Disagree with some posts above. U Street is full of Jazz clubs and multi-cultural eateries and shops.
Prior to the 60s fires and such, U Street was a major jazz center even before NY -with Duke Ellington and a host of others (many of whom ended up in NY, Chicago, New Orleans later on). Several jazz spots have re-opened. In addition, new venues for other new music have opened – nothing could be closer to bringing back U St. history than that.
U Street also has a history of multi-culturism which has returned – which shows in the music offerings and the varied dining and shopping opportunities.
I think U Street is returning to its roots more than ever, instead of the run-down slum it had once turned into – there’s little history to celebrate in that.
Ben’s is no tourist trap. It has seemed that way recently thanks to Obamas and other noted dignitaries highly visible trips to Ben’s. But, typically, there’s a host of regulars and once the high tourism goes by, it won’t have such a touristy vibe as it has had this Cherry Blossom and Springtime tourbus season. not too mention that breakfast is typically still the usual suspects since tourists go there for half-smokes and burgers and not eggs and grits.
Frankly, considering the Ali’s have stood the test of time they’ve earned their recent attention. And the place itself is the real McCoy (not some recently installed figment of history). They deserve the attention and fortune they’re getting. hopefully, they’ll take it in stride and not ruin the thing that made them successful.
DC is a tourist’s city. And DC has recently gotten much media attention on it’s non-National Mall offerings. I’ve seen tour buses take tourists down streets that even a couple years ago they wouldn’t have. Tourists often return to eat in those places or further explore those neighborhoods. I’ve seen tourists visit areas of the city that were once violent places because the area isn’t violent anymore and there are historical markers, statues, homes and gravesites. And suddenly, what was “local” becomes touristy.
Sure, Ben’s is probably selling more t-shirts and mugs than ever before, but so what? I know several local eatablisments that sells t-shirts, too. It’s not like Ben’s started selling them just recently.
Here’s a place in Ben’s that locals have been saying for years should get more attention – now they’re getting more attention and now they’re a “tourist trap?”
Sorry, I’ve been there, I go there, I’m no tourist, I think it’s preposterous to say so…nuff said.