DC's Food Scene

New York Magazine's Grub Street thinks that DC's restaurant scene has made some big strides lately. Personally, I think nice restaurants are cool and all, but I rarely patronize them (unless I have a Living Social or Groupon voucher). And while DC may very well be catching up to New York on the high-end food scene, I also think it's still well-behind on the low-cost food scene.

(from Flickr user Roy Tomeji)

Granted, eating papaya dogs and greasy slices of New York style pizza is not something that anyone should do regularly; but in a city infamous for its high cost of living, it's nice to know that kind of food exists. Some nights you just don't feel like cooking, and if you don't make much money, your options are limited. Although perhaps what gets to me the most is how hard it is to find a good bagel around DC (a food staple for people on a budget).

I've always wondered... how can anyone possibly make money selling hot dogs or dollar slices of pizza in Manhattan? I suppose the sheer amount of volume makes it possible. I also don't know how much the business owners are paying for storefronts, and given New York's confusing rent-control rules, maybe it's less than I'd expect?

Whatever the case, DC still has a ways to go.


    On August 27, 2010 Lis said...

    You'd be surprised at some of the food deals you can find around DC.

    I haven't double checked this recently but at Eastern Market's Union Meat Company you could get an all beef hot dog for $2 or their jumbo polish kielbasa for $2.75. Both came with chips and a soda at no extra charge.

    Or further down 8th street at Pizza Bolis you can get a giant slice of pizza plus a can of soda for $3.

    On August 28, 2010 Tom said...

    Having been in New York for a little over a week now, I don't know that I could do without being able to go to Gray's Papaya or grab a quick slice for a few bucks. Having great, cheap food options is a huge luxury.

    Since I just moved here, I have been frequenting a number of cheap food establishments. What I have found interesting is the lack of volume the restaurants do most of the time. Even a place like Gray's Papaya isn't crowded ever on a weekday except for lunch. I have a feeling that rent control plays a big factor in the economics of these places. I don't know if they could do enough volume to afford astronomical rent you would expect in Manhattan.