Just before the New Year, the Washington Post published an article arguing that Georgetown’s restaurant scene was looking up. The writer went so far as to predict that “you” would be eating there next year. Since the “you” in question is a Washington Post audience that loves to hate Georgetown, this was quite the prediction.
The article mentions several points that others have argued before. Firstly, that a Republican White House means more young Republican staffers, staffers who like fratty and preppy places like Georgetown’s Smith Point. (This would seem to count against the prediction that the “you” would want to come to Georgetown since it would mean joining these Trents, Chets, and Chads). But beyond that, the article argues that the end of the liquor license moratorium has contributed to a flow of new restaurants from respected chefs:
It also helps that some high-profile chefs are taking big projects there. José Andrés is moving America Eats Tavern, his ode to historic American recipes, from Tysons Corner to Georgetown next year. The neighborhood will be the destination for former Minibar chef Johnny Spero’s newest endeavor, Reverie, a modern American restaurant off a cobblestoned alley on Grace Street.
National brands have taken notice. Ladurée, the Parisian maker of perfect pastel macarons, will open a shop on M Street, in addition to a Union Station boutique. Blue Bottle, the San Francisco coffee company with a cult following, chose the neighborhood for the first of three coffee shops it’s bringing to D.C.
(Ed note: This is a rare accurate use of the cobblestone description, which is normally abused when describing Georgetown. In this case, you will enter Reverie from Cherry Hill Lane, a genuinely cobblestoned alley off of Grace St., which is actually the street address of the restaurant.)
Will these openings, coupled with solid recent additions like Chez Billy Sud, the Sovereign, and Fiola Maré really capture the crowds Georgetown lost to hipper neighborhoods like Logan Circle or Shaw? Probably not, but from Georgetown’s perspective, it doesn’t need to. The pie is larger. There’s enough for everyone, but Georgetown has to aim higher to keep its slice big. The new restaurants suggest that while not exactly Icarus, Georgetown is aiming higher that it has in the past.