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.”


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.”