But if you do want to follow the mold of DC restaurants, follow these easy steps:
1. Fucked up fusion food is your friend. Asian/Mediterranean tapas. Belgian and Southern cuisine. Since those are taken, feel free to think outside the box and blend two relatively disparate food sources and countries: San Marino Sautéed Potatoes. Finnish Spaghetti Barn. Gullah gumbo and Bhutanese hot wings. Also, fucking up comfort food staples can never steer you wrong (mac and cheese made with Mongolian kumis, meatloaf seasoned with Yemeni qat, Kobe beef hot dogs. Oh wait, that’s at Policy!).
2. Take advantage of urban blight. Lower rents mean that yuppies and hipsters will be banging down the door, begging to eat overpriced food in the ghetto. This will rapidly gentrify the neighborhood and in 10 years, it will look indistinguishable from Gallery Place. U Street is taken and H Street NE is being sold one parcel at a time. May I suggest Barry Farm?
3. An avant garde approach to breakfast. Any jackass can do eggs and bacon. How many can do chorizo and quail eggs? (ok, a lot of people). Thousand year old eggs and pork sashimi will really get people’s attention (and waivers signed beforehand will ensure you won’t get sued if some moron actually eats your culinary abortion).
4. Have a clever name that somehow ties in an esoteric fact for DC. Marvin is so named because Marvin Gaye, a DC native son, spent 2 months in Belgium where he wrote and recorded “Sexual Healing”. There are dozens of DC celebrities to choose from, mostly B-list, and they each have hundreds of obtuse life experiences that can serve as the name of an overpriced bistro. Where’s the American diner named in honor of local boy Maury Povich, serving up greasy fare with clever names such as the “Are you my daddy?” flapjacks and “when the chair hits your eye like a big pizza pie” pepperoni pizza?
DC is overrun by government types, so in my restaurant I’m going to honor them by naming it after the government’s comprehensive personnel form, the SF-86. The restaurant will serve government regulation food in neat, orderly lines and every server will ask if you’ve ever had ties to a group seeking to overthrow the government of the United States.
My restaurant will be opening in the old dry cleaner's slot on 14th and U. All the local bloggers will be invited to a friends/family/enemy night where you can sample the shitty fare and write glowing reviews of it on Yelp, complemented by photos you took on your cell phone. It'll be like the Emperors New Clothes, or Red Rocks, in that no one is brave enough to speak about how terrible it is because all the cool kids shout its merits from their rowhouse rooftops. Estimated time burden: 2 hours.