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Posted at 12:54 PM ET, 03/ 3/2006

Drinks at Vegetate

By Fritz Hahn

Vegetate's battle for a liquor license is over, and Shiloh Baptist Church's protest has been successful. Officially, the vegetarian and vegan restaurant, which opened in Shaw last fall, can't serve alcohol because it's within 400 feet of a school. (Shiloh protested Vegetate's license, as well as the neighboring Queen of Sheba restaurant, saying that the neighborhood doesn't need places that sell liquor.)

But starting tonight, and every Friday and Saturday night during the month of March, you'll be able to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner at Vegetate, or sip a cocktail after midnight while DJ Dredd spins hip-hop and dance classics in the lounge.

This is possible thanks to the confusing twists and turns of the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration and its myriad licenses. While Vegetate can't get the standard Alcoholic Beverage Control license, they're able to apply for one-day-only licenses, which are handled separately from the permanent licenses and can't be appealed by the church. Ain't bureaucracy grand?

"Someone told us it couldn't hurt, so we just applied for [the licenses] and they granted them," says Vegetate owner Dominic Redd. "We didn't want to go overboard, so we said we'd close at 1."

Along with the alcohol, Redd says the vegetarian restaurant is going to "extend our dinner hours, so we'll have food available the entire night." Dinner is served until 11, with a new late night menu afterward, and the sounds of Prince, Michael Jackson and Outkast filling the house from 10 until close.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | March 3, 2006; 12:54 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Restaurants  
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It is a real shame that D.C. caved in to the ignorant religious fanatics from Shiloh Baptist Church. Vegetate is a great restaurant which is doing its part to restore a blighted neighborhood.

This is a prime example of why D.C. is still a second-rate city.

Posted by: Michael Gurwitz | March 4, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse

The biggest shame is that Shiloh's parishoners are from Maryland, not DC. Yet they think they can tell us what's right for our neighborhoods. Damn them.

Posted by: Daniel | March 5, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Fight fire with fire. Don't the Shiloh parishoners have some parking problems on Sundays, always double parking and blocking people in, with police currently looking the other way?

Posted by: di | March 6, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm so discouraged by the news that Shiloh won this battle. I, apparently naively, thought for sure that the DC government would for once be smart enough to vote for progress. I went out of my way to try this restaurant a few months ago, despite the lack of liquor license, and entered a neighborhood that I don't often frequent -- and I discovered why that is so. My friend and I, as two women walking by ourselves, felt distinctly uncomfortable, as we stepped over accumulated garbage and around doorway drug deals to get to this restaurant. We had great food in a stylish setting, but it does not bode well for the future of this neighborhood if the DC government is going to continue to allow the patrons of Shiloh church to block economic progress. If those so-called Christians want to really do some good for the community, maybe they should focus on the garbage and drug dealers and loiterers drinking forties in paper bags, not on upscale private businesses trying to improve the local economy.

Posted by: DCfoodie | March 7, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Apparently the folks at Shiloh need to study the Bible a little more because they apparently have forgotten that Jesus turned water into wine. These folks are truly ridiculous.

Posted by: Sanity | March 7, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I am so happy that Shiloh won this battle!

Listen, I have been to Vegetate and I actually know the owners. They are wonderful people and the restaurant is absolutely AMAZING!! I am very excited about their opening and about their food!! I love the restaurant AND I love Dominic and Jenny.

However, I applaud Shiloh for sticking to their guns and being true to their convictions. Since when does "progress" (economic or otherwise) equal "liquor"?? If people love the restaurant that much, is having to wait until after dinner to drink really that much of a hardship? Shiloh is simply doing what they think is best for their neighborhood (the fact that many parishioners are from MD is irrelevant. The church is IN DC and the ministerial staff are from DC). This is a great example of grassroots communities taking ownership of their neighborhoods and coming together to do something that they feel is positive. It is a very progressive example of community accountability and resourcefulness. We may not always like the outcome but if this is what the residents of this neighborhood want and they made their voice heard, then good for them. Vegetate's customers will visit the neighborhood and then leave. They are NOT the ones who should be deciding what is best for the people who actually live and have to deal with the consequences of these neighborhood decisions on a daily basis.

If the "future of this neighborhood" is in jeopardy solely because an admittedly fabulous restaurant cannot serve alcohol, than that community has WAY more important things it should be worrying about than sipping martinis.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 10, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

i don't think anyone suggested that drinking "liqour" before dinner directly boosts the economic well being of the neighborhood. But rather, having to deny grown folk their wine with their meal may inhibit a large portion of frequent diner$ from returning, thus it lessens the overall economic impact the restaurant could've made on the neighborhood. (figuratively speaking of course. i do think a jam rockin' menu and atmosphere can overcome this, and i wish Vegetate success in doing so.)

also, nothing against Shiloh, it's great they are involved in the comminity. but i think their activism in this instance is based out of fear, not research. Vegetate isn't opening a liquor store, and allowing my unlce JJ buy a 40oz with nickels. they're opening a hip, healthy and positive space to wine and dine... or at least that is the dream.

Posted by: Heidi | March 14, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous, your "love" for the owners of Vegetate is so profound. If only everyone could love on that level. Indicative of your "love" is the fact that you signed your post Anonymous. Surely D&J would like to know that their 'loved' ones are out there and who they are.

Ok enough of the sarcasm: your arguments are w/o merit, and your "love" non-existent. GPCS summed it up quite well, let me just add the following:

1. The owners of Vegetate are DC residents, they are on 9th street every day...not just Sunday. They are a part of that community.

2. Shiloh is not doing what's best for the community...they are doing what's best for them (whatever the heck that is). Not only that...who are they to determine what is best for a community?

3. Shiloh should focus on cleaning up the filth, and the drug paraphanelia that is littered through that area, that the owners have to clean up repeatedly. They should focus on cleaning up those horrid, run down buildings that they own.

4. Since you've been there before, surely you know that they don't open until 6pm Tues-Sat, there are no children around at that time. Sunday they open at 11, are we to believe that kids are going to be stealing money out of the Shiloh collection plate, running to Vegetate, ordering a $$ mamosa, getting drunk then running back to church? Give me a break. It's more likely that they'll stop at the liquor store that's 20 feet from Shilohs front door on their way to Vegetate.

The owners of Vegetate (who I know quite well) don't need the kind of "love" you're displaying. Having known them for approaching 18 years, I personally find your brand of "love" insulting. You're the type of person that would post these comments and then go to Vegetate and enjoy an alcoholic beverage. Although I don't speak for them, you might as well keep that kind of "love" to yourself.


Posted by: RP | March 20, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

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