Housing Complex

Barracks Rowers Want More Restaurants

The lay of the land. (Stover & Associates)

With all the bellyaching over liquor licenses and talk of moratoria, you'd think that Barracks Row residents didn't want any more dining establishments on their little commercial corridor. That's mostly not the case, according to a survey of 728 nearby residents–70 percent of whom would like to see more restaurants on the strip, not fewer.

Sure, the survey was funded by a prolific Barracks Row restauranteur who recently battled with ANC 6B to get a liquor license for his next project. But it was overseen by Barracks Row Main Street and conducted by an independent urban planning firm, so it's probably sound.

The survey also included a market analysis of the city's other neighborhood commercial areas, looking at restaurant saturation and the various forms of legal restrictions. Barracks Row is the fourth smallest, and also has a comparatively low proportion of its street frontage taken up by restaurants, at 21 percent.

Although most Barracks Row shoppers come from within walking distance, the survey concluded that "the best way to promote a healthy relationship between residents and restaurants" was to expand parking options, especially in the little-used lot underneath the freeway.

Lesson learned: Before concluding that a "community" wants anything, get a professional to ask people who wouldn't necessarily show up to an ANC meeting.

  • bob

    The people pushing for a moratorium didn't "conclude that their community wanted something." A very small group of people decided THEY wanted the moratorium, for purely selfish reasons, and because of their constant presence at various community meetings were able to get the moratorium started.

    Luckily, people in Barracks Row pushed back before such a stupid move could go forward.

    This is the opposite of what has happened in Mount Pleasant over the past 10, 15 years. There, a very small but very vocal group of people decided that they could impose their selfish will on the entire neighborhood, and the city let them. Only now is that neighborhood digging itself out of the MPNA's strangulation of any and all businesses worth supporting.

  • Whoa_now

    I hate to say "no sh*t"-but has anyone tried to get a table for brunch or dinner at any restaurants on the Row? 1 hr wait minimum...so yes I would like more restaurants. If they could mix in a few retail shops-even better, but I'm not crying over the movie rental place. The worst thing the ANC did was try a limit seats in each restaurant-which actually increses the demand for seats and therefore more restaurants. It was a mistake, they created their own problem. If they were smart they would have allowed for more seating in each restaurant-therefore creating more supply...The immediate neighbors don't want more restaurants...but I'm sorry they're the minority.

  • Jim Ed

    I'd love to see some new resturaunts on the row at different price points... every resturaunt there is 15-25 for entrees. Would be great to have a few more cheaper options like DC3 and maybe one five star expensive place?

    a REAL diner(not $18 meatloaf, paying for chintzy nostalgia bullshit like Ted's)that was open late or even 24 hours would do crazy business there too. no where for the after bar set to go eat anywhere on the hill that I'm aware of.

  • Rick Mangus

    'Jim Ed', you are absolutely right, no nuvo-starve cuisine restaurant with high prices and child portions!

  • http://twitter.com/monkeyrotica monkeyrotica

    You need to head south of the freeway to Levi's. Entrees start at $8-15 and you don't leave hungry. Best soul food in town. Las Placitas is also decent and you get some nice free chips and salsa. Zest Bistro is pretty reasonably priced considering the quality of what they're peddling. And I'm looking forward to the beer garden. Hopefully, the food will be better than Biergartenhaus.

    There's some decent affordable meals in the vicinity. You just have to look really, really hard.

  • Jim Ed

    I'm a frequent flyer at Levi's. Actually just talked to Johnny the owner about catering my rehearsal dinner. thats the best fried chicken in the city, hands down, and the collard greens are superb. I just wish it was open later than 7pm on weeknights, makes it a hell of a rush to get there after work.

    I really need to buckle down and try Zest. every time I've browsed the menu, I've just found it kind of boring; its all the things I cook weekly at home. But everyone keeps raving about it, so I guess this week we'll give it a whirl.

    what's the scoop on chicken tortilla? For some reason i've never eaten there. decent at all?

  • ColorMeSkeptical

    Zest is our fallback when the group can't agree on a single cuisine. A variety of good, not great, options that are not overpriced. They rarely wow me but I'm usually happy when I leave.

    Ditto all the comments re: the NIMBYs. I'm not sure why they prefer the old situation of having 3 crummy restaurants and drunks and hobos pissing/sleeping in their back alleys over the extra traffic and parking hassle of today. I live nearby but am looking to buy a place. If I have to leave the Hill then not being walking distance to the market and 8th St will be my biggest regrets.

  • Rick Mangus

    'Jim Ed', at Levi's do they put bacon and onions in their greens, that a heavenly combination for greens?

  • Jim Ed

    My best guess would be the greens cooked with ham
    Hocks and apple cider vinegar. Definitley tasty.

  • thuyblum

    There is a new online discount sweeping the country this holiday season, called "Printapons" where a local store is featured every day with huge discount.

  • anon

    The survey asked really loaded questions, and the reported results show a lot of commentary. Just because the poll was "commissioned" doesn't mean it isn't structured in a way that represents the sponsors interests.

    I'm ambivalent about more restaurants on BR, mostly because I'm not impressed with the food on BR and because they don't really affect me several blocks away -- I just wasn't impressed with the way the poll was developed. The questions were extremely leading.

  • http://twitter.com/monkeyrotica monkeyrotica

    Chicken Tortilla's alright, but nothing to go out of the way for. I've got a hard time justifying $10 for their burrito when I can get one just as good at Tortilla Cafe for $6. They seem to make all their money off worker drones trapped in the Navy Yard.

    And, yeah, Zest isn't really exciting, edgy cuisine. Just reliable and everybody can agree on it. The half-price burgers and soup/entree deals aren't bad. Infinitely better than Banana Cafe, where everybody at work goes just because they can get a huge pile of mediocre food that they can take home and let sit in their fridge for a week then have to throw away because they didn't even like it that much but at least they got a lot of it.

  • http://www.anc6b05.com B Pate

    The idea of a moratorium on 8th St is dead, el fin, at least until voters change the composition of the current ANC.

    With that said, the survey, while containing some interesting information, was definitely conducted with an end in mind. Caveat emptor. The neighbors concerns can not be wished away (I'm still waiting on follow up from some of them to "spend the night at their house"--sleeping bag is at the ready). And the desire for a variety of retail is a more than reasonable goal for this important commercial corridor, a goal at times at odds with a random greedy landlord or two (ask the owners of Groovy if you doubt me).

    In the near term, let's just hope that the quality of Xavier's food is sustained at a level commiserate with the size of his appetite for new restaurants. I'm optimistic.