A Rake’s Progress, the high-priced, local-sourcing Mid-Atlantic restaurant that brought James Beard Award-winning chef Spike Gjerde to D.C., has permanently closed after two and a half years of business on the top floor of the trendy Line hotel in Adams Morgan.
Eater received a tip this week that the restaurant informed staff of the closure. Paul Hofford, a former lead bartender and bar supervisor at A Rake’s Progress, wrote the restaurant would not be reopening in a Facebook post reviewed by Eater. Sydell Group, the parent company for Line properties in D.C., Austin, and Los Angeles, has removed A Rake’s Progress from the list of dining options on its website. The Cup We All Race 4, the lobby-level coffee bar overseen by Gjerde’s Foodshed Restaurant Group, has also been removed from the Line’s site.
Gjerde confirmed the news in a statement sent to Eater shortly after the original version of this post published Friday morning. The chef cites the novel coronavirus pandemic as the reason behind the closure.
“This year, just as it seemed to finally be hitting its stride, the realities of COVID-19 overtook us and forced us to close, along with pretty much all of our peers in hospitality,” Gjerde wrote. He cited hosting President Barack Obama and actor Bill Murray as two highlights for the restaurant.
The Line has remained closed while D.C. observed a dine-in ban for the better part of the past three months to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The hotel has announced it will reopen in a limited capacity on Wednesday, July 1. Per the announcement, the plan includes bringing back room service and grab-and-go from chef Erik Bruner-Yang’s Asian-American restaurant Brothers and Sisters on the first floor, and cocktails and snacks at the Rooftop bar. Spoken English, Bruner-Yang’s Tachinomiya-style, standing-room only restaurant known for its chicken skin dumplings and whole roasted duck, is still listed on the hotel’s website.
Along with Spoken English and Brother’s and Sisters, A Rake’s Progress was one of the three restaurants to herald the Line’s arrival as a power player in one of D.C.’s most diverse dining neighborhoods. Landing Gjerde, who won the Beard Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic at Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen in 2015, marked a victory for a hotel that markets itself to a hip, creative class by producing its own series of community radio shows and filling an events calendar with art installations and items like queer zine workshops.
A Rake’s Progress spoke to the Maryland-based chef’s fanaticism for local sourcing with cured hams from Virginia’s Tidewater region and seafood platters showcasing Baltimore Canyon lobster. Executive chef Opie Crooks was in charge of developing dishes at the wood-burning hearth used to roast whole chickens.
Elsewhere in the District, Gjerde has invested in building a food hall and a vegetable-centered restaurant in Southwest’s Buzzard Point neighborhood. The opening of Audi Field, the outdoor stadium for the D.C. United soccer team, has spurred a new wave of development there.
Here is the full statement Gjerde sent to Eater on behalf of himself and Foodshed Restaurant Group partner Corey Polyoka:
“My business partner Corey and I spent the last 8 years bringing the restaurant A Rake’s Progress to life inside the Line Hotel in Adams Morgan. This year, just as it seemed to finally be hitting its stride, the realities of COVID-19 overtook us and forced us to close, along with pretty much all of our peers in hospitality.
The future of that industry and the world at large is now defined by uncertainty: how long the pandemic will last, whether it will return in the fall, and bigger questions about what lies down the road. The one thing I do know for certain is that A Rake’s Progress will not be reopening.
Before moving on, I need to first and foremost thank Opie Crooks, who animated the restaurant with his indomitable spirit, inexhaustible energy, and unrivaled creativity. There would be no A Rake’s Progress without Opie, and our working partnership has been one of the most satisfying of my life. The food he and his team created on that hearth was the apotheosis of truly local cooking and I doubt it will ever be equaled. Thanks also to our f&b director Greg Nelson, a more recent addition, whose presence was a main reason that 2020 felt so full of potential. Finally, to the team of hospitality professionals who lent us their poise, wisdom, grace, and energy: a sincere thank you from Corey and I.
This is a difficult and disappointing moment for all of us, but we are as committed as ever to supporting local growers and a more equitable food system. We leave behind only gratitude for the guests who supported us and our wonderful neighbors in Adams Morgan who welcomed us into their community. We take with us many indelible memories, from an Obama birthday to a Bill Murray serenade. We remain grateful for our partnership with Sydell and hope to work with them again in the future.”
This post has been updated to include Gjerde’s statement. It has also been corrected to reflect that Paul Hofford’s Facebook post was not deleted.
- The D.C. Area Restaurants That Have Closed During the COVID-19 Crisis [EDC]
- Look Inside Spike Gjerde’s Tribute to Mid-Atlantic Dining in D.C. [EDC]
- Spike Gjerde’s A Rake’s Progress Lands in DC [E]
- 3 Highly Anticipated Line Hotel Eateries Are Now Open [EDC]
- Here Are Pictures of Adams Morgan’s Hot New Brunch [EDC]