It didn't last long, Washington's latest ethnic eatery. Scandia, the Georgetown restaurant serving Danish food, is switching continents and cuisine, trying the Southern Indian veggie route this time. Now, the name is Madras Woodlands Room, after the successful New York restaurant.
Meat Orders Are Getting Shrimpy--Washington's eaters are following the national trend: ordering more seafood in restaurants. Of the 126 restaurants in this magazine's 1981 Fall Dining Guide that responded to the question "What is your most frequently ordered entree?" approximately half mentioned fish dishes. Even a steakhouse said that crab imperial was its most popular dish. The remaining responses were heavy on the meat side as opposed to chicken, with veal dishes outweighing hamburgers four to one. And there were no vegetarian entrees were mentioned. Washingtonians aren't that committed. Yet.
Getting a Census of Our Restaurants--No wonder the decision about where to dine is so tough. Some areas--Alexandria, Falls Church, McLean, Bethesda, Georgetown and Connecticut Avenue at K Street--are "overpopulated" with restaurants, says the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. Including cafeterias, carryouts, fast food stores and full service restaurants, we have 1,750 eateries in the District, 508 in Arlington, 257 in Alexandria, 1,300 in Fairfax County, 1,700 in Montgomery County and 1,959 in Prince Georges County.
The Rising Costs of Restaurateurs--If the high costs of eating out baffle you, consider this: payroll costs for all restaurants in the metropolitan area total approximately $350 million. The average fast food restaurant invests about $250,000 in building and fixtures. To open a full service "tablecloth" restaurant, investors may have contributed from $400,000 to $750,000. The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington says there are many restaurants here with more than a million dollars invested and several over $5 million. That's a lot of sorbet.