10.31.2004

More on Frank and the Red Bean

Here in Mount Pleasant Washington DC (just 2 miles from the White House) there is a main street with a strip of businesses to service the community. Like most urban strips there is a disproportionate number of liquor stores and "bodegas." There are also a few too many Salvadoran restaurants for my taste as well, but, I guess that there are enough Salvadoran in this area to keep each business afloat, one or two good ones would suit my occasional needs, but 9 bad ones and a few okay ones makes a trip to the strip more like a trip into the third world. At times it can be a "roll of the dice," even my stomach of steal has lost the intestonal battle with what day old slop was sold as today's fresh meal. In addition to the multiple "bodegas", Salvadoran Pupusarian joints, there are also a few too many "JUNK STORES." Don't get me wrong, I love The Dollar Store more than the next person, but these places are one step lower, thus creating a disservice to the community. Selling substandard knock off products that may not last the trip to the car. The future TARGET that is planned to open a few blocks deeper in Columbia Heights will aid in giving the people a higher quality option. I am all for "mom and pop" but I am also for a better product.

In addition to all of the Laundromats and nail places there are also a few other establishments.

On Mount Pleasant Street there is the Mount Pleasant Building. A beautiful 100 year old apartment building, said to be the first apartment building in the neighborhood. This building was beautifully restored some years ago and has been well maintained, in addition to its appearance it has opted to change with the neighborhood. On the ground floor there are two restaurants; Tonic (formerly known as Bella Roma now under the Tonic name and management) and Red Bean (which formerly housed the small little organic market, The People Garden, which just could not compete with Whole Foods stationed just a few miles away in two opposing directions) Red Bean is newest on the scene. It is a project that involves local character Frank Connell. The Washington Post Magazine has been covering the saga which is Frank's life. It is all very interesting while also being very sad. Personally, I would have to say that the Post is pulling their punches. If they are telling this much, I fear that it may very well be much worse.

Here is today's posting in the Washington Post Magazine on THE MISADVENTURES of FRANK CONNELL

Mt. Pleasant also lost its neighborhood Baker a few weeks ago. The poorly run Heller's Bakery has closed its doors. Not sign of any changing of hands...as this bakery has changed hands several times and has changed very little on each new owner. A bakery could do well in this neighborhood.

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