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Clyde's, a Georgetown-Based Chain - Giant American Restaurants in Numerous Area Locations

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I'm not sure if Clyde's has upped their shrimp game or if they reserve a selection of them for those who pay full price in the dining room, but the ones I had on Sunday at Gallery Place were the biggest and tastiest I've ever eaten there.

I wandered into Ebbitt late last week, and would vote that they've upped their shrimp game.  The shrimp I had were significantly larger than they used to be, and seemed like they may have been in a lightly spiced boil (though they are still peeled) rather than procured from a frozen brick-o-shrimp behind the Oyster Bar.  If this keeps up rather than being a one-time supplier anomaly, they're certainly worth the $1.75 price during happy hour.

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Clyde's Tysons is closing on February 5, 2017.  The article references that it is 36 years old.  That corresponds with the timing of the rough explosion of office space in Tysons and where many of its customers dabbled for 8 hours a day before they could start some serious eating and drinking at Clyde's.  The article and explanation from a Clyde's executive doesn't word the story this way, but the 6 acre site on which Clyde's sits is one of the best and most strategic sites in the redeveloping Tyson's Corner, its land value is extraordinary and Clyde's eagerly participated in this land assemblage and redevelopment.  The restaurant could be twice to 5 times as busy as it every day and the land values would far exceed the value as a restaurant.  The Clyde's ownership group is not crying at this development.

Geez.  Clydes Tysons was an eating and drinking phenomena in its first decade or longer.  Seriously a drinking phenomena.  For a long period of time from its inauguration it served among the best food in Tysons.  The food world was different then, the competition was less significant, and Clyde's stood out.  And then there was the drinking.  Don't forget the drinking.

See ya, old pal.

 

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2 hours ago, DaveO said:

.  For a long period of time from its inauguration it served among the best food in Tysons.

A relative term, to be sure.

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It was a Tyson's institution, for sure, right up there with JR's Steakhouse.

As DaveO pointed out, that will be a nice piece of real estate for the retail and housing that will occupy it. It was always difficult to get to, but that never stopped the throngs from packing in there.

I note that Tom Meyer is now president of Clyde's, so it appears John and Ginger Laytham may have moved on to more leisurely pursuits in their later years. Tom was the executive chef for quite a while, and I've spoken to him often over the years. Whenever I went into a Clyde's, I never ordered off the menu. Tom suggested that I always ask for what's fresh and seasonal, and if the kitchen had it, they would make it.

 

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4 hours ago, Kibbee Nayee said:

I note that Tom Meyer is now president of Clyde's, so it appears John and Ginger Laytham may have moved on to more leisurely pursuits in their later years. Tom was the executive chef for quite a while, and I've spoken to him often over the years. Whenever I went into a Clyde's, I never ordered off the menu. Tom suggested that I

Quote

always ask for what's fresh and seasonal , and if the kitchen had it, they would make it.

Periodically I visit one or more Clyde's, either with local friends or folks from out of town.  People from out of town will often bring it up.  Way way back I met the Clyde's partners, but never Tom Meyer.  That sounds like its still a worthwhile suggestion.  I'll keep it in mind, suggest it and try it.!!

In the earlier '80's a colleague and I brokered a land sale.  The Clyde's group owned a parcel next to it.  We were too far apart on price and didn't acquire it to add to an assemblage.  John Laytham and Stuart Davidson were very nice.  They mentioned how they had other parcels in various parts of the region.  Some of the areas where they have subsequently opened were areas that they had mentioned.   At some point between 1963 when Clyde's first opened and 1983 when I believe we met they had purchased land where they envisioned restaurants to meet growing populations. (the Tysons site was one of those parcels purchased years earlier) They had a keen eye. 

I've always enjoyed Clyde's.  I'm probably mangling Stuart Davidson's original concept but it went something like..."Its more fun to eat in a saloon than drink in a restaurant."  It worked for me and time has proven that to be true in their case. 

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I was a friend of Richard McCooey, who passed away a year and a half ago. Richard opened The Tombs, F. Scott's, and 1789, and when the opportunity arose, he sold them to Clyde's. Through Richard, I got to know Tom Meyer and the Laythams.

Richard latched on to Clyde's group as one of their designers, and his personnel collection of prints is all over the walls at Clyde's in Reston, Mark Center, and Gallery Place, among others. (I even have two baseball-themed prints from Richard in my baseball man cave.)

The hunting scene  on the back wall in Reston is straight out of his personal collection, and I can point out the flaw in piecing it together....the Georgetown crew prints in the bar at Reston are Richard through-and-through. Even the way all of his prints are lit, are pure Richard.

Richard was also big on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and his DC license plate was "INFP".

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I must be getting old because I'm having a really hard time with Clyde's pricing these days.  Willow Creek is trying out what appears to be a new chophouse section with a $37 8oz filet - sides not included ('shareable' sides are 9$).  Last June their monthly special was an 8oz filet, WITH sides, for $19.95.  Not sure what justifies more than doubling the price over a 10 month time.  And then there's the $76 tomahawk.

If they can make the high end meat business work, great for them.  But there used to also be more options in what I'll call 'The Tuesday Night' section when you just want to stop by the neighborhood bar on the way home but don't want a hamburger.  At least The Hamilton still has half portions of pasta and sushi, you CAN get a halfway interesting (read: not a turkey sandwich) meal here without breaking the bank.  Even the monthly specials at WCF seem to have gone by the wayside (missing for last 2 mos).

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On 5/1/2017 at 2:55 PM, genericeric said:

I must be getting old because I'm having a really hard time with Clyde's pricing these days.  Willow Creek is trying out what appears to be a new chophouse section with a $37 8oz filet - sides not included ('shareable' sides are 9$).  Last June their monthly special was an 8oz filet, WITH sides, for $19.95.  Not sure what justifies more than doubling the price over a 10 month time.  And then there's the $76 tomahawk.

I've been hearing, "I can make it better and cheaper at home" for decades, and have never paid much attention to it. 

With certain steaks, however, even *I* can make it better and cheaper at home, in a crummy 20-year-old oven - that is, if you're talking about a $37, 8-ounce Filet Mignon with no sides ... who on Earth would order such a thing? (*)

Seriously, that's $74 a pound, and tenderloin *retails* at $14 a pound, or $7 for an 8-ounce cut, at Costco:

Feb 9, 2017 [date updated] - "Meat Buying Guide - Beef Prices at Costco" on eatlikenoone.com

Assuming they're paying retail (which they aren't), that's a 19% food cost - divide 7/37 and see for yourselves.

Ever hear a restaurateur say, "Nobody makes any money on steaks?" I've heard this *so many times*, and it's a loaf of baloney.

(*) Ah! Donald Trump would order it! (This is not a grenade - I just this very minute thought about him and his steak-eating habits, and I think if he was here, he actually *would* order it, well-done, to boot.)

Does it at least come with some sort of sauce?

Cheers,
Flaming Yawn <--- I just thought of that, too.

Stay canned, ale.

Eye yam go winged twos tart trite Ting ever wreathing enough whore Matt inn witch pee pull knead tooth ink, four sing hour reed hers stews lowdown. Dune knot ass sue Mike canned dew wit, all though why wood dug reaper hap sigh knead two fined duh bet her weighed two you smite hime (yeah sigh chi Ted beak cuz hime Ms. Jap pin knees (pronoun steam may). Sews whom e (chi his Jap pin knees two, bye thee weigh - uh Khan nut tube bee eggs act)). Let sea yuck hump Ute hurt trite two deuce hum trans lay shuns witch hearth hiss sore ridge gin null land if occult - knot tin hour you knee verse, deer fell low reed hers. :)

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18 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Does it at least come with some sort of sauce?

Comes with an option of bernaise, chimichurri or bordelaise

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Since this is a well-informed group and people appear to have "special" access or insight, any news on the Reston location of Clydes?  Hearing various things from numerous people (like I did way before il Fornaio closed), and am hoping it just speculation.  The Clyde's location in RTC is perfect, centrally-located, view of concerts, fountain (ice skating in Winter) etc...and one of the original anchor stores at RTC.  Anyone?  Anyone?

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4 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Some sad news: John Laytham, CEO of Clyde's Restaurant Group, passed away yesterday.

Screenshot 2019-01-04 at 16.01.27.pngScreenshot 2019-01-04 at 16.03.14.png

He will be missed. He understood dining in the DC area better than most. It was his vision that brought us Old Ebbitt in its current form, and The Hamilton as a large food and music venue. He had personal quirks, like not trusting air travel or elevators. May he rest in peace.

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1 hour ago, DonRocks said:

Some sad news: John Laytham, CEO of Clyde's Restaurant Group, passed away yesterday.

Screenshot 2019-01-04 at 16.01.27.pngScreenshot 2019-01-04 at 16.03.14.png

Oh my.  It hasn't hit the news today.  If so..he would certainly rank up there among all DC restaurateurs, for longevity and a wealth of achievements.   I didn't know him but met him once in a business meeting.  When I met Latham and Davidson we were working on a land sale (I think '83) and if I recall the land in that block sold for around $250/ft.  Latham and Davidson had purchased the parcel for something like $10 or $15/ft some years earlier  (say between 1963..and years before we met).  They mentioned other parcels they owned.  All those parcels were near where future Clyde's' were ultimately built.  They had amazing foresight.   They also had a lot of my $$ spent on beer and burgers over the years. 

The other thing about Clyde's that stuck out in my mind and experience for so many decades, besides the great bars;  I knew lots of younger folks over the decades who were earlier in their careers, and earlier in their capacity to earn money.   For a tremendous number of them, so often repeated for so many decades...dining at Clyde's was  often their first "fine dining" expensive dinner treat.  I heard that quite a bit over a long period of time.   While for this foodie group, for folks with more disposable income earlier in their lives, and folks with more discerning tastes developed earlier in their lives...that might sound surprising....but I heard it and knew plenty of diners who stepped up in their careers, and Clyde's (or one of the group) was the first special dining experience.  Clyde's made its mark in the DC dining world.

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11 hours ago, DaveO said:

Oh my.  It hasn't hit the news today. 

I didn't want to call attention to it out of respect for the family, but the news is out now in at least one publication.

Thank you very much to the people who alerted me to this unhappy story.

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What sad, somber news. How do we pay respect to the legacy that Mr Laytham has built? We visit Clyde’s and raise a class to what he has built, as well cultivated in the Metro DC dining landscape. I can recall many memories & relationships I have forged at both Clydes Chinatown, as well the flagship Clydes. 

We lost a great one. 

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Before the Georgetown/St Johns college basketball game yesterday I stopped at the Clyde’s Bar in the Alley at Gallery Place.   Jeez:  it was packed to the gills: jam packed!!

...and me, at my advanced age felt—this is not for me—-though once I was a happy member of the various Clyde’s’ jam packed bars across the greater DC landscape.

The food and drink:  sliders and a beer:  no comment:  a Bloody Mary and crab dip ->decidedly meh

The bar environment looked like a Georgetown alumni event.  Must have been a pre game crowd.

The game -> close and exciting but I didn’t see a future NBA Star, maybe a role player or two.   GTown has a very quick Freshman point guard.  He needs a fair Amount of work though.  Hope he sticks around;  he could use the development time.

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