- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Red Sage restaurant, which was popular with Washingtonians long before the city became the “restaurant town” it is today, is closing in 10 days.

Red Sage, at 605 14th St. NW, is closing Dec. 22. Management says it’s because the landlord wants to raise the rent too much.

“Red Sage is still going strong and we would love to stay,” said Dan Mesches, partner in Red Sage and president of its parent company, Star Restaurant Group in the District.

“Unfortunately, our landlord is committed to pricing us out of the same neighborhood we helped to create. While I know the closing is a disappointment for the city, we are focused on our Red Sage family and are making sure we have a place for each one of them at our other restaurants,” he said.

Star Restaurant Group also owns Zola, Spy City Cafe in the District and Indigo Landing in Alexandria.

When Red Sage opened in 1992, its Southwestern cuisine made it an immediate hit, especially in a Washington that didn’t have the number of popular restaurants it has today. The restaurant also came to be known for its frescoed walls and Southwest-inspired decor.

Red Sage’s celebrity guests have included President Bill and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first President George Bush and wife Barbara, Grateful Dead band members, singer Jimmy Buffett and TV news personality Barbara Walters. But it’s also where ordinary Washingtonians celebrated events.

“For years people have loved to share their special stories with me,” said Mr. Mesches, who did not return calls for further comment.

“It’s where they met their husband or slipped the ring on their fiancee’s finger and they come back year after year to celebrate.”

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