Monday, April 03, 2006

The Controversy Over Fast Food

The hottest topic recently on the listservs has been the Economic Development & Zoning Committee's proposal to alter the definition of fast food. The regulation of fast food restaurants is always a touchy subject around here for a number of reasons:
1. Fast food places produce lots of trash that often winds up on H Street.
2. This topic tends to evoke associations with race & class for many people.
3. Poor sanitation & unenclosed dumpsters can bring rats.
4. Many people are frustrated that H Street has a large number of carry-outs & few sit down restaurants. They feel that this makes the area seem too down market to potential investors.
5. The crowds (such as the line that often stretches well out the door of Horace & Dickie's) can be a problem. I know that I have seen plenty of public urination go on in the alley about 10 feet away from Horace & Dickie's front door.

This next bit (bolded) is from an email that Richard Layman sent out on the listserv (useful because you can actually see the numbers for what is present on H Street). Non-bolded portions in with the bolded portions are my changes/comments.

I am into data, and there has been a paucity of such in this discussion.
Using industry categories of:
Quick Service (fast food, independent, coffee shops, places like Panera)
-- carryout only
-- with seats
Casual Dining (chains like TGI Fridays, independents like Banana Cafe)
Upscale dining (Sonoma, Montmartre)
Fine Dining
H Street has:
-- 16 quick service/carryouts; (I count 17)
-- 6 quick service establishments with seats, although four would be thought of as "fast food" with little appeal to traditional sit-down segments;
-- 2 casual dining establishments that appeal to narrow segments; (I count 3)
-- 1 upscale dining establishment with a defective offer; (he means the bad service at Phish Tea)
-- zero fine dining establishments;
-- 3 tavern/nightclubs with food service. (I count 2)
1. Quick Service no seats --
- Citipizza
- Taste of Jamaica (which has a seat-based license)
- Danny's 600 block This place is actually called Good Danny's
- Platinum Cafe
- Grace Deli
- Major Carryout
- Crown Fried Chicken
- Alex Seafood Carryout
- McDonalds
- Horace & Dickies
- Philly Water Ice (sells hotdogs)
- Danny's 1200 block
{H Street Cafe, 1200 block, sign coming soon, was previously a carryout]
[New York Pizza/Redskin Cafe, 802 13th, does not appear to be open]
- Rainbow Cafe
- Caribbean Best
- Tony's Carryout
- Checkers
-Northeast Carry-Out
2. Quick Service with seats and restroom

[Blimpies would go here, not counted]
- Subway
- Freddies Subs
- Cluck U
- Birdland
[Rib Tip has sign that will be opening, not counted]
- Popeyes
- R&B Cafe R&B Coffee
3. Casual Dining
- Majestic-Gwen Reese
- Daavi's
-The Ohio
4. Upscale Dining
- Phish Tea (where they perceive that they are, plus the pricing)
5. Fine Dining
6. Tavern/Nightclub (limited food)
- H Street Martini Lounge
- Rose's Dream (this place doesn't serve food, but you can bring food from the carry-out Caribbean Best upstairs to eat at the bar because the 2 businesses have the same owner).
- Argonaut
[3-5 more places are in the process of opening]


Richard Layman said...

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr. You got me on Northeast. Damn. Is the Ohio actually open and selling liquor mostly and a modicum of food? Did Englert buy that place or not?

If open, I wouldn't call the Ohio casual dining, but I'd categorize it as a Tavern.

Anonymous said...

Ohio Restaurant is open (perhaps recently, because I don't recall seeing thier door open often). Last night, they had a large sign indicating their specials on the sidewalk. I'm fascinated by the place but never ventured in. Has anyone ever eaten there? Any reports?

inked said...

I have only heard sketchy things about the Ohio. But I'm curious & I may have to venture in there. The menu looked pretty good.

Anonymous said...

"1 upscale dining establishment with a defective offer; (he means the bad service at Phish Tea)"

Phish Tea - bad service, bad food. Their tables aren't even conducive to eating, they are more lounge-like.

aesma_deva said...

Phish Tea looks nice but I never see anyone in there eating. Also, everyone says that the service there is bad.

I've eaten at the Argonaut and the food was not bad. Considering your other sit down dining options on H Street and that looks good.

Good Danny's is my new fav delivery place. Where else can you get Chinese, chicken and pizza from one location?

Anonymous said...

I've been to Phish Tea a couple of times and I thought the food and service were very good. Maybe I've been lucky but I really enjoyed their brunch.

Personally, places like Good Danny's that serve a huge variety of foods very cheaply scare me.

mark said...

That evergreen theme of local journamalism -- "it's a conspiracy against the blacks" -- is on display in today's WaPo article about Cluck U.

aesma_deva said...

Anon, yeah places like Good Danny's aren't going to be great food but sometimes I crave cheap takeout. That and it is really hard to screw up General Tso's chicken and pizza.

Anonymous said...

RE: The was bought by a husband and wife who are working hard to make it a good place. Stop in and talk to them, they're very friendly. I've only eaten the mac&cheese and it was good. They usually have 6-7 dinners available (w/ sides), but due to a lack of patronage, probably can't offer a bigger menu.

I think if given a chance it could be a good place.

Anonymous said...

The fact that the Ohio Restaurant identifies itself as Southern cuisine is an instant credibility killer. I've laughed to myself several times as I've passed that place. I always thought Ohio was considered a Midwestern state.

Anonymous said...

You've obviously never been to Cincinnati.

Anonymous said...

McDONALDS McDONALDS! lol anyways. hows it going? im readin this info because im writing a "story" on the fast food controversy. so ya. school SUCKS. lucky ur free. :D peace out my homie french fries.
~Barbara W.

Anonymous said...

WOW! i was just at McDonalds TWICE on friday. only because our school hadda field trip. Its my bad choice cuz i could have went to a Japenese place or whatnot. is it just me or do u get the urge to tackle the free sample guy n eat all the samples? Maybe Its just me. Anywayz, our class is also doing reports and mine is on smoke free workplaces, but my friend was looking up fast food stuff. anyway bells gunna ring. peace out, and eat safe.