Redeveloping Wheaton: More Lunch For Everyone?

Commenter Jeff noted apropos of this recent BGR post that Royal Mile also does a good burger (and accoutrements). I can’t disagree, although I haven’t had the RM burger lately, I have been focusing on other menu items (fish! chips! Scotch eggs!). I am comfortable saying the RM burger is not as good as the BGR burger — if it were, I would remember. That’s no slam on RM, which is clearly in the top tier of good Wheaton eatin’. It is simply a statement of BGR’s excellence (and not taking price, or fries or onion rings, into account).

I wanted especially to address the comment’s other point, which is that, alas, Royal Mile is open for lunch only Friday through Sunday. I have not done a survey of Wheaton restaurant weekday lunch hours, because I work in the District and so the point is moot for me. I remember Nava used to be closed for lunch on Wednesdays, in their old location. It would not surprise me if some other Wheaton spots were closed during the day, because it isn’t profitable, paying for electricity and labor without promise of many customers.

The point is that, every morning, there is a massive outflow of people going from Wheaton to DC or Silver Spring, and not many people coming to Wheaton (and many of those incoming are going to the mall). There has been much discussion about, and even some progress toward, the revitalization of downtown Wheaton; already we have new affordable housing above the Metro, and townhouses north of University. The focus (it seems to me), aside from abstract discussions about zoning, has been on affordable housing and also retail, and I’m totally down with that, but the real key to a successful downtown is creation of sufficient vertical office space to attract a major tenant, leading to a relationship like the one Silver Spring has with Discovery Channel. I’m not suggesting a building as big as the Discovery Channel building, but the same idea on a more Wheatonian scale. Then we would have lots of hungry office workers eating lunch and running errands in Wheaton, and places like Royal Mile might find it profitable to be open for lunch six or seven days a week. Balancing the inflow and outflow of people through the Wheaton Metro throughout the day will help us all in the long run.

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