DC’s Trump hotel is on its way to being sold for $375 million. Miami-based investment firm CGI Merchant Group, which is under contract to acquire the lease, has already said it plans to get rid of the Trump name and bring in Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria group to manage the property. One thing that won’t change, however, is the presence of omakase den Sushi Nakazawa in the back of the hotel.
“Sushi Nakazawa DC and our lease are not affected by the sale of the hotel. Beyond that, we have no comment at this time,” says Director of Operations Vito Ferraro. (Leases typically remain intact until they expire, even if the landlord changes.)
New hotel management could potentially be a boon for Sushi Nakazawa. While the restaurant has received plenty of accolades over the past three years—a Michelin star, a No. 3 ranking on Washingtonian‘s 100 best restaurants list—many liberals have refused to even step foot inside a property associated with the former President, no matter how delicious the otoro.
New York-based restaurateur Alessandro Borgognone signed on to open the sushi spot in the messy legal aftermath of celebrity chefs José Andrés and Geoffrey Zakarian backing out of their own restaurants in the Old Post Office Building. The location had became toxic to most potential restaurateurs who might otherwise jump at the chance to operate on Pennsylvania Avenue. Esquire pondered if Borgognone might be “the most hated restaurateur in America.”
Borgognone, however, has said from the beginning that the decision had nothing to do with politics. “I do business with everybody,” he told Washingtonian in 2017. “And when you meet a true businessperson, they get along with everyone, because they understand it’s business.”
Still, Sushi Nakazawa did take some steps to distance itself from the Trump hotel. It has its own separate entrance on the backside of the building. You still can’t get to it from the hotel lobby, even if you want.