Even as a foodie, yes.
I love good food. Therefore, one of my biggest joys of living in the Grid is all the new dinning options we have seen pop up over the last few years, in particularly the independent stuff.
High end, low end, squab and sweetbreads, shu mai and chicken feet, sashimi and sake, burgers and fries, pizza and beer, $5 a dish, $40 a dish, I have no bias...other than chains restaurants...okay, and chicken feet. I usually shop at chain stores for clothes and such, but chains are just not what I prefer.
There was an article in the business journal today regarding the Firestone Building and how California Pizza Kitchen, Flemming's Steakhouse and an Irish Bar will be joining the mix. I love the Irish Bar, I could see myself going to CPK once in a while (though I hear there is a new pizza place opening at 16th and Q by a guy moving here from Italy in the near future), and I don't see myself going to Flemings often at all.
The article also mentions how local places do much better in downtown and midtown, and chain better in the 'burbs. I definitely agree with that, but at the same time considering the amount of hotel space and the convention center within 3 block, I think these two will do fine.
It's a matter of personal choice, but here is the bigger question and issue I have and has been brought up many times by me and many other people, including Ron Gilliland, owner of Lucca.
"You can't just have restaurants in every building. There's got to be some boutiques or stores -- or something else."
At what point do we start seeing more clothing, shoe, music, book stores, small markets, cheese store (I won't lump the previous two in with restaurants), yarn and flower shops come into the mix? To really build neighborhoods where people really live, work and play, we need to see all these come together. The "play" in "Work, Live and Play" involves more than just restaurants.
Midtown has a nice mix with some good success stories, even though it's somewhat scattered and I'd like more places that stay open later for some after dinner spending or window shopping. With most of the new projects being built now, we only see restaurants in the retail spaces.
Obviously, opening a new restaurant in the Grid is much less of a challenge than it was a decade ago (even the not so good ones seem to be doing fine), but what would it take for retailers, chain or local owned, to achieve the same success restaurants have seen? More people would be one thing.
The Grid has become a destination for people to come and enjoy food, thus pulls from a larger area, not just nearby residence. Shopping is just not there yet.
Just like with what happen with restaurants, it's going to take a few to make that leap, have success and the rest will follow.
Anyone out there feeling froggie? Anyone heard of anything potential coming down the road?