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Red Sage will close its doors on Friday, Dec. 22.
Red Sage will close its doors on Friday, Dec. 22. (Michael Temchine - Michael Temchine)
By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 11, 2006

Red Sage, which opened with a splash in downtown Washington 15 years ago and even now fuels an average of 15,000 to 20,000 patrons -- a month-- will close its doors December 22, according to Dan Mesches, a partner in the southwestern-themed restaurant at the corner of 14th and F streets NW.

"Our landlord is committed to pricing us out of the same neighborhood we helped create," explained Mesches, who broke the news to Red Sage's 75-member staff Monday afternoon. On the upside, "We'll be able to take all our folks with us." The Red Sage crew is expected to be absorbed by the other establishments owned by the Star Restaurant Group, of which Mesches is president: Zola and Spy City Cafe in Washington's Penn Quarter and Indigo Landing in Alexandria.

While even Mesches concedes that Red Sage "has had its ups and downs over the years," at its peak in the early '90s, the $6 million, 17,000-square-foot behemoth was one of the city's most buzzed-about destinations.

"Red Sage will feed you things you probably haven't tasted before," wrote Phyllis C. Richman, then The Post's food critic, in a 1992 review. "Here's how hot Red Sage is: It's so hot that when someone cancels a dinner reservation, the receptionist is likely to respond, "Oh, good!"

© 2006 The Washington Post Company