The Washington Post

Mealey’s Table closes just weeks after opening

The staff put a lot of sweat equity in building out the space in the revamped Mealey's Table. (Mealey's Table)

“We found out Thursday, and Saturday was the last night of service,” says former Addie’s chef Nate Waugaman, who was tapped to help revitalize this historic restaurant in the “antiques capital of Maryland.”

Miller “apparently expected the restaurant to be profitable after the first month and a half,” says Waugaman. “We had the opportunity to do something great, and he just pulled the rug out from under us.”

For his part, Miller says he felt the timing was right to throw in the towel. “It wasn’t working,” he says. “They were getting less and less attendance each day.”

“It seems like everybody was complaining about the prices,” Miller adds.

Nate Waugaman's beef heart dish at Mealey's Table. (Mealey's Table)

The closing has been a bitter pill to swallow for the chef and the managing partner, Patrick Forest, who have both put a lot of sweat equity into the project. They personally helped build out the location, whether constructing tables or painting the place, and Waugaman even planted his own sizable herb garden on the premise.

Both Waugaman and Forest say an accounting snafu in early May may have contributed to the restaurant’s early demise. One of the original managing partners was fired last month when she wasn’t keeping proper records. “That may have done something” to rush closure, Forest says.

At the same time, Forest believes older generation diners like Miller and his kind “don’t understand the concept of a la carte....They wanted the soups and salads with their entrees.”

While the suddenly unemployed staff is now searching for work, Forest says he hasn’t completely given up on his whole-animal, farm-to-table concept with Waugaman as chef. He has meetings planned with investors to potentially bring the concept to the District.

Tim Carman serves as the full-time writer for the Post's Food section and as the $20 Diner for the Weekend section, a double duty that requires he ingest more calories than a draft horse.


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