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The Highest-Grossing Independent Restaurant in D.C. Has a New Owner

Graham Holdings bought the Clyde’s restaurants, including Old Ebbitt Grill

Exploring Our Nation’s Capital: Washington D.C.
Old Ebbitt Grill reported nearly $34 million in revenue in 2017
George Rose/Getty Images
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

The D.C. restaurant group that owns local institutions including Old Ebbitt Grill, annually one of the highest-grossing restaurants in America, has a new owner.

Clyde’s Restaurant Group finalized a sale to Graham Holdings Co., the new owner announced today. The Graham family, which owned and operated the Washington Post before selling it to Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, runs the publicly traded company based in Arlington, Virginia.

Washington Business Journal and Restaurant Business Online reported the previously-announced deal. The purchase diversifies Graham Holdings’ investment portfolio, which largely plays in the education (Kaplan), healthcare, and media spaces.

The 56-year-old restaurant group owns eight locations of Clyde’s, its flagship American grill that started in Georgetown, and standbys such as the Hamilton downtown, 1789 steakhouse, and the Tombs bar. All in all, Clyde’s owns and manages 13 restaurants in the D.C. area. Old Ebbitt Grill, a D.C. classic founded in 1856, reported nearly $34 million in in 2017 according to Restaurant Business Online, landing it the No. 5 spot on the outlet’s 2018 list of the 100 highest-grossing independent restaurants.

“Graham Holdings Co. is well suited to be the new steward of the Clyde’s brands in that we share the same values and dedication to the region,” Clyde’s president Tom Meyer says in a statement announcing the deal. “We are excited to join such a well-respected company and equally excited about the future.”

The company declined to comment past details included in the release, a spokesperson told Eater. The restaurant group went up for sale shortly after co-founder and CEO John Laytham died in January.

Last month at the 37th Annual RAMMY (Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington) Awards, Mayor Muriel Bowser declared November 12 will be named John Laytham Day in D.C. This year the inaugural holiday lands on what would have been his 75th birthday.

RAMW also honored the restaurant pioneer by renaming an award for Laytham, who started out as a dishwasher at the first Clyde’s in 1963. The John G. Laytham Exceptional Leadership and Impact Award was given to Claude Andersen, a 45-year employee of the group.

Old Ebbitt Grill

675 15th Street Northwest, , DC 20005 (202) 347-4800 Visit Website