City Paper is not for tourists
Love knows no boundaries—-not even freezing temperatures, icy roads, and high winds that had the potential to turn a romantic night out into the lead story on the nightly news. I contacted a handful of restaurants that were offering special Valentine’s Day menus, and most reported brisk business yesterday, despite the nasty conditions outside.
Belga Cafe: “We had a lot of last-minute cancellations but a lot of last-minute pick-ups because of the people in the area. So, in other words, people from further away cancelled, and people in the area made a reservation here instead of where they were going,” says Andrew Rose, general manager of the Belgian restaurant on Capitol Hill. In fact, Rose says Belga “did more numbers than last year.”
Chef Geoff’s: “I would say that we did about 10 percent fewer people at Chef Geoff’s on New Mexico [Avenue NW] and at Chef Geoff’s downtown than we did compared to 2006,” says owner Geoff Tracy. “That’s not too bad.” Tracy guesses that the lost revenue was due to the federal government, which was not at full operating capacity yesterday during the lunch hour, rather than due to V-Day cancellations.
Tabaq Bistro: The Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant/lounge on U Street NW had about 175 reservations on the books before the night started, says Amber Moyer, events coordinator. Five people called to cancel, and another five just never showed up. But, Moyer reports, “We had plenty of walk-ins to make up for it.” Had the weather been ideal, though, Moyer admits that Tabaq had hopes of seating nearly 250 people. “All things considered, we did what we were expecting to do,” she says. “I think people were really set on going out.”
Vidalia: “We were very, very busy,” says manager Khoa Nguyen. The Southern-minded restaurant on M Street NW did about 200 covers, which is almost at capacity. Like everyone else we contacted, Vidalia had only a handful of cancellations, which it easily absorbed with walk-ins. “We thought that we would definitely go down [in numbers] due to the weather, but it was a good surprise for everybody,” says Nguyen. “I guess it’s a very special day, and people are willing to forgo the weather and ice to be there.”