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Buzz, the newest venture from the Neighborhood Restaurant Group (Michael Babin, Stephanie Babin and Christi Hart), is a dessert lounge and coffee bar opening up early fall around the corner from Rustico. Executive pastry chef Lisa Scruggs and pastry chef Amy Foster, currently at Tallula, will offer treats such as Belgian waffles, house-made Danish and donuts to cakes, cupcakes and candies.

EAT BAR -- Also from the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, EAT BAR will open in early October. Formerly the front bar at Tallula, EAT BAR will be offered as the neighborhood "gastropub". The bar will feature a chalkboard menu of daily cuts, oysters on the half shell, house-smoked charcuterie and other creations made in-house by Chef Nathan Anda.

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From Evil Genius Monthly

ITEM! The Neighborhood Restaurant Group is at it again, announcing plans to expand their vast empire to the George Washington Masonic Memorial. The space, which looms over Alexandria is to house an upscale Martini and cigar lounge. A minion, speaking on conditions of anonymity says that the yet-unnamed establishment will be even more exclusive than recently opened PX, permitting only one person inside. The identity of that person remains shrouded in mystery. Our source indicated that the space will serve "Cutting-edge fusion cuisine with regional sensibilities" and "The ever-present specter of total annihilation looming over our Nations Capital and eventually the world", and will feature two exciting firsts for the DC area dining scene: A martini robot powered by the captive brain of super-bartender Dale DeGroff and a giant atomic laserbeam mounted to the dome of the impressive monument. "When this battle station is fully operational, it will be the ultimate dining power in the greater Washington area. We're really excited about it!"

:):)

Guess this means they're a chain now, huh.

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From Evil Genius Monthly

ITEM! The Neighborhood Restaurant Group is at it again, announcing plans to expand their vast empire to the George Washington Masonic Memorial. The space, which looms over Alexandria is to house an upscale Martini and cigar lounge. A minion, speaking on conditions of anonymity says that the yet-unnamed establishment will be even more exclusive than recently opened PX, permitting only one person inside. The identity of that person remains shrouded in mystery. Our source indicated that the space will serve "Cutting-edge fusion cuisine with regional sensibilities" and "The ever-present specter of total annihilation looming over our Nations Capital and eventually the world", and will feature two exciting firsts for the DC area dining scene: A martini robot powered by the captive brain of super-bartender Dale DeGroff and a giant atomic laserbeam mounted to the dome of the impressive monument. "When this battle station is fully operational, it will be the ultimate dining power in the greater Washington area. We're really excited about it!"

:):)

Guess this means they're a chain now, huh. :P

:wub::):o

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From Evil Genius Monthly

ITEM! The Neighborhood Restaurant Group is at it again, announcing plans to expand their vast empire to the George Washington Masonic Memorial. The space, which looms over Alexandria is to house an upscale Martini and cigar lounge. A minion, speaking on conditions of anonymity says that the yet-unnamed establishment will be even more exclusive than recently opened PX, permitting only one person inside. The identity of that person remains shrouded in mystery. Our source indicated that the space will serve "Cutting-edge fusion cuisine with regional sensibilities" and "The ever-present specter of total annihilation looming over our Nations Capital and eventually the world", and will feature two exciting firsts for the DC area dining scene: A martini robot powered by the captive brain of super-bartender Dale DeGroff and a giant atomic laserbeam mounted to the dome of the impressive monument. "When this battle station is fully operational, it will be the ultimate dining power in the greater Washington area. We're really excited about it!"

:):)

Guess this means they're a chain now, huh.

Thanks for all the ideas, Shogun. I'll be sure to pass them along to the braintrust!

Are you technically a chain when you're a group of independent businesses that stand on their own creatively and financially? Just a question. If so, there are quite a few chains on this board that people LOVE!

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Are you technically a chain when you're a group of independent businesses that stand on their own creatively and financially? Just a question. If so, there are quite a few chains on this board that people LOVE!
Absolutely not! That's what the ' :) ' was for!

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and for the record, that 'minion' had her horns tied up this past weekend by the fury that is called 'The Buckeyes'.

I hope I get the laser beam button, oh please oh please!

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So the word has slipped out about our plans. If anyone has additional questions about the project I will be more than happy to answer those queries. As for a 'Gastro-Pub', yes, we hope to establish that with EAT BAR, but the funny side of Gastro-Pubs also involves the clientele. If you have clientele that wants Miller Lites and Car Bombs, guess what, No Gastro, No Pub. If you have clientele that are into handcrafted beers, off the cuff wines of the week, and in-house food prepartions, then the idea works.

When I was in Spain, actually San Sebastian, I was amazed at the growth of these pubs and the people who frequented these spaces were just as much a part of the scene as the decor. Chef is in Italy, hopefully eating his way through the country but also getting ideas. It will be fun, and Chef Nathan and I are really excited about the whole project, which we have been talking about for several months.

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So the word has slipped out about our plans. If anyone has additional questions about the project I will be more than happy to answer those queries. As for a 'Gastro-Pub', yes, we hope to establish that with EAT BAR, but the funny side of Gastro-Pubs also involves the clientele. If you have clientele that wants Miller Lites and Car Bombs, guess what, No Gastro, No Pub. If you have clientele that are into handcrafted beers, off the cuff wines of the week, and in-house food prepartions, then the idea works.

When I was in Spain, actually San Sebastian, I was amazed at the growth of these pubs and the people who frequented these spaces were just as much a part of the scene as the decor. Chef is in Italy, hopefully eating his way through the country but also getting ideas. It will be fun, and Chef Nathan and I are really excited about the whole project, which we have been talking about for several months.

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I remember when Christi was placing flyers in our crewroom trying to get her coworkers to try her new restaurant venture (Evening Star). I am so happy for her and this group that they have been succesful. I would never call it a chain (I know it was a joke)as each restaurant is completely different as opposed to a group like Great American Restaurants, that though good, are all basically the same. ('cept Coastal Flats).

Now damn it Christi , when are you coming out to Gainesville?!!! :)

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Speaking of bev directors and NRG, is Steve Warner still with them?  I haven't seen him around in a while and miss him.

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Speaking of bev directors and NRG, is Steve Warner still with them?  I haven't seen him around in a while and miss him.

Last I heard he had left the industry completely.

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SeanMike is correct, He lives right up the street from me and we talk from time to time. he is out of the industry and happy as a clam.

Well that is good, he is such a nice guy.  If you see him again tell him the DR community misses him and he doesn't have to be in the industry to post!

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Faile is such a great get for them.  While the quality of food at the various NRG spots varies wildly, the drinks definitely aren't the problem.  

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Faile is such a great get for them.  While the quality of food at the various NRG spots varies wildly, the drinks definitely aren't the problem.  

They have an offsetting loss coming up shortly.

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The only truly offsetting loss, IMO, would be Greg Engert leaving as beer director. It would be surprising if this were to happen, given that he has new toys to play with over there at Bluejacket...

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Last night was Nate Waugaman's final service at Tallula.

Was this the 'offset' you were referring to, Don, when you wrote that NRG's gain of Jeff Faile would soon be offset by a loss?  Or, is that yet to come?

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Was this the 'offset' you were referring to, Don, when you wrote that NRG's gain of Jeff Faile would soon be offset by a loss?  Or, is that yet to come?

Yes. I understand the talent and popularity of Jeff (and consider him a friend whose career I've closely tracked since he was at Palena), but Nate (whom I also consider a friend) is an extremely talented and underrated chef whose departure is capable of affecting an entire restaurant.

The fine bartender Stu Ellis is also transferring from Churchkey to Rustico which the acquisition of Jeff may have allowed for.

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The only truly offsetting loss, IMO, would be Greg Engert leaving as beer director. It would be surprising if this were to happen, given that he has new toys to play with over there at Bluejacket...

Yeah, as long as Greg is curating the beer menus, I'll still be there (here and everywhere). They had 4 casks of Adnams ale in from England at CK/B&B the other day. If you're a fan of pure British cask ales, that's mic dropping stuff.

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The problem then is that they [GBD] would essentially be a donut and beer shop. Which is a little odd, though I'm not judging. And an NRG establishment (or anyone for that matter) ain't giving up on alcohol because that's the profit.

On the other hand, NRG likes big, new toys. While GBD is still somewhat new, it's not very big. Do not be surprised to see some of the smaller establishments shutter in the next few years - just to be clear, I have absolutely *no* basis to say this other than pure speculation on the general situation - certainly nothing at all specific about NRG. Would you keep Tallula open if you owned ChurchKey and BlueJacket? Maybe if it's making money and it's not a lot of trouble, or perhaps if they own the building. NRG has gone big in recent years, and they seem to be doing very well at it - it is astonishing how many operations they now own.

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Anybody that employs Greg Engert, Jeff Faile, and Brent Kroll is doing something right.

Agreed. And we discovered on Thursday evening while having dinner for the first time at Iron Gate that they had also hired our favorite staff member from Fiola -- Frank! They are clearly scooping up some of the top talent in DC. We had a fantastic experience at Iron Gate and Brent, Frank and Jeff had a big role in that, in concert with Tony Chittum's cooking. Iron Gate is clearly poised to be the flagship of NRG.

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On the other hand, NRG likes big, new toys. While GBD is still somewhat new, it's not very big. Do not be surprised to see some of the smaller establishments shutter in the next few years - just to be clear, I have absolutely *no* basis to say this other than pure speculation on the general situation - certainly nothing at all specific about NRG. Would you keep Tallula open if you owned ChurchKey and BlueJacket? Maybe if it's making money and it's not a lot of trouble, or perhaps if they own the building. NRG has gone big in recent years, and they seem to be doing very well at it - it is astonishing how many operations they now own.

The fact that it's not very big means it'd be even easier for them to just keep running it and hope that you forget about it.  Closing GBD would be an admission of failure that would generate negative press for the group.  So long as they're not hemorrhaging cash from the smaller operation, it might be worth it to them to just strip the place down to its absolute minimum in terms of staff, and keep throwing money down the hole in an effort to not have to admit defeat.

Now, if they'd be changing the concept altogether, obviously all bets are off.

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