The place to live, dine, frolic: Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Top-notch restaurants, residences stand out in much-coveted neighborhood

The Navy Yard is the U.S. Navy’s oldest shore establishment, dating back to 1799 after being authorized by the first Secretary of State, Benjamin Stoddert. In the early days it was the largest shipbuilding and shipfitting facility in the country.

During the War of 1812, the Navy Yard became a vital strategic link to defend a young Washington, D.C. On August 14, 1814, Admiral Sir George Cockburn and Major General Robert Ross, under British order, landed at Marlboro on the Patuxent River. The Washington Navy Yard could not be defended due to its condition. Captain Thomas Tingey, the Yard’s Commandant, along with the president and the secretary of the Navy, ordered the Yard burned. After the fire, Commodore Tingey recommended that the height of the eastern wall be increased to ten feet.

By 1815, the Board of Naval Commissioners decided the Navy Yard should be limited to shipbuilding purposes. One of the earliest steam engines in the United States was built there. Its primary function changed once more during the 1850’s when the Navy Yard evolved into an ordnance production facility.

Today at Navy Yard

“The Yards” as it is fondly called is home these days to a growing restaurant and luxury-housing neighborhood. The Navy Yard is now one of D.C.’s most exciting waterfront locales for living, dining, shopping, and relaxing. The vibrant neighborhood also hosts several large-scale events throughout the year, including Ice Yards, Rosé All Day, Tiki Yards, Side Yards, Light Yards, and Noon Year’s Eve, among others.

Luxury apartment complexes are being built as fast as the shops and restaurants. The Guild Lofts opened in May and The Bower also opened recently. These stunning modern buildings add a level of artistry to the area.

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Anston Kovalcik has lived in The Navy Yard since November 2017. She is very proud to live there among the bustling restaurant scene. “When people hear that I live in the Navy Yard, they always love to comment that the area used to be pretty rough and how drastically it has changed! I have been in love with the vibe, the people, and beauty of the river and boardwalk,” she says about living in the neighborhood.

The Salt Line is Anston’s all-time favorite restaurant. Originally, from Boston she loves its Bostonian vibe and brings her golden retriever Daisy May to sit on the outdoor patio. The restaurant provides bandanas for customers’ furry best friends, free milk bones and bowls for water.

Chloe opened its doors on January 5, 2018 and was a finalist in this year’s 2019 RAMMYS in the New Restaurant of the Year category. Executive Chef Haidar Karoum is no stranger to the D.C. culinary scene. His past restaurants include Doi Moi, Proof, and Estadio.

Chicken Liver with Bacon Jam, Chloe. Photo by Lisa Comento.
Chicken Liver with Bacon Jam at Chloe. Photo by Lisa Comento.

There were many things that seemed to draw Chef Karoum to The Yards. “When I first walked around the location it just felt right,” he said. “The corner location of Chloe had a very positive energy to it like a feng shui feel. I was also drawn by the proximity to water being a Pisces and an avid fisherman. The neighborhood felt, good, and the people seemed friendly and energetic. There seemed to be many happy dogs in the neighborhood as well and I feel happy dogs are a great barometer of happiness when checking a location.”

The 103-seat restaurant’s menu is diverse and well-priced. The Cobia Crudo with avocado, Thai chilies, lime juice, fish sauce and puffed rice highlights his talents as a chef by utilizing different textures and flavors. The Cobia is sourced from Iceland. Patrons will also find a stellar wine and beer list and adelicious happy hour menu.

Deviled Ham Deviled Eggs, The Shilling Company. Photo by Lisa Comento.
Deviled Ham Deviled Eggs at Shilling Canning Company. Photo by Lisa Comento.

The latest restaurant on The Yards scene is Shilling Canning Company. Dabney alum, Chef Reid Shilling, opened his doors a month ago. Inspired by his family’s Baltimore canning company, started in 1935, he honors his family’s legacy by offering canned foods to his dining guests. “We love the area. It’s beautiful, safe, and there’s always things going on,” Chef Shilling said about what attracted him to The Yards to open his restaurant. It’s a tight community of people who also love being here. The neighborhood has been very receptive to us this first month,”

What tomorrow holds

The second Maxwell Park location will open this fall. Wine expert Brent Knoll, whose first Maxwell on 9th St. has been such a success, won Wine Program of the Year at this year’s 2019 RAMMYS. The popular wine bar features a solid menu, wine tasting flights, and a bar where guests can draw with chalk.

Chef Michael Rafidi, one of D.C.’s promising culinary talents, will open his first solo restaurant, Albi, this fall. Partnering with Maxwell Park, both will be located on the corner of 4th and Tingey. Brent Kroll’s adventurous wine bar will be run in partnership with top sommeliers Niki Lang and Daniel Runnerstrom. Together, Rafidi and Kroll will bring to D.C. the first dual-concept experience that celebrates regional farms, world-class wines, and the diversity of Levantine food and culture.

The word “Albi” in Arabic means “my heart” with dishes inspired by Chef Rafidi’s recent travels to Lebanon and Morocco. Chef Rafidi will also oversee the menu at Maxwell Park with plans for a selection of snacks, cheeses, and charcuterie.

The Sapporo-style ramen shop Hatoba from the talented team behind the Daikaya Group including dynamic D.C.-based partners and restaurateurs Daisuke Utagawa, Chef Katsuya Fukushima, and Yama Jewayni will open in winter 2019. Hatoba will be the fourth D.C. restaurant from the Daikaya Group and will continue the tradition of featuring custom-made ramen noodles by Nishiyama Seimen Company in Sapporo, Japan.
The Yards has abundant options for the locals, those visiting D.C. and even their furry friends!

Author credit: Lisa Comento

Photo credit: Chloe (featured), Lisa Comento (inline 1, 2)

About the publisher.

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Lisa Comento is a contributor to our content. She is a social media strategist, public relations expert, and writer, who specializes in food, wine, and travel . Based in Washington, D.C. , she is an advocate of sustainable foodways, cooking well and eating wisely.