- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 31, 2001

Sam & Harry's is taking over management at Nathans of Georgetown with a plan to expand the landmark restaurant and bar outside Washington.
Michael Sternberg, co-founder of Sam & Harry's steakhouse and the Caucus Room, doesn't have any specific expansion plans just yet.
"Yes, we hope to expand," Mr. Sternberg said. "But we're going to get comfortable with what we have here first."
The maritime- and equestrian-themed hangout, at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street NW, will no longer be operated by owner Carol Joynt, but she will still own the 2,700-square-foot restaurant.
"I'm letting them manage it as best as they see fit," Mrs. Joynt said. "I've been looking for a long time for an opportunity like this."
Mr. Sternberg has no plans to lay off any of the 50 or so employees who work at Nathans, which has been dubbed a "popular G-town hangout" by the latest Zagat Survey, which rates city restaurants.
Mrs. Joynt, a television producer, was thrown into the restaurant business after her husband, restaurateur J. Howard Joynt, died in early 1997 and she inherited the corner restaurant.
"I like to eat, but that hardly qualified me to take over this landmark restaurant," she said.
Mrs. Joynt said owning and managing Nathans has been an uphill battle.
After settling a large tax bill with the Internal Revenue Service following her husband's death, she needed to fight to get the restaurant's liquor license changed from his name to hers, which required the D.C. Council to pass a special bill.
"The past 4* years have been a blur," said Mrs. Joynt, who approached Sam & Harry's years ago in hopes that they would take over Nathans.
The steakhouse founders, however, weren't interested.
"The restaurant was not in the condition to take on a management company," Mr. Sternberg said. "It had to work out its own issues."
Mrs. Joynt continued to run Nathans, spruced up the decor adding fresh paint and new fabrics and changed the menu from Italian to American cuisine.
"It's a Georgetown institution," said Paul Cohn, senior executive officer of Capital Restaurant Concepts, which owns a cluster of D.C. restaurants like J. Paul's and Georgetown Seafood Grill.
About two months ago, Mrs. Joynt and Sam & Harry's officials began talking again about the possibility of a partnership.
"I think it was a good idea to [bring in] professional management," Mr. Cohn said. "Carol needs that."
Mr. Sternberg is excited about taking over Nathans. "It's not often that you get an opportunity to [manage] such a strong brand and something that people feel so sentimental about," he said.

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