Capital Buzz: A new restaurant pops up in Penn Quarter

Correction: An earlier version state that Brickman Group was based in Dulles, Va. This version has been corrected.

January 29, 2012

Mike Isabella, chef-owner of Graffiato, is opening a “pop-up” restaurant — overflowing with margaritas — at 918 F St. NW, Feb. 16 through 19.

The pop-up is a precursor to Bandolero, his new Mexican eatery opening in Georgetown this spring.

Tickets to next month’s pop-up are $119 each for five courses and will be available on the Web on Jan. 30.

The pop-up trial “gives us the opportunity to test out some of our food and train my staff,” said Isabella, best known for his appearances on Bravo’s “Top Chefs.”

The pop-up location, in the middle of Penn Quarter, is owned by online voucher company LivingSocial, which now calls itself a “local commerce company.”

Second act

The Buzz checked in with Peter Nostrand, the music-minded former chief executive of Washington’s SunTrust Bank, who just signed on as a client of Al Jolson Black and White Music in Nashville, a music agent that licenses music for television and film.

Nostrand, 64, has more than 100 pieces of music, most of which have come since his retirement in 2006. He now lives in a house in Mason Neck, Va., overlooking the Potomac.

“This music business is certainly a whole lot tougher than banking ever was,” Nostrand said. “In banking, most people come to you for help and money, and you hold most of the cards. And the music business is just the opposite. You have to go to them with hat in hand.”

And predictions for 2012?

“Bank stocks are going to do well in 2012, just as they did poorly in 2011,” he said. “The banking sector will begin to recover in 2012. Most people think banks cause economies to be the way they are. But they are actually are a reflection of what all their customers do.”

As for the national economy, Nostrand said it’s “on hold until the election. There certainly is a wider Grand Canyon between one side and the other [on Capitol Hill]. Until there are some bridges across that canyon, very little will happen.”

Human capital

The Gaithersburg-based Brickman Group, the largest commercial landscaping and snow removal firm in the United States, has hired a vice president of human resources to manage its 11,000-plus employees.

Eric Robinson’s appointment comes as the family-owned Brickman prepares for its next phase of growth; the company has seen revenue grow an average 13 percent annually since 2000.

Robinson’s job will “provide the executive focus and leadership to support the company’s continued investment in training and developing one of Brickman’s chief assets — its people,” according to spokeswoman Margie Holly.

Prior to joining Brickman, Robinson worked for Mohawk Industries’ commercial and international businesses in Atlanta. Before that, the executive spent nearly 10 years at Pulte Homes.

The Buzz hears:

Georgetown-based Personal.com, which helps online users manage their personal information, is getting into the student loan business. The company plans to work with the federal government to come up with a way for people to to import their education records into their own protected space so they can have the information at their fingertips. The company recently outlined its commitment at the REAL Agenda Commission, sponsored by the TechAmerica Foundation, the tech industry’s lobbying arm.

Cleveland in D.C.

Cleveland-based Case Western Reserve University will open its master of science in anesthesia program in 5,500 square feet of space at 820 First St. NE, three blocks from Union Station in the NoMa neighborhood.

The space is to include offices and classrooms for its first class of 15 students this summer, and five faculty and two assistants are slated to work at the location.

The 295,000-square-foot building is owned by Greenebaum & Rose Associates, which has offices in Baltimore and D.C.

The deal was negotiated by West, Lane & Schlager, a District-based commercial brokerage firm, which got a tax abatement on the deal that could save Case Western several hundred thousand dollars over the term of the 10-year lease. Mindy Saffer, a principal with WLS, represented Case Western during the negotiations.

“Our nation’s capital was a natural choice to establish our first location outside of Cleveland; it facilitates our ability to work closely with major players,” said Shane Angus, an instructor and the director of the Washington Master of Science in Anesthesia Program at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.

heatht@washpost.com

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.
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