DC-Area Restaurants and Bars Take Precautionary Measures During Water Emergency

There's a lot of bottled water out there today.

Photo via iStock.

An early Friday morning water main break at Glebe and Chain Bridge roads left thousands without water and resulted in boil water advisories for large swaths of Arlington and portions of upper Northwest DC. Residents in the affected areas are cautioned to boil water for three minutes prior to consumption due to possible contamination. Sadly, that’s not a viable option on a large scale for business owners, and restaurants and bars are taking further precautions in preparation for busy weekend service.

Restaurateur Ivan Iricanin, who operates Balkan restaurant Ambar, Baba, and the three-story Buena Vida Social Club, is sourcing bottled water for his Clarendon businesses. Meanwhile restaurateur Mike Cordero is taking extra precautions at his Arlington restaurants in the advisory zone, including Barley Mac, Bronson Bier Hall, and the newly opened Taco Rock.

“It’s all disposable plates and bottled water, just to get through until they say we can use the water,” says Cordero. “We have a very limited menu. We can’t even wash dishes.”

The water emergency has also impacted the Friday caffeine flow. Randi Milton of Northside Social Arlington says they’re unable to serve coffee until the problem is resolved, but the cafe is running a limited menu of bottled beverages and pastries.

Ice is also a major issue for bars and restaurants in the affected areas. Restaurateur Michael Schlow, whose Glover Park restaurant, Casolare, is on the edge of the Upper Northwest boil water advisory zone, says they’re taking all the usual precautionary measures, affected or no.

We’ve had issues like this in the past. We just go bananas and bring in bottles of water, we bring in ice until it’s fixed, and flush everything out after. You don’t mess around with that stuff.”

Talbert’s Ice & Beverage in Bethesda, which supplies businesses in the DC-area as well as home deliveries, has seen an uptick in ice requests—but nothing they can’t handle. “It’s like a normal Friday during spring or summer,” says Kevin Vanblargan.

We’ll update this story as the water emergency continues. 

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.