DC a top ‘Foodie City,’ but gets dinged for dining costs

FILE — Chef Geoff Tracy owns three restaurants in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. (WTOP/Michelle Basch, File photo)(WTOP/Michelle Basch, File)
WASHINGTON — D.C.’s restaurant scene gets nationwide accolades, but when the bill comes to the table, it doesn’t look quite as good.

A WalletHub ranking puts D.C. in the top 15 on its Best Foodie Cities in America list, based on 29 metrics including affordability, accessibility of high-quality restaurants, food festivals, breweries and wineries.

Washington ranks sixth in restaurants per capita, and 20th for accessibility to highly-rated restaurants, but — but 146th for restaurant affordability.

Eating out in general is getting more expensive. The USDA reports restaurant prices nationally rose 2.8 percent between July 2017 and July 2018.

The National Restaurant Association said Americans spent more on eating out than at grocery stores for the first time in 2015.

Other slots put D.C. 11th for coffee and tea shops per capita, and 33rd for gourmet and specialty food stores per capita.

As for who ranked first on the Best Foodie Cities list: Portland, Oregon.

Baltimore ranks 54th on the list, but ties Columbia, Maryland, for the lowest ratio of full-service restaurants to fast-food establishments.

Bon Appetit named D.C. its Restaurant City of the Year in 2016, citing the ranks of rising young chefs and sheer volume of neighborhood restaurants popping up.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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