Words and photos by Raisa Aziz
Gone are the days when Okie street was merely a destination for clubbers looking for a great night out at Dream. With several successful restaurants like Ghibellina and Acqua Al 2 under his belt, we took notice when Ari Gejdenson of Mindful Restaurant Group opened up a trio of new spots in Ivy City this year.
Dock FC, La Puerta Verde and Ari's Diner are located on Okie Street, just off New York Avenue in the new Hecht Warehouse development. Despite their close proximity, these are three unique restaurants in terms of both vibe and flavor. And yet they are all distinctly Ari in some way.
Dock FC borrows inspiration from Ari's days as a soccer player in Europe and South America and is a bar built for the soccer fan. La Puerta Verde is not-your-average Mexican restaurant designed around central themes of freedom and vitality and pays homage to Mexican cultural and cuisine influences present in DC. Ari's Diner is playful and casual - a lot like Ari himself.
The spaces are beautiful, the thoughtfulness behind the design choices clear. Dock FC is open and well-lit, screens dominating the walls and plenty of shared table space to watch the game from. La Puerta Verde stands out for its elegant proportions, unusual interior container bar and colorful murals by DC artist Cita Sadeli (also known as CHELOVE). Ari's Diner is a nostalgic throwback to diners past, complete with leather booths and counter-seating.
Chef Carlos Camacho whips out a number of delicious dishes served at both Dock FC and La Puerta Verde, which share a kitchen. Crowd favorites included the Esquites con Camarones, shrimp with smoked corn, tequila, and epazote sauce, and Carne Arrachera, a grilled meat platter with cactus and jalapeño. Ari's Diner serves all the diner classics, which you can watch being made from a seat at the counter. If you go, make sure you leave room for a milkshake - they serve everything from a traditional vanilla malt to a boozy Mexican chocolate and they had everyone smiling.
Raisa Aziz (@raisaaziz) is a food stylist, photographer and writer in theDC Area. When not cooking, baking or eating, you can find her bopping about town in search of local adventures.