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all photos: Jeff Martin

When Will Sharp (of Durkl) and Erik Bruner-Yang (of Toki Underground) first announced their restaurant/market/clothing concept Maketto back in 2012, everyone and anyone had their tongues wagging at the prospect: a cool DC born streetwear brand that matters now internationally, a buzzy local chef that was just starting to matter on a national level,  a location that needs something that functions beyond just simple nightlife, and also, yes, something DIFFERENT in a sea of endless upscale casual and high-end retail openings – it all seemed almost too good to be true.

And… it sort of was. For three years, the opening of the 5000 sq.ft space has been set and re-set, almost endlessly (Washington Post ran this great “All Maketto Opening Dates Since 2012” list and it can serve as a testament and warning for all potential small business owners that best laid plans are just that … nothing but best laid plans)

But, this Friday, at 1351 H Street NE, several years into this build-out and pop-up odyssey, and with several other projects and James Beard nominations among other things behind them, Maketto is finally (FINALLY) open. The good news is, a lot of the things you were excited about when you first heard about it (a cool brick-and-mortar Durkl location, the Taiwanese/Cambodian food, the inevitable good hang-out vibes) are still there. The better news is: there’s also so much more here. And the key to that was the collaborative spirit shining through the relatively stark (especially for an anticipated street-art-heavy scene) black-and-white space.

For starters, the retail is a finely curated selection of things both kitschy and tasteful, and while that falls perfectly in line with the Durkl aesthetic, other purveyors of fine goods that fit the taste level are represented as well. In fact, for a certain kind of person, this could be a one-stop gift shop for any occasion.

Then, on top of the Bruner-Yang’s food, there is Vigilante coffee and Frenchie’s pastries, and Asian beers and cocktails and a great, airy back space which is bound to feature prominently in this year’s edition of BYT Outdoor drinking guide. 

And, if last week’s party which featured Bond Street District, Chuck Ingrish and more, combined with the good-time Durkl spirit are anything to go by – this has potential to be a very cool event destination as well.

Turns out, 3 years later – H street and DC in general, have a space you can fully move in (the dream is to have it open as early as possible for coffee and breakfast, and stay open through last call). You’ve waited long enough – go check it out this weekend. And beyond.

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