How to Get Better Restaurants East of the River

There are few sit-down restaurants east of the Anacostia River and few carry-outs that don’t have bullet-proof glass. The city is trying to change that by inviting business owners on tours east of the river, encouraging them to invest in a community that will experience massive redevelopment in the coming years.

Some local residents spoke to The Washington Post on why they think their community has limited culinary choices.

But the choices remain too limited for residents, some of whom suspect that restaurateurs stay away because they don’t want to open in a black community.

“My community is stigmatized,” said Yvonne Moore, a retiree who has lived in Anacostia for 35 years. “The chain restaurants won’t come here because they think we don’t have the income. They are afraid of crime. You’d think with Obama in the White House, it would’ve gotten better.”

Albert “Butch” Hopkins, president of the Anacostia Economic Development Corp., a nonprofit that has promoted investment east of the river since the 1970s, said he’s frustrated by such arguments: “It ain’t about race and class, it’s about economics. Unless we can show there’s an increase in daytime jobs with people who have disposable incomes, we will be singing the same tune for the next 40 years.”

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  • ward7writer

    The Shrimp Boat building at East Capitol and Benning (across from the Denny’s) just went up for sale, which I find interesting because it has gone up for sale after the Victory Outreach housing complex to the east was recently purchased and quartered off and after the streetcar work on H Street and Benning road began. The restaurants will follow the development, and the word on the street is that the Benning/East Capitol intersection (and the Benco shopping center) could be the next place the Gentrification bomb is going to drop. Given the traffic flow and metro access, it may be more successful than what they have tried/are trying to do at Minnesota Avenue and in Anacostia (and–depending on what they do–it could be less disruptive to the existing neighborhood). Look into it.

  • Elahe Izadi

    Thanks for the tip!