Tony Kornheiser announced on his podcast Tuesday that an ownership group that includes himself, former Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams and TV host Maury Povich purchased Chad’s, the longtime Friendship Heights restaurant and bar.
Kornheiser said the group plans to rename the former Chadwick’s, soliciting naming suggestions from his podcast listeners, among others. He also said he would like to put a studio in the Wisconsin Avenue hangout, where he could record his podcasts and potentially host other local podcasters.
The news was strongly hinted at in a Washington Post piece earlier this week.
(I’m trying to figure out how Kornheiser, Williams and Povich rank in celebrity status. I’m failing.)
The restaurant, located a few blocks from the Maryland-D. C. border, has long been a favorite haunt for media personalities, including many veteran sportswriters and employees of the nearby Fox 5, where Povich once worked. It’s also long been a gathering spot for coaches from American University, where Williams once worked. Former WTEM host Rich Gilgallon is a former Chadwick’s bartender, and some of your favorite D.C. broadcasters have probably been there once or twice.
Kornheiser said the new ownership group, which has already taken over the restaurant, also includes Washington businessman Alan Bubes, the chief executive of Linens of the Week. And he said they plan to make some changes to a restaurant that has been in Friendship Heights for decades.
“It is a very welcoming place. It really is sort of like Cheers,” Kornheiser said. “So we have purchased this place, and we’re going to rename it, we’re going to fix it up. It is shopworn. . . . We’re going to do a lot of things here, and we’re going to improve it.”
Among the possibilities Kornheiser mentioned:
* Upgrading the restaurant’s beer and wine offerings, possibly through a partnership with Calvert-Woodley, the venerable Connecticut Avenue retailer.
* Building a podcasting studio, which his son said could be used as a training ground for area high schoolers.
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* Partnering with the Nats and the University of Maryland to make the bar something of a D.C. sports hangout, and possibly a spot where Williams goes to watch Terps games.
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* Hosting evening events, which could leverage the restaurant’s well-known owners.
He said the restaurant would be managed by Geoff Dawson, the man behind a host of popular Washington spots, including Iron Horse Taproom, Penn Social, Rocket Bar, Buffalo Billiards and many more. (And yes, he was also the former Capstronaut.) And Kornheiser said the partners want to maintain the restaurant’s homey reputation.
“Did I always want to be part of a restaurant? No,” he said. “But now with the podcast and now trying to own my own content, the ability to put it on during the mornings or during the day and have other people use it, that would be fun for me. I think all of us look at this with a lot of optimism, and we certainly understand it’s been around for a long time . . . It’s welcoming. It needs sprucing up, as do we all.”
Kornheiser joked that his financial advisers had recently told him to avoid three things: buying a private plane, investing in horses or purchasing a restaurant.
“Well, I did two of the three well,” he said.