The DC 8 Spotlight Series features small business owners throughout the District of Columbia – representing each of the eight wards – who are all signatories to a letter of support for Airbnb in DC.
On a bustling section of Georgia Avenue NW sits a rustic row house that’s been converted into a neighborhood pub and restaurant by the name of Homestead. Owner Nic Makris had been searching for a spot to open up a go-to joint for locals when the opportunity arose to repurpose the row house. “We wanted to maintain the townhome look from the street and incorporate the old and the new,” said Makris.
Atop the bar, made from the original doors and roof of the row house, hangs a 16th century spanish wine press. Old shingles are incorporated into the staircase and original bricks were used to build out a new space at the front of house. “[We wanted to] maintain the charm, colors and textures, and create a warm space,” he said.
Homestead’s clientele runs the gamut, likely due to its mass appeal. “We really try to make food approachable for everyone,” Makris pointed out. One of their sources of foot traffic? Airbnb guests.
“We get a ton of people who come in who are guests who are recommended to come here by their hosts. We’ll see a couple people walk in with suitcases who are waiting to check in [to their listing]. Happens all the time.”
When conjuring up a description of Homestead’s food and beverage program, one word comes to mind: hyperlocal. “All of our beer, beverage and cider program is local from the DC, Maryland or Virginia area. We don’t have anything that’s produced outside the region. We’ve built relationships with local breweries and cideries. Virginia has really great ciders. It’s a great place to grow apples!” Makris explained. Their food focus is locally sourced, farm-to-table and organic. “We source microgreens from Little Wild Things and Owl’s Nest. They have a greenhouse underneath their restaurant.”
Among the crowd favorites are the lamb bacon, the raclette cheese over potatoes, and a 14-day dry-aged ground beef burger from a local farm called Rosetta farms. “The buttermilk hot chicken is super popular,” Makris added.
Ward 4 is home to only one of the District’s hotels — leaving many of its small businesses without a stream of tourism traffic or revenue. But, Airbnb’s presence in neighborhoods like Petworth is changing that by bringing in travelers from across the globe. “It’s interesting that Airbnb works in this neighborhood,” Makris noted, pointing to the fact that Airbnb listings exist in neighborhoods outside of typical tourist zones and local businesses benefit from the foot traffic. Last year alone, Airbnb guests spent over $160 million at local businesses in the District driving powerful economic impact across all eight wards.