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Posted at 4:33 PM ET, 06/16/2009

Donna Finally Seals a Deal: Galileo III

By Tom Sietsema

Did hell just freeze over? I ask because yesterday Roberto Donna finally signed a lease for the former Butterfield 9 space at 600 14th St. NW. In a nod to his Galileo restaurants that once graced P Street and later 21st Street in Washington, the Italian chef is calling his next act Galileo III.

The future establishment will be considerably smaller than Donna's second Galileo, with just 75 seats spread throughout a main dining room and a more intimate Laboratorio del Galileo. ("Times are different," says the chef.) A single open kitchen will serve both venues.

Donna plans to be a very regular presence at his next restaurant: "It's going to be my house," he jokes. Helping him out on the food front will be 40-year-old Paolo Boffa, who Donna recruited to be chef de cuisine from Salute! in New York. A native of Milan, Boffa once worked at Centro in Bethesda.

Donna hopes to open Galileo III in October: "my best season to cook," he says.

To which we say, bring on the truffles!

-- Tom Sietsema

By Tom Sietsema  | June 16, 2009; 4:33 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  | Tags:  Tom Sietsema  
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Good heavens. Who in his right mind would loan, guarantee, or accept any financial commitment with Donna's name on the same page?

Posted by: chambers14 | June 16, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Donna needs a competent front of the house manager. Hopefully none of his former FOH staff return to his new place. I hope his investors know what they are getting into.
36mos from now the doors of GalileoIII will be shuttered Donna's ego and ineptness in running a restaurant will be the cause of his latest failure.

Posted by: sheepherder | June 17, 2009 6:42 AM | Report abuse

After the last experience I had at Bebo, I will NEVER visit one of Roberto Donna's establishments again. We had the most awful service with no apologies whatsoever. Two servers for the entire restaurant on a Friday night? One of which claimed he was dedicated to a large private party, but when we looked inside the party room, there was only about 5 people there! Donna should be ashamed of himself.

Posted by: aat04 | June 17, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I also had a VERY, VERY POOR experience at one of Donna's previous restaurants. As a result, I won't patronize any of his restaurants, ever. There are just better places to go, with better service and better food, where a customer is actually appreciated.

Posted by: tbantug | June 25, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

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