Maybe Mayor Muriel Bowser believes in trickle-down economics because she’s celebrating “Small Business Saturday” at one of the most expensive restaurants in the city. Bowser and other officials are gathering for a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. at The Shaw Bijou, where dinner can cost $962 per couple.
“Supporting small businesses is a key component of the mayor’s efforts to promote pathways to the middle class for all D.C. residents,” according to a press release announcing the event. One of the mayor’s chief initiatives is “building pathways to the middle class for a safer, stronger D.C.”
But there’s nothing middle class about The Shaw Bijou. It may be a young, independent small business, but the chairs there are covered in Icelandic sheepskin and blue velvet. Very few people can afford to sit in them. (Last we checked, there were tables available every night the restaurant is open from now through the end of the year.)
It’s not even possible to get a feel for the space or Chef Kwame Onwuachi‘s food by having a drink or a snack at the bar. That’s because it’s either reserved for those who have purchased a tasting menu dinner or roped off as a yet-to-launch private club whose members will be “selected” by a committee.
Bowser will be joined at the event by U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, D.C. Department of Small and Local Business Development Director Ana Harvey, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Councilmember Elissa Silverman, and Councilmember Charles Allen.
Many of these officials will continue on to 16 other ribbon cuttings at new businesses in the neighborhood, according to Shaw Main Streets, with D.C. Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Vincent Orange. Stops include several bars and restaurants whose prices don’t detonate wallets, such as The Passenger, HalfSmoke DC, Service Bar DC, Dirty Goose, and Haikan.