City Paper Widget

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Shadow Senator Paul Strauss Represents Dino's Grotto at ANC1B

Dean Gold and Kay Zimmerman came before the liquor-licensing affairs committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street last night (April 16) in support of their soon-to-open Shaw restaurant, Dino's Grotto (1914 9th Street NW). Speaking on their behalf was D.C. Shadow Senator Paul Strauss, in his day-job role as a private attorney. Gold and Zimmerman have recently closed their award-winning Cleveland Park restaurant, Dino's.

Strauss in 2007
"The emphasis is on fine food and a fabulous wine cellar," Strauss said of Dino's Grotto.

Dino's Grotto doesn't need any sort of approval or endorsement from ANC1B. They have a liquor license, which they acquired from the previous occupants of the space, Portico Restaurant. They don't plan to request any changes to the license, which will allow the restaurant to stay open until 1am Monday - Thursday, and 3am Saturday - Sunday. The restaurant is not licensed to use outdoor space. There was no indication the owners of Dino's Grotto were interested in outdoor service.

"The plan is to have the same business as Cleveland Park," Strauss said. The restaurant will even look the same as the Cleveland Park restaurant, since a lot of the furnishings will migrate with their owners.

Strauss explained that Dino's Grotto will operate under a tavern ("CT") license, not a restaurant ("CR") license. Holders of a restaurant license have the obligation of showing to D.C.'s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) that at least 45 percent of their income derives food sales. A tavern license has no such obligation.

Dino's Grotto will be the sort of place, Strauss explained, that has a selection of high end wines, the price of which might be at least equal to the price of the food portion of the meal. Having a tavern license will free the owners from the worry that sales of expensive bottles of wine will cause the restaurant cross the 45 percent threshold, and endanger their liquor license.

Since there was no need for a vote, the liquor-licensing affairs committee thanked Strauss, Gold, and Zimmerman for coming to the meeting and wished them the best of luck.

Dean Gold promised "a very soft opening" in the near future.

"We look forward to it," said ANC1B Chair James Turner (Commissioner for district 09).

(photo credit: Wikipedia)

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