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Posted at 1:38 PM ET, 06/ 8/2009

Calling All Military Personnel: Patrick O'Connell Wants You!

By Tom Sietsema

The Inn at Little Washington's Patrick O'Connell has extended a discount to members of the armed forces. (James M. Thresher - The Washington Post)

A recent uptick in active-duty service members making reservations at the Inn at Little Washington prompted the chef-owner of the four-star destination to offer them and their parties a 30 percent discount.

Beginning July 1 and running through the end of August, military personnel can feast at the esteemed Inn Mondays through Thursdays for $103.60 a person, instead of the regular $148. (The discount does not apply to alcohol.)

Comments in the restaurant's reservations book and exchanges with patrons made O'Connell aware of the new military traffic in his dining room. In particular, he's seen an increase in reservations from service members who are heading to or returning from tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Each patron "has a story," a reason for coming to the Inn, he says. By the end of the meal, "it's our job to get guests to tell us their story." During a tour of the restaurant's kitchen, one woman told O'Connell that she was there to celebrate her soldier-husband's success in having led 150 troops in a month-long battle in which no lives were lost.

O'Connell, who has a both a brother and a nephew in Iraq, says he saw something similar in his restaurant after the Sept. 11 attacks, when a stream of firefighters and their families visited: "Their life perspective had been altered," he says.

The lesson, then and now: "We need to celebrate life more."

Reservations for dinner at the Inn can be made by calling 540-675-3800.

-- Tom Sietsema

By Tom Sietsema  | June 8, 2009; 1:38 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  | Tags:  Tom Sietsema  
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