Capitol Hill

Eastern Market can haz ‘Eat Brgz’
Concept burger shop stretches boundaries with custom menu

Eat Brgz owner Brandon Gaynor discusses with Heard on the Hill his take on burgers and milkshakes. (Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call)

Brandon Gaynor didn’t completely know the “how” behind opening a restaurant, but he had a good feeling about the “when.”

The launch of his Eastern Market burger shop during August recess “allowed us a little bit of a ramp-up period,” the former investment analyst-turned-restaurateur told me as we sat down in his new joint at 250 7th Street SE.

Tuesday Bruceday: A day in the life of Roy Blunt’s bearded dragon
’He gets a lot of attention around the office,’ senator’s spokeswoman says

Bruce, Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt’s bearded dragon, poses for a picture in the Russell Senate Office Building on Sept. 4. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Inhabiting the back corner of Roy Blunt’s staff quarters in the Russell Senate Office Building is the cold-blooded staff favorite, Bruce.

Despite his scaly skin and long tail, he’s a fixture of the Missouri Republican’s team. That is also despite his preference to hang out in the background and mostly avoid the press (Heard on the Hill being the exception.) After all, the only scoops Bruce has to offer are those of worms and freeze-dried crickets — not the kind sought by Capitol Hill reporters.

Watch: Retiring Sen. Johnny Isakson reflects on 11 years of Senate BBQ

Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson will resign at the end of the year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Watch: Staffers leap from the Hill to the improv stage
Heard on the Hill crashes improv rehearsal with a few staffers

Sam Schifrin and Geoff Corey, center, dive into an improv scene on Monday. Washington Improv Theater Executive Director Mark Chalfant is seen at right. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

Why D.C. isn’t too uptight for improv
From the Capitol to K Street, staffers are saying ‘yes, and…’

Sam Schifrin and Geoff Corey, center, dive into an improv scene on Monday. Washington Improv Theater Executive Director Mark Chalfant is seen at right. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

Inside a bare room with concrete walls, they walk toward each other and lock eyes. “Johnny!” one shouts. “Stacy — did it happen?” the other responds.

Neither has any idea what they’re talking about, but that’s OK. This is improv, where uncertainty is a feature, not a bug.

The Eastern is one more reason to ‘wine’ about August recess
Does the world need another wine bar? No, but the Hill does

Bar manager and sommelier Daphne McDermott preps for the opening of the Eastern, a new wine bar in Eastern Market. (Kathryn Lyons/CQ Roll Call)

The Eastern — a new wine bar not-so-creatively named after its digs in the Eastern Market neighborhood — is set to open July 30, just in time for Hill staffers to sneak out of August workdays a little early to snag a deal at happy hour. 

“Midcentury modern” is the vibe, with a large front window that lights gold accents and deep green walls. The Eastern might offer a different atmosphere than its whiskey-soaked sister bar, Barrel, just across the street, but owners Matthew Weiss and Mike Schuster insist they want the mood to be “unpretentious and fun.”

Rep. Will Hurd ‘honored’ to shave constituent’s head
Lisa Sanders, who lost her daughter in 2007 to a brain tumor, ‘braved the shave’ for cancer research fundraiser

Rep. Will Hurd shaves Lisa Sanders' head at a fundraiser for childhood cancer research on Tuesday. (Courtesy St. Baldrick's Foundation)

Rep. Will Hurd helped a hometown hero “brave the shave” Tuesday at a fundraiser for childhood cancer research.

The Texas Republican shaved the head of Lisa Sanders from Helotes, Texas, at a “46 Mommas” event hosted by St. Baldrick's Foundation — a volunteer- and donor-powered charity focused on curing childhood cancer, according to its website.

How long is 4 miles in the shadow of the Capitol?
Horton’s Kids brings Congress east of the river, but gap still remains

Nathan Woods came to the Capitol with Horton’s Kids in the 1990s. (Courtesy Horton’s Kids)

Nathan Woods can still hear the gunshots outside his D.C. home in the early ’90s. He grew up in Wellington Park, a neighborhood less than four miles from the lobbying and lawmaking of Capitol Hill.

When he was a sophomore at Woodberry Forest High School, an all-boys boarding school down in Virginia, he got the call: His oldest brother, Errick, had been shot in the head. By the time he got to the hospital, his brother was dead.

You may now Kinzinger the bride
Illinois congressman liked it so he put a ring on it

Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger announced his engagement Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Adam Kinzinger kicked off the weekend ahead of the Fourth of July with his own set of fireworks. Per his latest Instagram post, the Illinois Republican is engaged.

“She said: yes!” reads the caption.

Diamonds are Reps. Linda Sánchez and Nanette Barragán’s best friend
Female lawmakers take the baseball field following Title IX anniversary

Rep. Linda Sánchez, here in 2015, is one of two women who will play in the Congressional Baseball Game this year. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Even though Reps. Linda Sánchez and Nanette Barragán will be the lone female lawmakers at Nationals Park, surrounded by more than 70 male colleagues and coaches, the only thing that might give it away is their ponytails. Sporting cleats, batting helmets and their favorite jerseys, they’re just some of the guys.

“They treat us like equals. They make us work just as hard,” Barragán told me of her male teammates after one of their last practices before Wednesday night’s Congressional Baseball Game.