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Joe H

Coming To Tysons: Morimoto, Coastal Flats,

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Great Falls has several restaurants in two or three different locations marketing themselves not to families but to adults.  I am not including L'auberge in this.  But L'auberge does illustrate a point:  the actual lack of or paucity of these types of restaurants generates a great deal of interest when one does open.  If it's decent it will survive.  If it's good it will be successful.  If it's excellent even those from "inside the beltway" will drive out to it.

Good point Joe. Addie's in Rockville is not kid-friendly and has managed to stay open, despite MoCo's restaurant-unfriendly ambiance.


Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Joe I almost spit up my sandwich reading your post. Tyson's Corner is not urban one bit. Tysons is reflective of the worst of our SUBurban culture. Ugly buildings, ugly roads, no sidewalks, no public transportation, and cookie cutter McMansions. This is from someone who worked there for 5+ years and lived there a year. You make absolutely no argument that Tysons is urban with by observing that a chain such as Bonefish opens after 5PM.

As Bux recently pointed out after the 'On a Whim' fiasco, EGullet may end up getting the members it derserves. Perhaps suburban Washington gets the restaurants it derserves. Last time I checked restaurants are a business and businesses want to turn a profit. If these areas were able to support the depth and quality of DC proper restaurants they would be there. Its not a coincidence that restaurants like Maggio's, Cheesecake Factory, etc. excel in the suburbs. These chains meet the desires, values and economics of the suburbs. One can point to the exceptional quality of various ethnic restaurants in Nova (which does kill DC proper in that department) but these restaurants were originally built around their own ethnic communities, ie, as Vietnamese refugees came to the area, their restaurants grew up around them.

Edited to un-offend the offended. I stand by the rest of it though.


Edited by DCMark (log)

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"I do not know what DC people have to gain from visiting the suburbs? Outside of visiting family, ethnic food, a few good restaurants (Ray's, Maestro) and some of the parks in the outer reaches of Fairfax and Montgomery what is there?"

Seem like good enough reasons to me. Especially Ray's. :raz:

I hope this thread isn't reduced to "where I live is better than where you live".

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Joe I almost spit up my sandwich reading your post.  Tyson's Corner is not urban one bit. 

Absolutely right. If the word urban has any meaning at all, it certainly cannot apply to Tysons and their ilk. These are vast settlements of office buildings, strip malls, and multi-lane roads with little or no residential core and no architectural value. This much, it seems to me, is quite obvious, and it has little to do with urbanity in any generally accepted sense of the term. It should come as no surprise that restuarants in such areas generally are as they are: large, corportate, and generic--with the occasional pocket of ethnic interest. I also must question the notion that walking along Connecticut Ave. near Dupont "feels exactly like" Paris (?!). Not by a long shot. Civic pride is all well and good, but too much of it can cloud an objective view.


Don’t you have a machine that puts food into the mouth and pushes it down?

--Nikita Khrushchev to Richard Nixon during the "Kitchen Debate" in Moscow, 1959

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Joe I almost spit up my sandwich reading your post.  Tyson's Corner is not urban one bit. 

I also must question the notion that walking along Connecticut Ave. near Dupont "feels exactly like" Paris (?!). Not by a long shot. Civic pride is all well and good, but too much of it can cloud an objective view.

I thought the same thing, but since it has been a couple of years since I have been to Paris things might have changed. :laugh: I can surely say that it is not like walking around the streets any Italian cities that I have visited.


Wearing jeans to the best restaurants in town.

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I hope this thread isn't reduced to "where I live is better than where you live".

Sure it will. with "the city" being the preferred location, and the suburbs reduced to "gly buildings, ugly roads, no sidewalks, no public transportation, and cookie cutter McMansions." None of which describe the area that I live in. :rolleyes:


Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Provincialism meets pride, once again. And I mean pride in the bad way. Why does this always come down to pitting the city folk against the suburban folk??

When tolerance turns into intolerance, it is prejudice which is in a nutshell, hatred and fear.

C'mon, let talk about food here and not stereotype with the McDonalds hyperboles and SUV hell notions.

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I was referring to Tysons Corner. Route 7/123. I am not sure how you can argue with that statement. Its NOT urban.

I hope this thread isn't reduced to "where I live is better than where you live".

Sure it will. with "the city" being the preferred location, and the suburbs reduced to "gly buildings, ugly roads, no sidewalks, no public transportation, and cookie cutter McMansions." None of which describe the area that I live in. :rolleyes:

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"Tysons is every bit as urban as downtown Washington"

The definition of urban is "constituting or comprising a city or town, characteristic of the city as distinguished from the country." With 29 million square feet of office space and a density of population similar to much of D. C. how else would you describe Tysons?

1. My purpose was not to get into a city vs. suburban thing. I love downtown DC and spend a great deal of my time there. I also enjoy living in Reston. Again, I have lived downtown, in Montgomery County and in Northern VA. And, I was born here 58 years ago and never moved away. I did not mention ONLY one area: I talked about several in two states and one city. I also mentioned my neighbors in Reston and friends who live downtown. As several in this thread they have more in common with each other they would care to admit.

2. Connecticut Ave in the 1400-1900 block DOES feel like Paris. In fact much of Washington feels like Paris. What is the big deal about saying this? I love this city and also know Paris extremely well from many, many trips on business over many years. Washington is a very European city, the most European of any North American city. It is also one of the most beautiful cities on earth and I am proud to be a native. The similarities to Paris is not by accident; after all it was laid out by L'Enfant.

3. Could someone comment on my thoughts about Herndon and Vienna as locations for a chef owned/operated restaurant rather than arguing about Tysons? There's no question in my mind that it's a horror/sucks/is not pedestrian friendly/dangerous/etc. We agree.

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Frankly Joe, I don't think anything much above a family restaurant has a chance out there. Are there exceptions? Sure. But I'm not talking specifics here, but generalities. So no one nail me with PagoPago syndrome.

The fact is that the types of people that tend to want to go to a Firefly, or a Corduroy, much less a Galileo or a Citronelle, tend not to be the people who choose to move to Vienna or Herndon. People who tend to want to patronize those types of more upscale places are more likely to want to live in more urbanized environs where they can take advantage of other cultural opportunities. Herndon and Vienna are suburbs, granted they have small town centers, but they are indeed largely populated by people who expressly do not want to live within the beltway and take advantage of the cultural opportunities of a central city.

You may, but you are an exceptional person Joe.

As a side note and not limited to this thread or pointed at anyone specific, I complain about it all the time on this site, but goddamn some of the people around here need a lesson in basic priciples of scientific inquiry and logic. Anecdotoal evidence does not universal causality make. Statistics is not absolute, it is relative.

Edit to add - rant over, time for une verre du vin sous l'arbre


Edited by JPW (log)

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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take the now-closed St. Basil in Reston, for example.  Great fried oysters, wonderful brick-oven pizzas.  Place stayed empty most of the time, despite accolades from critics.   

We liked St. Basil and took out-of-town guests there but the prices kept going up and up to the point where you just paid too much for what you got and where you got it.

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Joe:

In response to your 3rd point, my guess would be that Vienna would be a better choice than Herndon. Vienna is in close proximity to the Tysons area and is closer to DC. Herndon is much further out and does not have the office density. Also, it's closer to the bridge and traffic from Maryland. A model to look at would be 2971 (or whatever the heck the number is) in Falls Church. Where does the bulk of its patrons come from?

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The fact is that the types of people that tend to want to go to a Firefly, or a Corduroy, much less a Galileo or a Citronelle, tend not to be the people who choose to move to Vienna or Herndon. People who tend to want to patronize those types of more upscale places are more likely to want to live in more urbanized environs where they can take advantage of other cultural opportunities.

I don't think upscale is necessary and would succeed, but I think something not too upscale, but still ADULT would be nice and could be marginally successful. (Mind you, I'm not saying it would cause any nightmares for the Applebee's or Ruby Tuesday's franchisees).

I agree that many of my neighbors in far out suburbia either have no desire to cross the river to have a nice meal or are too tied down with kid duties to make time for it. When the Rus family moved to Ashburn we made a vow we wouldn't become those people - so three or four times a month we get in the SUV and drive into the city to go to the Fireflys, Corduroys and others.

If there were a few decent mid-level places in between we'd still make the drive into the city, but maybe a little less often. Many of our neighbors would have the place they could go for the occasional night out when they can get the baby-sitter without having to cross the scary river.


Bill Russell

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Joe:

In response to your 3rd point, my guess would be that Vienna would be a better choice than Herndon.  Vienna is in close proximity to the Tysons area and is closer to DC.  Herndon is much further out and does not have the office density.  Also, it's closer to the bridge and traffic from Maryland.  A model to look at would be 2971 (or whatever the heck the number is) in Falls Church.  Where does the bulk of its patrons come from?

But why does it have to be close to DC or Maryland or anywhere else for that matter?

A Bonefish Grill opened a few weeks ago in Ashburn and the Thurday night I tried to go I was told that there was a 160 minute wait for a table. And I'd venture to guess that only a handful of those people were from outside of Loudoun County.

You'd think a good independent place could survive on a third of that crowd.


Bill Russell

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Joe:

In response to your 3rd point, my guess would be that Vienna would be a better choice than Herndon.  Vienna is in close proximity to the Tysons area and is closer to DC.  Herndon is much further out and does not have the office density.  Also, it's closer to the bridge and traffic from Maryland.  A model to look at would be 2971 (or whatever the heck the number is) in Falls Church.  Where does the bulk of its patrons come from?

But why does it have to be close to DC or Maryland or anywhere else for that matter?

A Bonefish Grill opened a few weeks ago in Ashburn and the Thurday night I tried to go I was told that there was a 160 minute wait for a table. And I'd venture to guess that only a handful of those people were from outside of Loudoun County.

You'd think a good independent place could survive on a third of that crowd.

This is exactly my point, Bill, Bonefish Grill-a local outpost of a national chain that has a good product targeted for an older (as opposed to family) crowd-is doing extremely well, AGAIN, in areas far outside the beltway. This is also why I mentioned three restaurants in Leesburg and noted their proximity to an outlet mall and Costco: there IS a market for this here/there. For the reasons that all of the restaurants surivive that I noted three or four posts ago (and listed numerous examples; Addie's was a great example, too!) there is a very real market for the kind of restaurant that we are talking about outside the beltway. I would add, of course there is.

Frankly, if I could influence Jeff Black or Roberto to consider Herndon I would. Could you imagine Old Town Herndon with one of Black's restaurants next to Roberto's new one (he lives near Great Falls), perhaps with a Ray's down the street, maybe an alumnus of the Market Street Grill (similar to the move to Geranio), and a couple of others? This COULD happen. The market is there. And, as Wegmans has noted, the wealth is there.

Note the success of Maestro, a downtown experience that is outside the beltway.

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Which may be subsidized by Ritz Carlton ala Lespinasse.

Note the success of Maestro, a downtown experience that is outside the beltway.

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Which may be subsidized by Ritz Carlton ala Lespinasse.
Note the success of Maestro, a downtown experience that is outside the beltway.

I actually believe it was in its first year, perhaps part of its second. I think there was a great deal of pressure on them to show a profit for the second.

By the way, does anyone know why there wasn't another wine event at the Ritz Carlton this year?

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I think upscale, local places in the outer suburbs are challenged in a few ways:  Less population density/foot traffic to drop in on a whim, reluctance of foodies inside the beltway to go "out there", different demographics-more families with kids that will go to places they feel comfortable bringing their children to- and lastly, competition from chains.

This is a really great point and I think it speaks directly to why there are not more L'Auberge etc. type of restaurants in the suburban areas of DC.

Why does a restaurant in the suburbs where 90% of the population of the D. C. metro area lives NEED anyone from inside the beltway to travel to it to survive? Why does there need to be foot traffic for a destination restaurant to survive? Why does every restaurant opening on every pad in the suburbs have to be marketed to families? And, the very fact that the competition from chains is THE competition is the reason that when an independently owned restaurant opens the frequency of it succeeding is greater than the frequency of a similar restaurant succeeding in D. C.?

I was born in D. C. and have lived downtown, in Montgomery County and in Reston. I am struck by people in the suburbs who really don't "understand" D. C. and who rarely go into it except perhaps to work, having any real idea of what Washington is all about. Similarly I am struck by people in D. C. who assume that the world "outside the Beltway" is all vans, pads and chains. Both have much to learn from the other.

Tysons is every bit as urban as downtown Washington. Bonefish Grill squarely markets itself to adults with its supper club ambience and after 5 opening. No it's not Black Salt nor Kinkead's. But the four that have opened in the past two years are all successful, clearly demonstrating that the very LACK of adult restaurants is what helps ensure the success of a decent one (albiet part of a chain) when it does open. There are a half dozen examples of decent to good individually owned restaurants in Western Fairfax that have been open 5 years + (i.e. EuroBistro, SBC Cafe, etc.) and are successful.

Leesburg supports Tuscarora Mill, Lightfoot Cafe and Zaferelli's second restaurant, all in or near an old Town "pocket" (if you will) close to a 100+ store outlet mall, a new Costco and Super Target and countless clones of outposts of national chains.

There is no foot traffic in front of any of them. Certainly not like Old Town or Georgetown or Adams Morgan. Yet all three would fit into any of these neighborhoods and survive. I could also add not only Old Town Fairfax but also independently owned restaurants that have surivived for 10+ years intermingled with the strip shopping centers on the nearby Lee highway. And a dozen other areas in Fairfax County, a dozen more in Montgomery (Olney?) not even counting Bethesda; look at Jerry's Seafood in Lanham which is the best Maryland style seafood restaurant in the Washington area and rarely mentioned on here. Clearly, there is NO foot traffic in Lanham! It's in its third decade now.

Great Falls has several restaurants in two or three different locations marketing themselves not to families but to adults. I am not including L'auberge in this. But L'auberge does illustrate a point: the actual lack of or paucity of these types of restaurants generates a great deal of interest when one does open. If it's decent it will survive. If it's good it will be successful. If it's excellent even those from "inside the beltway" will drive out to it.

Mr. H

www.asterrestaurant.com

come on out. . .you'll like the food

. . . amongst other things


Edited by HORSEPLAY (log)

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(Quote by JPW) (Idon't know why it did not come up automatically)

the fact is that the types of people that tend to want to go to a Firefly, or a Corduroy, much less a Galileo or a Citronelle, tend not to be the people who choose to move to Vienna or Herndon. People who tend to want to patronize those types of more upscale places are more likely to want to live in more urbanized environs where they can take advantage of other cultural opportunities. Herndon and Vienna are suburbs, granted they have small town centers, but they are indeed largely populated by people who expressly do not want to live within the beltway and take advantage of the cultural opportunities of a central city.

I hate commenting on anything on the DC Board as it is so volatile and smug at times. But I have to comment on your statement on the "kind of people who move into the suburbs".

In my neighborhood the average price of a home is over $1 million. Most of us can afforrd to eat in DC and we often choose to do so. We appreciate the cultural events in the city, but guess what? We have children! (as you most recently did also)I have three. If I lived in the district I would be paying over $65,000 a year for them to go to private schools. The service you receive in the district in comparison to the taxes you pay is dismal. I have chosen to live here as has most EVERYONE I know, because of the quality of life for our children.

And Joe is right, if more people like Ray Lundrumm and Kinkead, and hey how about Tom Powers would open a GOOD restaurant with serious food out in the suburbs it would most definately do well. Vienna, Herndon, Downtown Fairfax, Downtown Haymarket even. Look at the RailStop in the Plains, Auberge Provencale, Four and Twenty Blackbirds, they all seem to be doing very well. How about it Chefs? Downtown Haymarket is being renovated, the average income around here is much higher than the district, we have no place to really go out to,but lot's of money to spend.


Edited by raisab (log)

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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Exactly.

You made your choice based on having a good school system.

I made mine to make it easier to expose Peanut to a wider variety of cultural experiences available inside the beltway.

I am in no way saying that one choice is better than the other. For me my choice was better. For you, your choice was. No need to get defensive.

Please reread my previous post -- You are one person. Most of the people I have met who end up choosing to live in the outer 'burbs are not the same as you.

We can agree to disagree pleasantly.

have a lovely day.


If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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I have to agree with Raisa.

In our case, it's a matter of economics. We have 2 kids and one income. When you're paying $10 plus/hour for the babysitter, you tend not to pick restaurants that will add another 1-2 hours to your drive time.


Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I have to agree with Raisa. 

In our case, it's a matter of economics.  We have 2 kids and one income.  When you're paying $10 plus/hour for the babysitter, you tend not to pick restaurants that will add another 1-2 hours to your drive time.

Heather: we in Southern Loudoun County hear you loud and clear.

A local developer is working on developing three parcels east of South Riding. One of the parcels would contain a supermarket and other stuff. When he told several of us at a neighborhood meeting that the plans included two sit-down restaurants, people went nuts -- he didn't have to mention possible names or anything. Just having sit-down restaurants around here is good enough for now. The developers of South Riding (Toll Brothers) really did a poor job of bringing in restaurants.

Fortunately, The Washingtonian magazine including 20152 in its list of "Golden Zip Codes" for home prices should entice some decent spots. I'd love to see Great American Restaurants (Coastal Flats, Artie's, etc.) put its first Loudoun restaurant in this area.

Around two years ago Fair Oaks Mall took a chance on an independent restaurant -- an attractive place called Miano Bistro that even offered some Finnish(!) dishes. Washingtonian mag even gave it a blurb. We tried it once and it was quite good, but close to empty. Didn't last six months. There's an unfortunate lesson there.

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I'd love to see Great American Restaurants (Coastal Flats, Artie's, etc.) put its first Loudoun restaurant in this area.

Actually there is a Sweetwater in Sterling, which is in Loudoun County. Waits of well over an hour every weekend.


Bill Russell

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I'd love to see Great American Restaurants (Coastal Flats, Artie's, etc.) put its first Loudoun restaurant in this area.

Actually there is a Sweetwater in Sterling, which is in Loudoun County. Waits of well over an hour every weekend.

Note to self: must open restaurant in boonies.


peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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It's working really well for Patrick O'Connell. Even draws those urbanites out of D.C.

If you build it, they will come......

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