It has taken eight years, but Mark Mednanksy says he has found the perfect location for Washington’s first — and most likely, only — Del Frisco’s DoubleEagle Steak House: CityCenter DC.
The luxury development has the right combination of corporate clientele and well-heeled residents to keep the 18,000-square-foot restaurant buzzing when it opens Sept. 19, said the chief executive of Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group.
“I have been fixated with this location since 2008,” Mednansky said. “We have been looking for the perfect site in Washington for a very long time.”
For a company that hopes to have one — and only one — steakhouse in every major city, finding the right location can be a years-long process.
About six years ago, Mednansky saw renderings for CityCenter D.C. and was immediately impressed.
Then the recession hit, and plans were put on hold. In the meantime, the company opened Del Frisco’s Grille, a more casual off-shoot of the steakhouse, on Pennsylvania Avenue NW and in Rockville, where executives got a sense of local tastes and preferences.
(The Grilles come with a much lower price tag, too: about $4 million, versus the $8 million to $10 million it takes to open a Double Eagle Steak House, making it a good way to scope out new markets.)
“The Grille is a scout for us,” Mednansky said. “It gives us a lay of the land, and a leg up for when we open the steakhouse.”
At local Del Frisco’s Grilles for example, executives noticed two things: Washingtonians like to drink, and they increasingly look for local beers and wines. The CityCenter steakhouse would be the company’s first to have three bars instead of two, and to offer a selection of Virginia wines and local brews, including Port City Porter, Flying Dog Old Scratch Amber Lager and Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA.
The steakhouse will also have a secret entrance that leads patrons from an underground parking garage into a private dining room. The Washington-inspired portal is unlike anything Del Frisco’s has done before, Mednansky said.
“We cater primarily to upscale guests, and this is for the movers and shakers of Washington,” he said. A number of retailers, including Hugo Boss and Tumi, have already opened at the new CityCenter development. Others, including Burberry and famed New York eatery Momofuku, will follow in coming months.
Del Frisco’s, which is based in Southlake, Tex., currently has more than 40 locations around the country. In 2013, the company reported annual revenue of $271.8 million, a 16.9 percent increase from the year before. Profits, meanwhile, totaled $12.2 million.
The new steakhouse will have about 200 employees, most of whom have already been hired. Mednansky says Del Frisco’s is continuing to look for sites for new Grille locations in neighborhoods such as Georgetown and Chevy Chase.
“Washington is right in the center of the bulls eye for us,” he said.