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Fish Fixture

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Phyllis Skipwith works behind the counter at Horace and Dickie’s, a takeout place near H Street owned by Dickie Shannon.

I want to put a feed for news, one for sports, he said. 

Overall, though, Horace and Dickies is still a throwback. And regardless of the direction the neighborhood takes, Shannon plans on being around for a while. 

I dont have to do this; I do this because I like it, he said.

Hes concerned about the fabric of the neighborhood and unintended consequences of runaway growth. 

A lot of people in the neighborhood, theyll either be taxed out or moved to sell, he said. The biggest difference between 1990 and now is the gentrification. ... Property values have just skyrocketed. It doesnt seem like the housing bubble burst affected property values here at all. I dont think its sustainable.

So in a city defined in part by change in occupants of the Capitol and White House, especially Horace and Dickies is a place of constancy for a transient city. 

Its not in exactly the same category, but its similar to Bens Chili Bowl, Wells said, pointing out that both establishments held on in rough times. 

For Bens, it was the riots. For Horace and Dickies, it was hangover from the crack epidemic and a long winter of neglect that followed.

Unprompted, Ricks also compared Shannons establishment to the venerable U Street institution. Hes sort of the Bens Chili Bowl of H Street, she said.

Both places certainly have their claim to a good local dish, although Shannon discounts that thesis. 

D.C. food is a variety of food. I dont think there is any such thing as a local specialty, he said.

But get enough tourists from California, and people might start identifying the fried whiting sandwich as quintessentially D.C.

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