The Washington Times - August 16, 2011, 01:58PM

From today’s Washington Times:  Some of the country’s best and most famous chefs are eschewing New York and other big U.S. cities to open restaurants in Washington — the result of what some say is a near-perfect setting of a stable economy and deep-pocket patrons eager for first-rate food experiences.

“People don’t have to go to certain big cities to get good food, like New York or Chicago,” said Mike Isabella — a former contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef” who recently opened Graffiato in Chinatown. “I think that years ago it was a very simple city. It was steak-and-potato driven. Now there are so many great places to go. There’s all different levels of dining that weren’t there five years ago.”

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Mr. Isabella, who won over fans with his creative dishes and his boisterous on-air persona, said the D.C. market is driven in large part by young professionals who “see what’s going on.”

“They have a lot of money,” he said. “They are the ones that want to experience good food.”

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