Crime concerns in DC prompt restaurant departures
WASHINGTON - After a tough year for D.C. restaurants in 2022, the new year isn't off to a great start with several local owners ringing the alarm bell on social media and one chain deciding to leave the District entirely.
That chain, Philz Coffee in Adams Morgan, announced on Twitter recently that it will be leaving the D.C. market in the coming weeks.
The business cited business conditions and a desire to provide the best possible experience to customers as the reasons for leaving.
Philz Coffee joins the 48 D.C. restaurants that closed last year. That number of closures marked a nearly 20 percent jump from the year before, according to the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, and we could see similar numbers in 2023.
Restaurants in D.C. are facing a trio of challenges this year, including staffing issues, a mandatory minimum wage raise for tipped workers, and crime.
Eric Heidenberger, who owns several local restaurants including Madhatter and Shaw's Tavern, said that in the last two weeks two of his restaurants were broken into, a shooting happened outside another, and one of his manager's was assaulted.
Another local establishment was also hit this week, when D Light Café & Bakery on 18th Street in Adams Morgan was broken into this week.
Another establishment, City Winery in Ivy City, announced it is moving to a different part of the District due to crime in the area.
The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington tells FOX 5 it is working with the District to try to reduce these types of experiences.
"MPD, the Mayor's Office of nightlife, they introduced a task force late last year, and they would go out at night with several different agencies and not only check on establishments, but just their presence on the corridors of U Street, Connecticut Avenue, or H Street, it makes a difference," Shawn Townsend from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington tells FOX 5.