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Posts Tagged ‘Eli Hengst’

Exclusive to the online Glover Park Gazette:

Blue Ridge (2340 Wisconsin Ave.) has new ownership—and Town Hall (2218 Wisconsin Ave.) will soon have a new home. Last night, owners of the two restaurants closed on a deal that will allow Town Hall to move one long block north into the Blue Ridge space, which has been closed since early this year. Town Hall will assume Blue Ridge’s liquor license—a transfer the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board OK’d in early August—and may offer its own space and license to a new restaurateur.

Blue Ridge owners Eli Hengst and Jared Rager had been planning to renovate and reopen Blue Ridge as a neighborhood coffeehouse and diner, but this spring, troubles at a restaurant to which they’d sublet space, Mendocino Grille & Wine Bar (2917 M St.), diverted their attention and funds. Hengst says that Town Hall’s five-man ownership team will be a good one for the Blue Ridge space, which features an upstairs bar area as well as a back patio. “Given their long history in the neighborhood and their stated intention of wanting to create a more neighborhood-friendly restaurant, Jared and I felt the Town Hall owners were a good fit,” he says. “We are sincerely disappointed we do not currently have the resources to see our vision of a community coffeehouse and diner through to completion.” Town Hall opened in its current location in 2005.

Town Hall managing partner Paul Holder says the restaurant’s owners will be renovating their new space “in the coming weeks” and hope to move there by Thanksgiving, with as little downtime as possible—”a few days at most.” Though they have begun marketing the current Town Hall license, “there’s still a chance we may keep it and put a different concept in,” he says. Either way, Holder adds, the ownership team is committed to making the new restaurant “a valuable addition to the neighborhood.”

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From the June 2011 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

The planned renovation and reopening of Blue Ridge (2340 Wisconsin Ave.) have been delayed “a couple of months, at least” by problems at Georgetown’s Mendocino Grille & Wine Bar (2917 M St.), says Blue Ridge co-owner Eli Hengst.

Before they opened Blue Ridge in 2009, Hengst and co-owner Jared Rager sold Mendocino Grille to a staffer there. But Hengst and Rager continued to guarantee the lease on the Georgetown building. So when the new Mendocino owner ran afoul of tax authorities and closed earlier this year, Hengst and Rager got reinvolved.

Time and money that would have been spent on the renovation of the shuttered Blue Ridge—originally expected to reopen this month—have been diverted to the Georgetown restaurant, Hengst says: “Most of the financial resources that we had set aside for the renovations at Blue Ridge have been consumed by our repossession of the [Mendocino] space from the prior owner.” No new date has been set for Blue Ridge’s reopening.

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From the February 2011 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

The restaurant currently known as Blue Ridge (2340 Wisconsin Ave.) will likely be closed for renovations through early June, says owner Eli Hengst. Plans for the overhaul are still forming, he adds, but will include a continuation of the restaurant’s craft beer program, a coffeehouse component, and “a farm-to-table ‘diner’ menu” with breakfast served all day and night, from 6 a.m. on. The spot will also offer yoga classes, free WiFi, and “lots of cozy seating,” he adds. The restaurant’s new name has not yet been decided, and Hengst invites those with suggestions for this or any other aspect of the redo to contact him at eli@blueridgerestaurant.com.

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Celebuchef Barton Seaver quietly left Blue Ridge this spring, and the owners are now staging an overhaul of the 2340 Wisconsin Avenue restaurant, City Paper reports.

“Without so much as a press release, Blue Ridge’s owners, Eli Hengst and Jared Rager, have all but ditched their extensive wine program and joined the burgeoning ranks of D.C.’s beer-centric dining spots,” writes Tim Carman. “With a menu shorn of the pricey entrées…the pair are creating a sort of craft-beer version of Northside Social, the Arlington spot that combines gourmet coffee service with an upstairs wine bar. They may even change Blue Ridge’s name.”

Look for the restaurant to close for renovations in early fall.

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Following a renovation and expansion of its rear garden—which now seats more than 100 people—Blue Ridge at 2340 Wisconsin is set to become a second home to soccer fans during this year’s World Cup tournament June 11-July 11.

“We are planning to host every World Cup game live, with the larger games being offered outside on a large projection screen,” writes owner Eli Hengst. The restaurant will offer coffee and breakfast during morning games and lunch for those at midday, he says. Blue Ridge resumes its Tues-Fri summer lunch service this Friday, to go with its year-round Sat/Sun brunch.

With the garden renovation complete, Hengst adds, “we’ve restarted our Stroller Happy Hour for parents with young kids who want the chance to socialize (and maybe have a drink) in an infant/young kid friendly environment.” The event runs from 5-7 pm on Thursdays.

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