City Desk

Citronelle Likely ‘Staying Right Here’

The most troubling talk about Michel Richard Citronelle has nothing to do with lost stars or with the dress habits of pre-pubescent diners. It has to do with a persistent rumor that it will be closing or moving out of the District.

The rumor, for once, has a basis in reality. Citronelle's dated dining room has been facing a major overhaul for years now, but since 2007, when Interstate Hotels & Resorts of Arlington and Harte Holdings of Ireland bought the Latham Hotel, the renovation talks have progressed into real action. Designers and contractors have visited the hotel, says Mel Davis, PR coordinator for Citronelle.

The rumor is also based on recent history. When Roberto Donna closed Galileo for "renovations" in 2006, he was supposed to move back into a new-and-improved space at 21st and L streets. That hasn't happened yet—and looks like it never will. Some fear the same fate could befall Citronelle if the Latham closes for renovations.

Davis says Richard is "always looking" for new spaces. It's almost part of his DNA. He's looking for places for a possible burger joint, for a steak joint, perhaps even for Citronelle. Davis doesn't know when renovations will actually begin or even really how long they will take, but the makeover could start early next year.

OK, but are the rumors true? Will the renovations push Citronelle out of the Latham and maybe out of the city? "I don't think Citronelle is leaving the city, and more than likely, we'll be staying right here," Davis says.

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