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A Neighbor Spills It On Palena's Closing


James Beard award-winning chef Frank Ruta cooked in the Palena kitchen for the last time on Saturday, April 26. The somewhat sudden closing of the Cleveland Park fine dining institution has been difficult on Tim O'Rourke, general manager at Weygandt Wines, Palena’s next-door neighbor. “It shouldn’t have to come to this; a guy as good as Frank should never be pushed out,” he tells us. Chef Ruta isn't without options for what comes next. Tim shared rumors about the chef possibly moving into the last open retail space in the burgeoning City Center property, among others. Case in point, while we were chatting with Tim, the trustee of 1815 Columbia Rd NW popped in looking to get in touch with chef Ruta. She wants to offer him the property. "I’d be willing to purchase all of his kitchen equipment and have it moved too," the trustee shared with Tim.