Even though he'll be paying a higher rent to keep Dino open six more weeks in Cleveland Park, chef and owner Dean Gold says the added costs are worth it: The lease extension will allow him to retain more staff as he prepares his new space in Shaw.
If he couldn't retain his current cooks and wait staff, Gold says he'd have to "spend way more money training new people, and worse than that, I’m going to have many more hiccups when we first open.”
So it's good news all around for Dinophiles: Dino will now remain open in Cleveland Park until Sunday, Feb. 23, as crews begin to work on Gold's new location at 1914 9th St. NW, in the former Portico space in Shaw. Gold will take possession of the property on Feb. 10, and he hopes to open the more casual Dino's Grotto sometime in March. Gold just signed the lease today.
Gold doesn't expect a long to-do list to get the new space in working order: install a dishwasher, repair sinks, repaint the walls. The bigger projects will involve installing an outdoor walk-in cooler and redoing the electrical system.
If the timing works out in his favor, Gold hopes there will be a only small break between the closing of Dino and the opening of Dino's Grotto. He wants to bring his entire staff over to the new place, but if the gap between the two is too large, Gold fears his crew, including chef de cuisine Lenins Salinas, will have to seek jobs elsewhere.
When Dino does finally close, Gold plans to have a two-day, blow-out party, during which his kitchen will look to use up every ingredient in the place. Gold imagines peddling pasta from carts, dim-sum style. He may be joking.
"I want to leave the walk-in as empty as possible," he says. "Whatever’s leftover will go to Shepherd’s Table or some place like that."