Horace and Dickie’s, the tiny blue-and-white carryout off H Street NE known for serving heaping styrofoam boxes of cornmeal-crusted fried whiting for around $15, will reportedly close March 1 after a three-decade run as a D.C. institution.
Owner Richard “Dickie” Shannon tells WJLA reporter Sam Ford that his landlord is pressuring him to leave the space in the booming nightlife district that has punk rock venues, dive bars, and soul food spots next to new high-rises, a Whole Foods, Starbucks, and trendy restaurants. Shannon directly links this displacement of lower-income residents around H Street NE to the closing of his shop.
“Gentrification is cultural genocide,” Shannon tells WJLA.
The National Community Reinvestment Coalition published a study last year that said D.C. had the highest percentage of gentrifying neighborhoods of any city in the U.S. between 2000 and 2013, and around 20,000 black residents were displaced over that period.
Shannon tells WJLA that the city has also enacted change to penalize his customers by turning the surrounding stretch of 12th Street NE into a commercial parking zone that lures tow trucks to the shop.
In 2018, the Washington Post credited Horace and Dickie’s with serving one of 24 dishes that shaped how D.C. eats. “While trendier restaurants adopt chicken and waffles and kale, whiting remains the domain of establishments owned and frequented by African Americans — it’s an old D.C. staple amid so much newness,” the report says. Eater D.C. documented the bustling scene at the carryout with a photo series in 2015.
Although the original carryout will close, Shannon’s daughter operates a Horace and Dickie’s in Takoma (6912 Fourth Street NW) and a food truck that patrols the city. Shannon has another location of Horace and Dickie’s in Camp Springs, Maryland, near Joint Base Andrews.
An institution for fish lovers in NE DC will go out of business as a of March 1st after 30 years.— Sam Ford (@ABC7Sam) February 11, 2020
Horace and Dickies on 12th Street NE, near economically booming H Street, say the landlord wants the property and the city’s towing and ticketing their customers away. pic.twitter.com/wgqsbIUdUZ