Over fifty DC restaurants forced to shutter, business owner points finger at ‘out of control’ prices, crime

“Out of control” crime and prices are shuttering businesses left and right in Washington, D.C., according to various sources.

Appearing on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends” this Friday, REX Management CEO Noe Landini, who recently shuttered his restaurant, described the horrific crime conditions that have emerged in the nation’s capital.

“We had an American Red Cross van that was supposed to feed the homeless the other day get carjacked. I mean, it’s out of control,” he said.

“What’s the long game here? Like, what is the long game for mayors in D.C. or in New York to, like, completely destroy their city and not provide the resources that we need to conduct business?” he added.

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Going forward, Landini plans to relocate his restaurant to nearby Virginia.

“It’s a 15-minute drive, and you have a better, safer experience,” he said. “Employees are safer. Customers don’t have to deal with the things that they have to deal with downtown right now.”

Landini’s Friday comments came just days after local station WJLA reported that a whopping 52 restaurants closed their doors in 2023, up by four from the 48 that closed in 2022.

“Just in the last month, two restaurants announced they would be the most recent restaurants to leave the nation’s capital,” the outlet reported Wednesday.

“The Pursuit Wine Bar & Kitchen announced earlier this month they are closing, after being burglarized five times in just a five-month span. In November, Brine Oyster and Seafood House shuttered their doors in both of their D.C. locations, pointing to violent crime,” according to the station.

Speaking with the station, The Pursuit Wine Bar & Kitchen owner Adam Kelinsky said he closed up shop after the city did nothing about all the crime.

“They [criminals] just went through and sort of cleaned us out,” he said. “We don’t feel like we’re heard. We pay a lot in taxes to support the District, and we don’t feel like we’re getting that in return, and we’re not asking for a lot. We’re just asking to be safe.”

And then there’s Fresca Taqueria, a restaurant that remains open for now but was just burglarized this past Tuesday, according to co-owner Evelyn Bastian.

“It took him two minutes to break the glass, come inside, get the cash drawer, and walk out,” she recalled to the station, describing what she’d seen in surveillance footage.

“[He took] a little under $500, but it’s much more expensive to fix the glass. The glass, if you’re going to do it the same day, it’s over $1,000,” she added.

This wasn’t the restaurant’s first run-in with criminals.

“In October, a burglar stole bikes from the restaurant,” WJLA notes.

Also causing problems for businesses and restaurants in D.C. is a minimum wage hike.

“[A] survey by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington – a trade organization that represents the interests of restaurant owners – pointed to higher costs as a primary driver behind all of this year’s closures,” WJLA notes.

“Specifically, the survey places blame on Initiative 82, which is the law that went into effect a little more than a year ago that gradually raises the minimum wage of tipped workers from $5.05-per-hour to $15.20-per-hour to match the minimum wage of non-tipped workers. The minimum wage will increase by $2-per-hour each year from 2022 to 2027,” according to the station.

Regarding crime, BizPac Review recently reported that the D.C. area is facing a spike in homicides but a decline in the number of homicide cases that have been successfully solved.

“D.C. is close to breaking a 20-year-old record for the deadliest year in the District. In 2003, D.C. saw 248 homicides. … The crime has gotten so out of control, businesses are closing their doors and leaving the city,” local station WUSA reported last month.

Yet even amid this uptick in murders, there’s been a downtick in solved cases — leaving the family members of deceased victims crushed.

“Asiyah Timimi’s husband, Aqueel, was stabbed in a dispute in January 2021 and died several days later. ‘You just don’t feel safe until they’re caught,’ Timimi said. ‘I could be walking past the person that killed my husband,’” according to the Associated Press.

“Natalia Mitchell wants justice for her son Morris, who was fatally shot in March 2022, and closure for herself. A successful arrest of her son’s killer, she said, ‘doesn’t bring Morris back, but it would help,’” the paper reported.

Vivek Saxena

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