Washington, DC – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, and the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) announced the roster of more than 160 restaurants participating in Restaurant Week, taking place from Monday, August 15 to Sunday, August 21. In addition, Mayor Bowser joins the National Restaurant Association in urging the Small Business Administration (SBA) to take every step possible to disburse all remaining funds of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), a critical recovery program for an industry devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Summer Restaurant Week is one more opportunity to show up for the people and teams that make DC such a wonderful city to dine out in. We are grateful to have so much food and drink talent in our city, and Restaurant Week is a fantastic opportunity to support your favorites or to try something new,” said Mayor Bowser. “We are eager to work with our colleagues at the Small Business Administration to finish disbursing relief funds so that we can continue supporting our restaurants and the workers they employ.”
Fourteen new restaurants are participating in Summer Restaurant Week this year, including Era Wine Bar, Dolce Vita, Donahue, Dovetail, Glassey, Harvest Tide Capitol Hill, Il Piatto, La Collina, Lupo Verde, Moon Rabbit, Rania, Scarlet Oak, The Henri, and Zoca Capitol Hill.
“Our restaurants are critical to DC’s economy and culture, ensuring that residents continue getting back to work and have opportunities to thrive,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “This is an important time for the federal government to provide relief to restaurants by Congress adding additional funding to the RRF and by the SBA working to rapidly put remaining RRF funds in the hands of business owners, so restaurants can get back on track.”
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund has provided relief for over 100,000 restaurant owners to date, but over 177,000 applicants are still waiting to find out if they will receive funding. This is crucial because restaurants will continue to face worker shortages, food costs, and uncertain levels of customer confidence in the coming months. The need for relief is still great.
Food service jobs climbed from 25,700 in March 2021 to 43,100 as of March 2022, accounting for 5.7 percent of DC jobs. However, there is still room for improvement to reach pre-pandemic levels. In March 2019, there were 54,400 food service jobs, accounting for 6.9 percent of all DC jobs.
“While it may look from the outside that restaurants have recovered, local owners are still struggling with rebuilding what was lost in the pandemic,” said Mike Whatley, Vice President of State Affairs and Grassroots Advocacy for the National Restaurant Association. “Whether it’s ordering from somewhere new or returning to your favorite dining room, Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity for diners to show their support.”
“Restaurant Week is an exciting tradition for the city,” said Solana Vander Nat, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture. “It brings together our diverse community and creates an opportunity for our residents and visitors to experience and support our local restaurants who play a vital role in the recovery of our nighttime economy.”
Restaurants participating in Restaurant Week will offer lunch/brunch menus for $25 per person and dinner options for $40 and $55 per person. Diners can visit the Restaurant Week website at ramw.org/restaurantweek to learn more about available options, view participating restaurant menus, make reservations, and place orders.
“Restaurants look forward to each Restaurant Week as a great way for diners to explore DC’s incredible dining scene, which continues to be innovative and creative in ways that highlight the talents of our local culinary community,” said Kathy E. Hollinger, President & CEO of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, which produces the bi-annual promotion. “Summer Restaurant Week is a proven driver of diner traffic to restaurants during a quieter time in the city, supporting our local operators and their teams, who are still in a time of recovery and change. Supporting programs such as Restaurant Week will be critical to aide in the long-term recovery of our industry.”
The Bowser Administration has made efforts to support local restaurants by investing in their growth. One example is the Food Access Fund, a grant program that helps restaurants open in areas with low food access. To date, the Food Access Fund has awarded 15 food-related businesses more than $11.8 million in grant funding for projects located in Wards 7 and 8. The Nourish DC Fund is another effort to support existing locally-owned small food businesses in the District by providing them with flexible loans, catalytic grants, and technical assistance. Last March, Mayor Bowser, in partnership with Capital Impact Partners, announced the first round of Nourish DC grantees, awarding $400,000 to nine locally-owned food businesses. And finally, Great Streets is the District’s commercial revitalization initiative designed to support existing small businesses by providing competitive grants up to $50,000.
Residents can visit obviouslydc.com to learn more about available funding.