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Mom-and-Pop Restaurants In The Suburbs


RaisaB
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I live out in Western Prince William County. When I want to go out to eat and stay closer to home, I have the choice of IHOP, Glory Days, Uno's, Ruby Tuesday, and the only half deccent one is BoneFish. These places are always packed!

Why do chefs and investors keep opening up in the district where they have so much competition? We have the population and the income for certain. Your average townhouse around here goes for half a million. And there aren't many of those. AVerage home close to $1m. So we can afford to go out and we need to as we gotta pay those mortgages and work!

This question is for those of you in the industry. Why don't you all look in the suburbs? If you are good they will come!

Edited for spelling and grammer.

Edited by RaisaB
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I live out in Western Prince William County. When I want to go out to eat and stay closer to home, I have the choice of IHOP, Glory Days,  Uno's, Ruby Tuesday, and the only half deccent one is BoneFish. These places are always packed!

Why do chefs and investors keep opening up in the district where they have so much competition? We have the population and the income for certain. Your average townhouse around here goes for half a million. And there aren't many of those. AVerage home close to $1m. So we can afford to go out and we need to as we gotta pay those mortgages and work!

This question is for those of you in the industry. Why don't you all look in the suburbs? If you are good they will come!

Edited for spelling and grammer.

A friend in the real estate industry once told me that apartment density is necessary for restaurants to survive in a neighborhood. Apparently, (generally) people who own their own homes eat out once during the week and perhaps twice on the weekends. I can't remember the exact numbers but apartment dwellers eat out much more often. Plus in the suburbs you do not have business diners who support restaurants at night. Just my theories...
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I don't think they're avoiding you. There are some areas closer in, like Ballston, that are completely devoid of such establishments (save the recent addition of Willow, but from what I read here, that place is a mixed bag). The major restaurants in Ballston are IHOP, Flat Top Grill, Rio Grande, Tara Thai, and a Chevy's, which is fairly close to the options to have in your area. I think that most of Arlington (specifically, the Wilson blvd. corridor) is like this, devoid of quality, chef-driven restaurants, saved only by Ray's and Tallula. Even Adams Morgan, with the exception of Cashion's, doesn't appear to have a lot going on in the good restaurant department.

It seems, for better or worse, that these types of restaurants open up in specific neighborhoods known to be part of the dining and entertainment scene: Penn Quarter, Dupont, Georgetown, and "Downtown," for instance. Even then, many of these are owned by "restaurant groups" or hotels, so they're not exactly "Mom & Pop" places, but many of them benefit from having a strong, dedicated chef at the helm instead of an accountant.

That doesn't directly answer your question, or diminish your plight, but it does show that this issue isn't strictly limited to the outlying suburbs.

Edited by Capital Icebox
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Your answers are all probably correct, but then I look at what we have here and like I said they are full every night. They do not have the lunch crowd that I admit. But is Ray's or Talulla's or Evening Star open for lunch?

My husband has even said he'd be willing to finance a place if I were truly interested in opening a place, but you would have to be crazy to want to open a restaurant! :P:lol:

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Your answers are all probably correct, but then I look at what we have here and like I said they are full every night. They do not have the lunch crowd that I admit. But is Ray's or Talulla's or Evening Star open for lunch?

My husband has even said he'd be willing to finance a place if I were truly interested in opening a place, but you would have to be crazy to want to open a restaurant! :P   :lol:

Your last sentence is the answer to your question. Or, there is a shortage of crazy people in your neighborhood. The truth these days is, to open a "nice" restaurant anywhere costs $1-4 million. Add to that operating costs for the first year and it is a frightening amount of money to risk, especially if it isn't your own money.

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Evening Star is open for lunch, but Tallula and Rays are not.

At one point we were open for lunches on Friday, although from time to time it did ok, it was the same issue that Whiteys exeperienced, hit and miss.

Mom and Pop places are a dying breed as many new restaurants that come into the area are driven by 'non-restaurant' people. Investors who want a place to eat at a moments notice, wine lovers to store their wine, and 'cookbook' chefs.

I love the old places where you could sit in the restaurant over the years and watch the children took over as the years went by, but in this day and age, the idea of 'growing up in the industry is being phased out by development.

Maybe the saving grace in it all will be the notion that chefs and owners will get back to the concept of small neighborhood restaurants, where the warmth of the place envelops the customer.

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Your last sentence is the answer to your question. Or, there is a shortage of crazy people in your neighborhood. The truth these days is, to open a "nice" restaurant anywhere costs $1-4 million. Add to that operating costs for the first year and it is a frightening amount of money to risk, especially if it isn't your own money.

Adding that many of those people out where you live would rather go to those 'chains' than a good 'Mom & Pop' place. If the general public did not like the food then they would not be crowded, right? Or are people just willing to eat whatever is available?

I probably should listen to JPW and avoid this thread... :lol:

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Let me pose this as a question instead of a potentially incendiary statement:

Do you think that the proportion of people who "care" enough about their food to seek out non-chain, chef-driven restaurants (and avoid their converse) is so much higher in the city than in distant suburbs that it is a far riskier proposition to open such a restaurant in the distant suburbs?

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I think that one reason there's probably a correlation between apartment living and eating out is that apartment dwellers don't have a $1,000,000 mortgage hanging over their heads...therefore, the distant suburbs are probably full of people who couldn't afford places closer in but who bought where they could, and thus don't have the dosh to eat out as much as someone who's renting for far less either in the city or pretty close. I'm not sure it's fair to correlate whether or not people care about food with how close they are to the urban center. My opinion is that where people live is largely dictated by their location in life -- so people in the suburbs generally have larger families, more need of savings (retirement, college funds) plans, larger outlay (mortgage, insurance, repairs), and less openly disposable income.

Just a thought!

(ETA: curses, pushed the button too soon!)

Edited by Walrus
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In reply to a few of the replies.

A top end restaurant is not really what I was thinking when I posed the question. Rabbi1969 has the right idea, I am looking more for a place with decent food, not food service frozen stuff.

Nothing in the scales of 2941, Citronelles or the like.

I think when Evening Star Cafe was opened in Del Ray, that is more or less what my thoughts were.

As to people eating out, I haven't officially surveyed or censused, but most everyone I know eats out about 3 evenings a week here. Some have hired personal chefs to come and cook as it gets old after a while.

As for people seeking better food, or too stupid to know the difference, well you may have a point there.

Edited by RaisaB
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I think that one reason there's probably a correlation between apartment living and eating out is that apartment dwellers don't have a $1,000,000 mortgage hanging over their heads...

Does the correlation have to do with renting versus owning or multi-unit living versus stand-alone house living?
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Let me pose this as a question instead of a potentially incendiary statement:

Do you think that the proportion of people who "care" enough about their food to seek out non-chain, chef-driven restaurants (and avoid their converse) is so much higher in the city than in distant suburbs that it is a far riskier proposition to open such a restaurant in the distant suburbs?

Yes.

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Will people seek out a chef driven restaurant? Yes, I think they will. But they will only return if the chef is good. Case in point, The RailStop in The Plains. It is in the middle of nowhere, yet it is always packed. The food had been consistantly good and market driven. (I say had because we have had a few bad experiences lately but that is another thread).

How about Four and Twenty, It's About Thyme, talk about being nowhere. (Nowhere is relative)

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Let me pose this as a question instead of a potentially incendiary statement:

Do you think that the proportion of people who "care" enough about their food to seek out non-chain, chef-driven restaurants (and avoid their converse) is so much higher in the city than in distant suburbs that it is a far riskier proposition to open such a restaurant in the distant suburbs?

Ok, the ratio may not be any different, but I believe the total is far higher. The fact that cities have a higher population density combined with businesses, hotels, and visitors make the number of potential customers worth the risk of opening a place. If the risk and return on investment was the same wouldn't there be more places scattered around?

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Even Adams Morgan, with the exception of Cashion's, doesn't appear to have a lot going on in the good restaurant department.

Not exactly true. While there is a dearth of really high-end, fine dining in AM, this place has always been the neighborhood where refugees and immigrants came to open up just the Mom & Pop places under discussion. AM was the place to get Cuban food in the 60's and 70's, the place where the first Ethiopian restaurants opened (remember The Red Sea?), not to mention the later arrival of Central American, Vietnamese, African, and even Afghan restaurteurs.

The reason for this is obvious: housing was relatively cheap (until this latest housing boom, that is), the neighborhood was always diverse, and new-comers find could find fellow countrymen and social services not easily found in the 'burbs.

While we have all the usual fast-food chains (McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, etc.), there is no Ruby Tuesday, Applebee's, Chili's, Outback, or Red Lobster here. There are, however, many other little family-owned joints selling tacos and Caribbean food, along with several ethnic markets. We DO have the hilarious Sunday Drag Queen Brunch at Perry's. :lol:

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I know that I for one chose to live in the middle of the city mostly due to my proximity to good restaurants. Sure, I would love a big house and a yard in which to sit and drink margaritas, but I decided that was a sacrifice I was willing to make in return for being walking distance from dozens of restaurants that I enjoy.

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Does the correlation have to do with renting versus owning or multi-unit living versus stand-alone house living?

"Wealthy Prince William County home buyers are heading west in search of land, but that land isn't cheap.

Homes sitting on large lots helped drive up the median sales price of townhouses and single-family homes in the county by 26.3 percent, to $303,000, in 2004 from $240,000 in 2003, according to a Washington Post analysis based on county sales records. " -- WaPo 3/23/05

I'd guess that the correlation has to do with household size and age. Apartment-dwellers would be more likely to be young and single, to construct their social life around getting the hell out of the apartment, and perhaps less worried about saving for a rainy day (being young and childless). Homeowners would be more likely to have kids (making restaurant dining challenging and expensive), less free time ("just call Dominoe's") and more likely to have a good kitchen and things to do and people to see around the house.

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I know that I for one chose to live in the middle of the city mostly due to my proximity to good restaurants.  Sure, I would love a big house and a yard in which to sit and drink margaritas, but I decided that was a sacrifice I was willing to make in return for being walking distance from dozens of restaurants that I enjoy.

Agreed. (Well, maybe not "mostly" because of good restaurants, but that's a big part of it.) Our dinner plans for tonight and tomorrow both involve walking to local restaurants with our dinner-mates. (And we live in the dining wasteland of Capitol Hill!)

And the fact that so many people make that choice means that cities are more hospitable places for good restaurants.

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Let me pose this as a question instead of a potentially incendiary statement:

Do you think that the proportion of people who "care" enough about their food to seek out non-chain, chef-driven restaurants (and avoid their converse) is so much higher in the city than in distant suburbs that it is a far riskier proposition to open such a restaurant in the distant suburbs?

Yes - definitely.

(Edited to mention that this sentinment had already been versed by Banco. Must read more carefully!)

Edited by Keithstg
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"Wealthy Prince William County home buyers are heading west in search of land, but that land isn't cheap.

Homes sitting on large lots helped drive up the median sales price of townhouses and single-family homes in the county by 26.3 percent, to $303,000, in 2004 from $240,000 in 2003, according to a Washington Post analysis based on county sales records. " -- WaPo 3/23/05

I'd guess that the correlation has to do with household size and age.  Apartment-dwellers would be more likely to be young and single, to construct their social life around getting the hell out of the apartment, and perhaps less worried about saving for a rainy day (being young and childless).  Homeowners would be more likely to have kids (making restaurant dining challenging and expensive), less free time ("just call Dominoe's") and more likely to have a good kitchen and things to do and people to see around the house.

Hey are you calling me old!? :lol: Yes there are millions of kids, but they eat too! And some of them are actually very well behaved!

Edited to clear up triple spacing. Did I do it Don?

Edited by RaisaB
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Hey are you calling me old!? :lol:   Yes there are millions of kids, but they eat too! And some of them are actually very well behaved!

Edited to clear up triple spacing. Did I do it Don?

I would never discuss a lady's age. :P

Even well-behaved kids add expense and can be a pain. They have conflicting schedules. They have conflicting tastes. They're good for an hour, but not an hour-and-a-half. They're unadventurous (yeah, I know, we all know/have kids who will eat anything, but I find them to be the exception) and grease-addicted. The don't want to put on a shirt with no stains and jeans with no holes. They tease one another. And, often, they'd just as soon have a pizza as mu shi pork.

I'm not saying kids make restaurant dining impossible or undesireable. But the sure as heck add new variables to the go out/stay in equation.

Edited by Waitman
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Yes you are right to most of what you said waitman. But the restaurant, in my mind, would not be a fancy schmancy place. Think Dolce Vita in Fairfax, Bombay Bistro, Two Amy's, etc...

BTW, I pay extra for those jeans with the holes in them!

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Just to echo Waitman's sentiments. My brother, for instance, is raising a family on one income--sort of rare in this day and age. As a consequence, going out to dinner is a special event, just as it was when he and I were kids. The thing about chains (DON'T HIT ME, WAITMAN) such as Olive Garden, Chili's, et al., is that they are considerably cheaper than the sorts of places most of us consider worthy of our $$$. Plus, there isn't a lot of guesswork involved in choosing something to eat. When you look at some of the restaurants mentioned on this website which have proved disappointing, to whatever degree, and you look at the average cost of dinner at these places, then I can't say I blame people for thinking a dinner at the Olive Garden is good deal. My brother knows from good food and is knowledgeable about wine as well, but dinner at Citronelle is an indulgence he just can't afford. Also, his kids just aren't adventurous enough eaters to be happy exploring ethnic joints in and around Baltimore. I don't think he and his family is an aberration, either, which explains the ubiquity of the chains.

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My opinion is that where people live is largely dictated by their location in life -- so people in the suburbs generally have larger families, more need of savings (retirement, college funds) plans, larger outlay (mortgage, insurance, repairs), and less openly disposable income.

I can only speak for our family, but this is exactly right. And while I would like to have bought a place within walking distance of a dozen good restaurants, our budget precluded a neighborhood with good schools. You makes your choices...

Even well-behaved kids add expense and can be a pain. They have conflicting schedules. They have conflicting tastes. They're good for an hour, but not an hour-and-a-half. They're unadventurous (yeah, I know, we all know/have kids who will eat anything, but I find them to be the exception) and grease-addicted. The don't want to put on a shirt with no stains and jeans with no holes. They tease one another. And, often, they'd just as soon have a pizza as mu shi pork.

Perfectly stated. My kids are good eaters, but their 7:30 bedtime and rather limited attention spans sort of limit our dining choices.

Even if we could afford to eat at, say, Firefly, all the time, would Firefly's regular diners appreciate my 6 and 3 year old kids who are still learning manners? I read gripes about strollers in 2 Amy's, and the oh-so-hilarious "rules" at Colorado Kitchen and the answer seems clear to me. :lol:

Edited by Heather
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Look at the density of disposable income in Bethesda/Potomac/Chevy Chase. And yet, with a few exceptions, most of the restaurants there are still chains or mediocre.

If that relatively small neighborhood can't support a number of really good ongoing, moderate-priced, local joints, how can Loudon County possibly do so?

Edited by DanielK
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I was living in Del Ray when Evening Star was just getting off the ground. Mt. Vermon Avenue was a VERY different place back then. If memory serves (PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG Rabbi1969), the Mt. Vernon Avenue area was designated an "Enterprise Zone" and small businesses were eligible for a variety of very attractive tax breaks and small business support / loans. This situation made it a favorable environement for a number of privately owned restaurants, coffee shops and retail businesses to find success. The area was just beginning to move from it's history as a rail-yard community to a transistioning yupppie neighborbood. The Evening Star partnership had perfect timing and a business plan that really seems to have worked.

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not sure about the tax issue, but as for hitting it at the right time, they did. The company has also allowed itself to retain the charm of that neighborhood not the other way around.

The problems that surround out in the far suburbs is also related to the fact that they don't have 'neighborhoods' as one might see in Arlington, alexandria, chevy chase or bethesda. Communities as one might see it. DelRay is an example of a small neighborhood that people can walk from house to house, business to business, and never have to get in a car to do so.

If only they would rehab the Giant on Monroe Avenue instead of keeping it in its 70's retro style.

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Off-topic aside: there IS hope for that. The Giant at Connecticut and Veazy is presently closed for a major overhaul. The closure will last, IIRC, 6-9 months.

If only they would rehab the Giant on Monroe Avenue instead of keeping it in its 70's retro style.

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Will people seek out a chef driven restaurant? Yes, I think they will. But they will only return if the chef is good. Case in point, The RailStop in The Plains. It is in the middle of nowhere, yet it is always packed. The food had been consistantly good and market driven. (I say had because we have had a few bad experiences lately but that is another thread).

How about Four and Twenty, It's About Thyme, talk about being nowhere. (Nowhere is relative)

Raisa: those three (I've been to two of them) are "relatively" expensive -- when you asked about Mom and Pop joints I pictured something much humbler, and the reason why there are no such restaurants out in the exurbs is that Moms and Pops don't live there. Basically nobody lived where you lived until recently. I live in southern Loudoun Co -- not too far from you -- and was once as frustrated as you are, until I realized it was hopeless to wish for more than some decent chains.

The only Mom and Pops you can expect until your area really becomes settled are pizza joints and maybe some Chinese or Thai eateries.

Edited by Twinsdaddy
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Part of the problem in the far-out burbs isn't just the lack of really good places, but the lack of any places.  Mediocre or merely decent chains would be a step up from much of what we are offered.

That is exactly my point. There are alot of valid points being mentioned but they do not really address what I started this post about. My neighbors and I eat at BoneFish at least once a week. Other nights we go to The Plains, Culpepper (which is far but away from traffic), Centreville or Fairfax.

The Great American chain is one I would welcome. But small places with good chefs, where are they? We had a restaurant called Samia's here which has tried to reincarnate itself 3 different times now, but noone goes because the food sucks. it is foodservice crap that is finished off in the kitchen. I can go to Costco and get better. In fact I think the owner is looking for a buyer so he can get rid of the place. Why didn't he just invest in a good chef? I know why, it is because he doesn't know the difference.

This area is definately a culinary wasteland. (Western Prince William) :lol:

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Raisa: those three (I've been to two of them) are "relatively" expensive -- when you asked about Mom and Pop joints I pictured something much humbler, and the reason why there are no such restaurants out in the exurbs is that Moms and Pops don't live there. Basically nobody lived where you lived until recently. I live in southern Loudoun Co -- not too far from you -- and was once as frustrated as you are.

The only Mom and Pops you can expect until your area really becomes settled are pizza joints and maybe some Chinese or Thai eateries.

They are relatively but so is BoneFish. Centreville has Rosemary's Thyme Bistro, and Sweetwater which are same price range, but are full of families. I am not trying to be snooty, I just want to have a choice of good food....

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here is an example of how it could be solved, or at least the idea to take over. Think neighborhood. Classic DC metro area. where does everyone do their everyday's? Shopping, dry cleaning, nick-nacks, although I hate that phrase. Where do parents stop to grab a quick bite near that center? now you have what a mom and pop place need for survival.

There is a place in the Chesterbrook Shopping Center in Mclean, VA called Corkie's. That is what you would need for that idea to take hold.

Its wedged in between a rite-aid and safeway, dry cleaners, radio shack, starbucks, and mcdonalds. Lots of parking, not really walkable, but definetly high dollar neighborhood. She has been doing ok, not great, but someone looking could make a killing doing family restaurant there.

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Joe, I know the place you mean, it is kind of a good ole boys place.

Twins, Yes Warrenton has Claires at the Depot and the Whistle Stop which is a condensed version of The RailStop in Warrenton. I have tried most of the other restaurants in town and besides Foster's burgers, none are worth the time or money. All three of these are doing very well.

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I live in glorious downtown Rosslyn and have often been upset by the lack of much other than fast food chains and the family-owned Orleans House which appears to cater to people of fairly staid tastes. If you go up the hill from Wilson and Lynn, you do have Ray's and the previously unmentioned Rhodeside Grill which does seem to be chef driven. So I guess that Rosslyn can be as much a dining wasteland as any area beyond the Beltway.

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"So," he said, a trollish grin spreading across his face, "if the money's there, the kids are well-behaved and there's plenty room for yet another Long John Silver's, and good restaurants still don't move to the suburbs, the problem must be with the suburbanites themsleves, right?" :lol: (Don't hit me, Raisa!)

Or, are hip, talented chefs deterred by by outdated stereotypes of self-centered, mini-mansion dwelling drones too busy making partner and ferrying Madison to ballet, flute and soccer to appreciate a decent meal? Brendan?

Another thought: evil strip mall developers who won't lease good space to an independent because they want the guaranteed revenue stream of chain.

Finally, you think Northern Va has it bad, the affluent yet largely African American areas of PG County -- Fort Washington, say -- are a veritable dining desert.

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"So," he said, a trollish grin spreading across his face, "if the money's there, the kids are well-behaved and there's plenty room for yet another Long John Silver's, and good restaurants still don't move to the suburbs, the problem must be with the suburbanites themsleves, right?"  :lol:   (Don't hit me, Raisa!)

Or, are hip, talented chefs deterred by by outdated stereotypes of self-centered, mini-mansion dwelling drones too busy making partner and ferrying Madison to ballet, flute and soccer to appreciate a decent meal?  Brendan? 

Another thought: evil strip mall developers who won't lease good space to an independent because they want the guaranteed revenue stream of chain.

Finally, you think Northern Va has it bad, the affluent yet largely African American areas of PG County -- Fort Washington, say -- are a veritable dining desert.

I think that the truth is somewhere in between, but the rapid pace of expansion has to also be considered a factor. As the population out in Loudon and out to Faquier County expands, so to will the services offered - it just takes time. Restaurants with larger financial backing (i.e., chains) will obviously be the first to come in. Independent restaurants will follow IF the community demonstrates a need, and a willingness to support independent ventures.

It doesn't seem realistic to me to expect a direct correlation between housing stock growth and the growth of smaller, independent restaurants. Then again, I haven't ever lived in that "emerging" of an area.

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I live in glorious downtown Rosslyn and have often been upset by the lack of much other than fast food chains and the family-owned Orleans House which appears to cater to people of fairly staid tastes.  If you go up the hill from Wilson and Lynn, you do have Ray's and the previously unmentioned Rhodeside Grill which does seem to be chef driven.  So I guess that Rosslyn can be as much a dining wasteland as any area beyond the Beltway.

But Rosslyn is also a short metro or car ride or even walk from whatever you might want. We're not looking for something in our back yard, just something in our county.

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The small chef owned, or family owned, restaurant is at a disadvantage in the suburbs for several reasons. First, they just do not have the capital to compete with the chains. Secondly, as in any other business, location, location, location, is the key. Unless there is a place where there is a lot of traffic, and I don't mean car traffic, but rather a place where there is a reason for folks to be there, restaurants just cannot survive. Sure there are the destination restaurants, sometimes in the country, or in small towns, but in the sprawling suburbs around this area the mall is where folks go to shop. There the chains have the advantage because they have the corporate coffers to start them up and maintain them.

That said, there are many nice stand alone family owned restaurants where I live near Olney. Sure there are the chains in the malls like in Montgomery Mall, Lakeforest, etc. But there are also the family places in Olney proper because folks have to go there to shop. While there are the fast food places, and the Outbacks and Chicken Outs, there are also lots of nice places like Bella Nolte (Italian), Manniquin Pis (one of the best Belgian restaurants you will ever eat in), BJ Pumpernickles (diner/deli), Riccuti's (Italian), not to mention a couple of nice Chinese, Thai, and Mexican restaurants in the area.

What is necessary is a large concentration of people, meaning appartments and condos, not just rows and rows of single family homes. There has to be a destination area that is not just a mall, and to be honest, there are usually more stand alone type restaurants in older, more established areas. One only has to look at Rockville Pike with all the chains to see that corporate restaurants are the rule in areas where the rents are high and the foot traffic low.

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Yes, but Rosslyn has a decent chain Rio Grande. You also are very close to some awesome restaurants within 2 or 3 miles.

I know I made my bed by choosing to live out here, restaurants just weren't the priority back then :lol: . I just keep wondering why we get stuff like IHOP! Yuck!

I know eventually we might get 1 or 2 or maybe 3 good places, I just hope I still have teeth left at that point in my life.

Edited by RaisaB
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And not too far off the mark either.

True. I also wonder, like others have mentioned above, how long a place like that can stay in business with those prices. Makes me wonder how they decided on that location. Must have been looking at that median income level. Granted they are using what are surely higher prices ingredients, but those prices are way too high. Most folks, despite where they live, are going to have a hard time rationalizing spending that much on pizza. And yes, it may be the best damn pizza within 500 miles, but for most folks pizza = inexpensive.

That said, I wish them well.

Sorry Joe, but that bbq pizza does not sound good to me at all and I am far from a non-adventurous eater.

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I guess small minds think alike? ;) To make blanket statements about a community is thinking small! I have been to 2 Amy's many times, as well as Comet. This may come as a shocker, but most of the people are not eating the soft-shell crab or more adventurous pizza. If the pizza's here are able to serve two people for about $20, then that would make them cheaper than 2 Amy's or Comet, as these are single servings pies. Additionally, on my last vast to Comet a few weeks ago, families with 2 or more kids had taken over the place, and some were even sharing pies!

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I guess small minds think alike? ;) To make blanket statements about a community is thinking small! I have been to 2 Amy's many times, as well as Comet. This may come as a shocker, but most of the people are not eating the soft-shell crab or more adventurous pizza. If the pizza's here are able to serve two people for about $20, then that would make them cheaper than 2 Amy's or Comet, as these are single servings pies. Additionally, on my last vast to Comet a few weeks ago, families with 2 or more kids had taken over the place, and some were even sharing pies!

I guess you have never been to Ashburn. :P Wasn't there a discussion some time back at how the general public in the US is pretty standard with their meal preferences? Would the *(^%&!# chains be so plentiful if everyone was so into more adventurous and better food? This does not mean that there is anything wrong with the folks living in Ashburn (or any other suburb) it is just overall tastes run to the standard, as you pointed out above. I would love to see this place be wildly successful, but I just see it being an uphill battle with the competition from the more inexpensive and 'comfortable' places that are available.

To get back to pizza talk, if they are close to the same size as a 2 Amy's pie then I don't think that 1/2 is not enough for a full meal without having something else. Maybe I just eat too much, but price wise they are pretty close and while I enjoy 2 Amy's I have never thought it to be a cheap meal.

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