High rent drives away Tenley favorites

Virginia Suardi and Sadie Wyatt

Burger Tap & Shake, Best Buy, Bloo Moo, and so many more. Year after year, more of our favorite Tenley establishments close, despite the seemingly heavy foot traffic they receive. This trend has only appeared to increase lately, with the notable shutdowns of Yobi and Beefsteak. As the Wilson community continues to anticipate the closing of new businesses, they are left wondering why this happens so often.

The main problem is rent, according to Jeremiah Cohen, owner of Bullfrog Bagels. Cohen has been looking for a location to open Bullfrog in Tenley, but the high rent has been the “primary obstacle.”

Jorge Lobo Winners, owner of the fairly new Bandit Taco, also identifies the rent problem. “Some can afford [the rent], but if your rent’s too high and the traffic is slow in slow months, then you might not be able to pay it,” he said.

Besides rent, another issue can be consistency, according to Winners. He says that in order to stay open, a restaurant must have food that is “good, reasonable, and fresh” and that “customer service has to be good.”

Both owners mentioned that the amount of competitors versus food traffic can also be a hurdle. There are currently around 20-25 restaurants and businesses that sell food in Tenleytown, but unfortunately, this isn’t the best for so many restaurants to be in one place.

So what makes a Tenley business successful? Places like Guapos that have been open for a long time are hard to find, according to Cohen. The most important factors to stay in business, added Winners, is having fresh food, a varied menu, neighborhood-friendly prices, and good service.

What’s next for Tenleytown? In the coming year, Wawa and Target are opening for sure, and no official closings have been announced yet. Hopefully, our favorites will stick around for a while. But with the varied crowd of Wilson and AU students, families, and more, it can be hard for businesses to pinpoint a single customer to cater to.

Anna Arnsberger