Ward 8 may not have any of those elusive “white tablecloth” restaurants, but it is now facing a possible glut of Subway franchises.
Last Tuesday, a Subway opened its doors in the building housing Councilmember Marion S. Barry Jr.‘s old campaign headquarters on the 2900 block of Martin Luther King Avenue SE. A press release touted it as the ward’s “First Franchise Restaurant,” but in fact, it is the chain’s second such outlet there; another Subway resides on Alabama Avenue SE.
The owner of the new Subway, though, emphasizes its ability to seat people—-having enough tables and chairs for 10 customers—-way more than the Alabama Avenue location can. “I think we could say that this is the first sit-down restaurant in Congress Heights,” argues the new franchise’s landlord Chito Peppler. The chain had much lower expectations: No seating, no customer bathroom, and a wall of bulletproof glass. Peppler convinced Subway honchos to include the seating and john and leave out the glass.
Subway owner Mohammad Rashid isn’t worried about the competition. “It’s far away, you know,” he says. “It’s not going to affect their business at all. It’s enough distance.”