Columbia Heights Greatest Hits

As of August 2, the Broads of the Beltway will be neighbors – I am moving into a charming little nook on 1st and R, a loogie’s range from my beloved Big Bear Café.

Since I pop over to Chicago for several days beginning tomorrow, tonight is my penultimate evening in Columbia Heights.  I’m swapping a dim, cave-like basement with pipes traversing the ceiling for a bright, renovated unit with an entire wall of exposed brick. In geometric terms, my new bike commute to and from work will have a slope of zero. I will have room for a desk for my computer and sewing machine. These are all wonderful things. I have crushed on Bloomingdale since I moved to DC last year, and even lived there for a month as Lindsay’s temporary roommate. After settling into a more permanent living situation in Columbia Heights, I never did quite embrace the area like I did my very first DC ‘hood. In the interest of objectivity, though, Columbia Heights does boast some rad selling points. In no particular order, here are the things I will miss most about Columbia Heights.

The Florida Avenue Grill:  Fine, nerd. This restaurant is technically on the border of Columbia Heights and U Street Corridor, but since it is the closest eatery to my South Columbia Heights apartment, I am including it here. In a city with a plethora of options for adventurous, curious palettes, there seem to be limited choices for those of us who want food we already know. Not so at the Florida Avenue Grill – this teensy diner on 11th and Florida offers no-fuss staples for those in search of comfort, if not adventure. The friendly wait staff prepares classics like bacon, eggs, pancakes and grits right in front of you on a hot metal flat-top. Brunch looms large in DC – but, on a lazy Sunday morning (that is, if morning ends at 2,) I am not in the mood for the pricey mimosae and meticulously garnished offerings elsewhere on U-Street – I want protein sopping with fatty oil, and I want it fast.

FroZenYo: The only thing easier to find in DC than a prickish intern is frozen yogurt. Indeed, restaurants and chains like FroZenYo, Pinkberry, TangySweet, Mr. Yogato and Yogen Fruz all serve to assure you that it will never be too difficult to find the stuff in the District of Columbia. Still, I give the edge to FroZenYo, and the Columbia Heights location is its very best. I am not crazy about the tangy-style frozen yogurt – I prefer my frozen yogurt to taste as close to ice cream as possible. Furthermore, I like to add as many junk-food toppings as I can (including kit-kats, chocolate chips and caramel sauce,) thereby completely offsetting the calories saved by eating frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. FroZenYo allows me to do so the most extensively. They do have tangy (read: less sugared) frozen yogurt for the more nutritionally responsible among us, and an impressive variety of sweeter yo and toppings at the self-serve bar. Special accolades go to the Dulce de Leche flavor, my personal favorite. So, what makes the FroZenYo of Columbia Heights better than the pile of FroZenYos you trip over wherever you walk in the District? The outdoor seating. Since the store is located on Tivoli Square, FroZenYo-ers in Columbia Heights can sit on one of the sprawling circular benches in the neighborhood center, and watch kiddos play in the fountains. Cuh-yoot.

Target: Do not underestimate the quality of life boost afforded by being within walking distance of a Target. You always need something that can be acquired here. 100% of the time. And, if that thing is a practical household item, you can be sure that you’ll be distracted by impractical clothing and accessories. This may cause you to forget to buy the paper towels you arrived for, but don’t lose sleep over it. You can return tomorrow, remember? You live within walking distance of a Target.

Conduciveness to cycling: Although riding up the hill to reach Columbia Heights is a surefire way to ruin your life, once you get there, it is probably the best neighborhood for cycling in the city. And, as a two-month bicycle owner, I am an asshole about that sort of thing now (as evidenced by the fact that I call it ‘cycling,’ and not ‘bike riding.’) With its many bike lanes and easy-to-ride side streets, Columbia Heights is quite bike-friendly. There is also a very high bike rack-to-business ratio, which means you won’t be scrambling to find a random item to tether your ride to.  This also means your bike will be within easy reach when you discover that wherever you are going is already jam-packed. 
See? I’m not all nice. Bon voyage, Columbia Heights. I will be sure to check in on you.

– Natalie

About Natalie Shure

literature, life and latte lady

One Response to “Columbia Heights Greatest Hits”

  1. The ginues store called, they’re running out of you.

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