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Posted at 6:54 PM ET, 08/16/2010

Landmark Hogates eatery is no more

By Hamil R. Harris and Martin Weil

This post has been updated.

By Hamil R. Harris and Martin Weil

After decades as a dining landmark on Washington’s Southwest waterfront, Hogates came crashing down Monday.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) took the first symbolic swipe with a wrecking ball at the start of the demolition of the famed eatery.

“This is the beginning of the re-creation of the Southwest water front,” said Fenty, who was joined by city officials, Ward 6 community leaders and developers at 800 Water St. SW for the demolition, the start of a $1 billion mixed-use redevelopment project.

Hogates began as a seafood stand in Ocean City, N.J. in 1928, according to the company's Web site. The company opened a restaurant in the District in 1938. And in 1972, Hogates moved to an area overlooking the Southwest waterfront.

In 2003, the D.C. Council approved a redevelopment plan that calls for 14 acres of parks and open space along the Southwest waterfront, as well as 780,000 square feet of office, cultural and retail space and 1,000 housing units, of which 230 are to be affordable housing.

By Hamil R. Harris and Martin Weil  | August 16, 2010; 6:54 PM ET
Categories:  DC  
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Yeah boyyyy! Let's DO THIS, SW WATERFRONT!

Posted by: shes_cleva | August 16, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

I think you need to re-check your facts! Hogate's was in business in the late 1960's when I was here in the military. OHhhhh, Washington Post, how I long for years ago when you were a reliable source of information and articles that were well written! Now, young reporters who do NOT have a command of the English language NOR investigative reporting skills reign supreme. Katharine Graham must be rolling over in her grave now that TWP is little better than a college newspaper!

Posted by: Jim-McLean | August 16, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Fully agree with above poster.

What is most amazing is that the decline continues when it is clear to management what is going on.

Posted by: smartheart | August 16, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Good grief, at least TRY to report it accurately. I can remember being taken there as a small child and later as a teenager for special occasions as it was one of my parents favorite restaurants where they went before they were married. I can still taste the rum buns.

In one click of the mouse and a half second Google, you would find the restaurant was opened in Washington in 1938 and moved across the street in 1972 during waterfront redevelopment. It was a lovely area of Washington that is now, sadly, gone forever.

Posted by: Frustratededucator | August 17, 2010 1:24 AM | Report abuse


I hear you on those rum buns.

I took an out of state blind aunt (which meant she could not read the menu), along with other family members to Hogates in 1975. My aunt was a teatotaler, and I was afraid she would kill me when she found out the buns were rum buns (the other family members could NOT keep their traps shut!).

She really, really liked those rum buns, and when she found out that they were made with rum as an ingredient, said that the rum probably evaporated while being baked. Then she went on to say in any case, no one is perfect, then asked for another rum bun! And she did not ask for another bun, but for "another Rum Bun, please"!

Posted by: critter69 | August 17, 2010 5:45 AM | Report abuse

Not to mention, the restaurant closed last October. WaPo is regularly mediocre, but this is a REALLY poor effort.

The Rum Buns recipe is on the Net, google Hogates Rum Buns.

Posted by: gbooksdc | August 17, 2010 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Well, to be technically accurate, as Frustratededucator wrote Hogates "moved across the street in 1972 during waterfront redevelopment" which would put it in it's waterfront location. Since the article was about WATERFRONT redevelopment, I would say the article is accurate since Hogates has been a landmark on the SW waterfront since 1972. Honestly, do people even think when they're reading anymore?

Posted by: ronjaboy | August 17, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Sorry you guys, the rum buns you are thinking of were not a Hogate's originals. That honor belongs to the "Flagship Restaurant" nearby. I have the recipe. So there.

Posted by: rlgrennie1 | August 17, 2010 7:24 AM | Report abuse

And "critter," the original recipe uses rum extract, not real rum, so the only alcohol in the buns would be no more alcoholic than the level of alcohol in anything made with real vanilla.

Posted by: rlgrennie1 | August 17, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

If the article is just about the physical building, the reporter is correct. However, if it is about Hogate's as an institution, which I believe it is, the article has erroneous info. And whether it was rum or extract, Hogates or Flagship, the Rum Buns were the best and one of the main reasons my husband and I drove up to eat there after moving to PWC in the '60s.

Posted by: gramaX3 | August 17, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse

OK, smarties, when did Harrigans open and close?

Posted by: Bartolo1 | August 17, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse

I remember Hogates in the heydays of the 80s after work happy hours. I stopped going there in the early 90s. So long to the heydays and "Good Times" of my youth.

Posted by: demtse | August 17, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

I remember walking down to hogate's in the mid-sixties - from the "main navy" building, which is also history.

Posted by: patrick26 | August 17, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

It was the original
Flagship that had the rum buns, my family would get me one every year for my birthday when we went there to celebrate. That was in the 70's

Posted by: bigheadbull2 | August 17, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

The origional Holgates was the best . It was a block back from the water , had 40 foot ceilings in a large open building . It competed with the Flagship, which was on the water . In the 1950's we liked Hogates , but others preferred the Flagship , where Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly had lunch in The FBI Story [ steamed shrimp ] . When the waterfront was redeveloped in the early 1970's , the Holgate owners sold out to the Marriott's , who , at the time , ran the Hot Shoppes and a airline food service supplying National Airport .

I have contacted Marriott Corp. about getting the receipies for Holgates's devil clams and Hot Shoppes tartar sauce , to no avail . I have eated at fine places all over the world and they stand out in my memory . Can anyone help me ? I have tried but cannot duplicate .

Posted by: johndavisjr | August 17, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

All readers who jumped on the Post for saying "a landmark since 1972": could be Hogate's was DESIGNATED a landmark in '72, by whatever body designates landmarks in DC. All your other beefs may be on target, I don't know (never went to Hogate's when growing up in Wash.); but this particular one's a little hasty.

Posted by: tschuhkk | August 17, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

My parents took me and my brother to Hogates every birthday. I can remember going there in the early 60s. They had this cheesy recording of Happy Birthday and brought you a small cake with a sparkler burning! To a kid, it was the awesome thing and the most embarassing because everyone at the tables around yours would lean over and wish you happy birthday. It was full of great memories... especially the rum buns and teh Captain's Platter!

Posted by: voldenuit123 | August 17, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

1938 was when Hogate's opened in DC. Hogate's moved to the SW waterfront in 1972.
We had their legendary rum buns for
Christmas week last year. A landmark that will be missed on the waterfront. Memories of the club seeing Redskins Doug Williams, Kelvin Bryant,and a who's who of local and national politicians and lunching there. Their rockfish was also great.

Posted by: Weave160 | August 17, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Well, I mainly remember it as H20 @ Hogates. Good times. It's funny that the comments here present more info than the article. Hopefully the Post is planning a more detailed article about the landmark.

Posted by: BrooklandReppa | August 17, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

rigrennie1, those Flagship rumbuns and a shrimp cocktail were my after church staple for years as a kid in the early 1970s. I'd love to have that recipe...

Posted by: Fabrisse | August 17, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Sheesh, can't anybody Google anymore? Holgate's own Web site has a history page, here:

It says:

"Hogate’s Seafood Restaurant has been a Washington tradition for over forty years. We like to think of it as the other Washington Monument. It originally began as a small seafood stand in Ocean City, New Jersey in 1928. In 1938, the owners of Hogate’s decided to move to Washington, D.C. For 35 years it enjoyed great success and became the place to go in Washington for great seafood. Then, in 1972 the Washington Waterfront area underwent a complete redevelopment program. At that time, Hogate’s moved from across the street on Maine Avenue, now Water Street to its present location overlooking the SW Waterfront. Originally named after a family physician, John Hogate Whittaker, Hogate’s had become one of the largest and best known seafood restaurants in the United States.

"Hogate’s reputation for quality and value has grown over the years. House specialties like the “Mariner’s Platter”, “Gumbo” and “Signature Rum Buns” have generated their own loyal following. Every day the chefs baked fresh rum buns, made their own soups and prepared seafood specialties to your order."

Note they are claiming the "Signature Rum Buns." I don't know if the Flgaship also had them or not, but Hogates' claim seemes secure enough. It may or may not be correct, but there's no way for any reporter to know that, and its own Web site is sufficient as a source for the article. I would have preferred the report go back to 1932 and explain the move, but I understand someone cutting it to save space. But 1932 seems to me to be the better date, with a footnote to the move in 1972, rather than just claiming 1972, and leaving the false impression that's when it started up.

Posted by: chollynickabocka | August 17, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Hogates wasn't closed forever. I ate there a few months ago during the NCAA tournament. It was good stuff.

Posted by: MACCHAMPS04 | August 17, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The article seems to have been updated and corrected.

Posted by: chollynickabocka | August 17, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

The Brunch was one of the best in town...mind you, that was over 20 some years ago when folks actually dressed for meals.

If this is going to be a Gaylord-like project, then fine.

Posted by: kahlua87 | August 17, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

The last thing Southwest needs is more "affordable housing." If they ever want that area to improve, they'd better look into market rate housing.

Posted by: George210 | August 17, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Well isnt that special Countess Fenty living out her fantasy as a construction worker.

Hey Countess how about fulfulling your duties as Mayor for all resident not just the rich white folks that lives west of the river.

Posted by: B4DarkDC | August 17, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Totally construction on this building has been halted. I just parked my car their this morning and the parking attendant stated construction was going to start up again in late Sept 2010 early Oct.

Posted by: saglady1210 | August 17, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

i remember hogates as being the special treat seafood restaurant while growing up in montgomery county in the 50s and 60s. it was one of the places where my siblings and i learned how to act in an adult "restaurant." it was also the first family outing after my discharge from the corps in late '68.

Posted by: george32 | August 17, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Good Memories. I use to love the Mariners Platter - not so into fried seafood now :). Rum Buns - yum yum!!!

Posted by: rlj1 | August 17, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Here you Rum Bun afficionadoes go: (I have had this recipe so long it was typed on onion skin from the Flagship's cook)

Flagship Rum Bums

In a bowl, combine a half-stick or 1/4th cup butter, 1/4th cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Add 1 cup scalded milk and let the mixture cool to lukewarm. Sprinkle one envelope dry instant yeast over the mixture and beat it until it is smooth. Add one egg beaten and 1 1/2 teaspoons rum extract. Beat in 1 3/4ths cups flour, sifted, until it is smooth. Add 1 3/4ths cups more flour, sifted, and beat the mixture until it is smooth. Let the dough rise in a warm place, covered with a linen tea towel for two hours, or until it is double in bulk. Punch down the dough and divide it in half.

Roll each piece of dough out to a rectangle 12 inches long, 4 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Brush each strip with one tablespoon melted butter and sprinkle over each strip 2 tablespoons each of sugar and chopped raisins. Roll the dough up jelly roll fashion, stretching it so that it is 15 inches long. Cut each roll into 18 pieces, each 3/4 inch thick and place them, cut side down in the bottoms of well-buttered 3-inch muffin tins.

Let the buns rise in a warm place, covered with a linen tea towel for 1 hour, or until they are double in bulk. Bake the buns in a preheated hot oven (400 degrees) for 15 minutes, or until they are golden. In a bowel, combine 1 cup confectioner's sugar, 2 tablespoons hot water and one teaspoon rum extract and spread the buns with the icing as soon as they come out of the oven. Cool the buns on a wire rack. Makes 36 buns.

Posted by: rlgrennie1 | August 17, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I think the shrimp cocktail sauce was nothing more than the following:

3/4th cup chili sauce; 2-4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice; 2-3 tablespoons horseradish; 2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce; 1 teaspoon grated onion, few drops Tabasco sauce. Combine and add salt to taste.
From Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (1962).

Posted by: rlgrennie1 | August 17, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Back in the mid 60's to 1972 you were either a Hogate's family or a Flagship family.

When both places moved to the new redeveloped waterfront they started a long decline and only became shadows of their former selves. The Flagship had it mage buffet which was awful.

Now Dc is redoing the waterfront again. seriously doubt they will get it right this time. I bet instead of homegrown restaurants we get a few restaurant's with national chef names something by Emeril, maybe a Flay and gawd knows who else. Prepackaged crap to appeal to tourist so the investors can get their money back.

Posted by: sheepherder | August 17, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

So did Hogate's close for good, or did they relocate?

Posted by: maus92 | August 17, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

The last I heard, this demolition was scheduled to start in 2012 or 2013 -- does anybody know what caused the timeline to move up?

Posted by: paisleyfish | August 17, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

The original Hogates closed shortly after September 11, 2001. It had re-opened as H2O, and then within the last year as Hogates by Christina. So it has been awhile since the original fine family dining experice that people were used too.

Posted by: Debbiemorroni | August 18, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

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