Temporarily closed Ambar pays employees not to work

Renderings of the $3 million renovation of Capitol Hill restaurant Ambar. The renovation will double the restaurant’s size and includes a new third-floor rooftop that will have a retractable roof. (Courtesy Street Guys Hospitality))
Renderings of the $3 million renovation of Capitol Hill restaurant Ambar. The renovation will double the restaurant’s size and includes a new third-floor rooftop that will have a retractable roof. (Courtesy Street Guys Hospitality)
Renderings of the $3 million renovation of Capitol Hill restaurant Ambar. The renovation will double the restaurant's size and includes a new third-floor rooftop that will have a retractable roof.
Renderings of the $3 million renovation of Capitol Hill restaurant Ambar. The renovation will double the restaurant’s size and includes a new third-floor rooftop that will have a retractable roof. (Courtesy Street Guys Hospitality)
Renderings of the $3 million renovation of Capitol Hill restaurant Ambar. The renovation will double the restaurant's size and includes a new third-floor rooftop that will have a retractable roof.
Renderings of the $3 million renovation of Capitol Hill restaurant Ambar. The renovation will double the restaurant’s size and includes a new third-floor rooftop that will have a retractable roof. (Courtesy Street Guys Hospitality)
Renderings of the $3 million renovation of Capitol Hill restaurant Ambar. The renovation will double the restaurant's size and includes a new third-floor rooftop that will have a retractable roof.
Renderings of the $3 million renovation of Capitol Hill restaurant Ambar. The renovation will double the restaurant’s size and includes a new third-floor rooftop that will have a retractable roof. (Courtesy Street Guys Hospitality)
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Renderings of the $3 million renovation of Capitol Hill restaurant Ambar. The renovation will double the restaurant's size and includes a new third-floor rooftop that will have a retractable roof.
Renderings of the $3 million renovation of Capitol Hill restaurant Ambar. The renovation will double the restaurant's size and includes a new third-floor rooftop that will have a retractable roof.
Renderings of the $3 million renovation of Capitol Hill restaurant Ambar. The renovation will double the restaurant's size and includes a new third-floor rooftop that will have a retractable roof.

Big Capitol Hill restaurant Ambar is closed for a two-month, $3 million renovation, but the owner doesn’t want to lose the restaurant’s employees — so he’s paying them.

Street Guys Hospitality, which owns several restaurants in the D.C. area, offered its Capitol Hill Ambar staff of 51 employees 50% to 70% of what they’d been earning before the restaurant closed if they agreed to return when it reopened.

The company said 95% of employees accepted the offer.

Ambar founder Ivan Iricanin says it is an anticipated investment of $160,000.

What those sidelined employees will get paid during the restaurant’s renovation was calculated based on length of service and took gratuities into account for tipped staffers.

Staff from Capitol Hill Ambar have also been offered shifts at Street Guys Hospitality’s other area restaurants.

Iricanin also surveyed employees at the Capitol Hill restaurant about improvements they wanted as part of the renovation, which included adding service stations and bars on every floor and more comfortable uniforms.

Ambar, at 523 8th St. SE near Eastern Market, marked its seventh anniversary in January.

The renovation will double the restaurant’s size and includes a new third-floor rooftop that will have a retractable roof.

It will reopen sometime in April.

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