Kitchen Aide

This Capitol Hill shop is a labor of love.
Leah Daniels is right at home in her kitchenware store. Photograph by Chris Leaman.

Hill’s Kitchen (713 D St. SE; 202-543-1997) is a kitchenware store in a 19th-century rowhouse near the Eastern Market Metro. Step inside and you might see owner Leah Daniels taking five minutes to compare a ricer and a traditional potato masher for a customer who’s stumped about which will yield fluffier spuds. (The ricer wins.)

Daniels, 29, who enjoys one-on-one interaction with customers, celebrated her shop’s one-year anniversary in May. She has help from her parents, longtime Hill residents: mom Maygene, chief archivist at the National Gallery of Art, and dad Stephen, a federal judge. They work the register and restock goods upstairs, which also features space for cooking classes.

Daniels’s only prior experience in the food industry was slinging mochas at Primo Cappuccino in Union Station the summer after her senior year at Georgetown Day School; before opening her store, she worked at Riverby Books on East Capitol Street.

Her goal in opening Hill’s Kitchen was to meld “everything I loved—food, business, and working with customers,” and to do so on Capitol Hill, where she grew up and where she returned after college in Minnesota.

 

Says Daniels: “I love it that my customers see me sweeping my parents’ front steps.”

 
This appeared in the July, 2009 issue of The Washingtonian. 

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