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Did You Drink the Forbes Kool-Aid?

Big players in restaurant operations and real estate had a lot to say Monday at Bisnow's Restaurant Development Summit. The conversation at The Hamilton hovered on making sustainable food a sustainable business model, and the restaurant climate in DC. We have the top 10 quotes


Above: DC Brau's Brandon Skall, Roofers Union's Dave Delaplaine, Tarara Winery's Jordan Harris, Green Hat Gin's Saul Mutchnick (with mic), and RG’s BBQ Café's Robert Gadsby.

“We’ve all consumed the Forbes article Kool-Aid that said we're the coolest city, but you have to do something that makes you money, otherwise there will be a domino effect of failures.” – Bill Miller, Miller Walker Retail Real Estate

“Local and sustainable means more than buying from a farmer who drives his tractor down the street... Sustainability means your restaurant is around tomorrow—around a generation from tomorrow.” – Dan Simons, Vucurevich Simons Advisory Group

 “It’s important to buy from local distillers, wineries, and brewers. It’s an easy sell because guests want to try what’s local and the price point’s a lot lower too.” – Dave Delaplaine

“Restaurants should empower staff by taking them to farms and distilleries to build their knowledge of the production process and a better food culture. – Saul Mutchnick

“Local is good, but local doesn’t equal good. We need to put forth good products and demand excellence of one another. Local’s just going to be a trend or buzzword if we’re not making good products” – Brandon Skall


Above, Busboys and Poets' Andy Shallal greets audience members.

“Restaurants are way more relevant in shaping neighborhoods today. Thus, landlords are willing to get more creative with deal structures.” – David Dochter, Cushman & Wakefield

“This is the scariest and most exciting time in DC. We’re under the microscope and people are looking at DC differently. We’re now a food town which means we have to be better.” – Bill Miller

“The art of competition is that it’s the mother of creativity. People have to think of different ways to do business today, they have to create relationships. There’s a lot more camaraderie, but not because people started loving each other, they see it as necessary for success.” – Andy Shallal

 “We love having new business come onto H Street. We don’t see it as competition with each other; we see it as competition with other neighborhoods.” – Teddy Folkman, Granville Moore’s

“People are calling H Street the new 14th Street, but it’s not as animated or walkable. New places are being asked to pay rents reflective of where the neighborhood will be in five years when Whole Foods comes in.” – Bill Miller