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Posted at 12:55 PM ET, 10/28/2009

Washington's Rock Creek goes private

By Tom Sietsema

Judy Hammerschmidt wants to make something clear: She's not shuttering Rock Creek at Mazza Gallerie. Over the weekend, however, she and her business partner quietly rebranded the health-minded Washington restaurant and turned it into a space for private functions only.

The replacement, Events by Rock Creek, will continue the mission of its 2-½-year-old predecessor. Chef Corey Alexander is staying on, the restaurateur tells me, as is his food that's prepared without butter or sugar.

The original Rock Creek restaurant, which opened in Bethesda in 2005, is "thriving," reports Hammerschmidt. As for the Washington venue, "we were making all our money on events. The economy being what it is, we ended up" going dark except for private parties.

Hammerschmidt walks the talk. Earlier this month, she held her daughter's wedding reception at Rock Creek, located on the top floor of Mazza Gallerie. It's a delicious location. The space can seat up to 175 guests; the lounge area can double as a dance floor. And yes, the signature 5,000-pound replica of an English oak tree still rises from the center of the light-filled dining room.

-- Tom Sietsema

By Tom Sietsema  | October 28, 2009; 12:55 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  | Tags:  Tom Sietsema  
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