Metro Friendly Restaurants in DC

January 11, 2016


As anybody knows who has driven in D.C. or been in a car headed in or out of D.C., it can be a ripping a pain.  Fox5 News reported that 3 DC area-roads  made it into the Top 50 nationwide congestion points. It's easy to see why  people still opt for the Metro despite all of its flaws. This is especially frustrating in light of how much there is to enjoy in D.C., especially when it comes to restaurants. With over 70 restaurants opening in the D.C. area this past fall and D.C. being ranked as the No. 3 best food city the nation, there's plenty for us to consume!


With this in mind, the District Ninja team set out to help Metro riding DC Residents find the restaurants that are within walking distance from a metro station. While there are maps like the Thrillist D.C. Metro Restaurant Map, we wanted to get a closer look at not only what restaurants are close to a metro, but also the comparison in different types of cuisines, prices, and more. In order to figure this out, the District Ninja team assembled some of our favorite datasets provide by OCTO and Open Data DC.


We took the Basic Business License dataset, filtered by type "Restaurant," further filtered closed or pending licenses, then manually cleaned up cafeteria or food court entries which are not as interesting for a night on the town. Finally in order to make the data a bit more interesting, we enhanced each entry with its expense rating as reported by Yelp! This refined dataset was then filtered again using geo-fencing in order to determine which of the resulting restaurant entities were located within 200M of a metro station, a reasonable 5-10 minute walk. Then in order to keep this as a list of "top stops" we removed any station with less than 10 restaurants nearby.


We also wanted to be able to break down each restaurant by price and cuisine. To do so, we relied on the average Yelp $ per restaurant ($-$$$$) and the "category/cuisine" for Yelp. As you'll see, we kept it broad, where places could be considered "Soul Food" they are listed as "American." Yelp contained multiple cuisine/category types for many restaurants and we decided to use the broadest ones for data trend purposes. We also removed all the places we felt weren't "restaurants" in the true sense such as Starbucks. The places with a few quick to grab sandwich options were removed from the set. Finally, the silver line is not included in our visuals as the data set we relied on at the time it was out omitted the silver line. We promise to do one with a silver line update in the future!


This first visual contains the top 10 metro stations with restaurants within a 200 meter distance. It is color-coded by type of cuisine so you can get an idea  things like how diverse is a station or is their a dominant cuisine type at a certain station. We’ve also included each of the restaurant names on the bar. If you click on the visual itself, you can see the remaining boxes that may not fit due to sizing. As you can see, Metro Center is the top metro station with restaurants within 200 meters, with 24 restaurants that range into 8 different cuisine types. It’s also the fourth most expensive station out of the top 10 (of course, these prices have to be taken in the context that there isn’t an equal amount of restaurants at each station to truly appreciate the price differences).


What’s interesting is to see the differences when two stations have a similar number of restaurants. For example, Archives and Union Station have virtually the same amount of restaurants within 200 meters. However, Archives is the second most expensive option out of the top 10 with an average of 1.91 Yelp $$ and Union Station is the least expensive with an average of 1.17 Yelp $$. Next, we decided to take a look at at the differences in metro lines themselves.


For this visual, we visualized the the top 5 cuisines that are within 200 meters of a metro station and what metro line serves them. The visual on the top right shows you the average price of each of the top 5 cuisines on each of the different metro lines. Right away, you can see that the red line has the most amount of restaurants within the top 5 metro-accessible cuisines 66 total). What’s also interesting to see is that no single metro line services each of the top 5 cuisines.


We can also see that that the two most metro accessible restaurants categories in D.C. are Sandwiches/Salads and American. These two cuisines make up 85% of the total metro accessible restaurants when it comes to the top 5 most accessible types. It’s interesting to see as D.C. is home to many ethnic and diverse restaurants, however, many of them aren’t right off the metro. Is this because chains/larger stores occupy the real estate right by a metro since it is more expensive? Have the other restaurants specifically avoided being a step away from the metro? There are many possibilities!


We also wanted to see the price differences between metro lines when it comes to the top 5 metro accessible restaurant cuisine types. Of course, because each metro line has a different total amount of restaurants, it’s difficult to appreciate the true price differentiation between the lines. That being said, there are still some very interesting takeaways.


For example, when it comes to American cuisine, the yellow line, green line, and blue line have virtually the same amount of restaurants. However, the price differences are significant. The blue line American restaurants have an average of 2.00 Yelp $$ while the yellow line has an average of 1.83 Yelp $$. You can also see the green line/yellow line are priced similarly in multiple categories. Finally, in order to get an idea of where in D.C. these metro accessible restaurants are, we illuminated all of them (all that were within 200 meters of a metro station) on a D.C. ward map.


The heat map clearly shows that Ward 2 is the dominant place in D.C. for metro accessible restaurants. Specifically, it looks like the Golden Triangle area encompassing places like Farragut North have the most metro accessible restaurants. In all the Wards, you can see that it's concentrated to certain pockets. For example, Ward 6 has 3 different clusters, but you can see much of Ward 6 does not have metro accessible restaurants. Wards 4, 5, 7, and 8 don't appear to have a single restaurant within 200 meters of a metro station!


We hope you enjoyed this post on metro accessible restaurants. Stay tuned for more posts about different types of transit accessible places in D.C.!


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