Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ellington's on Eighth

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of seeing a couple of live bands play at Ellington’s on Eighth. Ellington’s on Eighth has been located on 8th Street in Southeast Washington near the Marine Barracks since Mother’s Day in 1998. Saturday’s performances were by Nigerian singer and songwriter, Kuku and South African band, Mahala featuring the magical guitar on Mongezi “Chris” Ntaka. It was a real treat. Now, top that off with an international buffet featuring West African/Caribbean cuisine and great conversation, then you have a typical evening at Ellington’s on Eighth. This cozy little champagne lounge and garden café was started by two sisters from Iowa name, Marsha and Annette Martin. They saw Ellington’s as an opportunity to serve and give back to the community. As a matter of fact, Ellington’s staff was chosen through referrals from places like DC Central Kitchen. This fit in well with Annette’s background in Social Work. She could serve the community as a business owner and continue her mission as someone who loves to help others. I’ve never met Marsha Martin, but Annette Martin is a wonderful person. Her warm manner and ready smile reminds me of an auntie or older sister. On any given day she could be seen talking and laughing with the customers. I’m sure that she has often been mistaken for a waitress or server because she is always among the patrons making sure they are comfortable and being served. Unfortunately, Ellington’s on Eighth closed its doors after nine years of serving the Capitol Hill community. Family, friends, and patrons said their goodbyes this past Sunday on their 9th Anniversary. Ellington’s on Eighth will be missed…but only in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Annette Martin assured me and others that she and her sister are considering other locations in the DC metropolitan area for a future location. So, all is not lost on this journey and perhaps the Ellington name will reemerge on another street closer to you or me. I hope so and I hope it’s soon. So, thank you Annette and Marsha for nine great years on 8th Street. Annette, thank you for taking the time to talk with me and for showing me your book on African Americans in Iowa. I'd also like to thank your very funny and talented staff for their service and wonderful hospitality. I wish you the very best. Peace~

Clarification and message from Annette:

"one clarifiication ... of the employees you met on Saturday ... two were from DC Third and EATS (Community Family Life Services), one from Ballou High School and another from CSOSA. I have also been fortunate to employ a number of people from the HOMELAND .... AFRICA ... this has given be great HAPPINESS . I have grown so much. Ellington's on Eighth is a special place ... I am glad to have met you."


Cergie said...

Hi ! Stephen, Soooo many beautiful posts since the last time I came.
It's a pitty my English is nor suffisant
I would like to be abble to understand all your texts
What I understand today is that you enjoyed a place and nowit's closed
I can understand too that it will be a new place in the futeure
Just need to wait a bit and have the possibility to hear wonderful music, you're a lucky man !

I like all the pictures of this post, the so smilling person, the special framing of the shop, beautiful and the inside too with the music instrument
Thank you for this interresting post

Aurevoire, dear Stephen !

Stephen A. Bess said...

You are so welcome. Yes, you understand it perfectly. Hopefully, I will one day understand French better and I'll explain future post to you. Take care and always a pleasure. :)

lyre said...

Thank you for stopping by and offering your wisdom. I needed it. And I think i need Ellingtons too! :-) Coming to DC for the ALA conference. I will look this place up!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I hate that I missed Ellington's. I'll be checking back here for updates on its new location! Very nice blog you have here. I'll definitely be back.

Rethabile said...

Listening to you talk about that evening of great music and great food had me going, "Oh, man..."

If anyone is not familiar with the southern African guitar sound, remember Paul Simon's album ("Call me Al," "Homeless," "Graceland," etc)? That's the sound.

Or better yet, buy some Southern African tunes (Hugh Masekela, Sankomota, for instance).

Beautiful post.

Stephen A. Bess said...

Unfortunately, it will be gone, but write me and I'll give you some other places to visit.

Thank you so much and welcome!
Ee ntate! Hugh Masekela was the first I heard when I was doing Jazz radio. I'm in love with African music. I hear it all when I am at parties. I hear music from Sierra Leone, Cameroon, South
Africa, etc. I love it all. Now, I have favorite songs that I will rush to the dancefloor for when they come on.

Fabrizio said...

Great post. I'd like to see that place!

Anonymous said...

Oh, you had my mouth watering for this wonderful cuisine and my ears perked for splendid sounds and then I was let down when I learned they closed :( But, I truly hope the Martin sisters find a place to relocate, soon! I worked at the Navy Yard in the mid 80's and miss the area. I was horrified to learn about Eastern Market. Not only did I go there, but my great grandmother was a patron in the early days. You make me homesick...thanks for the wonderful post.


Professor Zero said...

Ooooh, wish I'd been there!

Stephen A. Bess said...

Yeah, it was cool.

Yeah, the fire did some damage but the crowds are still around. I feel bad because of the history of the structure. By the way, I'm happy I can bring a little of DC your way. I know I would miss it too if I was away.

You should come. :)

Writing on Board said...

Sounds like such a great place. You had me wanting to go there and then you hit me in the middle of the essay with the fact that they're closing. You're a tricky one, Bess. You lead me in with talk about a buffet, then you shock me with a closed sign. Ever think of writing horror?

Stephen A. Bess said...

LOL! :)My apologies. Yes, it was a nice place. I hope that they will reopen soon somewhere in the area.

nosthegametoo said...

Definately looks like a place I'd like to check out.

Thank you for sharing this.

lyre said...

Have you ever been to Warm Daddies in Philly?

Stephen A. Bess said...

Yeah, I really liked this place. Good to see you.

I have been to Warm Daddies. Is it still open? I went there for brunch one time on a Sunday. They had a live gospel band singing.

Anonymous said...

Sounds beautiful. I'll have to check it out next time I'm in D.C.

Suzan Abrams, email: suzanabrams@live.co.uk said...

Oh wow, Stephen.
What terrific fun.
The whole read sounds magical. :-)

Crankyputz said...

Another place for me to visit. Thanks for the reccomendation.

Stephen A. Bess said...

Hello. Unfortunately, it is no longer. The place closed down on Mother's Day. Also, welcome. :)

Hello and thanks. I had a nice time there last weekend.

Let me know if and when you make it to DC. I give you some places to go. Ellington's on 8th is closed. See, that's how I know that you only read the first part of this post. Shame. :)

Anonymous said...

Never been there before. Gotta check it out. =)

Anonymous said...

....or maybe not, since its now closed. =(

Stephen A. Bess said...

Unfortunately, it is gone. See at the end of this post.

Stephen A. Bess said...

LOL!! You beat me to the punch. :)

Icarus said...

Stephen, you have such a great gift of making everything you describe seem either real fun, or really worthwhile. It is your passion and has to do with that imperative you wrote about the other day. it's an imperative thirst & hunger for life, lived in he positive lane.
BTW, that line (thanks so much for your comment, I appreciated it so much...humbled), yes, strong to me too. but I honestly thought you'd connect with the line about who has the blood royal, those who ask "Why?"....
Now I really could eat HUGE at E's on 8th! Starving.
yes, Peace to you & all.

Stephen A. Bess said...

Funny, those lines are now very clear when I say them to myself a second time. I understand now. Now, I am speechless. :) Overall, the poem is beautiful. Thanks for your comment. Perhaps I should consider writing reviews. I would enjoy that. Eat well and take care. Peace~ :)

Stunuh Jay said...

How you doin' Mr. Bess I've finally caught up with myself although I did forget Mom's day and have been keeping a low profile...it's healthier that way!
I'm coming up to your neck of the woods.... well it's going to be a busy trip but will keep all details for my poor unattended blog. Hope ou and yours are well.

Stephen A. Bess said...

There you are! :)Glad to see you back. So, you're crossing the pond, eh? Let me know when you make it to DC. Take care. Peace~

black feline said...

yes...i alway believe...all good things must come to an end...like those long running serials or sitcoms...better to leave while at the pinnacle...good memories...who knows? they might come back for a reunion...

Stephen A. Bess said...

Yes, so true. They do have plans to come back so I'll just keep my eyes and ears opened around the metro area.

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