturday morning and grab a foil-wrapped breakfast burrito to eat in my pajamas while perusing Instagram. Is that so much to ask?
A Tiki Bar
We have one of the most underrated waterfronts in the area, so why not play that up with a quirky tiki bar? I realize that the Anacostia is not beautiful, but it could be after a couple of umbrella drinks. Somebody needs to make this happen.
And there you have it. Just a few simple requests. In all seriousness, this neighborhood is set to boom in ways I don’t think anyone can predict. There are hundreds if not thousands of condo and apartment units slated to open within the next couple of years. While it has yet to be seen if this is a good thing or just another neighborhood about to get washed out by overcrowding, I’m curious to see what happens. And curiosity makes me hungry.
*Keeping-it-real side note: While we love living in Navy Yard now and would like to stay for a few more years, our vagrant tendencies are strong so who knows where we’ll end up next. However, I stand by my statement that it’s a great place to live in DC at this juncture in the district’s history.