Future trends: RAMW sees growth into Anacostia
This is the first of several posts in which we ask area leaders what trends they predict for 2011.
Lynne Breaux is the president of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, the organization dedicated to representing and promoting the interests of the area's many eateries. She gave AWCE a few minutes to talk about the trends she foresees for 2011. Below is an edited transcript of our chat.
Lynne Breaux: One thing we are seeing...is all the out-of-town chefs coming [to D.C.], but then there's also all our home-grown chefs that are expanding so much. And one thing we're hearing with our members is the regionalization of our restaurant-members' businesses. I think we may be seeing more of that.
AWCE: Who would you count in that group?
LB: Geoff Tracy did it already. He's in the three regional regions. Gus [DiMillo] is in two from Passion Food, expanding again in the District. Jeff Black is expanding. Jackie's is coming from Silver Spring down to the District. I think this is a fabulous new trend, and I think one of Vince Gray's ideas -- and one thing I've been hearing at a number of different meetings -- is the increase in the desire for the region to work together closer for the benefit of the entire region.
AWCE: What would that entail, to work together?
LB: [Laughs.] Something we've been playing with somewhat. Putting together, say, for instance, comparable licensing agencies to meet and creating...commonality, standardization through the region. Wouldn't it be nice. You talked about a dream. Wouldn't it be nice to have more standardized regulatory processes in the various jurisdictions?
AWCE: What else?
LB: There's no question that there is, as you are certainly well aware, a focus on nutrition. And I think that can be a very good thing. We're not trying to increase regulations necessarily but we're talking about how people are getting more and more aware of what they're consuming, and restaurants have always been on the forefront of that.
AWCE: You see in the coming year that there's going to be more focus on healthy menus or a healthy section of the menu?
LB: I do, and I think maybe healthier ingredients, less salt, things like that. I think it's just happening. More and more, that that's the way people are eating, and more and more people are asking for that.
AWCE: And what about food trucks? Are you looking for regulations in the coming year for them?
LB: We're looking for a fair and balanced regulatory environment, yes.
AWCE: What would that look like for you?
LB: I mean, fair and balanced. We'd have to look at all the specifics, but hmm...
AWCE: I know you guys have looked at them and I would assume at this point you're looking...well, I mean, I heard about the sales tax possibility. Is that still something you're trying to push?
LB: Fair and balanced taxation as well as regulation.
AWCE: What else would that include? Like some specific planks of what "fair and balanced" would mean?
LB: I think they need to have the health departments be able to check their locations, etc., etc., whether it's the fire department. I mean, all those different things.
AWCE: Like inspections like they do with restaurants?
LB: Right, exactly.
AWCE: [On another subject] what about going into under-served neighborhoods?
LB: They will, and they are and we'll be doing it more and more.
AWCE: Do you know of any particular projects coming up?
LB: I hear bits and pieces of different areas, but I'm not going to go forth.
AWCE: Right, obviously you don't want to blow their announcement plans, but like what neighborhoods do you think that they would be going for?
LB: I think any neighborhood that's under-served is ripe for discovery, and we all know about what happened with U Street and the restaurants taking the lead.
AWCE: Do you see them going across to Anacostia at all?
LB: I certainly hope so. I think so. I mean, I don't know, but there is talk. It's so close to the Capitol that it does make sense.
| December 28, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Chefs, Food Politics | Tags: Tim Carman, food trucks
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Posted by: MiamiDanny | December 28, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse