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Posted at 5:15 PM ET, 09/15/2009

Columbia Firehouse Lets Chef Go

By Tom Sietsema

"The last thing I wanted to become was that 10 percent statistic," says Orlando Hitzig, who, up until Sunday morning was the chef at the new Columbia Firehouse in Old Town. He is now unemployed.

When Hitzig met this weekend with two of the principals of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which own the establishment, he thought they were going to discuss the chophouse part of the recipe. Instead, he was let go.

Did he have any idea he was about to be axed? "My costs were in line and the reviews were good," responds a surprised Hitzig.

So there was no earlier sign that he wasn't long for Columbia? "I think they might have been skeptical from the beginning" about hiring a chef who had also been a restaurant owner, says Hitzig. (Previously, he cooked and ran the late Mark and Orlando's in Dupont Circle.)

Michael Babin, the co-owner of NRG says only: "While Orlando is a good guy, it wasn't the right fit."

Babin is currently looking for a new head chef at the Firehouse.

-- Tom Sietsema

By Tom Sietsema  | September 15, 2009; 5:15 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  | Tags:  Tom Sietsema  
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