Monday, June 23, 2008

K as in Klosed?

Restaurant K, after only ten months at its 1700 K St. NW location, is officially closed according to the Washington Business Journal.

I hate to say it like this, but, I called it. I had my doubts about this "South by Southwest" eatery from the first time I tried it. I said in my review:

It's hard to say for sure if Restaurant K will succeed. It's only be open for a week and a half now, but it seems like the problems that usually plague new restaurants are non-existant there. The service was fantastic, the food, with a few exceptions, was on the mark, and the dining experience as a whole was first rate. I don't know if Restaurant K on its own is enough to lift K St. into the top tier category for food, but it's giving it a good shot, and I hope it stays around long enough for us to see just how good Allison Swope and this concept can be.

To be honest, I was probably a little too easy on the place. I never really got the sense that it had much of an identity of its own, and never really believed that Swope was a big enough name to bring people in.

Within the last few months, Apples and I went there for a drink after work, and overheard the bartender asking a patron (someone in the restaurant business) about job opportunities elsewhere, so my guess is that the folks working there knew the writing was on the wall.

According to the WBJ article, McCormick & Schmick's, which owned Restaurant K, said in a statement, "current economic conditions have led to the business decision to close this restaurant and reallocate its resources to our core McCormick & Schmick’s branded establishments … We deeply appreciate Alison’s skills and hard work and hope to incorporate her as part of our culinary development team going forward.”

Sadly, it seems like that location is a bit of a black hole when it comes to restaurants, as the previous occupants left somewhat prematurely too.

Restaurants come and go, and DC can be a hard city to find success in, but it never seemed to me like Restaurant K ever hit its stride. It was a restaurant that was widely publicized, but its publicity came across more as an act of desperation than a sign of success. The restaurant even tried gimmicks such as offering breakfast in order to get people through the door.

I can only hope that whatever comes next learns from Restaurant K, and I'm not writing about another restaurant closing ten months from now.

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