Dyllan’s Raw Bar Grill, the 200-seat seafood house selling expensive tinned fish on the banks of Georgetown’s C&O Canal, closed this week after barely more than a year of operations, according to an employee with knowledge of the business.
The employee says Dyllan’s last day was Tuesday, November 12, and that the owners alerted a staff of about 30 to the news via email. The restaurant’s OpenTable reservation system shows no available tables, and calls to the restaurant went unanswered Thursday afternoon. Owner Donald Carlin did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The massive, 13,000-square-foot space at 1054 31st Street NW previously enjoyed a long run as Sea Catch Restaurant & Raw Bar. Donald and Amy Carlin gave it a redesign last year, opening in August. The first-time owners and operators had previously worked for Host Hotels & Resorts and in restaurateur Stephen Starr’s huge group.
Dyllan’s was likely hurt by a hidden and somewhat confusing entrance off of 31st Street NW. Diners had to walk down a long path through a courtyard to get there. Eater reached out to landlord RB Properties (Morrison Clark Restaurant, Cafe Lombardy) for comment on the closure and the fate of the restaurant’s 10-year lease.
Dyllan’s attempted to sling deals until the end, kickstarting a weekday three-course express lunch for $20 this fall, and running all-night happy hour during the World Series run.
The restaurant contained a full-service bar, dining room, private dining room, and outdoor patio overlooking the canal. A smooth 40-foot marble raw bar churned out oysters and vodka shooters upon entry, stocked with rare, imported tins of fish ranging from $15 to sardines to a $120 serving of cockles.
The 1890s-era building, lined with roaring fireplaces, was originally a warehouse made from quarried stone and pine trees from Virginia. Nautical additions included sleek blue booths and circular mirrors and lighting fixtures meant to resemble port holes on ships.
The Carlins also built out a fancy 150-person private dining area hidden in the back, complete with shimmering fish scale-like tiles and high-tech media capabilities that played host to watch parties for the Oscars and the World Series.
Georgetown is in the middle of a supposed dining renaissance, with recent arrivals including Cut by Wolfgang Puck (currently closed following a kitchen fire), modernist Reverie, and Latin bistro High Street Cafe. Brasserie Liberte opens this weekend with its own costly redesign on Prospect Street NW.