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Posted at 11:21 AM ET, 01/ 9/2008

News to Digest

By Erin

Since last week's News to Digest focused on this year's upcoming openings, I thought it fitting to point out a few recent closures around town, along with a departure.

Shaw's Pyramids, which was open late on weekends, serving fragrant Moroccan couscous and bastillas, has shuttered and disconnected its phone. The closing is a huge loss for the neighborhood and for all of D.C. Pyramids offered hope that tiny, nondescript restaurants with delicious food could prevail in the area. Sources say that increased rents forced the husband-and-wife owners to close the doors.

I was lucky enough to eat at the idyllic Inn at Easton in November. The Australian-influenced restaurant closed its doors after New Year's Eve dinner due to the impending divorce of the Inn's owners. Fortunately for fans of chef Andrew Evans, his new Thai restaurant is scheduled to open this month with street-food-inspired items all costing around $10.

Viridian on 14th Street, which I often recommended as a place for vegans and carnivores to come together, closed after dinner service on New Year's Eve. Notes posted on the doors talk about the restaurant's unsustainable commitment to high quality. This is unfortunate as the restaurant had really come into its own recently with private dining space and the innovative cuisine of Michael Hartzer.

Coincidentally, Ray's the Classics, Hartzer's previous employer, has been closed for a brief hiatus since Dec. 31. The phone recording says that the restaurant is tentatively scheduled to reopen tonight. Could the break have been some time to prepare for a triumphant return of Hartzer? Probably not, but one can always hope, right?

Corduroy, which earns rave reviews for its generous Restaurant Week program each year, will close the doors at its Sheraton Four Points location on Jan. 31. The restaurant hopes to open in its new location at 9th and L streets by the Convention Center sometime in mid-spring. To clear the shelves as it closes, Corduroy will extend Restaurant Week through the 26th. After that, the restaurant will offer deep discounts each day on beer, wine and liquor.

And finally, a notable departure. Malia Milstead, the sommelier of the Source whom you may remember from my Q&A blog post, will leave the restaurant as of next Tuesday to open the Las Vegas location of CUT, a steak-focused fine dining restaurant that is part of Wolfgang Puck's' growing empire. As you might have read in my Q&A, Milstead spent time in Vegas opening Joel Robuchon's L'Atelier. "Most of my stuff is still in Vegas," Milstead says. "It's a great opportunity for me to have some fun building a list around steak." Milstead will work through Saturday and then again on Tuesday. Fans should not despair -- Milstead has built a good collection of wines to sustain the restaurant after her departure, at which point general manager William Washington, formerly of the Inn at Little Washington, will take over the program.

There were several notable closings over the past year. Colvin Run Tavern and Restaurant Kolumbia both sit vacant, while Dahlia will be reconfigured and Maestro searches for a chef. Which restaurants do you miss?


By Erin  | January 9, 2008; 11:21 AM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  
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I've been a fan of Pyramids and I'm sorry to hear it's. But how can any business survive that refuses to put up a sign or place its name outside its place of business?

Posted by: JimB | January 9, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Thought I'd just mention that Chez Mama-San has also closed its doors as of Dec. 16. Boo!

Posted by: A.Rad | January 10, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Erin mentioned that Kolumbia closed. Does anyone know why or if it will reopen or move?

Posted by: Ellen | January 10, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Erin mentioned that Kolumbia closed. Does anyone know why or if it will reopen or move?

Posted by: Ellen | January 10, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

So, DID Ray's re-open?

Posted by: Petworth | January 10, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

AV Ristorante...where can we get eggplant and white pizza?

Posted by: Sara | January 10, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Viridian closed?

And why?

It offered fantastic food at good prices, AND a wonderful environment.

Posted by: dcjdjay | January 11, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

It's always sad when a great, local establishment closes its doors. I've been wanting to eat at Viridian...Didn't it JUST open?

Posted by: sigmagrrl | January 12, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

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