When word came last spring that San Francisco’s historic Tadich Grill was moving into the former TenPenh space on Pennsylvania Avenue, it was big news. Deservedly so: The restaurant, one of the oldest continuously run eateries in America, hasn’t opened a second branch in its 165 years.
Succeeding members of the Buich family have owned Tadich since 1928, and the current owners, father-and-son team Steve a nd Michael Buich, joined with Icon to establish their first sister location on the East Coast. The Seattle-based company partners with “iconic” restaurants including Miami’s Joe’s Stone Crab—opening a branch in DC on Friday—and helps them grow in a way that ideally stays true to the original.
“It’s both an art and science in terms of developing these icons,” says Icon cofounder Gerard Centioli. “You have to be true to the concept, but you also have to look at the location you’re going into and meet that market.”
Tadich DC doesn’t have a firm opening date, partially because “meeting the market” in Washington has meant getting approval to start development along Pennsylvania Avenue from five government bodies, including the US Commission of Fine Arts and the National Park Service. Progress is in the works, but the most difficult parts of the process have yet to come. As Centioli mentions, it’s a delicate balance trying to recreate a classic. Certain century-old traditions will remain: Walls will be high-quality mahogany, mesquite broilers will sear steaks and fish, servers will don white jackets, and linens will cover every table (except on the 40-seat outdoor patio, where you’ll find linen placemats in their stead). Other elements will be adapted to DC. The focus of the San Francisco menu has always been West Coast seafood; here you’ll find the same house specialties—cioppino, seafood Louies, and the Hangtown Fry: fried oysters with eggs and bacon—sometimes made with East Coast ingredients. The family recipe for the famous Bloody Mary remains unchanged, but the wine list will expand beyond California varietals. Another big difference: Tadich Grill DC will take reservations (though not gold nuggets, as in its Gold Rush heyday). Stay tuned for more as the project develops.