Each month, the Golden Triangle reaches out to friends and neighbors in the area to answer a few questions about their store, restaurant or experiences working within the BID. Learn more about the people you see each day as you explore the neighborhood with our Tri-Talk archive. Stay tuned and catch a new profile in our monthly newsletter.
Talk about longevity in business…. According to a recent article on the front page of the Washington Post style section, Rizik’s has been dressing the women of DC since Teddy Roosevelt was president! With a recent renovation and rebranding under their belt, the family-owned store plans to continue their legacy with a personalized shopping experience unlike any other in the city. Ande Riggins, the general manager, talked to us about how Rizik’s rich past helped to shape its future.
1. Rizik’s has been a fixture in the Golden Triangle for decades and has evolved through many changes in the local economic landscape. To what do you credit Rizik’s longevity?
The key has been its ability and willingness to embrace evolution. A business needs to evolve with the needs and wants of the consumer. Rizik’s has always been a store where the consumer can find something unique, yet fashion-forward, and this is something that is still important to the Riziks’ identity, as well as its ongoing success and longevity.
2. For someone who may be unfamiliar with Rizik’s, what sort of experience can a customer expect when they come through the door?
Here at Rizik’s, we like to ensure that each customer has a personalized experience. From the moment they walk in the door they are welcomed by our knowledgeable sales staff and should the customer require tailoring, our in-house seamstresses make our boutique a one-stop shop.
3. As a family-owned business, Rizik’s has been around for more than a century. How do you make sure you build on tradition, but keep up with the wants and needs of today’s clientele?
We believe it’s important to keep the purpose of Riziks alive by finding unique fashion pieces that cannot be found at any store or boutique.
The historic Hay-Adams has been a Washington landmark since 1928 and is located at the corner of H and 16th streets, overlooking the White House. The elegant hotel has hosted presidents, dignitaries and visitors from all over the world. Hans Bruland has worked at the Hay-Adams for nearly 20 years, as General Manager before also being named Vice President. The job has given him the opportunity to witness D.C. history from the front row. In addition to his important role at the hotel, Hans also serves on the Golden Triangle Board of Directors, lending his unique perspective to the organization.
1. The Hay-Adams is steeped in history… What was a historic event that stands out to you during your time?
The most memorable time for me and our team was hosting President Elect Obama and family, after the his election, in January of 2009 for the full week prior to his swearing in. The overall excitement was so palpable. We had so many logistics to go through and were impressed with the kindness of everyone we came into contact with. The incredible optimism that prevailed helped to resolve all of the potential difficulties associated with security challenges and other logistics. “Yes, we can” was not just a campaign slogan. It carried through in our own preparation, as well.
2. How has the Golden Triangle changed over the years?
There is now a strong sense of community, a clear focus and vision for the future with specific goals and outcomes. I truly believe that the Golden Triangle sets the “Gold Standard” for all business improvement districts to follow and emulate, not just in D.C. We have embraced the organization. We walk the talk and trust the leadership explicitly. Board members more than ever are engaged and feel a sense of ownership. There is now a shared enthusiasm for all the numerous improvements shown and for future projects. The improvements made in the cityscape absolutely “sparkle.” The growth of community activities in the park are a testament to our well-being and the ever-evolving, interactive safety workshops provide a sense of preparedness within our city. I can’t stress enough the value of assistance provided by the Golden Triangle team.
3. If a hotel guest asked how he or she should spend a day in the Golden Triangle, what would you recommend?
For a little bit of culture, I’d say check out the newly reopened Renwick Gallery. There is also the National Geographic Museum, with ever-changing exhibitions and presentations. Or, enjoy a walk around historic Lafayette Park to see the White House. There’s also Farragut Fridays in Farragut Square during the summer months. It’s truly a unique experience for visitors to a city like ours. Of course, the retail and varied restaurant environments are great attractions and we promote them constantly here at The Hay-Adams.
Shop Made in DC opened last month in an ideal retail location at 1333 19th Street, NW, in Dupont Circle, providing a unique business opportunity exclusively for DC makers. The shop sells only food, drinks and specialty items made in the District of Columbia. With local craft beers on tap, Bullfrog Bagels in the morning, District of Clothing tees on the racks and a variety of other foods, jewelry, art prints, bags, baby outfits and so much more on the shelf, there’s something for everyone. Stacey Price, founder of People Make Place, worked with the District’s Department of Small and Local Business Development and its Made in DC initiative, Boston Properties and the Golden Triangle BID to make it all happen.
1. Why do you think it’s so important to showcase and create a platform for DC makers and businesses?
It’s hard to be a local business, but a local business without brick and mortar space is especially challenging. This space offers a low-entry to market opportunity for our emerging food makers and a customer outlet in a high-traffic neighborhood for our retail makers.
2. What do you envision for Shop Made in DC? What kind of experience do you want to create for those who frequent the shop?
The store will always offer an outlet for customers to support their community. There will be a mix of art, accessories, apparel, stationery, jewelry, home decor and shelf stable food. With the rotating mix of makers, there will consistently be an element of discovery. We hope that consumers leave from their shopping or dining experience feeling more connected to the people in their city. Within every display in the shop is a storyboard, putting a face behind the product.
3. What benefits do you see of the shop being located at Dupont Circle and in the Golden Triangle neighborhood?
High-traffic, easy access and a nice mix of consumers that are residents and tourists. The reception has been wonderful— It’s already been so nice to meet our neighbors!
Chef Christianne Ricchi of Ristorante i Ricchi has delighted Golden Triangle diners with her authentic Tuscan and regional Italian food for nearly 30 years. After living and cooking for 18 years in the Tuscan countryside, Ricchi decided to put down roots in Washington, DC, and hasn’t turned back. Taste for yourself in her beautiful restaurant or at our Farragut Fridays chef demo on September 15.
1. Tell us about your background as a chef and in the restaurant business.
Over 45 years ago, while I was studying art in Tuscany, I happened upon a tiny little general store and trattoria in the hills outside of Florence. It was there I fell in love with the Italian culture of hospitality AND the Ricchi family who owned that little rustic restaurant. For 17 years following that encounter I worked with Francesco Ricchi and the local Tuscan “mammas” in the kitchen, learning to appreciate the subtleties of “cucina rustica”, rustic country cooking, following treasured family recipes. In the mid 1980s, Americans were beginning to discover that the Italian immigrant cooking they knew was not a true reflection of how Italians really ate in Italy. So we picked up and moved to Washington to open Ristorante i Ricchi on 19th Street, with the intention of building an authentic Tuscan restaurant with the same recipes we had been using to feed our Florentine customers.
2. Why did you choose to open i Ricchi in the Golden Triangle?
We came from Italy with the intention of opening a restaurant serving food that was not recognizable to most Americans, so we had to be very careful. It was, after all, at a time when items like cappuccino, risotto and gelato were not common place. We needed to find an urban location that was dense with a demographic that would appreciate what we were trying to do. We thought that being surrounded by law firms and professional offices in an international city such as Washington was perfect. The fact that we were so close to the Dupont Circle Metro was an advantage. The Golden Triangle had a reputation as home to great restaurants and bars.
3. What is it about a home-cooked Italian meal that brings people together and why is it something to be preserved?
One of the things that attracted me to move to and live in Italy for so many years was the joy of family and the importance of eating together. What was shared at the table was effective in creating a rich family life, maintaining a link between the generations. That feeling was not just shared at home, but in the community at large. Our country store and trattoria were the focal points of our little town – from the women coming to buy fresh bread in the mornings and sharing stories to the men who came for grappa and cigars over a game of cards in the evenings. Frequent community festivals were common and served to bring people together, as well. My goal at i Ricchi is to create a place where people will feel comfortable coming, whether for one of our special dinners outside on the “piazza” or for a glass of wine at the bar or simply to experience the joy of communing over good food.