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Posted at 05:29 PM ET, 10/24/2011

Rob Weland steps into the kitchen at Cork

Chef Rob Weland starts at Cork Wine Bar on Tuesday. (Michael Harlan Turkell)
The changes just keep coming at Cork Wine Bar. The staff at the popular Logan Circle venue recently welcomed new sous chef Jennifer Flynn from Poste and this weekend honored departing chef Ron Tanaka . On Tuesday, they’ll greet his replacement: Rob Weland, also from Poste.

Weland, a familiar face on the local food scene, left the restaurant in the Hotel Monaco last month to, as he said at the time, “take my values to the next level.”

What's the connection between Flynn and Weland’s moves? Cork co-owner Khalid Pitts called Weland to check Flynn’s references.

Talk about fortuitous timing! Weland returned the restaurateur’s call around the same time Tanaka told Pitts that he had plans to move on to New Heights in Woodley Park.

Which meant the top job at Cork was open. Which meant Pitts asked Weland if he might be interested in applying. Which Weland said he was.

What sealed the deal, say both parties, was a dinner they shared with their wives at Palena in Cleveland Park. “We’re a very small restaurant,” says Pitts. “We want to like the people we work with.”

Everyone clicked. “Several bottles of wine didn’t hurt,” cracks the restaurateur.

Weland says he will gradually add dishes of his own to the menu Tanaka left behind. (For the short term, regulars can still get their avocado bruschetta.) Already he’s eyeing some free space at Cork’s multi-story wine shop across the street from the restaurant, where, in memory of the delicious work he did at Poste, Weland hopes to install a wood-burning grill and “plant some living things.”

By  |  05:29 PM ET, 10/24/2011

Categories:  Restaurants

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