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Rasika Owner Shells Out $4 Million for Restaurant Nora Building

Ashok Bajaj plans to use the space to add an original restaurant to his collection of D.C. mainstays.

A portrait of restaurateur Ashok Bajaj Photo by Rey Lopez for Eater DC

Ashok Bajaj, the award-winning founder of the Knightsbridge Restaurant Group that operates local favorites such as Rasika and The Oval Room, has purchased a D.C. restaurant landmark in Dupont Circle. Washington Business Journal reports that Knightsbridge paid about $4 million to acquire the red brick building at 2132 Florida Avenue NW that formerly housed Restaurant Nora, the eponymous restaurant from organic dining pioneer Nora Pouillon that shuttered last year after a 40-year run.

Pouillon’s business was not included in the sale, which was $3 million below the asking price reported in The Washington Post last year. Bajaj’s past two projects have found fast success — 2-year-old Indian street food stop Bindaas already has two locations, and Israeli hummus house Sababa drew a two-star review from Post critic Tom Sietsema just months after it opened earlier this year — but the restauranteur told WBJ that he won’t use his newest property to expand an existing brand.

Nora was the first certified organic restaurant in the United States, and Pouillon was hopeful that whoever bought the building would maintain its legacy. Bajaj, who won an award for capital achievement at the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s gala in 2017, didn’t reveal his plans to WBJ. He did say the building is in good shape, and he plans to have something open by 2019.

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