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Graham Holdings Co. acquires Clyde’s Restaurant Group

The chain includes Old Ebbitt Grill, a Washington institution, and 12 other D.C.-area properties.

Grant's Bar, around the corner from the main dining room at Old Ebbitt Grill, is a quieter option and a place where the locals know to go. (Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Graham Holdings Co. has acquired Clyde’s Restaurant Group, the chain behind one of Washington’s oldest and best-known restaurants.

Founded in 1963, Clyde’s operates Old Ebbitt Grill, the Victorian-inspired saloon and restaurant near the White House that took in more than $33 million last year. The restaurant is known for its seafood, especially oyster happy hour, and Zagat describes it as a place that represents old-school Washington. It has more than 500 seats and serves as many as 3,000 guests a day in its main dining rooms and for private events.

Clyde’s also owns the Hamilton, which hosts the annual White House Correspondents’ Jam (on the eve of the organization’s dinner) and reported nearly $22 million in annual revenue. The Hamilton offers a wide range of American fare, starting with brunch to late night eats. The restaurant can seat 400, and its downstairs music venue seats 300 with standing room for 300 more.

Old Ebbitt Grill remains a mouthwatering monument in D.C.

The two restaurants are among the 20 highest-grossing independent restaurants in the country. The group also operates 11 other D.C.-area restaurants and entertainment venues — eight Clyde’s locations, the Tombs bar, 1789 Restaurant and the Soundry in Columbia, Md.

“We are excited to join such a well-respected company and equally excited about the future,” Thomas Meyer, Clyde’s Restaurant Group president, said in a news release announcing the deal.

The co-owner and chief executive of Clyde’s Restaurant Group, John G. Laytham, died in January at 74. He joined the business as a dishwasher the year it was founded, working his way up to build a company with a yearly revenue of $135 million.

Here's why the Hamilton is one of the nation's busiest restaurants

Arlington-based Graham Holdings Co. didn’t disclose the terms of the deal and declined to comment beyond the news release. The Graham family had owned and operated The Washington Post for several decades before selling the news organization to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in 2013.

Graham Holdings, which also owns media, manufacturing, health-care and cybersecurity companies, has a market value near $7.6 billion. On Wednesday, it reported more than $57 million in second-quarter earnings, a 22 percent increase from a year ago.

Graham CEO Timothy O’Shaughnessy said in a news release that Clyde’s Restaurant Group has been a Washington institution.

“The Clyde’s group of restaurants are well-run businesses that align with our investment strategy: working with great management teams to operate businesses with a long history of profitability,” O’Shaughnessy said. “We are thrilled about the long-term possibilities of this business and we are looking forward to continuing to serve hungry and thirsty D.C. area diners for years to come.”