A Brutal List of Ingredients and Products Restaurants Can’t Find or Afford

Chefs and restaurateurs are pleading for patience and flexibility as they square off against supply chain problems.

Chef Tom Crenshaw has been sneaking through the back door of one of his restaurants, hoping to remain undetected by diners. When delivery trucks don’t show up with his full order, he begrudgingly darts from Commissary DC to the Whole Foods across the street to buy the ingredients he needs to emergently fill out his…

Restaurants Race to Woo Workers With Financial Advising, Therapy, and Time Off

But what are employees really after?

What if I told you a D.C. company is footing the bill for mental health counseling for all of its employees—and their families? That alone would be impressive. Now consider the company is a locally based restaurant group, and let the shock sink in. The hospitality industry lags behind other employment sectors when it comes…

Feeding Arriving Afghans Was an Easy Decision for Lebanese Taverna Family

During a pandemic that’s pushed restaurants to the brink, the Abi-Najm siblings still support causes close to their big hearts.

When word came that thousands of Afghan refugees would be landing at Dulles in late August after their country fell to the Taliban, World Central Kitchen mobilized to make sure those reaching the U.S. after a harrowing journey would be greeted with a hot meal. The nonprofit’s first call was to Grace Abi-Najm Shea, one…

Employees Reveal the Frenetic Conditions of Working in Understaffed Restaurants

Diners are back but it’s far from business as usual at D.C. bars and restaurants.

“We’re operating on a knife’s edge,” says Edward, a restaurant manager struggling to double the number of staff at his D.C. restaurant. (He asked to remain anonymous to protect his job; Edward is a pseudonym.) One night earlier this summer, he was pitching in at the host desk when he had to turn a customer…

How to Be a Better Customer When Restaurants Fully Reopen in D.C.

Businesses have the right to set rules that are more strict than what the city or CDC says.

In a move that startled the D.C. hospitality industry, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on May 10 that restaurants and bars could dramatically increase their seating capacities starting this Friday. The new mayor’s order, issued today, makes some tweaks. Starting on May 21 at 5 a.m., both restaurants and taverns/bars can fully reopen at 100 percent…

Glen’s Garden Market is Changing Hands, Becoming Dawson’s Market

You’ll still recognize the employees because Glen’s founder Danielle Vogel protected their jobs as a part of the acquisition deal.

Shopping at Glen’s Garden Market has never felt like an errand. While you might not be able to buy everything you need to make a detailed recipe ripped from the pages of Bon Appétit, perusing the shelves for the latest local products and chatting with sales associates about where the sweet potatoes comes from leaves…

D.C. Restaurants Had a Staffing Problem Before the Pandemic. Now It’s a Crisis.

Restaurants are hiring in droves. Thousands of hospitality workers are struggling with D.C.’s unemployment system. What gives?

dLeña’s multi-day job fair held at the beginning of April was a bust. Assistant general manager Mike McDonald needed 10 more full-time employees for restaurateur Richard Sandoval’s latest Latin American restaurant, which will open downtown at 476 K St. NW. He says fewer than a dozen people came through the door. Posting on job sites…

Table for None

Several D.C. restaurants survived the pandemic without letting customers cross the threshold. Was only offering takeout the right decision?

Over the past year, restaurant owners have lamented being at the mercy of the weather. Surprise squalls and cold snaps thwarted customers’ outdoor dining plans and dollars, metaphorically speaking, slipped down storm drains. Other tortured proprietors had to expand or shrink their staff like an accordion as the city loosened and tightened indoor dining capacity.…

Food Fighters: How Four Business Owners Persevered Through the Pandemic

“I always tell people if you survived this pandemic and you didn’t learn something, you did something wrong.”

“It was supposed to be 14 days to flatten the curve,” Stable co-owner Silvan Kraemer says, reflecting on March 2020. “We were hopeful that after two weeks, we could go back to normal.” Two weeks became two months, then two months became 12. It’s been nearly a year since Mayor Muriel Bowser closed restaurants to…

Can the Commercial Real Estate Market Hint at the Future of D.C. Dining?

“The Roaring 20s after the 1918 flu will be more like 2023 and 2024.”

Seasoned commercial real estate broker John A. Asadoorian says the restaurateurs with futures in D.C. recognize we’re not going back to the before times once the coronavirus pandemic lifts. “The longer we went through the period of uncertainty, the more separated we became from the momentum of the market before COVID,” says the Southeast D.C.…

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