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Dining in Ward 7


DonRocks
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There's a reason why there's nothing other than a Denny's there, right? Has anyone actually developed a business plan? I have alot of respect for Landrum but he's kind of a hot-head and I'm not entirely certain he knows how to maximize profit.

Oh. I guess that must be why his three current restaurants are doing so badly... :lol:

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There's a reason why there's nothing other than a Denny's there, right? Has anyone actually developed a business plan? I have alot of respect for Landrum but he's kind of a hot-head and I'm not entirely certain he knows how to maximize profit.

The great thing (if anything can be said to be great, or even good) about me is that I don't give a shit whether I make money or not. And not, despite Tim Carman's misinformative piece, because of some bullshit silver-spoon privilege. I see enough of those miserable shits, up in Silver Spring, coming from Bethesda and Potomac who think that money matters.

My bills get paid, my staff is way paid and my paychecks don't bounce, and I don't steal tips from my servers--which is not something that can be said of a lot of the motherfuckers in this business, their continual, uncritical and fawning adoration and fancy-stitched chef's coats notwithstanding. For a lot of restaurateurs in this area (and this is fairly unique to the Washington market) stealing from employees is as much of a business plan as there ever was.

If it matters, I plan to make a go of it in Ward 7 on $8,000 to $12,000 a week in revenue to begin which will cover costs and expenses; and if a few people are decently and responsibly employed (not that everyone who has ever worked for me thinks that about me) and an under-served community has a place to call their own and a little economic activity is generated, then it is all to the good.

Considering that I will incur construction costs of only roughly $100 a foot, rather than the Sietsema-mandated $400 a foot, and that I will have no need for debt, loans or investors, I think I have a pretty solid plan, even if it wouldn't necessarily satisfy the profit-driven business model (but look where that's gotten any of us lately).

Oh, and better to ask why Clyde's gets $20 Million in financial incentives to build their Gallery Place monstrosity, why the entire common weal gets pissed into a pathetic baseball stadium for Lerners and losers and smug Dockers-wearing soft-asses that even a moron fourth grader would have known would never work, and why the RAMW does nothing to foster, promote and direct resources to potential start-ups, preferring to engage in endless circle-jerk self-glorification, then it is to ask why there is nothing but a Denny's in Ward 7 (and even that is only a coerced result of their discrimination lawsuit settlement).

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The great thing (if anything can be said to be great, or even good) about me is that I don't give a shit whether I make money or not. And not, despite Tim Carman's misinformative piece, because of some bullshit silver-spoon privilege. I see enough of those miserable shits, up in Silver Spring, coming from Bethesda and Potomac who think that money matters.

Are you at least getting tax credit?

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There's a reason why there's nothing other than a Denny's there, right?

I have represented a group of tenants in this neighborhood for some time now and have spent a fair amount of time there. It is a very poor area, but the people who live there are mostly families that work hard. They deserve the same comforts as people in Arlington or Silver Spring, and I believe they will support these new businesses. I applaud Mr. Landrum and Ms. Clark for seeing past the kind of bigotry that has kept everything but Denny's out of this neighborhood for far too long.

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I applaud Mr. Landrum and Ms. Clark for seeing past the kind of bigotry that has kept everything but Denny's out of this neighborhood for far too long.

I guess I'm confused at what kind of bigotry you are referring to if Denny's is the one being applauded. :lol:

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Tell that to the James Beard Awards - I didn't even bother submitting an entry this year.

"Do me a favor my son ... buy a ticket!"

I guess I'm confused at what kind of bigotry you are referring to if Denny's is the one being applauded. :lol:

That irony has not escaped me.

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I applaud Mr. Landrum and Ms. Clark for seeing past the kind of bigotry that has kept everything but Denny's out of this neighborhood for far too long.

How is it bigotry to locate your business where you can maximize profit? If Michael wants to provide social services, that's his prerogative. It doesn't make other people bigots. If Bill Gates maximize his profits with Microsoft and then gave away $20 billion to his foundation, is he a bigot because he didn't open a Microsoft office in Ward 7?

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How is it bigotry to locate your business where you can maximize profit? If Michael wants to provide social services, that's his prerogative. It doesn't make other people bigots. If Bill Gates maximize his profits with Microsoft and then gave away $20 billion to his foundation, is he a bigot because he didn't open a Microsoft office in Ward 7?

Investing in a community like Ward 7 is no more a "social service" than opening a restaurant in a traditionally white neighborhood. Like most businesses, it may take some time and patience to get these restaurants off the ground. But I presume that the ultimate goal is a profitable, and therefore sustainable, business.

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How is it bigotry to locate your business where you can maximize profit? If Michael wants to provide social services, that's his prerogative. It doesn't make other people bigots. If Bill Gates maximize his profits with Microsoft and then gave away $20 billion to his foundation, is he a bigot because he didn't open a Microsoft office in Ward 7?

Did VAFoodNut somehow get back on here with a new screen name?

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Investing in a community like Ward 7 is no more a "social service" than opening a restaurant in a traditionally white neighborhood. Like most businesses, it may take some time and patience to get these restaurants off the ground. But I presume that the ultimate goal is a profitable, and therefore sustainable, business.

I agree the ultimate goal is to have a sustainable business. That's why in the Ray's the Heat thread I asked this:

Very cool. But, I'll ask the obvious...

There's a reason (or multiple reasons) businesses haven't been in this part of town. I'm sure Michael's done his research and is doing this with confidence. So, what's changed?

I never got an answer. Any ideas? What has changed regarding Ward 7? Why do Michael and now Gillian want to open restaurants there assuming their goal is a sustainable, profitable business?

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I agree the ultimate goal is to have a sustainable business. That's why in the Ray's the Heat thread I asked this:

I never got an answer. Any ideas? What has changed regarding Ward 7? Why do Michael and now Gillian want to open restaurants there assuming their goal is a sustainable, profitable business?

Maybe it's the if you build it, they will come idea. If you look at what Joe Englert has done to revitalize the H St. corridor, it's not entirely unreasonable to see that happen in Ward 7. And perhaps, every once in a while, people are not 110% purely interested in $$. <shock and horror>
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I humbly submit this for consideration in "Thread of the Year" runnings.
Or as an argument in favor of an "Ignore User" button... :lol:

Were I to open an establishment in DC (restaurant or bar), I would absolutely do so in Ward 6 or 7. These are underserved areas in my opinion (ward 6 is still underserved, I think), and currently support several independently owned establishments. As a Ward 6 resident when not in NYC, I'd personally like the idea of having a business in my own community. The Joe Englert H Street model is a good one. Additionally, cost per sq. foot has to be lower than the surrounding areas in DC.

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Maybe it's the if you build it, they will come idea. If you look at what Joe Englert has done to revitalize the H St. corridor, it's not entirely unreasonable to see that happen in Ward 7. And perhaps, every once in a while, people are not 110% purely interested in $$. <shock and horror>

But how is that different now than, say, 5 years ago?

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What has changed regarding Ward 7? Why do Michael and now Gillian want to open restaurants there assuming their goal is a sustainable, profitable business?

I think that the main difference is that people are now willing to invest in these areas. Perhaps with the recent gentrification of DC there has been a certain de-stigmatizing of some of the more "economically challenged" parts of the city. Given the outcome of the recent election, it also seems likely that we have made progress in de-stigmatizing the members of our society that live in these areas.

There is also, almost certainly, an economic component to this. As a society, we are eating out with ever increasing frequency, and the poorer economic groups are no exception. Perhaps Ward 7 has finally exceeded some threshold where the amount of dollars available for dining out is now sufficient to support these additional restaurants.

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Except for forum posters :lol:.

Waitaminute - you don't get paid every time you post here?

I love the cha-ching sound of PayPal registering another "Thank you for posting!" from Don!

On a slightly more serious note - maybe also it's because people know, hey, that Michael Landrum dude, he makes some good food, and has seemed willing to work with the community, I'd be willing to give it a shot, versus some random chain that just wants you to get drunk off sugar filled cocktails, eat processed cheese bites, and video tape it so you can show all your friends just what a great time you had.

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How is it bigotry to locate your business where you can maximize profit? If Michael wants to provide social services, that's his prerogative. It doesn't make other people bigots. If Bill Gates maximize his profits with Microsoft and then gave away $20 billion to his foundation, is he a bigot because he didn't open a Microsoft office in Ward 7?

We're fortunate that a small but vital sub-segment of the restaurant industry is not founded on the principle of profit maximization. Or, perhaps, they are founded on the principle of "utility maximization" which may include not only cash profits, but the various satisfactions that may come with self-ownership, "artistic freedom," trail-blazing and social change and other miscellaneous contributors to personal satisfaction. Profit maximization is fine as far as it goes, but it tends to result in the Cheesecake Factory and Magianno's. Flinging the phrase about in this context suggests a serious misunderstanding of the priorities of those hanging out on this board -- those within the business, as well as those outside.

Investing in a community like Ward 7 is no more a "social service" than opening a restaurant in a traditionally white neighborhood. Like most businesses, it may take some time and patience to get these restaurants off the ground. But I presume that the ultimate goal is a profitable, and therefore sustainable, business.

One assumes that all business owners expect to earn return on their investment, but I would suggest that opening a restaurant -- indeed any effort to expand the commercial base beyond check-cashing shops and liquor stores -- is indeed a social service and contributes to the desireability and vitality of a neighborhood, bringing with it a variety of social benefits.

As to the bigotry question, it seems clear to me that minority neighborhoods are perceived as poorer and more crime-ridden than they are, thus discouraging development, which contributes to poverty and crime and so on in an ongoing cycle of urban decline. Betting that perceptions are wrong may well pay off on several levels.

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Or, perhaps, they are founded on the principle of "utility maximization" which may include not only cash profits, but the various satisfactions that may come with self-ownership, "artistic freedom," trail-blazing and social change and other miscellaneous contributors to personal satisfaction.

One assumes that all business owners expect to earn return on their investment, but I would suggest that opening a restaurant -- indeed any effort to expand the commercial base beyond check-cashing shops and liquor stores -- is indeed a social service and contributes to the desireability and vitality of a neighborhood, bringing with it a variety of social benefits.

Right, somewhat along the lines of "green" investment. The profits now may not the same as investing in blue chips, but the investment model is forward-looking and the investor presumably derives some of the other benefits mentioned above in the meantime. So....go Michael! He is a far better man than most for putting his $, time, pride, etc. where his mouth is.

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One assumes that all business owners expect to earn return on their investment, but I would suggest that opening a restaurant -- indeed any effort to expand the commercial base beyond check-cashing shops and liquor stores -- is indeed a social service and contributes to the desireability and vitality of a neighborhood, bringing with it a variety of social benefits.

I would say that the Lerners and Nationals Park have more in common with this than the earlier description.

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One assumes that all business owners expect to earn return on their investment, but I would suggest that opening a restaurant -- indeed any effort to expand the commercial base beyond check-cashing shops and liquor stores -- is indeed a social service and contributes to the desireability and vitality of a neighborhood, bringing with it a variety of social benefits.
I would say that the Lerners and Nationals Park have more in common with this than the earlier description.

On the other hand, luring Landrumm and Clark to Ward 7 didn't demand $700 million in taxpayer handouts, and neither of of them probably expects to reap tens of millions of dollars in profits off my investment in their infrastructure.

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Ward 7 isn't as poor as you might think. There are some solidly middle class areas there (same with Ward 8). I think people should drive/walk those areas around a bit, it's not as scary as the media would make you believe, although the concentrations of public housing have posed a major issue to those communities.

Kudos to Landrum for doing something that others should have done years ago. It will be very successful in all facets.

Btw, it's my first post!

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On the other hand, luring Landrumm and Clark to Ward 7 didn't demand $700 million in taxpayer handouts, and neither of of them probably expects to reap tens of millions of dollars in profits off my investment in their infrastructure.
The Lerners didn't demand anything of the taxpayers. The funding arrangement for the stadium was passed by the DC Council long before the ownership group was named. And I'm not sure what you're investing in their infrastructure. The funding to finance the bonds used to build Nationals Park comes from a gross receipts tax on large businesses and a utilities tax on businesses and federal offices.
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ML has a fine collection of kibbitzers ... not that he ever seems to listen to their good ideas.

I would call some of his schemes hare-brained, but rabbit is rarely on his menu. The necessary business

numbers are, magically, unexplainably, usually there somewhere. I will wait and see.

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The Lerners didn't demand anything of the taxpayers. The funding arrangement for the stadium was passed by the DC Council long before the ownership group was named. And I'm not sure what you're investing in their infrastructure. The funding to finance the bonds used to build Nationals Park comes from a gross receipts tax on large businesses and a utilities tax on businesses and federal offices.

The Lerners were would not have bought the team if somebody else hadn't paid for the stadium. To say that they didn't demand anything is disingenuous.

Not that I'm a member of the Chamber of Commerce or anything, but anything financed by taxes is surely paid for by taxpayers. And -- not coming at this definitively one way or the other -- I haven't seen the study that says the most effective economic development strategy the city could pursue is to raise $700 million through higher taxes and build a stadium, as opposed to, oh, education, smaller-scale developments, lower small business taxes, district government infrastructure improvements, restaurant storefronts and parking for committed chefs....

On the other hand, none of those would have demonstrated that Mayor Bow-Tie had actual detectable testosterone.

This all like "spread the wealth around" but it's all spreading one way.

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So how's that Denny's over on Benning Road? Their ridiculously-oversized breakfasts were always a guilty pleasure of mine.

Ah, Denny's. In high school, I was vice-president of the Denny's Eating Club. We convened once a week at our local Denny's. Until, that is, the Shake Incident. You see, the Denny's menu (at the time, at least) expressly promised that, upon ordering a milkshake, the customer would receive not only a milkshake in a glass, but also some additional "left over" milkshake in the metal cup in which the shake was prepared. This was pictured on the menu and promised in words. Over the DEC's many meetings, countless milkshakes were ordered without issue, each of which was accompanied by left over milkshake.

Then, during one of our weekly meetings, the waiter came over with only the glass. We said, "Excuse me, but we seem to be missing our promised 'left over' shake." The waiter said, "You get that only if there is some left over." We said, "But your menu says otherwise!" He shrugged and left.

We left too, and the Denny's Eating Club thereafter conducted its weekly meetings at Applebee's.

Never been to the one on Benning Road.

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Ward 7 isn't as poor as you might think. There are some solidly middle class areas there (same with Ward 8). I think people should drive/walk those areas around a bit, it's not as scary as the media would make you believe, although the concentrations of public housing have posed a major issue to those communities.

Indeed, Ward 7 in general, and the Greater Deanwood area in particular are often overlooked, and have had plenty of issues, but is there a neighborhood that hasn't? While there are some problems, there are also a lot of wonderful long-time resident families in the neighborhood who really love their neighborhood and work hard to make and keep it a great place.

For those of you interested in getting to know the area, besides the obvious (go eat at the new places and meet the neighbors), I note that there is a DC Neighborhood Heritage Trail in development for the Greater Deanwood neighborhood. It will be installed in the next few months, and would be an ideal way to get a decent overview of the neighborhood.

(As I'm working on the project, I was rather selfishly hoping that the new place would be open before the trail went in, so that I would have a place other than Denny's to eat while in the neighborhood.)

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The Lerners were would not have bought the team if somebody else hadn't paid for the stadium.

You're certainly right about that. No one would have bought the team, since there wouldn't have been a team to buy. And that area of town would still be an industrial wasteland with a couple of gay porn shops scattered around. Try as they might, a thousand Michael Landrums and Gilllian Clarks wouldn't have been able to change that on their own.

I could easily refute your other contentions, but I'd rather stay on topic. Maybe we can continue this some other time in the "Eating at Nationals Park" thread. We shouldn't bother anyone; only the Dockers-wearing soft-asses read that thread.

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Two comments:

1. Bravo to Michael Landrum for undertaking this new venture. I wish him the best of luck. It really is no one else's business whether he turns a profit or not - his efforts in moving in to this neighborhood should command all of our respect and support, and beyond that, critics should keep quiet.

2. The Lerner family has long been major supporters of local charities, including (from their website): Food and Friends; Shady Grove Adventist Hospital; Hadley's Park; the Scleroderma Foundation of Greater Washington; YouthAids; Junior Achievement of the Greater Washington Area; the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School; the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington; and Imagination Stage, and are founding members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Would people have preferred no baseball team or one with owners that had not already shown a lifelong committment to making Washignton D.C. a better place?

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Two comments:

1. Bravo to Michael Landrum for undertaking this new venture. I wish him the best of luck. It really is no one else's business whether he turns a profit or not - his efforts in moving in to this neighborhood should command all of our respect and support, and beyond that, critics should keep quiet.

2. The Lerner family has long been major supporters of local charities, including (from their website): Food and Friends; Shady Grove Adventist Hospital; Hadley's Park; the Scleroderma Foundation of Greater Washington; YouthAids; Junior Achievement of the Greater Washington Area; the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School; the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington; and Imagination Stage, and are founding members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Would people have preferred no baseball team or one with owners that had not already shown a lifelong committment to making Washignton D.C. a better place?

I would have preferred owners who built their own stadium, like Jack Kent Cook and, to a lesser extent, Abe Pollin did did.

Whatever their other eleemosynary activities, in buying the Washington nationals the Lerners demonstrated only their belief that charity starts at home, leveraging significant spending by the City of Washington that might otherwise benefited non-millionaires to earn a significant profit for themselves.

City-owned stadiums never, ever recoup their investment -- they are the product of ego and fanaticism. I'm necessarily against city-owned stadiums, I just can't find it in me to pretend that they're anything other than a way to use my childhood memories (Frank Howard!) to pick my pocket, while owners, contractors and others make millions off my $50 tickets and $8 beers.

And, besides -- to return to topic -- stadiums never bring decent restaurants to the areas in which they are located. Less'n you have a taste for chain chicken wings.

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Maybe it's the if you build it, they will come idea. If you look at what Joe Englert has done to revitalize the H St. corridor, it's not entirely unreasonable to see that happen in Ward 7. And perhaps, every once in a while, people are not 110% purely interested in $. <shock and horror>

Correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I can gather from Michael's various posts and replies in the threads which address this topic, I do not get the impression that his aim is to spur gentrification along Benning Rd. The development of the H Street corridor, OTOH, seems to be more geared toward attracting new people (and their money) to the area rather than improving the services available to members of the existing community.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I can gather from Michael's various posts and replies in the threads which address this topic, I do not get the impression that his aim is to spur gentrification along Benning Rd. The development of the H Street corridor, OTOH, seems to be more geared toward attracting new prople (and their money) to the area rather than improving the services available to members of the existing community.

You are correct, my overt goal is to serve and be an integral part of the existing community.

I am thankful, though, that the H Street Trolley Line (which is the result of the development efforts of Joe Englert and crew), if plans do not change, will have its terminus and turn-around hub at the Minnesota Road Metro (and a new entrance to gorgeous Fort Mahan Park--it's not very well known, but Ward 7 has more parkland per square mile than any other urban landscape in the country, if I am not mistaken).

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[ A gentle reminder, dear contributors, to please keep the discussion at least tangentially related to food. Thanks. - ol_i ]
Tangential note: Rock Creek Park is, if I recall, the largest undeveloped urban park in the country. Carry on...

Sorry. :)

There's this game I play called "Pass The Turd," where I take rambling, non-restaurant threads and move them out of the Restaurants and Dining forum, and into other forums, unannounced, condemning the poor forum hosts to moderating them while I go about my business. :lol:

P.S. A LONG OVERDUE thank you to ol_ironstomach for the work he puts in here. I've told him, repeatedly, that he needs to be a professional food and/or spirits writer.

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So how's that Denny's over on Benning Road? Their ridiculously-over sized breakfasts were always a guilty pleasure of mine.
Just as good as any other Denny I have eaten in. I go to a fair number of meetings in Ward 7 and unless you want to stop in at a Carryout, which for the most part guarantees a meal that involves grease of some sort, you are SOL. Denny's is Denny's, which is better than nothing after an endless, fruitless meeting.
...it's not very well known, but Ward 7 has more parkland per square mile than any other urban landscape in the country, if I am not mistaken).
Shhhh, that's a of the secret. There are parts of Ward 7 that take you back to what Washington used to be like-it's more beautiful than you think. I don't think most people realize that there is a customer base in Ward 7 for restaurants just like RTH. Not everyone in Ward 7 lives in an unsafe neighborhood.

Michael is being Michael; doing what he wants, where he wants, when he wants. So far, he's 3 and 0. Who else in the city can say that?

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