Jump to content

Restaurant Trends: End of 2005


MeMc
 Share

Recommended Posts

I had been thinking about two things I read over the weekend about DC and restaurants: that the population in town between 2000 and 2005 has dropped 3.2% and that 2005 has been noted as a gangbuster year for DC restaurants (in Washingtonian's 100 best and in Nat. Rest. Assn stats). I'm glad, since apparently Zagats informed us last year that we went out to dinner less than the national average.

If the population in the district is dropping, however incrementally, then what factors contribute to a rise in going out to eat averages as well as restaurant sales? Do people make more money? Are the city demographics changing? Are the restaurants that opened this year better, and, as a result bumping up stats and optimism?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had been thinking about two things I read over the weekend about DC and restaurants:  that the population in town between 2000 and 2005 has dropped 3.2% and that 2005 has been noted as a gangbuster year for DC restaurants (in Washingtonian's 100 best and in Nat. Rest. Assn stats). I'm glad, since apparently Zagats informed us last year that we went out to dinner less than the national average.

If the population in the district is dropping, however incrementally, then what factors contribute to a rise in going out to eat averages as well as restaurant sales? Do people make more money?  Are the city demographics changing?  Are the restaurants that opened this year better, and, as a result bumping up stats and optimism?

The city demographics are changing. Who do you think are buying all those $500K+ condos in the parts of town in which you used to couldn't PAY anyone to live?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had been thinking about two things I read over the weekend about DC and restaurants:  that the population in town between 2000 and 2005 has dropped 3.2% and that 2005 has been noted as a gangbuster year for DC restaurants (in Washingtonian's 100 best and in Nat. Rest. Assn stats). I'm glad, since apparently Zagats informed us last year that we went out to dinner less than the national average.

If the population in the district is dropping, however incrementally, then what factors contribute to a rise in going out to eat averages as well as restaurant sales? Do people make more money?  Are the city demographics changing?  Are the restaurants that opened this year better, and, as a result bumping up stats and optimism?

maybe more and more people moving to the burbs, NoVa, Maryland....also I think people are making more money, the economy has been growing at a pretty steady rate, especially this area. Also the competition in dc and surrounding areas is growing steadily, making dc a more exciting place to eat...thank god! People dont mind spending money, as long as they get what they paid for and more so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the population in the district is dropping, however incrementally, then what factors contribute to a rise in going out to eat averages as well as restaurant sales? Do people make more money?  Are the city demographics changing?

Real-estate appreciation is certainly a factor.

Are the restaurants that opened this year better, and, as a result bumping up stats and optimism?

No. The restaurants in DC that opened this year were largely a superficial, sorry lot, with fashion and architecture taking priority over cuisine. The only great restaurant to open in 2005 is Foti's in Culpepper, with Aster in Middleburg being very good, and Dino, Sonoma, Hank's, W Domku, TemptAsian and Notti Bianche continuing the good neighborhood-restaurant trend with their emphasis on quality ingredients, unfussy or interesting fare, great customer service, and/or good wines by the glass.

The last two restaurants of any lasting importance to open in the immediate DC vicinity are Restaurant Eve and CityZen.

Cheers,

Rocks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Real-estate appreciation is certainly a factor.

No. The restaurants in DC that opened this year were largely a superficial, sorry lot, with fashion and architecture taking priority over cuisine. The only great restaurant to open in 2005 is Foti's in Culpepper, with Aster in Middleburg being very good, and Dino, Sonoma, Hank's, W Domku, TemptAsian and Notti Bianche continuing the good neighborhood-restaurant trend with their emphasis on quality ingredients, unfussy or interesting fare, great customer service, and/or good wines by the glass.

The last two restaurants of any lasting importance to open in the immediate DC vicinity are Restaurant Eve and CityZen.

Cheers,

Rocks

True, but the dc dining scene has been improving... somewhat, and yes lots restaurants still rest on their laurels. Isnt true the reasons restaurants go out of business so quickly is because they take style and architecture over the cuisine

anyways?? and of course poor management

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The restaurants in DC that opened this year were largely a superficial, sorry lot, with fashion and architecture taking priority over cuisine. 

A very interesting observation. But is there more to the story. What about the overall level of the restaurant scene in the area. While no new restuarants of any import have opened, in your eyes, what about the level of existing restaurants, have they improved? What is your assessment of the situation overall? Has it gotten better, declined, or are we only treading water, waiting for Richard, Armstrong, Landrum, and Weidmeier to open their new places?

Edited by Jacques Gastreaux
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hell, nobody's been there.  It's in Culpepper for God's sake.  I thought that was Rocks' point.

I've only been once, but I was enormously impressed by the food (Frank Maragos was Chef de Cuisine for several years at Inn at Little Washington). The service is young but polished, and the atmosphere is much less formal than you might fear - although it's a single large space with white tablecloth service, it also has a warm, rustic feel to it not unlike the bar at Restaurant Eve. And it's gently priced, too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A very interesting observation.  But is there more to the story.  What about the overall level of the restaurant scene in the area.  While no new restuarants of any import have opened, in your eyes, what about the level of existing restaurants, have they improved?  What is your assessment of the situation overall?  Has it gotten better, declined, or are we only treading water, waiting for Richard,  Armstrong, Landrum, and Weidmeier to open their new places?

To answer this, I'd need to either do it on a restaurant-by-restaurant basis, or do some crazy statistical sum-of-the-squares-of-the-deviations-of-a-random-sample-from-its-sample-mean-divided-by-(sample-size-1) thing.

I guess I'd say that 2005 is the year that Washington DC became all grown up, and more like New York. With all the money thrown into opening new restaurants in the past year, surely a few gems will follow in the wake.

Cheers,

Rocks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A further wrinkle is that the Census population figures for the District have been VERY controversial. There was some real moaning from various data dorks after the first 2000 Census estimate came out that caused Census to up the final estimate used for federal purposes. The decennial numbers are supposed to be a direct count, but inevitably the Census Bureau has to tweak the numbers for people that were missed (for example, the homeless). Hence the most recent estimation which uses the 2000 initial count (which is really the number of people physically counted +/- basic adjustments) +recorded births - recorded deaths + (people migrating in - people migrating out), looks low compared to the data used for federal purposes.

In addition, population estimates for DC are always very nebulous as DC has significant numbers of 3 population groups that are notoriously difficult to count correctly for any purpose -- immigrants, the poor, and the homeless.

End result -- take any population numbers for the district with a large standard deviation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A further wrinkle is that the Census population figures for the District have been VERY controversial. There was some real moaning from various data dorks after the first 2000 Census estimate came out that caused Census to up the final estimate used for federal purposes. The decennial numbers are supposed to be a direct count, but inevitably the Census Bureau has to tweak the numbers for people that were missed (for example, the homeless). Hence the most recent estimation which uses the 2000 initial count (which is really the number of people physically counted +/- basic adjustments) +recorded births - recorded deaths + (people migrating in - people migrating out), looks low compared to the data used for federal purposes.

In addition, population estimates for DC are always very nebulous as DC has significant numbers of 3 population groups that are notoriously difficult to count correctly for any purpose -- immigrants, the poor, and the homeless.

End result -- take any population numbers for the district with a large standard deviation.

Population of DC proper is not the issue, population of the metro area is the issue. I think all will agree that the population of the overall area has grown and it is this growth that impacts the growth/quality of the local restaurant scene.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if this counts for much. When I first moved to the area I lived much closer to DC, but as the suburbs have grown, many of us have moved out here, yet many of us still make the trek to DC for work and play.

Years ago I thought anyone who moved to where I live now was insane. Well I may be insane but I have alot of company and now this area is considered part of the metro area.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if this counts for much. When I first moved to the area I lived much closer to DC, but as the suburbs have grown, many of us have moved out here, yet many of us still make the trek to DC for work and play.

Years ago I thought anyone who moved to where I live now was insane. Well I may be insane but I have alot of company and now this area is considered part of the metro area.

Both you and JG make a good point. Metro population is still going gangbusters.

I live in Monkey County and eat most of my restaurant dinners in DC.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The reason the population is dropping -- if, indeed, it is -- is that middle- and lower-class families with kids are fleeing bad schools ridiculous real estate prices and poor services.

The reason restaurants are booming is that these families are being replaced by by high-income singles and couples with no kids, enough money to insolate themseleves and a craving decent food in hip surroundings.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The restaurants in DC that opened this year were largely a superficial, sorry lot, with fashion and architecture taking priority over cuisine. 
The reason the population is dropping -- if, indeed, it is -- is that middle- and lower-class families with kids are fleeing bad schools ridiculous real estate prices and poor services.

The reason restaurants are booming is that these families are being replaced by by high-income singles and couples with no kids, enough money to insolate themseleves and a craving decent food in hip surroundings.

And I think if you combine these two trends you've got part of the answer. "The market" has smartly combined the DC tradition of happy hour with food, spontaneously generating a strata of society whose main social activity is meeting for drinks and snacks at stylish, clubby restaurants. A 30-year-old single childless woman with lots of disposable income (like myself...cough, cough) is much more apt to end up having a meal or appetizers after meeting friends for drinks at IndeBleu, Bourbon, Zengo, or drinx. Previously, it seemed our choices were either divey (Big Hunt) or exclusive (MCCXXIII)--neither of which ever tempted me to linger.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...