Wednesday, June 9, 2010

More Letters to the Editor of Washingtonian Magazine

I hope the Washingtonian didn't think they were getting off easy with Miss V's little letter and blog post. Three dedicated residents of Ward 7 have also written letters, posted below. In addition, we have been sending tweets to their staff. If the review offends you, I strongly encourage you all to email the Editor, John Limpert at

Mr. Limpert,

As a proud Ward 7 resident I am offended at your blanket generalization of the community surrounding Ray’s the Steaks at East River presented in your review of the restaurant in the June 2010 edition. Prior my move to Ward 7 (I previously lived in Arlington, VA) many that I spoke with presented the same stereotypical message which you continue to perpetuate in your characterization of the community surrounding Ray’s the Steaks and most had never even been east of the Anacostia River except to jump on 295 and head for Maryland.

Placing a restaurant in a section of Washington, DC that still has a majority black population, less new development, and people who live in homes that the average person can actually afford does not equate to a “bold sociological experiment”. It equates to a smart business decision. People east of the Anacostia River do sit down to eat food and do have money to pay for food. I’m only a college professor and doctoral student but last time I checked offering a service at a price to fulfill a need was basic business.

My community is quiet, filled with detached single family homes and the most beautiful green spaces in Washington, DC. I personally know many of my neighbors who are psychologists, accountants, teachers, WMATA employees, social workers, MPD officers, attorneys, etc. I walk, ride my bike, and enjoy my community on a daily basis. I would encourage the Washingtonian to live up to what the name of your magazine suggests and accurately portray (and even cover) ALL areas of Washington, DC. This would require actually coming east of the Anacostia River and exploring areas outside the block that encompass Ray’s the Steaks, now deemed safe since Landrum has hired greeters to watch over the block. I would love to personally give you a tour.

Sherrie Lawson

Mr. Limpert,

I am deeply offended at how the Washingtonian Magazine characterized the community of Ward 7 in its review of Ray's the Steaks at East River. My neighbors and I are elated to have Ray's the Steaks as a dining option in Ward 7. In no way do we view the opening of a restaurant in a community that represents families, college students, artists, entrepreneurs, federal government employees, DC Council members and much more as a "bold sociological experiment". The opening of Ray's the Steaks was a smart business decision and a wise investment for the proprietor and the community alike. Ward 7 is a fascinating community with civic-minded individuals that appreciate having the option to spend our money to support dining establishments in our community that employ residents of our community in an elegant and affordable atmosphere.

Hillcrest Resident

Mr. Limpert,

I am joining the chorus of Ward 7 neighbors sharing our collective disappointment and disgust with the “Cheap Eats” portrayal of Ward 7 in the review of newly opened Ray’s the Steaks: East of the River. The portrayal of Ward 7 is shortsighted and perpetuates the stereotypes my neighbors and I contend with day in and day out. Additionally, the reviewer’s surprise that the food would be good is shocking as if the Ward has no standards for what constitutes good food and quality service and the restaurant would lower its standards.

Mr. Landrum’s decision to open his successful restaurant chain in Ward 7 is a smart business decision because the Ward and the region are consistently underserved by amenities the rest of the city takes for granted. In fact Mayor Adrian Fenty and Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning just released several reports called the Retail Action Strategy that details the spending power in Wards 7 and 8 and how that spending power needs to be recaptured in the neighborhoods and the City.

Included in The Washingtonian mission is helping “readers better understand Washington.” Please stay true to this mission when writing about all areas of the District of Columbia. I hope that The Washingtonian will publish the comments submitted by neighbors and me in your Letters to the Editor section. More importantly, I hope the magazine will issue an apology for the poor choice of descriptors used to portray Ward 7.


Sylvia Brown
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 7C04

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