IMG_2047One of the highest costs of running a household or a business is the energy bill associated with maintaining the building. If you are a food business, you need to consider the cost of not only heating and cooling the building, but also the heating and cooling of the food, from storing produce and refreshments, to cooking methods like ovens and sous vide. The District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) has provided a series a ways to help recover from the vast expense of running a food business during the winter:

Restaurants use about 2.5 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings. After a long and cold winter, high energy bills can take a toll on your bottom line. Here are 5 easy ways to recover from those high winter energy bills.

Healthy energy habits. Incorporating small, energy-saving habits into your daily routine can add up over time. Try setting your cooling thermostat a few degrees warmer. When you ease back on central cooling by just 3°F, you can trim air conditioning costs by 12 to 15 percent. Consider also implementing startup and shutdown plans to make sure you are using only the equipment that you need, when you need it. Equipment left on when not performing useful work wastes energy and costs you money.

Take control of your lighting. Replacing old bulbs with new, high-efficiency CFLs and LEDs can save 50-75% on energy use. Concerned about ambiance? Don’t forget your back-of-house. Changing incandescent light bulbs in walk-in refrigerators to ENERGY STAR® CFLs or LEDs can also reduce heat output by 75% per lamp, saving you energy and money.

Cool it down. Heating and cooling systems account for a large portion of your restaurant’s annual energy use. Stay up-to-date with maintenance for your HVAC system, and never wait to repair or replace an old or failing IMG_2036system. Also, try taking steps to ensure your kitchen keeps its cool—a poorly designed kitchen exhaust system can allow heat and smoke to spill into your kitchen, affecting air quality and raising utility bills. By installing a demand controlled ventilation system, you can cut down on heating and cooling costs by 30-50%.

Be an ENERGY STAR. Simple efficiency upgrades on the equipment you use every day can save you hundreds of dollars each year. When replacing or upgrading equipment, look for the ENERGY STAR® label to save energy and money. For example, the most efficient combination ovens will use about 50% less energy and water than the inefficient models.

It pays to save. The DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) offers up to $80,000 in energy efficiency rebates per business for restaurants located in DC. Rebates are available for lighting, HVAC, refrigeration, cooking equipment, and more. Located in Maryland or Virginia? Check out the resources offered by Dominion’s Energy Conservation Program (VA) and EmPOWER Maryland.



District Doughnut’s Dulce De Leche is quoted as the “Next-Gen Doughnuts” on What’s Hot Now. – Food and Wine Magazine

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Keep your eyes peeled for TaKorean’s third location on 13th and F street this Summer. The chain is also launching their new and exciting menu. “There are also more add-ons, and salsa is now free.” wrote Eater DC. – Eater DC

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From an environmental restoration project to Lindera Farm Vinegars. Check out their story. – Northern Virginia Magazine

To combat a high price of marmalade in the market and shortages, Reynes of Julie’s Datery found an answer through a collaboration under Union Kitchen’s roof. Julie’s Datery now uses the spread from Bear’s Made. – The Washington Post

Downtown College Park farmer’s market to partner with Union Kitchen to serve prepared food this year.  –




Meet Embitterment—D.C.’s source for handcrafted cocktail bitters.  Union Kitchen is proud to support this fantastic contribution to our city’s burgeoning cocktail renaissance. Read their open letter to cocktail fans, and get pumped for this DIY twist on our city’s drink scene.

Dear Cocktail Fans,

We know.  Every other major city seems to have a local source for cocktail bitters: New York, San Francisco, Seattle, L.A., Philly…and we bet you’ve been losing a lot of sleep wondering when D.C. was finally going to benefit from a reliable source for handcrafted cocktail ingredients.

What’s that?  You’ve been sleeping fine?  Well, this is awkward…

Anyway, we’re here now, and although it might not seem like a big deal to some people, it’s actually pretty freaking important if you enjoy or value any of the following:

    -Awesome cocktails
    -Products without dyes or artificial flavoring
    -Organic Ingredients
    -Saving money
    -Free ice cream

      Okay, so the last bullet point was to make sure that you’re paying attention.  However, all of the others completely represent what Embitterment is all about.  Our bitters are made using almost entirely organic spices, and unlike the big bitters brands on the market, we don’t mess around with caramel flavoring or questionable dyes.  If it’s not pure flavor extracted from our clean, flavorful ingredients, it’s not in the bitters. Period. Exclamation point.

          When it comes to saving money, Embitterment is on-point. We’re here to provide at-home bartenders from all walks of life with a single, premium-quality line of products that can spearhead your cocktail-making pursuits. With just one bottle of our bitters and a few pointers from our website, you can expand your mixological horizons, using your own personal taste as your guide.  A single (50 ml) bottle of our bitters can make anywhere from 50-100 drinks, which means that all you have to do is furnish the spirits, the glass, and the ice.  With so many expensive cocktail joints in D.C., we’re here to provide an attractive, high-quality alternative to running up a massive bar tab.

What’s that?  You like going to cocktail bars?  Well, this is awkward…

But not really, though.  Embitterment is also dedicated to enhancing the bar scene here in the District of Columbia.  There are so many great local brewers and distillers being featured around the city and earning international acclaim that it seems a shame to garnish all our drinks with that old fall-back: Angostura bitters.  As we ramp up our production in Union Kitchen, you can expect to see our bitters popping up behind your favorite bars and restaurants throughout the city.  So, if you order a cocktail and see your bartender about to add a few dashes of lesser-quality bitters…simply ask why she or he isn’t using Embitterment.

We have a lot of other fun tricks up our sleeves in the coming months, including seasonal and small-batch bitters, local tastings and demos, and a great many fresh new recipes and drink ideas.  Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to keep up with all the delicious, boozy info we have to throw your way.  We’d love to hear from you, so feel free to hit us up anytime with ideas, feedback, or photos of the awesome drinks you’ve made with our bitters.

We’ll be here at Union Kitchen all the while, working hard to keep your cocktail pursuits simple and exquisitely delicious.

Stay thirsty, stay bitter.

-The Embitterment Team

DMVFTA teamed up with a group of students to create a space swap platform for food trucks in DC, VA. and MD. to better manage the spaces during food truck season this year. – DC SunTimes

The Blind Dog Cafe logo is chosen by 99designs for the best Coffee Shop Logos. Thanks to the iconic model, Baxter. – 99Designs




Best of D.C. 2015 winner list is out! Congrats to all.

Reader’s Poll

  Best Ice-cream: Ice-cream Jubilee

  Runner-up Best Bakery: RareSweets

Staff Picks

  Best Sandwich: Mr.Chip at Dirty South Deli