I recently picked up Kitchen Confidential (a good read by the way). The book advises people to look for restaurant closings to pick up professional-grade knifes and what not.
Does anybody know where to look to find out when restaurants close and liquidate their stuff?
Look in the business section of the Washington Post. There are a couple of auction houses who run regular ads for their auctions, and occasionally there's a restaurant. I noticed that Rasmus was handling what I'm pretty sure was Joe's at Bailey's Crossroads when they closed up last month. But most of what was for sale was fixtures and heavy equipment like the pizza oven.
Probalby best to get your "restaurant quality" knives brand new at Restaurant Depot or that commercial kitchen supply place that a few people have mentioned over in northeast DC. Restaurant kitchens tend not to be the best places for well taken care of tools, so they buy relatively inexpensive utility grade knives that sharpen easily (and therefore dull easily) and aren't too expensive to throw away when they can no longer be sharpened easily.
look for a link to rasmus auctions. they have a function to alert you of local auctions (restaurants closing, etc>)
Restaurant kitchen auctions are a waste of time. Too many people come that don't know what they are doing and tend to over bid on used equipment that they can buy new for the same price. People who don't know the actual cost of new equipment get caught up in the whole "atmosphere" of the action and drive the prices up.
Go to your neareast restaurant supply store. Any of them will be happy to sell you whatever you want.
I picture the best knives in resto kitchens being the personal property of the chefs. Sure some "utility" knives might be auctioned in lots (5-10 bundled together) and would probably be more than you need.
I agree with the resto supply suggestions above and point the OP to Balto & DC area stores in these three threads: