Young and Hungry

Acqua Al 2′s Ari Gejdenson Takes Over Hilton Brothers’ Planned Italian Gastropub

Hungry for blueberry steak on 14th Street?

Prince of Petworth floated a rumor earlier this week that prolific restaurateurs Eric and Ian Hilton would be transferring their lease on the old HR-57 space to Ari Gejdenson, executive chef at Acqua al 2, home of the aforementioned fruit-smothered beef dish.

Gejdenson confirmed the news to Y&H today. The Acqua toque and the Hiltons were originally partners in the project, Gejdenson says. The planned restaurant is described on posted liquor license placards at the location as an "Italian gastro-pub." Now, the Hiltons will be focusing on the myriad other restaurants they have in the works (Chez Billy, El Rey, among others), while Gejdenson takes over the Italian pub concept.

"I don't really have much to say about what it's going to be quite yet, because I'm finalizing it all in the next two weeks or so, but we're pretty far along," Gejdenson says.

It's one of three planned Italian-themed eateries now in the works within a block and a half of each other along the bustling 14th Street corridor. Standard's Tad Curtz and Cafe Milano co-founder Iraklis Karabassis are behind the others.

"I think our place will be different," Gejdenson says, though he declines to divulge more details just yet.

"Growing up in D.C., going to the Black Cat when it used to be next door, you know, 14th Street has always been so fun," he says. "I'm just excited to take part in it."

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