After dozens of Washington, D.C., restaurants shut their doors last year amid escalating high crime and inflated prices, another business announced its closure just days into the new year.
The nation’s capital is simultaneously facing a crime surge and soaring costs, causing some businesses to move or shutter entirely. Last year, approximately 52 D.C. restaurants shuttered, compared to 48 in 2022 and 40 in 2021, according to the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.
“I arrived at this difficult decision after serious deliberation,” D.C. Craft Beer Cellar owner Erika Goedrich said while announcing that her seven-year-old business on the H Street Corridor would close Tuesday. “The reality is that looking towards the future, financial projections made it more sensible to close than remain open.”
High insurance costs, dwindling foot traffic and diminished revenues have burdened some D.C. businesses in recent years, according to a Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington member survey conducted between August and October. More than a third of D.C. restaurants are experiencing less foot traffic and shrinking sales compared to one year prior, and three-quarters are less profitable than pre-pandemic, RAMW data show.
“We decided not to resign our lease, because the next five years didn’t make sense from an investment standpoint,” REX Management CEO Noe Landini previously told Fox News. Declining business paired with increasing crime caused him to close his eatery.
D.C. ended 2023 with a 26-year high in homicides with 274 murders, according to Metropolitan Police Department data. Robberies and thefts spiked 67% and 23%, respectively, and motor vehicle thefts nearly doubled.
Many businesses across D.C., particularly in the H Street area, which was once one of the city’s quickly gentrifying neighborhoods, closed because of crime.
“Unfortunately, the challenges of the restaurant industry since the pandemic, the current economic climate, and the spike in violent crime have made it increasingly difficult to operate and impossible for us to survive,” the co-owners of Brine Oyster & Seafood House said in November. The restaurant’s DuPont Circle and H Street locations closed Nov. 11.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Pursuit Wine Bar & Kitchen’s owner Adam Kelinsky told Fox News in August after the restaurant was broken into for a fifth time in five months. “Staying floating during each of these instances is getting harder and harder for us.”
Three burglaries alone racked up over $15,000 in damages and stolen goods at the H Street restaurant, according to a local ABC affiliate. The nearly 10-year-old wine bar finally shuttered in December.
D.C. Harvest also shut down in December, saying that “the neighborhood has changed and nobody is coming out.” The 9-year-old eatery faced three break-ins in a two-month span, including on Christmas and New Year’s Day, a local FOX affiliate reported in March 2021.
“It’s so out of control,” Landini said. “It didn’t make sense anymore.”
He expects more D.C. businesses will head to Virginia or shut down completely.
“It’s a 15-minute drive, and you have a better, safer experience,” Landini said. “Employees are safer. Customers don’t have to deal with the things that they have to deal with downtown right now.”
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