Fast food restaurants like Yum's Carry Out have served our community for decades. Besides the eye-sore of a storefront, the bullet-proof glass, and dingy waiting area - I have no beef with Yum's. In fact, I give kudos to the workers who put in long hours cooking, packaging, and delivering fried chicken, Egg Foo Young, and your favorite lo mien to all of us in Washington Highlands and beyond. They deserve kudos because carryouts served our community when no one else would. However, I am elated that business-minded folks have finally realized that residents throughout River East actually want to sit down and enjoy a decent meal!
In order to bring finer establishments to River East, we have to make room for them on main thoroughfares such as South Capital Street, Alabama Avenue, and MLK. I admit, it would be somewhat unfair to boot out current fast food enterprises. But it wouldn't hurt to at least put a moratorium on new fast food carryouts, while providing financial incentives for real restauranteurs to move in!
This is totally doable. In 1985, our friends in Georgetown noticed a number of carryouts creeping into their affluent neighborhood and nipped that in the bud - quickly. Now, when you stroll down M St. NW, you have a plethora of fine dining just steps away! I figure Georgetown residents accomplished this by: 1) organizing themselves 2) articulating their concerns to the DC Zoning Commission and 3) financially supporting businesses that brought a variety of goods and services to their community.
Less than a year ago, Yum's opened another carryout less than a block away from the one pictured above on South Capital Street. This has got to stop! Wouldn't you rather have a Slyvia's Restaurant, Mocha Hut, and Chipotle in River East? If we don't want another Yum's in our community, we need to take heed from our friends in Georgetown. If they could do it, why can't we?