Chris Grivas/The Hoya
Chris Grivas/The Hoya

Georgetown saw a flurry of store openings this summer, ranging from a local lobster joint to high-end chains.

According to Nancy Miyahira, Georgetown Business Improvement District’s interim director, several of these new businesses, in particular the new dining options, are geared toward Georgetown students.

“Anything that’s food related is going to provide great new options for students,” Miyahira said.

The neighborhood’s eating options have expanded to include famed chef Mike Isabella’s new Mexican restaurant, Bandolero, on M Street. Macaron Bee dishes up gluten-free macaroons from a storefront on Wisconsin Avenue, and Georgetown alum Luke Holden (MSB ’07) has recently opened a branch of his chain Luke’s Lobster on Potomac Street.

In the upcoming months, they will be joined by three more restaurants.

Good Stuff Eatery, whose Capitol South location is famed for its handcrafted burgers and thick milkshakes, is set to open to the public this winter at the former M Street location of Crêpe Amour and Georgetown Wing Co. However, Miyahira said the opening date is subject to change.

“We have heard the construction is progressing quite quickly, possibly allowing for the opening date to be a bit earlier,” she said.

The national chain Noodles & Company is also set to open during the upcoming year at 1815 Wisconsin Ave., next to Safeway, while Chipotle’s new Asian concept restaurant ShopHouse plans to open a location on M Street in January 2013.

New store openings in the area include several high-end options, ranging from John Fluevog Shoes, a designer store that recently opened on Wisconsin Avenue, to Suitsupply, a specialty men’s suit outfitter from Amsterdam set to open its M Street location in late August. Other additions includeMassimo Dutti, a clothing store owned by the same parent company as Zara, that will open in early 2013.

In addition, Nike is set to move into the old Barnes & Noble space on M Street later this year.

Despite the arrival of several high-end chain retailers, Miyahira maintained that Georgetown still remains a haven for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

“I don’t think there’s a trend either way,” she said. “Georgetown is always a great incubator for entrepreneurs that want to open their own store or business. … There are still a lot of independent stores opening in Georgetown, in addition to the national retailers.”

Miyahira highlighted Georgetown Cupcake and Baked & Wired, another popular cupcake purveyor, as classic examples of small-business success in Georgetown.

Philip Levy, owner of the independent Bridge Street Books on M Street, said that the influx of national chains is part of a trend that has been taking place for about 10 years. Though nonplussed by the disappearance of small businesses to date, he said that Georgetown remains an environment in which independent businesses can thrive.

“This is nothing that surprises me. … It’s a fact of retail in America,” he said. “People complain about our prices [compared to larger chain booksellers], but they realize that we provide something that other bookstores don’t provide, and that’s why we still exist.”

Levy added that most of his block on M Street is made up of locally owned businesses.

“People make fun of Georgetown as being an open-air mall, but I like to think of it in terms of how many small businesses are left in Georgetown,” he said.

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