A three-decade run is coming to an end for a D.C. bar popular among cash-strapped interns.
Regulars and longtime visitors of The Front Page bar and grill near D.C.’s Dupont Circle are celebrating the memories they’ve made there — and the great meals. Sunday is the restaurant’s final day after 32 years in business.
“I just wish them well, and really hope they can find a new location. I hope that it will be in the neighborhood, and I hope it will have the same vibe,” said Ann Bryant, who told WTOP that she has been frequenting The Front Page for about two decades. “But it wasn’t my lunch spot until four or five years ago.”
But she started visiting regularly when she found out “they had fabulous Buffalo wings.”
“It’s that simple,” Bryant said, adding that she will really miss those wings.
Ann Favret worked at The Front Page while studying biology at Catholic University.
One of her memorable moments was her last night working there.
“The owners told the whole place I was heading off to medical school. And they tipped me well … I think I made $220 that night, which seemed like a lot of money at the time,” she said.
The Front Page holds a trove of fond memories for one of the owners as well.
“I remember being a little kid coming in here for brunch as a family, growing up and working here, coming here for dinners when I was in high school. This has been a big part of my life growing up, and a big part of our family’s lives,” said 34-year-old Eric Heidenberger, who was a toddler when The Front Page first opened its doors. His dad was the original owner.
Through the years, he learned it’s the staff that “made people want to come back.”
“There were those personal connections,” Heidenberger said.
The Front Page’s promotions didn’t hurt foot traffic either, he said.
“The $1 Coronas and the free tacos [on Thursday nights] definitely helped put us on the map a little bit, and the cheap bottomless buffet brunch, all you can eat, was another promotion,” Heidenberger said. “Those things definitely drew people in here in the beginning. You can do promotions all the time, but unless you have a good product or a good staff, people won’t keep coming back.”
The Front Page wanted to remain in the current location, but the building owners plan to renovate the property. The restaurant wasn’t given the opportunity to stay, but Heidenberger said that as part of their contract with building, they were given sufficient notice to vacate the property.
Heidenberger told WTOP that a former employee is planning a road trip so he can be there for the final night.
“I just got off the phone with one of our bartenders that worked with us for the better part of a decade. He’s driving back from Michigan … to work tomorrow to help us do the closing.”
Their closing event is open to the public. It’ll he held Sunday evening from 6-9 p.m.