As GM has noted over the years, there has been a steady attrition of restaurants from M St., and with Qdoba closing recently, the trend does not seem to be abating. Will this cause a long term problem for Georgetown? Lets consider.
When GM originally began the Georgetown Metropolitan, his first task was to take a census of all the stores of Georgetown. Looking back at that original list from December 2008, GM can track how many restaurants on M St. have closed since. And according to this analysis, sixteen restaurants have closed on M St. out of the forty-five that were open at the time.
Not all of those closures meant fewer restaurants overall since they were replaced with a new one. For instance Nathans became Serendipity 3 (which, of course, is not a one-for-one trade). Taking that into account, the overall drop is eight.
In a neighborhood with 108 restaurants, a drop of six doesn’t seem particularly significant. But it’s important not to underestimate the need to have a good mix of retail with restaurants. When people come to shop in Georgetown, if they can’t find a table to eat a meal, than they’re unlikely to linger, or even come in the first place.
The closing of places like Qdoba and Red Fire Grill Kabob put particular pressure on the market for cheap and fast eats. While there are a few takeout places, along with a few “fast causal” restaurants, this market has taken a serious hit (particularly when you include the mall food court).
Even so, it doesn’t seem like the food options for people in and around M St. are about to totally disappear soon. But GM will leave you with one question: when’s the last time a retail store was closed and a restaurant opened in its place?