Digital Archives Interior Cultural: Black Owned Business

Exterior of Halfsmoke

3. As I was walking on my to 5th & O I stumbled across one of the family owned mom and pop restaurants by the name of Half Smoke. After walking around and researching 5th & O I had gone over there for lunch. It seemed like new restaurants that had just opened, when I walked in there were a few customers and the general manager was sitting at the bar and helped me navigate what to order from the menu. As I ordered I asked him a couple of questions about the restaurants itself and the Shaw area “make over” over the past couple of years. It so happened that the general manager and the owner of Half Smoke who I later found out were named Andre McCain had opened the as he states “casual sausage joint” back in October. The manager stated that McCain wanted to have at least one black owned business around an area that was having this gentrification makeover. He wanted to have a commonplace for folks of all ages to come and enjoy themselves and not worry what is going on in the neighborhood that surrounds them which I found very noble of him to do.

Inside of HalfSmoke Restaurant


Digital Archives Interior Cultural: Good Ole Liquor Store

2. Despite all the new mom and pop businesses, there are still corner stores that remain in their place since opening up in the 1980s. One of the customers that I spoke to from the Liquor stated that that particular liquor was there since the late 70s. Though the store hasn’t gone anywhere, everything else around them seems to be changing. As I walked in, it was just any liquor store housing hundreds of bottles all across the wall. There was a sweet older man who I am assuming was the owner of the store asked me to not take any picture but I happened to find pictures on google. As I interviewed the old man he states that he has been working here for more than 35 years. He states that inside of the liquor store nothing has changed but the people that come in buy and what they buy, had changed severely. He states that the family that he has seen grow up and has their own kids are no longer there because they can no longer afford to be here.

Digital Archives Interior Cultural: Tucked Away Co-ops

  1. Layout of a 1 bedroom co-op apartment

    While walking around 5th & O for the first time something that struck me was the cooperative home complex that was tucked away all the way at the end of 5th street. As I walked past it, it automatically seemed out of place from all the beautiful newly constructed homes that surrounded it. From research essentially “Second Northwest Cooperative Homes” are part of the Section 8 Housing programs around the nation. The overall idea of co-op homes in D.C as advertise by several articles online is residents own a share of the entire property not just their unit, which entitles the resident to own a share of the unit. The “head” of the co-op homes has a board of directors and a management company, which maintains the property, screens new residents, and determines monthly fees among other charges. There are at least 120 co-ops in the DC however this type of affordable housing is not well known or advertised. As I did research, I saw that the prices ranged from 1, 500 for a studio apartment to around 4, 500 for a 4 bedroom co-op apartment.