Attorney Victor Schwartz’s fees are nearly $700 an hour, so a two-hour meal at a power-lunch spot like Oceanaire would cost a client $1,400 plus the meal.
Say what you will about attorney fees, but Schwartz considers long lunches a waste of client money. He used to take clients to Subway, the sandwich shop, until the branch near his office closed.
Now he often heads to Cafe Phillips at 650 Massachusetts Avenue north of DC’s Chinatown: “You get a great sandwich, freshly made, for $5.79.” Another benefit, he says: “No one is staring at my table. At these fancy restaurants, everyone is watching who is eating with whom.”
A new favorite is Ebbitt Express, next to Old Ebbitt Grill on 15th Street. “You won’t see it from outside; you have to go inside the building,” he says. “It’s the best veggieburger—cooked to order with homemade slaw for $6.95. They have great salads, too.”
Schwartz also favors Devon & Blakely, which replaced the Subway, at 1331 F Street. He likes the soups, wraps, and salads, for which you choose your toppings: “I never go beyond the 50-cent ingredients. You never need the $2 ingredients unless you’re Donald Trump.
“I try to get to know the people behind the counter—Steve is the manager at Devon. If you go in with clients and you know the names of the people behind the counter, that’s good.
“Most of the lawyers who do what I do, I don’t see them at these places.”
He doesn’t see them at Shoppers Food Warehouse either, where he gets groceries. Or at Dollar Tree, where greeting cards are two for $1. “I go to Dollar Tree once a week to see what’s there,” he says.
Schwartz doesn’t skimp on clothes. “With suits and ties, in my business, it’s important to have them done right. I work with Princeton Custom Tailors out of Hong Kong. You do better than you would here, but it’s not cheap.
“There is one living thing on whom I splurge,” Schwartz says. “A dog I co-own, Kiley. She’s a yellow Lab.”