Our periodic series in which we gauge how the global economic slow down is affecting local restaurants and what they are doing to combat it. This issue: Cashion’s Eat Place in Adams Morgan.
The problem: It’s been more than a year now since chef John Manolatos and his partners bought Cashion’s from the namesake toque who founded the Adams Morgan institution. Ann Cashion‘s long-time sous chef has had plenty of time to feel the pinch of the economy (and the culinary dumbing-down of the neighborhood) on his small, homey restaurant on Columbia Road NW. Manolatos says that Cashion’s has been trying to absorb a double hit: fewer customers and lower check averages. He’s serving about 10 percent fewer customers these days, and those diners are buying fewer dishes. Manolatos figures his check averages have dropped by 10 to 15 percent. “I’ve really noticed people ordering two appetizers, instead of an appetizer and entrees,” he says.
The solution: Discounts for neighborhood regulars. Cashion’s will take 10 percent off your whole check on Sundays through Thursdays if you live in the 20010 or 20009 zip codes. The restaurant is also offering a “Pass the Plate” dinner special every Sunday. For $90, a couple will get a seasonal salad, a shared entree, and a dessert. As part of the Sunday dinner, Cashion’s will also recommend a specially priced bottle of wine (always under $40) to pair with the meal. The true attraction of the “Pass the Plate” special, though, will be Manolatos’ family-style entrees, which are a natural outgrowth of the chef’s sourcing habits. He buys mostly whole animals, which he butchers in-house. So on Sundays, diners will have the chance to sup on shareable portions, such as a whole lamb shoulder or a double-cut, bone-in ribeye (otherwise known as a cowboy cut). It’s part of Manolatos’ plan to keep his customers “as close to the farm as possible.”