José Andrés Ultimately Wins the Food Fight With Donald Trump

The chef will open an avant-garde DC restaurant in the ex-president's ex-hotel.

Jose Andres is finally opening a restaurant in what used to be the Trump hotel. Photograph by Josh Telles

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They say revenge is a dish best served cold—so we imagine chef José Andrés will dish up plenty of his famous gazpacho in the former Trump Hotel. The DC-based celebrity chef will open a location of his modernist global concept, The Bazaar, in the Old Post Office building that once housed Trump International, as first reported by the Washington Post. The historic space near the White House was recently acquired by Miami investment fund CGI Merchant Group (of which Andrés is a shareholder), and is now operating it as a Waldorf Astoria.

“I first dreamed of opening a restaurant at the Old Post Office back in 1993 when I first came to DC,” says Andrés via email release. “Nearly three decades later, I am building that dream into a reality, and couldn’t be more excited to bring my beloved Bazaar restaurant right here to DC in this beautiful historic location.”

Andrés’s triumphant return to 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest, is a sweet victory for Andrés fans. In 2015, he and chef Geoffrey Zakarian engaged in one of the biggest food fights in DC history with then-presidential nominee Donald Trump. Both chefs were set to open splashy restaurants in Trump’s new hotel—a bistro for Zakarian and a high-end Spanish spot for Andrés—when Trump announced his White House bid with a simultaneous attack on Mexican immigrants (“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”). A massive, two-year legal battle ensued, which was eventually settled for an undisclosed sum.

Now, The Bazaar—which has a location in Miami, a forthcoming branch in New York, and several carnivorous spinoffs of Bazaar Meat—will take over the lobby dining area formerly occupied by BLT Prime. The shuttered steakhouse was the only DC restaurant Trump ever visited, and served as a clubhouse for the President and his followers (as you can imagine, Right Wing elite hijinks ensued). Andrés’s forthcoming restaurant couldn’t feel more different than Trump’s favorite spot for well-done steak, fries, and elaborate Diet Coke presentations. The Bazaar, according to Andrés’s team, “takes guests on a sensory adventure where anything is possible, born of José’s Spanish roots, both traditional and avant-garde, in a bold, playful atmosphere designed by the world-renown Spanish firm Laìzaro Rosa-Violaìn.”

Or as Andrés says himself: “Longer tables, not higher walls.” 

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.