The Source by Wolfgang Puck, the modern Asian restaurant that marked the celebrity chef’s entrance into the D.C. dining scene, has closed after 13 years of business in Penn Quarter.
Eater received a tip from a former employee, and a representative for Puck confirmed the news. A statement sent to Eater cites a change in landlords and the challenges of operating during the novel coronavirus pandemic as reasoning behind the decision. Workers at the restaurant had been furloughed since March, when D.C. ordered a dine-in ban to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Located underneath the Newseum for over a decade, the Source enjoyed status as a power dining spot that attracted politicians and celebrities. The museum sold the property to Johns Hopkins University in a $372.5 million deal last year, which reportedly led Wolfgang Puck Catering to fold its operation in the facility.
In January, the Source shared plans with Eater to become a more casual venue with an all-day menu full of small plates. Instead, the Source issued the following statement Thursday:
“With the closure of Newseum and extended construction expected during the Johns Hopkins transition, we do not foresee a successful return to business in the COVID-19 environment. We are grateful to our loyal guests and to the DC community for its support. We look forward to fully reopening at CUT in Georgetown, and our Wolfgang Puck Catering services continue at The Sunset Room at National Harbor and the Howard Theatre, and additionally for at-home, on-location, and workplace catering.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the restaurant industry, particularly large companies who have trouble meeting rent obligations while being limited to takeout and delivery sales. David Chang’s Momofuku CCDC announced yesterday it will not reopen in the nearby CityCenterDC development, removing another massive food name from the city.
In an Eater piece looking back on its first 10 years, the Source gets credit for leading D.C. out of the steakhouse era and being an early proponent of izakaya and hot pot service. Under opening chef Scott Drewno, the Source won local restaurant association awards for New Restaurant of the Year (2008) and Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year (2011).
Over a decade working at the restaurant, Drewno won two local Rammy awards for Chef of the Year, drawing winning reviews for his dim sum and Peking duck. He left in 2017 to co-found the restaurant group behind hits such as casual Chinese-Korean counter Chiko and new Korean gastropub Anju.
Puck opened his second restaurant in D.C. last August when a location of his high-end steakhouse, Cut, welcomed its first customers in Georgetown. Two months after opening, a kitchen fire forced the dining room to close, limiting service to the bar.