Nov 23, 2022 - News
Town Talker

The Point becomes new hot spot for D.C. mayor and local politicos

A framed letter from Mayor Bowser congratulates The Point on its opening, at the entrance of the restaurant

Photo: Cuneyt Dil/Axios

Call it the Cafe Milano of the local D.C. political world.

What I’m hearing: White House secretaries and the Georgetown glam set have made Cafe Milano the power spot of official Washington. But in this town of social bubbles, if you’re looking for the see-and-be-seen haunt of local D.C., you go to the banks of the Anacostia River to check out The Point.

  • There you might spot, say, Mayor Muriel Bowser dining at the fire pits, former council members in the deep orange booths, and neighborhood bigwigs snapping selfies and munching on roasted oysters.

The Point's owner, Greg Casten, is well-known locally. He's part of the Fish & Fire Food Group that owns Tony & Joe’s at the Georgetown waterfront, and Ivy City Smokehouse.

  • But he says he didn’t intend for The Point to become the District’s new political haunt. When it opened in the spring of 2021, it was an early arrival in Southwest's rapidly developing Buzzard Point, making full use of riverside views of the new Frederick Douglass Bridge.

What they’re saying: “It’s like the best seat in town,” says Beverly Perry, the mayor’s very own Valerie Jarrett, the Barack Obama confidante.

When he isn’t managing the city’s economic development portfolio, deputy mayor John Falcicchio indulges in the warm crab doughnuts. It’s where he broke the ice with council member Robert White, soon after his bruising mayoral challenge against Bowser, at an event for D.C. Central Kitchen that included José Andrés.

  • White discovered it was a “political hotspot” last year when his family celebrated his wife’s birthday shortly after it opened: “As we dined, I saw several familiar faces,” he told me in a message. “I loved the food and view, but I’m pretty low-key, so popular places aren’t my normal vibe.”

The big picture: Over the decades, D.C. haunts have included the now-closed Boss Shepherd’s near the Wilson Building. There’s also the Players Lounge, that landmark to soul food in Ward 8 whose patrons included the late former Mayor Marion Barry.

  • Bowser might not have an after hours mayor-about-town persona like Barry or New York’s Eric Adams, whose frequent outings to one upscale Manhattan restaurant were the subject of a Times investigation.
  • Yet Bowser, a fan of its “outdoor-indoor ambiance,” turned to The Point for her 50th birthday bash in July, drawing some 500 people.

The scoop: Last Friday, between bites of Margherita pizza, Casten told me that he wants to build a deck 160 feet into the Anacostia River. Patrons would be able to dine above the water and even dock their boats.

  • The plan would require approval from an alphabet soup of government agencies.

The bottom line: The former first lady of D.C., Cora Masters Barry, a frequent patron who was married to Mayor Barry, says The Point is “much more easy and relaxed” than stuffy joints in town.

  • It helps that it’s at the end of a street in underdeveloped Buzzard Point beyond Audi Field, where nearly 4,000 new apartments are still years away.
  • For politicos, the out-of-the-way locale is the point.

💬 OK, those crab doughnut things were good! Town Talker is a weekly column on local politics and power. Drop me a line about the talk of the town: [email protected]


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