Call it the Cafe Milano of the local DC political world.
What I hear: The White House secretaries and Georgetown glam set have made Cafe Milano the powerhouse of official Washington. But in this city of social bubbles, if you’re looking for the see-and-seen haunt of local DC, head to the banks of the Anacostia River to visit The Point.
- There, you might see Mayor Muriel Bowser dining by the fire pits, former council members in the deep orange booths, and neighborhood bigwigs taking selfies and munching fried oysters.
The Point’s owner, Greg Casten, is well known in the area. He’s part of the Fish & Fire Food Group, which owns Tony & Joe’s on the Georgetown waterfront and the Ivy City Smokehouse.
- But he says he had no intention of making The Point the district’s new political meeting place. When it opened in Spring 2021, it was an early arrival at the rapidly developing Buzzard Point in the South West and took full advantage of the riverfront views of the new Frederick Douglass Bridge.
What you say: “It’s like the best place in town,” says Beverly Perry, Mayor Valerie Jarrett, Barack Obama’s confidante.
When he’s not overseeing the city’s economic development, Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio indulges in warm crab fritters. Here he broke the ice with councilman Robert White, shortly after his bloody mayoral challenge against Bowser, at an event for DC Central Kitchen also attended by José Andrés.
- White discovered last year that it was a “political hotspot” when his family celebrated his wife’s birthday shortly after it opened: “As we were having dinner, I saw several familiar faces,” he told me in a message. “I loved the food and the view but I’m quite private so popular places aren’t my normal vibe.”
The big picture: Over the decades, the now-closed Boss Shepherd’s near the Wilson Building was a popular DC hangout. There’s also the Players Lounge, this soul food landmark in Ward 8, where guests included the late former Mayor Marion Barry.
- Bowser may not have the personality of an after-hours mayor in town like Barry or Eric Adams of New York, whose frequent trips to an upscale Manhattan restaurant have been the subject of a Times investigation.
- But Bowser, a fan of his “outdoor-indoor vibe,” turned to The Point for her 50th birthday party in July, attracting around 500 people.
The shovel: Last Friday, between bites of Margherita pizza, Casten told me he wants to build a deck 160 feet down the Anacostia River. Patrons could dine over the water and even dock their boats.
- The plan would require the approval of an alphabet soup from government agencies.
The bottom line: Former DC First Lady Cora Masters Barry, a frequent regular who was married to Mayor Barry, says The Point is “a lot simpler and more relaxed” than stuffy pubs around town.
- It helps that it’s down a street in underdeveloped Buzzard Point, beyond Audi Field, where nearly 4,000 new homes are years away.
- For politicians, the remote locale is the point.
💬 OK, these crab donut things were good! Town Talker is a weekly column about local politics and power. Write me a message about the talk of the town: [email protected]