These 5 DC Restaurants Are Owned by Pro Athletes

Earlier this year, sportscaster Tony Kornheiser announced on his podcast that he—along with a group including former University of Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams and broadcaster Maury Povich—was taking ownership of Chads, a bar and restaurant in Friendship Heights. A financial adviser, Kornheiser said, had warned him it was a potentially life-ruining investment, along the lines of a racehorse or an airplane. But he isn’t the first boldface name in sports to take the risk. A sampling of others:

1. Spinfire Pizza

20552 Easthampton Plaza, Ashburn; 1501 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

The MVP: Former Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garçon is a co-owner.

Photograph by USA Today Sports/Newscom

In play: Cofounder Fouad Qreitem of Paisano’s almost matched the pizza cook time to Garçon’s Redskins jersey number: 88 (seconds). It’s rounded to 90 instead.

Current stats: Garçon has been making appearances—and has even taken orders—at the fast-casual chain, which has more Washington locations (plus a United Arab Emirates franchise) on the way.

2. M’s Kitchen

Catering service

The MVP: Redskins cheerleading captain and chef Masako Morishita.

Photograph courtesy of the Redskins

In play: The native of Kobe, Japan, whips up miso deviled eggs and Wagyu steaks for her catering company with boyfriend and business partner Andrew Chiou, when she isn’t leading the cheer squad.

Current stats: Morishita is seeking space for a restaurant.

3. The Salt Line

Dock 79 at 79 Potomac Ave., SE

The MVP: Nats first baseman Ryan Zimmerman is a major investor.

Photograph by Rex Features via AP Images

In play: Zim met the owners as a customer at Town Hall, their Glover Park bar. He’s an active investor, taking a whiskey research trip to Kentucky and sampling chef Kyle Bailey’s menu during development. (Zim’s favorite: chowder.)

Currents stats: The raw bar/restaurant, next to Nats Park, is slated to open this spring.

4. Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

1308 G St., NW; 7511 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church

The MVP: Co-owner Jeff Halpern, a former Washington Capitals center.

Photograph by KRT/Newscom

In play: Halpern played youth hockey with his business partner in Potomac. The friends came together to open a doughnut shop that paid tribute to their post-practice favorite, the locally beloved (and long gone) Montgomery Donuts.

Current stats: Two shops and a food truck dish up some of the better fried chicken—and the best crème brûlée doughnut—around.

5. Theismann’s Restaurant and Bar

1800 Diagonal Rd., Alexandria

The MVP: Legendary Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann.

Photograph by AP Images

In play: The two-time Pro Bowler opened this American grill and sports pub a year after joining the Skins, when he was still a third-stringer. As his reputation grew, so did the NFL patronage—especially when he rewarded the team’s offensive line with free dinners for no-sack games.

Current stats: Besides the seasonal menu, nothing much has changed in 40-plus years—including regular visits from Theismann himself.

This article appears in the April 2017 issue of Washingtonian.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.