Around Town: Best of DC Reader’s Poll @ Washington City Paper (Through 3/23/15)

properburger

The Proper Burger from Duke’s Grocery

In an unusually competitive year, the Washington City Paper has extended voting in seven of its categories for its Best of DC Readers’ Poll. The special extended voting on the poll’s highly popular categories will extend through 11:59pm on Monday, March 23.

Said the City Paper, “These seven categories were so competitive, we’re giving you extra time to decide the winners.

The finalists for each category were the top vote-getters in this year’s poll. Vote for your favorite.”

The seven categories and their semi-finalists are below. I’ve included some light commentary to reveal my votes. I’m not suggesting that it should sway your vote, but don’t let it stop you if you’re looking for suggestions!

Best Bar
All Souls (725 T St. NW, DC)
Bar Pilar (1833 14th St. NW, DC)
Boundary Stone (116 Rhode Island Ave. NW, DC)
Churchkey (1337 14th St. NW, DC)
DC Reynolds (3628 Georgia Ave. NW, DC)
Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St. NW, DC)
The Park at Fourteenth (920 14th St. NW, DC)

None of these bars particularly constitute my specific vision of “best bar,” but I’ll throw out a few things that a “best bar” should be. It should be cozy. It should offer cheap libations. It should draw a comfortable, relaxed crowd. In some capacity, I’m certain these bars fulfill that vision for someone (except maybe the “cheap” part).

I was torn in voting because DC Reynolds is the closest thing that approximates my ideal bar here, but I much prefer the neighborhood surrounding Bar Pilar. I couldn’t split my vote, so ultimately I went with Pilar and its great employees like Matt Brown and Jesse Miller.

Best Burger
BGR (514 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC)
Burger Tap & Shake (2200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC)
Duke’s Grocery (1513 17th St. NW, DC)
Five Guys (1335 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC) (and other locations)
Good Stuff Eatery (303 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, DC)
Ray’s Hell Burgers (1650 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.)
Shake Shack (1216 18th St. NW, DC) (and other locations)

Let’s agree that DC’s best burger should be native to DC? At least, that’s my view. Sorry, BGR and Shake Shack. Five Guys has become so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget it started in Alexandria! Good Stuff is always dependable, and I am looking forward to the expansion of Burger Tap & Shake to Tenleytown so I can have a location closer to my home.

However, hands down, the best burger on this list is the Proper Burger from Duke’s Grocery. It’s just damn yummy. (Sorry, Ray’s, but those thick steak burgers aren’t truly the best burger, in my opinion.)

Best Restaurant
Belga Cafe (514 8th St. SE, DC)
Komi (1509 17th St. NW, DC)
Le Diplomate (1601 14th St. NW, DC)
Le Mirch (1736 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC)
Rasika (633 D St. NW, DC)
Rose’s Luxury (717 8th St. SE, DC)
The Park at Fourteenth (920 14th St. NW, DC)
The Red Hen (1822 First St. NW, DC)

Rose’s Luxury is everyone’s number one restaurant, and things don’t get much better than a meal at The Red Hen. Both also are homegrown concerns, very much worthy of your vote. (As are, admittedly, most restaurants on this list.) I absolutely appreciate the new level of French cuisine that Le Diplomate brought to DC under when its prorieter Stephen Starr finally extended his restaurant empire here.

Ultimately, the top space with the top food and a restaurant that is truly at the top of its game in the moment is The Red Hen.

Best Theater Company
Arena Stage (1101 6th St. SW, DC)
Shakespeare Theatre Company (610 F St. NW, DC)
Signature Theatre (4200 Campbell Ave, Arlington, Va.)
Studio Theater (1501 14th St. NW, DC)
Taffety Punk Theatre Company (Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 7th St. SE, DC)
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (641 D St. NW, DC)

I’ve seen my share of Shakespeare, and our Shakespeare Theatre Company is definitely a global player in the Bard’s word.

Best Real Estate Agent
Craig McCullough
Daniel Brewer
David Bediz
Jason Skipworth
Jennifer Knoll
Michael Alderfer
Rachel Valentino
Suzanne Des Marais
Tom Buerger

None of these real estate agents appear to have a blog, which is a disappointment! I searched their websites, and half of them have somewhat overall disappointing web communications overall. But I kinda liked the accessibility and lack of pretension of Michael Alderfer, so if you are looking for a random pick, he’s as good as any?

Best Yoga Studio
Bikram Yoga Capitol Hill (410 H St. NE, DC)
Down Dog Yoga (1046 Potomac St. NW, DC)
Epic Yoga DC (1323 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC)
Flow Yoga Center (1450 P St. NW, DC)
Sun & Moon Yoga Studio (3811 Lee Hwy, Arlington, Va.)
Yoga District (1635 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC)
Yoga Heights (3506 Georgia Ave. NW, DC)

I also have no basis for selecting a yoga studio as I’m not a yoga enthusiast. (Nor does my OKCupid profile have a play on the word “yogi” in its username.) But for my money, any place that wears its municipal pride on its sleeve is worth a vote. So go forth, Yoga District, and wear your stripes proudly!

Best Place to Volunteer
City Dogs Rescue (2121 Decatur Place NW, DC)
Food & Friends (219 Riggs Rd. NE, DC)
Higher Achievement (317 8th St. NE, DC)
Lucky Dog Animal Rescue (5159 Lee Highway, Arlington, Va.)
Reading Partners (600 New Hampshire Ave. NW, DC)
Rural Dog Rescue (733 8th St. SE, DC)
Washington Humane Society (1201 New York Ave. NE, DC)

As a former emergency preparedness volunteer, I don’t see any of my associated organizations here like American Red Cross or Greater DC Cares! Perhaps it’s too arcane a volunteer domain? Everyone loves animals, however, and I particularly am fond of cats. So I gave my vote to the Washington Humane Society.

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