- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 20, 2003

D.C. restaurants are back in business after the region's snowstorm put the city at a two-day standstill. While it was difficult to get deliveries at the beginning of the week, restaurants are now serving their regular menus and expect strong sales this weekend.
Business was returning to normal yesterday at McCormick & Schmick's on K Street in Northwest, where every table was filled with lunch patrons.
"We normally have a wait [for tables], but we didn't quite get to that point," said Pam Milley, operations manager at the establishment, which seats between 250 and 275 people.
The seafood restaurant, which usually carries 30 to 40 different types of fish daily, had to adjust its menu Tuesday after being closed for two days.
"We had a very limited supply," Ms. Milley said. "When you're a fresh-seafood restaurant, you have to get food in the door."
In fact, that's exactly what the restaurant has done taking deliveries right through the front door because the back of the restaurant is blocked by snow. McCormick & Schmick's fish assortment is now back to normal, she said.
Cafe Atlantico, on Eighth Street in Northwest, had to cut back its lunch menu by about 20 percent Tuesday, owing to delivery restrictions. That didn't matter, though, because the 120-seat restaurant had few customers that day.
"Basically, no one came for lunch," said Manuel Iguina, general manager of Cafe Atlantico. "It was like a ghost town."
That night, the restaurant served dinner to some residents and stranded tourists, he said.
Yesterday, however, business started to pick up, and reservations were being made for today and the rest of the week.
"We are back into a rhythm again," Mr. Iguina said.
Despite losing about 2 days worth of business, Roberto Alvarez, owner of Cafe Atlantico, is optimistic.
"It all depends on how much cabin fever people have, but I have a feeling we're going to be swamped this weekend," said Mr. Alvarez, who is also co-owner of Jaleo and Zaytinya, both in Northwest. "We expect the weekend to be strong."
Some restaurants' decisions to open Monday paid off. Clyde's of Georgetown and the Old Ebbitt Grill both in Northwest had busy days.
At Clyde's, it was "busier on Monday than on a regular Monday," said Amy Bridges, marketing manager of Clyde's Restaurant Group. "I guess people were tired of being in the house."
M&S; Grill on 13th Street in Northwest braved the storm and opened Monday night for dinner. The restaurant was busy serving many hotel guests who were stranded in the city. But on Tuesday, the restaurant had less business that entire day than during Monday night's dinner, said Jim McVeigh, general manager.
By yesterday, lunch business was at about 75 percent of what it usually is during the middle of the week.
Mr. McVeigh estimates the snow cost M&S; Grill between $16,000 and $17,000 in lost revenue and products that had to be thrown away. That's business the restaurant won't be able to make up, he said.
"We're very optimistic for the weekend," Mr. McVeigh said. "People have been trapped in their homes. There's pent-up buying power out there."


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