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."
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