- The Washington Times - Monday, July 13, 2009

Seen enjoying an al fresco meal Thursday evening at Cafe Milano: Jill Biden, whom we saw at the Georgetown eatery seated with Nancy Orloff, a longtime scheduler and assistant to Mrs. B’s better half, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

She picked a bad night to be left alone. As she sat on the patio, inside diners were buzzing as Washington’s who’s who — such as former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, his wife Andrea Mitchell of NBC News, and former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen — turned out in droves in support of the book party for “Mortal Friends,” a juicy tome about D.C. power wives written by Georgetown doyenne Jane Stanton Hitchcock.

Mrs. B., however, didn’t seem to mind the chatter and the curious passersby. Looking tanned and relaxed, she told G2 just how much fun she had on her recent jaunt to Germany to meet and greet the troops en route to Paris for an education conference.

We also asked how the new Biden pup, Champ, was holding up as Bo Obama has stolen most of the spotlight from the second canine, a German Shepherd.

Mrs. Biden said Champ was doing fine but seemed to have trouble recollecting whether the two would-be rival canines have met for a play date.

Here’s an idea: Perhaps the Bidens could invite Bo over to dig for bones with Champ on the vast lawn at the Naval Observatory in Northwest Washington, the home of the veep and his lovely wife.

While we’re on the subject of bones, Mrs. B’s wishbone necklace caught our eye.

After complimenting her on the stunning but delicate pendant, her eyes lit up as she explained it was a gift from her family when she completed her doctorate in education in 2007.

Nathans: R.I.P.

As has been reported, Nathans, one of Georgetown’s most frequented watering holes back in the good old days, closed Sunday — felled by financial hardship — after a weekend-long “New Orleans wake,” as owner Carol Joynt likes to call it.

Ms. Joynt, who took over the 40-year-old business after her husband, Howard, died in 1997, says that she leaves Nathans with bittersweet memories but will cling to the reputation it has for bringing people together.

“My daughter had her first date here with her fiancee,” one restaurant visitor told Ms. Joynt on Sunday as others eyed (and sometimes pilfered) bar stools and menus as mementos.

“We could have been a dating service,” Ms. Joynt told G2 with a smile about all the hookups she’s seen barside through the years. “They should have called us e-Nathans.com,” she said, referring to the popular dating Web site e-harmony.com.

We also overheard another patron, with tears in her eyes, tell Mrs. Joynt that Nathans held a special place in her heart, as it was the secret meeting place for her and her lover.

Apparently, Nathans has special allure for undercover ops because, according to Ms. Joynt, international spies have been known to dine (and eavesdrop) there.

“It’s noisy, and crowded, and in plain site,” she explained. “The kind of place you would not expect them (spies) to come.”

Curiously, Nathans, thought by many to be an establishment bar with preppily clad Georgetowners, is also admired by eccentrics.

Alice Cooper practically lived in this place when he was in town,” Ms. Joynt recalls of the rock star, known for his dark and gothic performances.

Pointing out someone at the bar who uncannily ordered a side of ice cream to put in her beer, Ms. Joynt summed up the Nathans legacy this way: “The things people do in here you will never see at Bourbon Steak or Cafe Milano.”

To contact Stephanie Green or Elizabeth Glover, e-mail [email protected]

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