NFT Washington DC Tenleytown / Friendship Heights

Tenleytown / Friendship Heights

Essentials
If you want the feel of a wealthy suburb without sacrificing your DC address, this is your neighborhood. Upscale retail and casual dining line the major streets, while the close proximity of the neighborhoods allows you to easily get around on foot. Brick colonials and fancy Victorians contrast with more modern apartment high rises, and there's a brand new sleek library branch in the heart of Tenleytown.

Sundries/Entertainment
Friendship Heights could double for Orange County, with its mall-style shopping (J. Crew) and speciously upscale dining (Cheesecake Factory, Maggiano's). Tenleytown fought big-box stores for years, but tiring of Chinese takeout and mattress outlets, went with the niche shops (Hudson Trail Outfitters, Container Store) and eateries like See more.




         


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Fort Reno

By Magda Nakassis
It's the highest point in the city, it was involved in the only DC Civil War battle, it's... Fort Reno Park! Break out the bubbly!

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On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Magda Nakassis

Katzen Arts Center
Art and artsy students at American University have the good fortune of studying at the Katzen Arts Center--a 2005 building designed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration in art history, music, theatre, studio art, multimedia, graphic design, and dance. How fabulous it must be to express one's self in this playful, contemporary space before expulsion into the post-undergrad world, kicking and screaming! In addition to the AU Museum, the center includes studios, classrooms, and performing spaces--all with undulating walls, bathed in natural sunlight. Visitors may go for the international art exhibitions, but will stay to explore the building, with its sunken sculpture "garden" and skylit rotunda. Tenleytown may have a reputation for being tame and conservative, but now it's also got a far-out slice of southern California. Totally gnarly.



Posted By:  Kara Deniz
Photo:  Kara Deniz

Whole Foods Market
Namaste Foods brownie mixes are made in a facility free of gluten, wheat, soy, corn, potato, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, and casein. What's left to make them with, you ask? Deliciousness, that's what. Hardly the health nut, after recently having some possible reactions to dairy, I was in search of a quality vegan brownie. While Namaste products can be purchased online, Whole Foods in Tenleytown is the only DC area store I could find that carries this product, as well as Namaste's bread, muffin, and cake mixes. So, what is in this brownie? Rice flour, cocoa, salt and cane juice are among the seven ingredients in this product, compared with the more than 30 ingredients found in your typical Duncan Hines mix, which also includes tons of artificial additives and food coloring. What do Namaste brownies taste like? Quite good, surprisingly. They're thicker and chewier than your average brownie. There is a slight aftertaste, but not a bad one. I guess it's the taste of chocolaty health.



Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Magda Nakassis

Tynan Coffee & Tea
Tynan Coffee & Tea is giving Starbucks a run for its money. For a while there, it looked like nothing could stand up to the grande skinny soy caramel latte frappuccino. The density of Starbucks is simply overwhelming, and the only other players in the ring were Dunkin Donuts (the few, the proud) and a handful of upscale coffee shops serving artisanal lattes with pretty foam designs. And then here came Tynan, with top-quality coffee beans, free Wi-Fi, loyalty cards, loose tea (not bagged), and courteous staff that will stomach all the spoiled coffee-drinking attitude you've acquired over your Starbucks-patronizing years. The new location in Chevy Chase, MD--literally just across the DC border--has outdoor seating on the Wisconsin Place plaza, perfect for people-watching or resting after your Bloomingdale's shopping spree.



Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Magda Nakassis

KULTURAs books
When I was a teenager, my friends and I would drive miles in beat-up lemons to go book and record shopping. We'd sort through dusty cardboard boxes and seek out recommendations from staff--scouring shelves for that next novel or 7". But eventually mega-chains and the Internet blew these stores out of the water, and the selection and convenience of Amazon, iTunes, and Netflix was irresistible. There was no more legwork. So imagine my surprise, my absolute delight, when an independent, second-hand bookshop appeared in my neighborhood, out of nowhere, in the 21st century. Kultura specializes in out-of-print and rare books, specifically in the areas of fine art, film, drama, and photography. And it is wonderful. Forgive the old-fashioned nostalgia, but there's a charm and a pleasure to thumbing a first edition and keeping company with other bookworms that can't be found virtually. Deal with it, Google.



Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Magda Nakassis

Z Burger
The DC burger craze might be maniacal. We've already got Five Guys, Big Buns, Hamburger Hamlet, and Elevation Burger. Then BGR, Ray's Butcher Burgers, and Good Stuff Eatery opened up. And word on the street is Michel Richard is opening up a burger joint and Fatburger is heading east. Somewhere in the mix of all that, Z Burger opened in Tenleytown. But with all this ground beef around, what separates Z Burger is its milkshakes. All 75 flavors of them--from blueberry cheesecake to maple walnut to pomegranate to mud pie to chocolate to vanilla. More than one flavor for every sweet tooth in my mouth.



Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Magda Nakassis

Potomac Massage Training Institute
Touch and Go Massages are fabulous. Massages are expensive. But...we are worth it. Enter the Potomac Massage Training Institute (PMTI). In addition to offering classes and workshops for massage therapists, PMTI also offers appointments to the general public. The cost varies depending on the clinic (professional, graduate, or student)--but if you're willing to put yourself in the hands of a novice, literally, then you can save a pretty penny. The pros here charge $80 for an hour of hot stone massage, oncology massage, pregnancy massage, reiki, myofascial release--and combinations thereof. Graduates are much cheaper at only $55 for an hour. These folks have completed their training, but are looking to gain more experience and build up their client base. And finally, the real steal is the student clinic, which charges only $37 for an hour of Swedish massage. On the one hand you can take comfort that your massage will be supervised by an instructor, but the other hand be forewarned that more eyes will be scrutinizing you...in the form of other students observing through a window. Not everyone's cup of tea, I'm sure, but compared to the Elizabeth Arden Red Door spa down the road, this student Swedish is 1/3 the price. Totally worth it in the name of exhibitionism and pedagogy, right?



Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Magda Nakassis

Morty's Delicatessen
It's common for New Yorkers to talk about the many ways in which other cities (in this case, DC) are not the same as New York. And it's true. If you left the City that Never Sleeps thinking you'd find a slice of the Big Apple in a federal district with a population of 580,000, you were wrong. The District sleeps. A lot. I say, "Why even bother competing? So you got pot delivery services? A 24-hour subway system? Uniqlo? Well I was taking a nap." But, you know, sometimes people really want a cup of coffee at 4 am, or a metered taxi cab, or hot corned beef on rye. And so to them, as a concession prize, I offer Morty's Delicatessen. Behold the brisket! The matzoh ball soup! The chopped liver! The black & white cookie! The demanding elderly couples feasting on enormous stacks of pastrami! Follow their lead, and then take a borscht-induced nap.



Posted By:  Rin-rin Yu
Photo:  Rin-rin Yu

AMC Mazza Gallerie
Yes, it's a movie chain. But this particular AMC theater is the Friendship Heights version, the one surrounded by the sparkles and glamour of luxury and high-end chains lining Wisconsin Avenue in attempts to be the Rodeo Drive of DC. Naturally, only the best is offered for its well-heeled shoppers. The AMC Mazza Galleria features several theaters, where an ID is necessary to prove not only that you're old enough to see the movies inside but that you can enjoy a cocktail with your film from the full bar at “Club Cinema.” Inside, the seats are leather with giant armrests to share with your neighbor, and the armrest holes are big enough to hold a tub of popcorn. It's like watching a movie in first-class, without the turbulence, and without the regular huge crowds typical of other DC movie theaters. And afterwards, you can hop on the Red line right downstairs.



Posted By:  Graham Fortier
Photo:  Graham Fortier

The Dancing Crab
Yeah, you thought your boyfriend was crazy for painting his face and screaming at the television during Redskins’ games. Chief Zee, the monikor for unofficial mascot Zema Williams, has been attending Redskins games in full tribal garb since 1978, when he first appeared at a Redskins-Cowboys game. It’s true what they say however; fame comes with a price. While attending an Eagles-Redskins game at Philly’s Veteran’s stadium back in 1983, the Chief was attacked in the parking lot by a mob of Eagles’ fans, suffering a “smashed” eye and a broken leg, as well as being stripped down to his underwear. On the upside, he was elected to the fan section of the NFL hall of fame in 2001, and in Washington, DC, November 7th is officially “Chief Zee Day.” Join Chief Zee in cheering on the Redskins this coming Sunday as they take on the rival Giants, and pay respect to a Washington legend.



Posted By:  Graham Fortier
Photo:  Graham Fortier

Angelico La Pizzeria
Ah, cheap, greasy Italian food. You know you love it. And if you don’t, Angelico’s will make you love it. Every pizza pie comes with four little puffy garlic balls, that are chock-full of fat and deliciousness. Incoming AU student’s pay attention, because if you are new to DC, you may not be aware that, with the exception of a few joints, getting food after ten at night can be a little trying. Angelico’s don’t care about sleep! They’re open ‘til midnight, so you’ve got an extra two hours to decide that yes, you are glutton enough to want a greasy meal right before you hit the pillows. Although Pizza is the standout option for many, they’re calzones, wraps, and other classic Italian dishes have also been lavishly praised. And if you're not in the mood to spend money but you‘re still craving calories, just get their garlic bread, which in itself is a which is basically a thin pizza topped with cheese and garlic, and served with tomato sauce…actual retail price: $3.00.



Posted By:  Graham Fortier
Photo:  Graham Fortier

Paul's Wine & Liquors
“Paul’s has it all!” That’s Paul’s motto, therefore making it completely biased, but I’ll give it to them this time, because they’ve got a lot. Maybe not “all,” but a lot. Paul’s has been somewhat of a Friendlytown landmark since 1951, supplying DC’s wino’s with semi-affordable imported wine for over a half-century. If you were to time travel back to the late ‘50s and see a drunk passed out with a paper bag on some heat grates, you’d have to assume that Paul was responsible for this heartbreaking sight. What I personally like about Paul’s is that they sell liquor. As I have already radared, Rodman’s is across the street and has all the beer you need…but no bourbon. And I’m a bourbon man. So say I want a 12 of PBR and a liter of Jack? Paul’s becomes the Robin of this Dynamic Duo of booze. Don’t miss Friday Night Tastings, which usually go from 5:30 to 8:30, and are a perfect way to start off that weekend you’ll probably end up forgetting.



Posted By:  Graham Fortier
Photo:  Graham Fortier

The Dancing Crab
Yummm…there’s nothing I like getting better than crabs. The Dancing Crab, a DC landmark for over 25 years, will give you just that: Delicious, Maryland Blue Crabs in an informal dining atmosphere. All you need is a bib and a mallet, and you are ready to hammer that crab meat out of there. The Dancing Crab/Malt Shop recently moved (next door) after DC real estate prices soared. It used to be that the restaurant was downstairs, and the Malt Shop upstairs. Now they share the same area: Patrons sit at the tables and drunks sit at the bars. There is also an excellent deck with an overhang that is perfect for late night drinks and a few hands of poker. Be sure to catch “Popcorn Monday’s,” when a few of the regulars bring acoustic guitars and, you guessed it, homemade popcorn.



Posted By:  Graham Fortier
Photo:  Graham Fortier

HTO is kind of like a megaplex for the outdoors/420 enthusiasts. I tried to get a backpack a few weeks ago and found out that hippies (or at least Trustafarians) must be really, really rich. But if you can afford it, HTO does have a nice supply of hiking, camping, biking, mountain climbing, and general outdoor gear. And if your low on cash, it's still a cool place to roam around and fantasize about which backpack you would bring to Europe if you quit your job and won the lottery. Or if you're planning to hike the entire Appalachian Trail this fall. Happy trails...



Posted By:  Graham Fortier
Photo:  Graham Fortier

Osman and Joe's Steak 'n Egg Kitchen
Run by hometown heroes Osman and Joe, this is one of the few 24 hour dining spots in DC. Formerly an Original Steak n’ Egg kitchen (where our heroes worked together, fleeing their home country of Sierra Leone in wake of the civil war), Joe purchased the restaurant after the legendary food chain went under. “On a handshake and a smile,” Joe and Oz went into business together, but decided to leave the giant Steak n’ Egg sign intact. If you are in the mood for some gritty and greasy diner food, and say it’s about 3 am, you know where to find the place. But if it’s a weekend, don’t expect to get a seat in a hurry: Although their success has allowed them to install a rather large outdoor dining area, the inside is still just a counter with 15 or so bar stools. Oz recommends the Steak and egg with gravy and mushrooms, while Biggie Smalls would probably order “a T-bone steak, cheese eggs and Welch’s grape.” Be sure to order your steak n’ egg ball cap, with the signature phrase, “I don’t speak English.” Don’t be fooled…they do.



Posted By:  Graham Fortier
Photo:  Graham Fortier

Middle 'C' Music
A good music store is hard to find in DC, and to be honest, this one isn’t all that great. If you’re looking for a really nice Strat or that ever-elusive Jag-Stang that Kurt Cobain customized, you ain’t gonna find it here. Sorry, but it’s off to Guitar Center and the unbearable stop-and-go of Rockville Pike. However, this conveniently located little shop does have a bunch of useful goodies for the musician: a nice variety of acoustic and electric strings, a good pair of drum sticks, and other little tidbits make it a handy shop if you broke that high E string trying to master the Heartbreaker solo. They also offer lessons for basically every instrument (okay, the didgeridoo might be pushing it), and they run a “Rock Camp” starting up in early July, with three different sessions to choose from. It’s no mega-plex, but when I asked the 75 year old man working there if they sold Kick Drum Pedals, he actually knew what I was talking about.



Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Magda Nakassis

Fantom Comics
I’m a big fan of bringing geeky interests typically confined to the home (specifically the basement) into the public sphere. So, for example, the screening of offbeat sci-fi flicks at Dr. Dremo’s Taphouse on Tuesday nights. Or knitting circles. Or any sports bar for that matter. But Fantom Comics—a great store for comic books, graphic novels, and manga—has really nailed it: bring out the Nintendo, and they will come. For anyone who misses the arcades of their childhood, there’s now Saturday night gaming in Tenleytown. Starting at midnight, there’s snacks, prizes, and video games. For someone whose skills plateaued in middle school, I particularly enjoy the opportunity to rock Street Fighter again. And for those still lamenting the ill fate of the Dreamcast system, you’re not alone anymore. The next console/game is determined that Saturday night/Sunday morning, so check the website for the next in the series.



Posted By:  Joanna Franco
Photo:  Joanna Franco

Tempo Book Distributors
Say it’s Saturday afternoon, and you have a sudden yen for…Ukrainian poetry. A nice, solid book of poetry with Ukrainian on one page and English translations on the other. Where can you go? Why, you can go to Tempo Bookstore in Northwest Washington, which has quite the selection of foreign language dictionaries and learning materials. A small, hole-in-the-wall bookstore, Tempo’s purpose is to provide dictionaries and foreign language materials for students, travelers, business people, and internationals alike. Aside from the traditional offerings of French, German, and Spanish, the bookstore features some more obscure choices: want a Scots-Gaelic dictionary? You got it! How about phrase books in Urdu or Mongolian? Check. There are also foreign language books for kiddies, as well as a decent selection of TESOL workbooks.



Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Magda Nakassis

Café Ole
Yes, it has an incredibly dorky name. Just saying the sentence, “Hey guys, why not go to Café Olé?!” in my head is making me cringe. And yes, having items on its menu like “Caesar’s Treasure” or “Sultan’s Stew” or “Istanbul Express” is not giving it any credibility either. It sounds like something a child would order at a theme park. But trust me, this self-proclaimed Mediterranean bistro serves absolutely delicious food. I’m always dubious of restaurants that offer more than one cuisine and claim to do them all well. But here we are with Turkish, Spanish, Moroccan, and Lebanese tapas/mezedes/small plates coming out of the kitchen, all of ‘em mouth-watering. Café Olé’s location is a little bit awkward. It’s at the south end of Tenleytown, stuck in some weird office building complex (also housing a movie house and hair salon) that is something like an urban strip mall. There’s limited seating inside, but in the summer it’s wonderful to sit outside on the patio and pretend you’re in a Greek café (and not on Wisconsin Avenue).



Posted By:  Molly V Strzelecki
Photo:  none

Ashtanga Yoga Center
Breathe. Breathe… A friend of mine swears by yoga, says she just doesn’t feel right if she doesn’t get her two days a week in. So for those looking to breathe deeply while stretching your body, definitely take a class or two at Ashtanga Yoga Center in Tenleytown. They have the only authorized Ashtanga yoga teachers in the DC area, meaning these people really know their stuff, having been approved by the Ashtanga Yoga research center in Mysore, India. The Center offers beginning through advanced Ashtanga classes, but schedules vary, so check the website for days and times. Each class is about $15, but you can save a little dough by buying a class card. If you’ve never tried Ashtanga, the Center also offers a three-week beginners class for $30 that instructs novices in the basics of the practice.



Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Magda Nakassis

Rodman's
Lately I’ve come to believe that there’s a hidden aisle at Rodman’s that leads to Narnia. My local grocery is a family-run pharmacy turned gourmet food emporium, and everything about it is dysfunctional and fabulous. Its aisles are narrow, and some are only accessible from one end. The shop has two floors, but customers are forced to leave their shopping carts by the escalator, making for a permanent traffic jam by the imported chocolates. The employees are fond of ignoring the customers and have the reaction time of someone who’s just washed down 500mg of Vicodin with a glass of bourbon. The customers move at a similar pace, many of them fussy senior citizens from Tenleytown or gourmands who’ve traveled distances to pore over the shop’s selection of fine wine, imported cheeses, curry ketchup, canes, wilting flowers, dandruff shampoos, bridge scorepads, and Scottish shortbread. Don’t mistake it for a one-stop superstore, though – it’s anything but. Rodman’s stocks what it chooses, with no obvious method to its madness. You’ll find me wandering around its aisles charmed and frustrated every day of the week, and often twice on Sundays.




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