Pastry whiz Mallory Staley quietly left 1789 earlier in February after just a year as pastry chef, joining Marc Forgione's American Cut in Atlantic City. Now formally stepping into the head pastry chef role is Justine Sullivan, a DC native who executive chef Anthony Lombardo says is likely to stick around.
Sullivan — who grew up in Dupont Circle and attended Georgetown University — has been with 1789 for the past year as an assistant pastry chef and won herself the promotion over chefs from New York and Vegas whose resumes were loaded with experience because, per Lombardo, "They had all these ideas to do stuff, but I wanted someone that I have chemistry with. I have a lot of chemistry with Justine. And I didn't want somebody who was going to take this job to transition. We had people who were not from DC that were applying just because they wanted to be a pastry chef and they were probably going to put in two years here and leave. Kind of like how Mallory did. This was kind of more of a step for Mallory than a career decision. So I know Justine and I think she's going to be here for awhile."
For that matter, Lombardo says to expect him to stick around for awhile as well, as he approaches his own first anniversary with the restaurant: "We don't want it to be too transient. I'm not going anywhere." And how about the 50-year-old Georgetown restaurant itself? Well, Lombardo says the sales in April and May were higher than they've been in the 50-year history. So there's that.
And what's changing at 1789 as Sullivan takes over the role? Well, Lombardo says she's got a chocolate mousse dome with black pepper ice cream that the chef decided to put on the menu that same night Sullivan tried out for the job. He also notes that Sullivan has a passion for bread, so expect a different bread each week at the restaurant.
1789 [Photo: R. Lopez]