What Summer Brought to Capitol Hill

Summer 2012, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC

September 6, 2012, Washington, DC: Peaches, salsa, oysters, tortillas and more arrived in abundance this summer in our neighborhood on Capitol Hill. While every season in the city brings change, this time most of it revolved around the smell, sight and taste of food. If last summer was our summer of sweets, this summer was our summer of the salty and the savory. Within a four-block radius, our options multiplied, all of them focused on yet another great meal.

In June, local restaurant owner Xavier Cervera opened his sixth place in the neighborhood, a Tex-Mex joint called Pacifico Cantina. We’d been peering in the windows and assessing the progress of the large roof deck on the sunny side of the street for months and were excited to find a spot outdoors for tortilla chips and salsa while watching the Nationals winning nearby.

In July, Fresh Tuesdays began at Eastern Market in addition to the regular weekend market tradition. Midweek, farmers from Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania now arrive on 7th St., toting peaches, breads, relishes, jams and heirloom tomatoes. The Farm to Family CSA is there, too, prepared for participating Hill families to make their biweekly pickup.

Around the same time, Hanks Oyster Bar made its debut where Vietnamese restaurant Ba Bay once lived a fleeting life on Pennsylvania Ave. The previous tenants in the space have been short-lived but Hanks promises something different, and something that looks a lot like perpetual summer. A taste of New England awaits at the restaurant’s Eddy Bar, including oysters on the half shell and summer cocktails that belong on a deck overlooking a windswept beach.

August brought more shifts of the food variety: Yes Organic Market relocated from its bursting seams on Pennsylvania Ave. into a more spacious spot on 8th St. previously occupied by the Blockbuster, and before that, Erols. A new Chipoltle opened across the street from Yes on Barracks Row. And best of all, we welcomed the return of a missing ingredient: In mid-August, the neighborhood’s beloved pizza joint 7th Hill reopened after a month-long closure, bigger and better than ever, looking entirely new. A construction project that added several stories to the building above 7th Hill included an expansion of the popular, overcrowded hangout. Communal tables in the once long and narrow dead space between two buildings gives one of our favorite spots a new energy, making the restaurant feel twice as big as it did when summer started.

What will autumn bring? Sushi and kabobs on 8th? A new roof deck overlooking the neighborhood? The completion of Cervera’s latest project, the new Hawk and Dove? We hear rumblings of all of the above and our stomachs rumble at the very thought.

Any new additions to your neighborhood this summer? Let us know in the comments below.

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