Editor’s note: Washington and fine dining, an appetite for more

September 16, 2012

I don’t think my stomach ever growled as much as it did when I tried to edit this issue.

Perhaps that’s because I am not eating (out) enough.

How can you not be hungry after reading Tom Sietsema’s reviews describing our town’s best dishes and worthy establishments?

Putting together a business dining guide like this reminds me just how diverse our culinary palette has become. It also says something about how the D.C. restaurant scene has turned around; Tom’s picks are almost all in the city.

That wasn’t always the case, but the tide has been shifting for some time now, as more people choose to settle in the urban core.

If you want to get a “taste” of our new creative class at work, check out the Web sites for the various eateries in town. They represent some of the finest examples of marketing. I’d love to know what the conversion rate is, because I know I made a reservation or two based on what I read.

Our fondness for food is all the more impressive given the state of the regional economy. Expense accounts are just not what they used to be any more, and the food business has always been a risky enterprise. It’s hard to draw a crowd, day after day, night after night. I read somewhere that the life expectancy of the average eatery is five years.

The people who run restaurants, though, just happen to be some of the more entrepreneurial folks out there, and they are continually finding new ways to make a buck, as is clear from staff writer Thomas Heath’s account of the operations at Matchbox in Chinatown.

The fact remains that people like to eat out, and breaking bread with a client is a great way get business done. I can’t tell you how many great stories I’ve come by over a leisurely lunch over the years. For all our newfound enthusiasm for social media, there’s something about simple human interaction, and fine food, that produces results.

Dan Beyers is the founding editor of Capital Business, The Washington Post’s go-to source for news about the region’s business community.
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