- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 3, 2005

Two Hogettes stood at the entrance of the brand-new Morton’s, the Steakhouse in Bethesda Monday, welcoming a Redskins-loving crowd. So, how did two guys in porcine drag feel at a hot spot devoted to the finest cuts of beef?

“Very secure,” quipped Eddie Souder, who along with fellow beaded, buttoned and beskirted Hogette Bill Stoner was posing for pictures with ordinary-looking fans.

A chatty, clubby crowd was pouring in, hoping to meet favorite players over steak, oysters, shrimp and Key lime pie — and to support the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation’s youth-based education, community service and health programs in the local area.

Redskins owner Dan Snyder was sick and couldn’t make it, according to Morton’s publicist Linda Roth. Maybe he could have used the services of U.S. Surgeon General Vice Adm. Richard Carmona, who did show up.

Dominating the main dining room were former coach John Thompson of Georgetown University Hoyas basketball championship fame with his “Sports Talk” WTEM radio cohort, retired Redskin Doc Walker, talking about — what else? — sports.

Two of the main topics of the evening: How are coach Joe Gibbs and the Redskins doing? And, who will win the Super Bowl?

“It takes time,” Mr. Thompson said, foreseeing much better seasons for the Redskins sooner or later. (Mr. Walker predicted the Patriots would win but then mischievously added that “it could be the Eagles.”)

Redskin offensive linesman Ray Brown, at 41 one of the oldest active NFL players, said he would be “shocked” if Mr. Gibbs didn’t succeed eventually. As for the Super Bowl: “I’m pulling for Philly. It’s time for the NFC to win.” Wide receiver Gari Scott was the other active Redskin lending his support.

Morton’s Steakhouse Chairman Allen Bernstein was spotted In the private dining room with MSNBC producer Tammy Haddad and American Enterprise Institute senior neocon Michael Ledeen. Interrupted while sampling the sliced steaks, Mr. Ledeen opined on Morton’s, its chairman and the successful election in Iraq in rapid succession. “It’s going to be our neighborhood restaurant. I have never met a more philanthropic gentleman. I’m celebrating the victory over evil.”

Morton President John Bettin, chain co-founder Klaus Fritsch and other corporate buddies also were celebrating the grand opening of their 67th steakhouse (to be followed by yet another in Chicago in a few weeks) and their local ties with the Redskins — Morton’s is the team’s official steakhouse — and its various affiliated charities.

Charlene Lefkowitz, executive director of the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, thanked well-fed contributors, current Redskins and various alumni (Mike Nelm, Donnie Warren, Darryl Grant, Mike Bragg and Brig Owens among them) for contributing $31,000 to various programs, including Redskins Read, which promotes literacy and encourages youths to visit their local libraries.

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