Whoa, Nellie! Jockey Club Looks to Ride Again

Martin Garbisu (shown in '88) was maitre d' at the eatery from 1979 to 1993.
Martin Garbisu (shown in '88) was maitre d' at the eatery from 1979 to 1993. (The Washington Post)

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By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Jockey Club is back -- or something that looks a lot like it. The Westin Embassy Row is quietly planning to revive the Old Guard's legendary hangout, and hoping that a new generation will embrace a piece of Washington history.

Hotel officials aren't commenting, but word has leaked to social lionesses around town that one of their favorite hideaways is reopening. "Every week, we get people who used to frequent the restaurant walk in and say, 'Oh, I just wanted to show my friends,' " said General Manager Steve Keup, who declined to discuss any details.

Tucked in the lobby of the then-Fairfax Hotel, where Al Gore grew up, the Jockey Club opened in 1961 and became the first stop for every VIP in the nation's capital. Nancy Reagan was a regular; Frank Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, Kirk Douglas and Joe DiMaggio supped next to politicians and power brokers. But the Clinton crowd never took to it, the doors closed six years ago, and the hoped-for transformation into a "California French" hotspot fell flat.

Now the hotel is poised for a major renovation that will include a new jockey-themed dining room -- horse pictures, dark wood, low lights, lots of banquettes -- perfect for hosting those cozy private parties of yore. We hear the name is still up in the air: Can it be the old Jockey Club if it's not called the Jockey Club? (JCII?) The restaurant is expected to open by the end of the year.

The Bloom Is Still on Tessa Horst

Washington's own Tessa Horst won another rose from "The Bachelor" star Andy Baldwin on last night's reality dating show and is now one of the last two women vying to win the competition -- or rather, we guess, his heart.

One of
One of "The Bachelor's" final two.(Bob D'Amico - ABC)
Horst, 26, an alum of Georgetown Day School now based in San Francisco, won fans by projecting a certain down-to-earthness, despite having a grandfather who sources tell us is one of Hong Kong's richest men. Last week we watched as Baldwin made a "hometown" visit to D.C., where he greeted Horst on a then-snow-covered Mall and dined with her tax-expert dad, Thomas, and mom, Romana, at sister Mercy's house in what looked like Cleveland Park. Along for the grilling: Horst's best friend, Samantha Bonderman, a fellow GDS grad and daughter of Texas money guy David Bonderman.

The New York Post last week declared Horst the winner, reporting that after a couple of drinks she accidentally told someone that she declined Baldwin's proposal, "but they are still very much together." The reports irked ABC and the show's producers, who -- while declining to address the who-wins secret -- have all along promised a successful proposal at the show's finale. "He absolutely is engaged," said a spokeswoman. "There is a proposal and engagement."

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

  • Adrian Fenty treating his family to Mother's Day brunch on the Sequoia. Instead of running a marathon, the mayor took mom Jan, wife Michelle, dad Phil and his twin boys on the former presidential yacht, where a passing D.C. fireboat sprayed a huge water salute in their honor.
  • Sen. Chuck Hagel at the Nationals game Sunday. The possible presidential candidate was spotted with wife Lilibet, daughter Allyn, 16, and son Ziller, 14. Then the Nebraska senator and kids went home to cook (what else?) Omaha steaks for Mom.
  • LOVE, ETC.

  • Grandpa: Donald Trump, who just fathered a son 14 months ago, is a first- time grandfather. His oldest son, 29-year-old Donald Trump Jr., and daughter-in-law Vanessa became parents of a baby girl on Saturday. "Well, it's not something I had necessarily in mind, but it feels very nice," Gramps told the New York Post.

  • © 2007 The Washington Post Company

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