The Washington Ave Award: The Official 2010 Ballot

And another category in the 2010 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate is now open for voting! This time it’s the Washington Ave Award. What does the award commemorate? Well, you tell us!

The official nominees — as nominated by Swamplot readers — are listed below. Now’s your chance to vote — which you can do up to 4 times if you follow our rules: once in a comment below, once in an email to Swamplot, once using Twitter, and once by writing it on the wall of Swamplot’s page on Facebook. That not enough for you? Then recruit your friends to vote, too! But make sure you get all the votes in by the deadline: 5 pm on Monday, December 27th.

And now, the official nominees for the Washington Ave Award:


1. Catalina Coffee, 2201 Washington at Hemphill. “Great coffee, great building, great location!”

2. Catalan Food and Wine, 5555 Washington at T.C. Jester. “Perfect. Great international cuisine that fits an American palette. Wine list is good too!”

3. El Tiempo Cantina, 5601 Washington at Asbury. “Beef fajita party pack for 1 at El Tiempo. Trust me. You and your well-fed dining companion will be more than satisfied at the ludicrous amount of grub El Tiempo dishes out ostensibly for the hungriest fajita-crushers north of the Rio. Plus, their margaritas are the strongest in town.”

4. The Corkscrew, 1919 Washington at White. “Shut down earlier this year, but it was the best thing on Washington. Epitomized what many of us hoped Washington would be. A cool re-use of a vintage building, sans the douchebaggery.”

5. The Washington Wave Jitney Shuttle. “Here’s something unique to this area: a shuttle bus with a stripper pole doing nothing but driving drunk people from one bar to another. Actually, the Wave has recently expanded to Midtown, the Heights, Downtown, and the Rice Village, where they’ll have a chance to serve more sober — and diverse — populations.”

6. 4601 Washington Ave at Parker St. “This new office-and-retail development (home to tqla, Les Givrals Kahve, the Counter, and more) is the best thing about Washington Ave. It’s the only building in the whole area that put in a multi-level garage so it can actually handle the number of cars that come to the center in a safe and secure manner. It also serves as an example of what Washington Ave could become: A new area of multi-story mixed-use development that could establish a new footprint for responsible urban development in Houston.”

7. Gentrifying Jesus, 1102 Shepherd at Center St. “I believe he has had a rather significant impact on the area. Was he behind the coincidentally timely shutdown of Crew Fitness? It may not have been to the property owners’ liking, but he has somehow continued to keep a couple cool buildings in a great location from becoming yet another bar.

“If that Jesus really cared, he would wave his holy hands and fix the pavement on Shepherd.”

“Last time I looked, the sign wasn’t there anymore. Could he have moved on to White Oak already?”

8. Wabash Antiques & Feed Store, 5701 Washington at Malone. “My favorite place to shop in all of Houston.”

“Awesome. My kids love to see the animals.”

“If you need a special pet food, they usually have it. I’ve actually bought various birthday, Christmas and other presents there. The addition of farmer’s market products (though pricey) is nice too. My tomatoes were great this year.”

9. Laredo Taqueria, 915 Snover. “A delicious link between Washington Ave. present and Washington Ave. past. Like Wabash, it shows that it is possible for old Houston to live and thrive in new Houston, and that we do not have to shut down and demo any business that was on Washington before 1999.”

10. Esperanza School, 1100 Roy St. “Just moved from their Heights Blvd. houses to the former HISD elementary school just north of Washington Ave. on Roy Street. There was a little trepidation among watchers and parents that they would lose some of the bungalow charm along the way. However, the owners and staff have put a tremendous amount of work into the building and the grounds — playgrounds, vegetable gardens, nice looking fences, fruit trees. It isn’t all the facade either; they have quite a vision and lots of positive energy to make it happen. Unlike most of the other nominations in this category, you can’t get your drink on here.”

11. Glenwood Cemetery, 2525 Washington. “The most beautiful spot in Houston, and remains a stark contrast to the social scene growing and changing on Washington Ave. Six feet under is where 70 percent of what is currently on Washington will be in five years.

“One of my favorite things in Houston. I frequently introduce it to people who have lived in Houston their entire lives, but never realized it was there.”

“The only awesome thing along Washington. Everything else is overpriced and fake.”

Okay, all you Washington Ave experts! Which of these fine nominees deserves to win the Washington Ave Award?

Photos: Washington Wave (jitney), Heights Blog (Corkscrew), Swamplot inbox (Jesus), Candace Garcia (all others)

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