Best Old-World Cobbler
Philip Calabro at Philip’s Shoe Repair
808 Upshur St. NW, (202) 726-5762
As posh new bars and restaurants flood Upshur Street NW, the small commercial strip in the heart of Petworth looks different every week. But one man has kept his spot on the block looking the same since 1966. Philip Calabro, owner of Philip’s Shoe Repair, polishes and re-caps the shoes of neighborhood residents with aplomb. When he returns them, they look (and smell) brand new. You won’t even get a lecture on proper leather care when you drop off a pair of boots in serious need of resuscitation or pick up a repair weeks after completion. Just don’t show up expecting anything fancy. With the exception of a yellowed map of Italy hanging on one wall and a couple of chairs for waiting customers, the decor is sparse. Your shoes will likely be returned in a plastic grocery bag. They don’t accept credit cards. Still, it’s worth digging out your checkbook to pay for a successfully rehabbed shoe and explore nearly half a century of neighborhood history.