The Washington Redskins open their 85th season on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Expectations are muted. The prospects for Hail & Hog Kitchen and Tap, the Redskins-themed restaurant, are much higher.
Wait, check that. The prospects for Hail & Hog’s assets are much higher. The company behind Hail & Hog originally filed for a Chapter 11 reorganization in January, hoping to tape up its battered body to play through one more football season, but the establishment was forced into Chapter 7 liquidation in August after creditors became more impatient than long-suffering Redskins fans.
Hail & Hog’s final stats: Dead after just one trip through the Redskins schedule, which makes the restaurant an even bigger bust than RGIII. Especially when you consider that Hail & Hog had a lousy rookie year, serving up, among other curiosities, a leaden “Redskin mashed potatoes” dish that was harder to move than Albert Haynesworth during conditioning drills.
The Ashburn-based Auction Markets is handling the sale of Hail & Hog’s assets. Stephen Karbelk, founder of Auction Markets, said he’s looking for a buyer to acquire the entire property as a turnkey, ready-to-operate restaurant. “We hope that the sales price exceeds $1,000,000,” Karbelk wrote in an email to The Washington Post. “With the right operator, it could go even higher.”
The creditors certainly hope it goes higher. Among those lining up for proceeds from the auction is Herman/Stewart Construction, the Lanham-based contractor that built the $5 million, two-story Hail & Hog in Ashburn, just a mile or so from Redskins Park.
H. Jason Gold, the court-authorized trustee in the case, said Redskins Grille 1 LLC, the company behind Hail & Hog, accumulated about $2.5 million in debt during its brief, 15-month existence. The G.R.E.A.T. Grille Group, otherwise known as G3 Restaurants, is the parent behind Redskins Grille. G3’s future looks about as promising as Colin Kaepernick’s prospects of playing in the NFL this season. The company recently shut down similar team-branded restaurants in Houston and Indianapolis.
Still, Gold is optimistic about the Hail & Hog assets (and the remaining 17 years on the lease, which is also for sale). First of all, it’s located on One Loudoun, a trendy development that already attracts tons of traffic with its mix of restaurants, bars and shops. Second, the Hail & Hog space is still pristine, with its multiple bars, its state-of-the-art kitchen and its dining rooms on two floors. Third, the next tenant will benefit from the hindsight of Hail & Hog’s spectacular failure: A sports bar clearly doesn’t fare well in this family-centric community.
Gold thinks the right company, with the right concept, might be willing to pay good money for this location. He said sealed bids will be accepted until Sept. 20. Qualified and approved bidders will then return for a final auction on Oct. 17. The sale is subject to final approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, he said.
“We could have an entrepreneur who has some great ideas and is willing to pay more,” Gold said. “It’s so difficult to predict.”
One thing is probably easy to predict: No incoming restaurant will buy the old Hail & Hog-branded cutlery.