Uniontown Bar & Grill opening in the summer at 2200 MLK Ave SE
* This article is in this month’s East of the River newspaper. *
“Change is arriving in Historic Anacostia; Uniontown Bar & Grill set to open in the summer”
The Players Lounge in the 2700 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, well-known for hosting election night parties and political rallies, will no longer be the only place Ward 8 residents can go after-hours to enjoy the company of friends, family, and neighbors over dinner.
With an opening planned for July, Uniontown Bar and Grill at 2200 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE is bringing a renewed excitement to Historic Anacostia. The neighborhood, which gained a new coffee shop in January, has patiently awaited the arrival of what many cross-town residents enjoy without thinking twice.
“Change is coming to a community that desperately needs change,” says Greta Fuller representing Historic Anacostia as ANC Commissioner of A803, “DC is a walking city. We don’t have anywhere to truly walk to. I’ve spoken with many of my constituents and they can’t wait to enjoy themselves.”
The impetus for Uniontown Bar & Grill is third generation Washingtonian Natasha Dasher, who has previously been known throughout the city for holding fundraisers for local politicians.
“I was fortunate enough to grow up in DC in a civically affiliated family. Being dedicated to the economic development of the city is in my internal make-up,” says Dasher.
Mindful of historic preservation, Dasher has fitted the building, which nearly a century ago housed Burys General Store at 2200 Nichols Avenue, with a new façade and the 1980’s era mural on the W Street side has been painted over.
Dasher is not a fan of loud restaurants that masquerade as night clubs, and says Uniontown will be family friendly.
The restaurant will be open 11am – 9pm Sunday through Thursday and 11am – 2am Fridays and Saturdays. Serving American food with Cajun options, Uniontown will have a total seating capacity of 153 spread across a large bar, booth seating, and tables. Evening hours will adjust according to the season and occasion, for example when the Redskins play at night says Dasher.
Working with Stan Voudrie, Principal of Four Points LLC, to identify a high visibility location, Dasher says she wants Uniontown to be a place where the community can enjoy good food and conversation.
“One of the things people always say is we need a sit-down restaurant. We’re really excited and I’m looking forward to taking friends,” says Voudrie who with Four Points, landlord to Big Chair Coffee, signed a ten year lease with Dasher.
“Any business in the community is beneficial. People spending money in the community is a good thing. It’s what makes the world turn,” said Paul Sweet, a resident of Hope Village, as he walked by Uniontown.
“We can’t take this in isolation. The area is growing fast. There’s development in lower Anacostia and we’re working in Congress Heights. We like the fact it’s coming, but we need more development,” said former Mayor and Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry.
Uniontown Bar & Grill draws its name from the past. Before the Civil War developers created Uniontown, a 100-acre grid of 700 rectangular lots in present-day Anacostia to be sold to whites. For many reasons, Uniontown as a city community never succeeded.
Dasher, a marketing executive, had heard many of the “myths” surrounding Uniontown, but when she saw the Uniontown photo essay at the Anacostia UPO she had the perfect name for her restaurant.
“There are few alternatives to the fried food places to eat or gather in Anacostia,” observes Brad Karreer, a Housing Financial Analyst with the DC Department of Housing and Community Development. “Many times office workers here organize lunch pick-up trips across the river, but now it seems there is a critical mass in the day time crowd to have more and varied food service here in the neighborhood. This complements some of the other pioneer businesses that have taken root along MLK Avenue, and their success should be encouraging for others to invest here.”