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Posted at 1:36 PM ET, 07/21/2008

Ciao, San Marco

By Fritz Hahn

San Marco, the unpretentious Italian eatery that's operated in Adams Morgan for more than 20 years, closed its doors on Saturday night. There was short notice -- just an e-mail sent to the restaurant's regular customers that day -- leading to a crush at the door as longtime patrons tried to cram in for one last bowl of risotto or tortellini and a final glass of grappa.

Though rumors of San Marco's closing have popped up before, co-owner Roberto Massarin said that he made the decision to retire after the restaurant's chef had serious surgery earlier this year and returned to Italy to recuperate.

Known for its enormous portions of noodles, the elaborate Venetian masks that hung on the walls and the city's largest selection of grappa, San Marco had, as Phyllis Richman wrote in a 1999 review, "the air of a bar on the town square, site of an ongoing conversation that diners, too, might drop in on."

Coming into the space in a few weeks will be a Nepalese restaurant, which, Massarin says, will be a neighborhood restaurant, like San Marco. In the meantime, he'll be packing up the decorations, including a dazzling collection of grappas in hand-blown bottles, which Massarin is trying to sell as one lot. (If you've got serious cash to drop, give him a call this week at 202-483-9300.)

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | July 21, 2008; 1:36 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  
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Comments

DC has lost a slice of authenticity and charm. San Marco was a favorite when I used to live in Adams Morgan -- especially Roberto's boisterous, monthly wine tasting dinners. [I remember him walking around the restaurant with 2 or 3 bottle in each hand looking for an empty glass to fill.) As a diner, I always had a sense that Roberto and his staff were tight knit -- something not found very often and clearly an important influence on his decision to close.

Salute, Roberto e San Marco.

Posted by: Baltimore, MD | July 21, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

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