District Equities Falls In Love... with a Small Town on Mallorca

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'Woah that was close!’ I hold my breath as my rental car barely makes it through a sharp turn on the narrow streets of Llucmajor. I don’t know exactly how old this small Mallorcan town is but one thing is clear: Llucmajor’s urban planners either never forecasted the advent of the automobile or they have a really sick sense of humor.

After searching aimlessly for a parking space (with a few more close calls), I finally find one a few blocks away from our destination. The stress of driving subsides and I am able to soak up my surroundings. My first impression: Llucmajor feels a bit like a maze. The streets curve in unexpected ways and the width of the street makes it difficult to know what’s ahead. It’s beautiful and romantic. I almost don’t care if we get lost and miss our dinner reservation.

Another word that comes to mind: urban. Despite being a small town, there’s something distinctly urban feeling about Llucmajor. The cobble streets are lined with row homes like you might find in Georgetown and on the corners, you can find small “everything” stores like the bodegas of New York City.

We march forward until we arrive at the Plaza de España, the town's main square. It is glorious. Compared to the relative serenity of Llucmajor’s streets, the Plaza de España is chaotic and full of life. About a dozen restaurants line the plaza on all sides and each is bustling with a mixture of locals and visitors. One thing I notice about Llucmajor, and Spain more generally is the expansive outdoor seating you find at restaurants like these. In fact, unless it’s raining, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone eating inside.

We finally find the restaurant – Bistro Mercat – and join the other al fresco diners. In between tapas, I reflect on how lucky I am to travel to places like this and begin to wish I could bring just a little piece of this exceptional retail experience back with me to DC.


Adam's Mallorca Recommendations

If you plan to travel to Mallorca, Adam recommends checking out the following places:

  • For beaches:

    • Cala Mondrago: Beautiful white sand beach on the island's south side with crystal blue waters and surrounded by a nature preserve

  • For dinner:

    • Sea Club: Located within the magnificent Cap Rocat hotel, this restaurant overlooks the entire bay of Palma. The atmosphere is perfect, the food is delicious, and the hospitality is 5 stars but without a 5-star price tag.

  • For exploring:

    • Rent a car and explore the mountain villages of Valdemossa and Deia.

Client Spotlight: District Dogs

Asher at District Dogs

Liberal vs Conservative. Northeast vs Northwest. Politicos vs everyone else. In a city where new battle lines are constantly being drawn, it’s hard to find practically anything Washingtonians can agree upon. There is however one thing that unites many across these lines – an unabashed love for our four-legged friends.

Increasingly, pets – and most notably dogs – have played an outsized role in the development and growth of the city. Just visit any new apartment building and you’ll be amazed by the ways they cater to animals. From treats and doggie bags at concierge desks to rooftop dog parks, there seems to be an arms race for the best pet amenities. You can also experience this by walking down any of DC’s major retail corridors. You’d be hard pressed to walk more than a few blocks before stumbling upon a boutique pet store or dog-walking service.

Noticing this growing trend and as proud parents to Asher (50% mini Australian Shepherd/50% punk) – we were so excited when Jacob, owner of District Dogs approached us to help him develop his real estate strategy. We recently caught up with him after helping secure his second location to see how business is going and what makes DC such a great city for dogs:

We’ve been working together for the past couple of years and it’s been a great partnership. Looking back on things, why did you decide to work with us vs other potential brokers?

Steve [Gaudio] was recommended by a close friend of mine who worked with him at JBG. Steve also has a great track record working with other local businesses like Compass Coffee and Union Kitchen.

Just last month, you announced that District Dogs will be opening a second location in Navy Yard. For our community of DC entrepreneurs, it would be great to share some of your key considerations when looking for a first and then second location.

For the first location, I had two key considerations. First, I needed a manageable sized building that was close to the home territory of District Dogs, near Park View. Second, it was important to be on or near a commuter street to attract clients coming to and from the suburbs.

For my second location, proximity to a commuter street remained important but the site had to be far enough away from the first location in order to attract a whole new client base and without competing with our existing business. The density of the neighborhood also played a major factor.

Throughout the entire search process (from the decision to expand to a signed lease) where did you feel District Equities provided the most value?

By far, District Equities provided the best value during the negotiation. You really understand what District Dogs needs to be successful and made sure that was taken into consideration during the lease negotiation process.

Finally, in your opinion, what makes DC a great place for dogs and dog owners?

DC is a great place for dogs mainly due to the amount of green space around the city. There are so many places to take your dog outdoors all around the city and DMV area. Almost every new building complex is also pet-friendly and some have dog parks on their roof. There are also many places you can take your dog with you to grab a drink or a bite to eat.

DC's dog community loves Jacob and District Dogs.

DC's dog community loves Jacob and District Dogs.

District Equities' Top 5: Restaurants

It’s Friday night and as usually is the case, a group of friends and I are out to dinner. Our server asks if we’d like to start off with drinks – perhaps a bottle of wine. I look down at the menu and scan for my go-tos. Damn, they’re nowhere to be found. The server, sensing my distress begins to ask a few questions about what I normally like to drink. He helps me select a bottle of red he promises is close to a Barbera. A few minutes later, the cork is popped, and after the ritual tasting – I approved – our glasses are filled with a delicious Vespolina.

For casual wine drinkers like me, the experience of ordering the right bottle of wine can often be anxiety inducing. Do I like earthy or fruity? Do I like dry or sweet? For me, what separates good restaurants from exceptional restaurants is how they handle situations like these. Do they come to my level and help guide my decision-making process or do they expect me to be a mini sommelier?

With great hospitality, delicious food, and consistent level of quality, I can only call tonight’s meal exceptional. And after chatting with my colleagues at District Equities, it’s clear that what DC’s robust restaurant scene really needs, is to refocus on what’s exceptional, rather what’s trendy. To help jumpstart the conversation, we compiled this list of five distinct restaurants that we think are leading the way:

Unique and Exceptional

Restaurant Name: Thip Kao

Neighborhood: Columbia Heights

Cuisine: Laotian

Why we think it’s exceptional:

Home to one of the most adventurous menus in the city, Thip Khao is literally one-of-a-kind –
it’s the first and only Laos food restaurant in DC. We love Chef Seng (who you should definitely follow on Instagram) and recommend that first timers order the laab.

BBQ for the Big Leagues

Restaurant Name: Federalist Pig

Neighborhood: Adams Morgan

Cuisine: BBQ

Why we think it’s exceptional:

For a city once considered part of the South, DC always seemed one step behind its southern brethren when it came to BBQ. That changed when Federalist Pig opened in Adams Morgan in February 2017. Whether you’re craving the pork belly or the brisket, our advice is to arrive early because top dishes have a tendency to sell out.

Fast, Casual, but Elevated

Restaurant: Cava Mezze Grill

Neighborhood: Multiple locations throughout the city

Cuisine: Mediterranean

Why we think it’s exceptional:

Pick a base. Pick a protein. Pick a sauce. Pick toppings. While this formula is common amongst the red-hot fast casual food industry, Cava Mezze Grill (often called simply “Cava”) is anything but formulaic. From exceptional dips like the spicy harissa to incredible finishers like the lemon-herb-tahini sauce, Cava serves up DC’s best grab-and-go lunch.

Happy Hour Heaven

Restaurant: Sushi Taro

Neighborhood: Dupont Circle

Cuisine: Japanese

Why we think it’s exceptional:

While not as trendy as some of the neighborhoods to its east, Dupont Circle’s 17th St continues to be one of the city’s finest restaurant corridors. Sushi Taro, our favorite along the .3 mile stretch between P St and Riggs Place NW, serves a variety of authentic Japanese tasting menus that are perfect for a special occasion. But for those who aren’t looking to spend a month’s rent on dinner, Sushi Taro offers half price sushi and drinks during happy hour at the bar – one of DC’s best kept secrets. 

Quintessentially DC

Restaurant: Old Ebbitt Grill

Neighborhood: Downtown

Cuisine: Southern

Why we think it’s exceptional:

Open since 1856, Old Ebbitt Grill is one of the city’s oldest dining establishments and arguably its most famous. While frequently packed with out-of-towners, the restaurant is also beloved by locals who know that the best times to swing by are between the hours of 11pm and 1am when the seafood towers are 50% off. We often meet our clients there for drinks so we hope to see you around.

 

Doors Open at 6

Steve Gaudio of District Equities

Opening a restaurant is like studying for final exams. You have way too much to do, not nearly enough time, and few to no options to push back the deadline. In a café’s case, that to-do list includes finishing the buildout, training employees, and ensuring you have all the necessary inventory for opening day. Now imagine taking that impressive checklist and multiplying it times two. That’s the situation the owners of Compass Coffee found themselves in as they prepared to open two new locations on the same day in December 2017.

About a week before opening day, Harrison and Michael of Compass Coffee realized that in order to achieve this goal of opening two cafés at the same time, they needed all hands on deck. This included not only their awesome staff but also us at District Equities.

Naturally, we were happy to help because our clients’ success is our success. It is this kind of involvement, commitment and follow-through that differentiates us in the way we represent our clients. As Steve, owner of District Equities explained “...manual labor isn’t my most valuable contribution, but if they need me, I’m there."

For the next seven days, we worked with the Compass Coffee team around the clock to get everything ready for opening day. From encouraging check-ins to painting walls deep into the night, we supported Michael and Harrison as best we could, because we knew that if anyone could pull off this extraordinary feat, it’s them.

Finally, before anyone had a chance to reflect on the exceptional efforts from the previous week, it was time to open. And while they say you should never cram for an exam, we’re happy to report that Compass Coffee passed with flying colors.