DC’s food entrepreneurs and the neighborhoods they call home

Food in the City
Some of the people and projects involved in tomorrow’s Food in the City event.

Tomorrow evening we’ll be hosting Food in the City, a conversation about DC’s burgeoning food scene and how it is shaping growth and development in the city. Here’s a closer look at the people and projects involved in the event.

The most vibrant neighborhoods support places for both work and play to make local economies stronger.

At our last “In the City” series event, Tech in the City, we examined how DC could foster technology startups through better urban development. The panelists identified several unique characteristics as to how DC promotes tech entrepreneurship, and how the city’s neighborhoods foster innovation.

Tomorrow, the next event in the series—Food in the City—will look at how DC’s neighborhoods can foster culinary entrepreneurs. The New York Times named Washington, DC a 2013 top destination for its great food scene, and there are exciting new businesses from brick-and-mortar restaurants to food trucks to pop-up restaurants to incubator kitchens to neighborhood markets growing across the city.

How did DC get here, how does the food industry enrich the city’s neighborhoods, and how can development better support DC’s food scene? Tomorrow’s discussion will examine these issues. Beth Kanter and Emily Pearl Goodstein, authors of Washington DC Chef’s Table, will co-moderate the event. “Each and every recipe, chef profile and photo in the book tells a part of a bigger story,” Kanter says, “The story of how our city, our hometown of Washington, DC, embraces and defines its identity a bit more with each passing day and year.”

The panelists joining Kanter and Goodstein will discuss the intersection of restaurants, food and neighborhood development. Among them will be Richard Brandenburg, Director of Culinary Strategy for EDENS and Union Market. “Food is the new anchor of neighborhoods, shopping centers and communities,” he says. “The experience of eating cannot be bought “online” or recreated at home with the variety of experiences that can be achieved with a great dining experience.”

A recent addition to DC’s food culture are all of the food trucks businesses that have launched in past years. Che Ruddell-Tabisola, Owner-Operator of BBQ BUS DC and Political Director of the Food Truck Association of Metropolitan Washington, will discuss how policy changes could better support this growing industry. “Food trucks are great for communities,” Ruddle-Tabisola says. “They are not only restaurant incubators and job multipliers, but also help bring vibrancy to underutilized public spaces.”

Stacey Price, Executive Director of Think Local First DC will be on hand to discuss how the food industry is influencing other sectors of DC’s economy. “Food is leading the growth of independent businesses in DC,” she says. “Food serves as a conduit between community and commerce. Through local MADE IN DC production, innovative restaurants and incubator programs our food entrepreneurs are leading the way to creative business growth in this city. Their ability to show success in collaboration, occupying alternative space and bending the rules will spill out into other independent sectors and will be the future of this city.”

Part history and part preview, Emily Pearl Goodstein of Washington DC Chef’s Table, said, “I am proud of how far we’ve come in the past few years and I can’t wait to see how else the food community in Washington will grow and evolve in the coming years.”

Thursday’s event is currently sold out, but you can still follow the conversation: join us and our panelists on Twitter at the hashtag #FoodintheCity. We’ll be discussing these issues and more starting tomorrow at 6:00 PM EDT. We hope you’ll join us then.