Ins & Outs August 8, 2012

Laytham Hotel, Citronelle, La Madeleine . . . Closed for Good?
News that the Laytham Hotel — along with Michel Richard’s Citronelle and the chain La Madeleine — was closed for at least six months due to “extensive flooding” and structural damage has been the talk of the town. How extensive will the repairs be for the hotel and its adjacent restaurants? Will it be ready for the 2013 inauguration? The hotel operator and owner have not been very communicative with the public, as the hotel has been for sale on-and-off over the last few years. (Indeed, Citronelle was rumored to be closing or moving about four years ago.) It is a sad situation for the restaurant and hotel workers, although some have gotten jobs in other places already.

Indeed, a Changing of the Guards
The other bad news: the closing of the Guards, at 2915 M Street since 1966. Supposedly temporarily . . . as restaurant owner Hossein Shirvani, who also once owned the famed Childe Harold restaurant in Dupont Circle, continued to discuss a new lease agreement with the property owner.

Then, the Washington Post’s Tim Carman reported: “It’s official. The Guards is closed. Yes, it’s true, says longtime owner Hossein Shirvani, that he and the landlord are deep in lease talks over the future of the Guards. They’re both, he says, looking for someone to take over the space. In other words, the Guards, the historic Georgetown restaurant that once was the playground of celebrities and politicians alike, is officially closed.”

“It’s just my decision not to sign a new lease. We need to pass on the torch. You know what I mean? We need to get new blood in there,” Shirvani told the Post.

7-Eleven Closed for Expansion Until Late September
The closing of the 7-Eleven at 2617 P St., NW, is temporary, as it must close for its remodeling and expansion into the space once occupied by P Street Frames. The convenience store will remain closed until late September, according to, increasing in size by 2,500-3,000 square feet.

Dutch Clothiers Setting Up M Street Shops
Suitsupply at the Four Seasons Hotel at 2828 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., is almost ready to open by the looks of the M and 29th Street corner — and by the end of August. The Amsterdam-headquartered men’s clothing company combines nicely priced suits (affordable and custom) with high-end service, such as in-store tailors. The company appears as “qualified and equipped” as the Dutch Olympic team it outfitted for London Games.

Scotch & Soda Amsterdam Couture is set to move into the former location of Betsey Johnson’s store at 3029 M St., N.W. While sold in other stores around the city, the Scotch & Soda in Georgetown will be its third official U.S. store after New York and Miami. The Amsterdam-based brand mixes and matches an ungraded American look — 202-338-4090;

M&T Banks Opens Branch on Wisconsin Avenue
M&T Bank opened a new, full-service branch at 1420 Wisconsin Ave., NW, in the space once occupied by famed hipster clothing store, Commander Salamander.

“Our new Georgetown branch is an example our investment in and commitment to the greater Washington area,” said Steve Heine, M&T Bank’s greater Washington market manager. “This is a convenient location that will help us to serve existing customers and attract new customers with our high level of service and M&T’s wide range of banking products.”

M&T Bank Corporation is one of the 20 largest U.S. bank holding companies with more than 750 branch offices in Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Delaware. Founded in 1856 in Buffalo, N.Y., M&T was originally called Manufacturers and Traders Bank. Investor Warren Buffett owns large amounts of the bank’s stocks.

M&T’s hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday. The branch’s phone number is 202-333-6163.

Luke’s Lobster to Open Aug. 23
Luke’s Lobster, which specializes in authentic Maine seafood rolls, is set to open a Georgetown location at 1211 Potomac Street, NW, Aug. 23. It is the same building which houses the ill-fated Philly Pizza & Co. and the Crave.

The young company which has eateries in Penn Quarter and Bethesda, along with its five Manhattan spots, was founded by Luke Holden, who is a Georgetown University business school alumnus. His family owns a lobster-processing company in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Holden opened his first spot in Greenwich Village in 2009.

As for the new Potomac Street spot, Luke’s vice president Ben Conniff said, “Aug. 23 is around when we think we will be fully decorated, staffed and ready to go. We hope to get a few days under our belt and introduce ourselves to the neighbors before the students return to campus. We can’t wait to open in the neighborhood.”

Luke’s is planning a grand opening party around the Aug. 23 date, Conniff said. “For customers, we’ll be giving away some Luke’s Lobster Georgetown swag to our first hundred or two customers.”

“Luke’s Georgetown years were as formative as his lobster-boat summers,” a company press release announces. “Dishing fresh, sustainable Maine lobster to his old neighborhood and fellow Hoyas has been Luke’s dream since he served his first sandwich. In particular, he has been pining for the building where he burned his mouth so many times on melted cheese and tomato sauce before the pizza joint closed in 2010. He couldn’t have found a better location. The whitewashed clapboard house at 1211 looks as though it was transplanted directly from a Maine lobster dock. Luke’s first two-story location will have room to satisfy neighbors and students alike amid lobster gear from his old boat. And the neighborhood’s love of good food, from cheesesteak to cupcake, makes it the ideal community to share the world’s greatest lobster, in the form of D.C.’s favorite lobster roll.”

The menu is already outside the door of the new eatery: Lobster roll, $15; crab roll, $12; shrimp roll, $8. For $20, there’s Taste of Maine, a sample of the three rolls in one meal; double that amount for $38 with Noah’s Ark. There is a blueberry ice cream sandwich — and, of course, chowder.

Sweetgreen Coming to Glover Park?
“We’re hearing that 2200 Wisconsin Ave.—home to BodySmith Training Gym—may soon welcome local fro-yo-and-salad chain Sweetgreen,” reports the Hyperlocal Glover Park news blog. “According to one source, the plan is for BodySmith to retain gym space in the building’s basement via a separate entrance, while Sweetgreen inhabits the glass-fronted retail space above.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *