Three years ago, before we were even looking for a house, my spouse and I returned over and over to the same Seaside neighborhood.
We were originally drawn because we liked walking on the south promenade; we’d park the car on Avenue U and take it from there. We often parked near the Osprey Café or the U Street Pub, two places we quickly grew fond of. Sometimes after we completed our walk, we’d stop into Ken & Sons Market to do some grocery shopping.
Every single time, I said, “I could live around here.”
Ken & Sons bills itself as a friendly neighborhood market, and that’s true. They are very friendly. Ken’s is a family-run business — it really is Ken and his sons, and also Ken’s two daughters-in-law, who also work in the market. I love exchanging a few words with Ken, who is always cheerful and upbeat and has something good to say.
The store could not be more convenient; for a relatively small neighborhood market they carry a lot of things.
They have fresh meat and produce and coffee and tea. They have soda and frozen pizza, and cheese, milk and eggs. They have trash bags, cake mixes and lots of cereal. They have candy, ice cream and ice, paper towels and paper plates, laundry detergent and a well-stocked first-aid department should you be on vacation and develop a migraine or suffer a boo-boo. They have juice. They have Kerry Gold butter. They have beer. They have lemonade. If you’re staying at one of the nearby hotels or vacation rentals and you forgot your toothbrush, you can pick one up at Ken’s.
Our friends often remark how fortunate we are to live so close to the U Street Pub and the Osprey Café. It is very nice to be able to walk to a nice place to eat and drink. My go-to order at the Osprey is either the Hungarian mushroom soup or the housemade granola with fresh fruit, but it’s hard to resist their daily specials. As I’m writing this, I see banana bread French toast and an omelet-of-the-day packed with pork sausage, mushrooms, onions, queso fresca and chile verde. The Osprey has a full bar so you can get a Bloody Mary or mimosa at 9 a.m.
The U Street Pub is a perfect neighborhood restaurant. We go there a lot. Some of our friends enjoy meeting us there. We’re all suckers for the shrimp po’ boy sandwich, and the clams or mussels is part of it. The U Street Pub is a place where the servers behave as if they know you even if they don’t really know you. They make you feel at home — if your home had an awesome selection of craft beer on tap and funny signs and surfboards as décor.
My neighborhood is super friendly. I know most of my neighbors’ names. I know the names of the kids who live on the street, and I’m happy to live on a street that has kids. I also know the names of most of the dogs living on the street — there’s Madelyn and Jackson and LaRue.
I will say, it’s tricky to be incognito if you’re living in this hood, just because it is so friendly. I’m pretty sure our neighbors all know who we are because my husband plays the saxophone.