DC's dining scene: New eateries open despite crime concerns


@eat_dc, a popular social media food guide on Instagram and X, listed at least 19 restaurants that the account says have recently opened across the District over the past six weeks.

One of them is Hiraya, a Filipino café and restaurant on H Street. It's not far from where the now permanently closed Brine Oyster and Seafood business now sits. 

Just last week, Brine’s owner told FOX 5 that high costs and increased crime were major factors in his decision to close.


Brine Oyster & Seafood House bows out of DC dining scene due to crime and costs

Two business owners have announced their decision to close their restaurants at two D.C. locations, citing both costs and concerns over crime.

FOX 5 asked Hiraya co-owner Jeremy Canlas his thoughts on opening, knowing the state of crime on H Street,  — where a Commanders player got shot in 2022, a Congressional staffer was randomly stabbed earlier this year, and a deadly shooting at a Hookah Lounge.

"Honestly, the crime wasn’t a concern for us," Cnlas said. "And I think the customers, the guests are aware of how H Street is. Honestly, the community has been really supportive."

Canlas also told FOX 5 that they want to be part of H Street’s revitalization.

He believes that sharing information on what’s going on in the neighborhood is key.

At least two other businesses on "@eat_dc’s" recently opened list are in Adams Morgan.

Executive Director Kristen Barden told FOX 5 those steps include now working with D.C. police to implement a QR Code program, where officers have to scan a code every time they check in on a business. 

We’re told this encourages more officers to patrol, and supervisors can see if they’re actually stopping in. It also helps build relationships between the officers and the business owners they’re working with.


Flight Wine Bar to close due to Chinatown crime and pandemic struggles

A popular D.C. wine bar has announced it’s closing its doors for good.

Barden told FOX 5 that the Business Improvement Districts partnered with the Department of Justice to teach business owners how to write and file impact statements and barring notices. 

Those impact statements are something the judge would read and weigh in when determining the criminal’s sentence. 

The barring notices are legal documents that can help keep someone away from a business, and we’re told anyone can obtain one.

BID and the DOJ are also encouraging business owners to take part in the city’s camera rebate program.  

"There’s a sense of unease, right? And so you know, we want to make sure business owners feel empowered and feel like they have control over their environment. That’s a big part of what we’re trying to encourage," said Adams Morgan Partnership Executive Director, Kristen Barden. "Having businesses opening and thriving creates safety in itself – having extra eyes and ears on the street."

"@eat_dc" shared a list of some 15 businesses that have recently announced their closing or are already closed.

The social media account owner explained to FOX 5, that they don’t see the ebb and flow of businesses opening and closing as anything out of the ordinary. However, it is the first time they’re seeing more business owners point to crime as a major reason for closing.

FOX 5 did reach out to the Alcohol Beverage and Cannabis Administration. 

ABCA manages liquor licenses for District businesses. The agency shared the following response when FOX 5 asked how ABCA addresses safety with its businesses:

"District law (D.C. Code § 25-836) requires all licensed nightclubs to have a security plan.  It also provides the ABC Board with the discretion to require restaurants, taverns and other alcohol licensees to have a written security plan.  To be approved by the Board, a security plan must meet the requirements of D.C. Code § 25-836.  It is not mandatory that all restaurants have a security plan. 

To assist licensees with public safety issues, ABCA is a partner with MPD including its Reimbursable Detail Subsidy Program (Program) where ABCA reimburses MPD 65% of its costs for MPD Officers to work overtime outside of alcohol-licensed establishments.  Alcohol-licensed establishments sign up directly with MPD to participate. This program is funded in the amount of $1,251,000 for the current fiscal year (FY 24).

ABCA tracks canceled liquor licenses on a monthly basis. For the month of October 2023, ABCA cancelled 13 liquor licenses. For the month of October 2023, ABCA issued 21 liquor licenses for alcohol businesses to operate."