Many of the new large-scale developments in America are framed as “mixed-use” developments. They are designed to offer office space, retail shops, and residential options in one planned undertaking, and they are marketed using slogans like “Live. Work. Play.” or “Eat. Shop. Live.” The idea is that Americans want to get away from sterile suburban designs, where only houses can be found for blocks and blocks, and live in places where they can stroll to a pub, restaurant, or green grocer.
German Village is the quintessential mixed-use area, except it wasn’t pre-planned — it’s that way because that’s what life was like everywhere in America before suburbs were conceived. Even in the core residential areas you’ll find antique stores, flower shops, coffee houses, art galleries, restaurants, and delis, as well as doctor and attorney offices and even the Franklin Art Glass Studios, which has been making stained glass window since 1924. As a result, people are constantly out on the streets walking to these commercial establishments, which gives the area an enjoyable bustling feel. It reminds Kish and me of our old neighborhood on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
If you have commercial establishments in your neighborhood, though, you’d better support them or they won’t be there for long. Fortunately, this hasn’t been a problem for us. It’s easy to frequent local businesses when they offer quality goods and services at reasonable prices. We haven’t bought any stained glass pieces — at least not yet — but we’ve gladly purchased excellent sandwiches to go at Katzinger’s deli, freshly ground coffee at Stauf’s Coffee Roasters, and wine at the Hausfrau Haven, which offers a great selection, helpful advice from the proprietor, and a weekend wine bar to boot. And when you’ve got G. Michael’s, Lindey’s, the Sycamore, and Barcelona, as well as more casual options, within easy walking distance, it’s not hard to spend your dining dollar in the ‘hood, either.
Shopping and eating out in our neighborhood is one of the things that I like the best about our move. It makes German Village feel like much more of a real community.