What is sure is that restaurants are big drivers in the area's economy, Bailey said.
Of the $47 million spent last year by overnight visitors in the Charleston metro area of Kanawha, Putnam, Mason and Cabell counties, 22 percent was spent in restaurants, Bailey said.
The more restaurants the city can sustain, the better it will be at attracting tourists, Bailey said.
"We're excited about any new restaurants," she said.
Success depends upon the restaurant, not just the community around it, economic development leaders said.
"For restaurants to be highly successful, some important factors include, high level customer service, quality food and diverse menu," said Matt Ballard, executive director of the Charleston Area Alliance. "It also helps to be a 'destination.'"
He cited neighboring restaurants Pies and Pints and Adelphia Sports Bar and Grille on Capitol Street. Pies and Pints is a destination in itself because many people first visit the Fayetteville location while on whitewater rafting trips, he said.
Ballard said in order for the city to be vibrant, it must have areas to live, work and play.
"We have the work part down," Ballard said of Charleston. "There are many businesses and jobs in the core of our downtown, though we're always developing more.
"What needs improvement now is the live and play parts," he said. "More of the right type of house and right type of "play" opportunities, like destination eateries can absolutely thrive in Charleston and the surrounding regions.
"This is the state's capital city. We need as many retail opportunities as we can get."
As far as the East End is concerned, as long as restaurant owners work hard, the community can sustain them, said Ric Cavender, executive director of East End Main Street.
"If you as a restaurant owner [operate] a professional establishment and provide good customer service and create a destination in that particular district, you're going to do well," Cavender said. "The hardest working business owners experience success."
Luckily, he said, the East End is home to several successful restaurants/bars.
The Red Carpet Lounge (which serves lunch), Tricky Fish, Bluegrass Kitchen, Little India and Fruitcake are all located in the same area at Washington and Elizabeth streets.
"They've created a destination," Cavender said. "Not just among East Enders, not just Charleston. People are driving from outside of the county to have a beer."
Reach Lori Kersey at lori.ker...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.