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Posted at 4:00 PM ET, 04/ 6/2010

Changes on the menu at Mendocino Grille

By Tom Sietsema

After just a year at Mendocino Grille & Wine Bar, Drew Trautman says "I decided to move on."

The 41-year-old chef says a "small change in ownership" at the intimate Georgetown restaurant partly prompted his departure.

"It is true, it is true," confirmed new Mendocino co-owner Jared Rager. Rager, also the owner of Redwood in Bethesda, previously co-owned Mendocino with Eli Hengst, the creator of Blue Ridge in Glover Park. Both men are once again co-owners of the Georgetown property.

Says Rager: "We're back to help Troy [Bock]," a former employee of theirs at Sonoma on the Hill who purchased Mendocino Grille in 2008. "He took it on at a difficult time," says Rager. Bock, he says, is now a partner at Mendocino.

Another reason for Trautman's exit: The chef has long expressed an interest in opening his own place, and searching for the right location and investors, he says, "is a full-time job." He and Jawad Saadaoui, the general manager at Redwood, are looking for a spot on Capitol Hill, where Trautman lives. The neighborhood "is fairly underserved," he says.

His former boss, now looking for his replacement at Mendocino, wishes Trautman well. "I'm excited to see what he will do," says Rager.

-- Tom Sietsema

By Tom Sietsema  | April 6, 2010; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  | Tags:  Tom Sietsema  
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Sounds like Drew didn't want to work with Eli. Can't blame him. He's impossible.

Posted by: a2880955 | April 9, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

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