What I’m Grateful For: Hikes With My Daughters, and Texts From Friends

Tony Tomelden, co-owner of the DC whiskey bar Union Trust and the restaurant Brookland’s Finest, on why in a very bad business year he's still giving thanks.

Photograph by Jeff Elkins

This article is part of Washingtonian‘s feature “Gratitude.” We asked dozens of notable Washingtonians as well as our readers: What are you most grateful for? Read some of their responses here.

Tony Tomelden

Co-owner of the DC whiskey bar Union Trust, the beloved H Street dive the Pug (both closed the entire pandemic), and the restaurant Brookland’s Finest

What are you grateful for?

My daughters are 11 and 13. You probably remember that age. They’re on the verge of barely talking to us. We’ve gone on a lot of hikes, and we’ve gotten a lot of—quality time might be a push because they’re basically teenage girls, but we’ve had a lot of time together. I grew up here, right by Fort Washington Park. I loved going to that park. That was the first place we went, the first day in March when the kids got shut out of school. We’ve been to Cosca Park, Chincoteague, Crisfield, Point of Rocks. We’ve gone to parks I loved when I was a kid and parks I never got to go to when I was a kid. It’s been awesome. I’m a big ol’ sap—I save a rock from each hike and label it. One day, if the city doesn’t burn down, we’ll look back on it and think, That was a good hike.

The other thing I’m grateful for: the friends that reach out and check on you. I have guys I grew up with, some who call me once a week to check in. This one guy, he’s offered to send me money, texts me in the middle of night—it’s reaffirming some of my old friendships. You get caught by surprise sometimes by the people that reach out to you. It’s good to have right now.

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.