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The Old Guard: Clyde's

Washington DC Dining DC

Amidst the excitement of all the new restaurants opening in DC, it's easy to forget the tried-and-true standards that have remained open throughout the city's many changes. Our "Old Guard" series profiles restaurants that have stood the test of time, remaining open and popular for over a decade.

Name: Clyde's of Georgetown

Address (Hood): 3236 M Street, NW (Georgetown)

Number of Years in Business: 51

Owners: Sally Davidson and John Laytham (above)

Biggest Differences between Year 1 and Today: John tells us that, naturally, in 51 years of business they've gone through myriad changes. When they opened, they had "18 employees and one little restaurant in Georgetown. Now we have 14 restaurants and 2,300 employees. Back then, we did a quarter million in annual sales; last year, we did $130M. We're a very different company." The most significant change? "When I started, there were only men in the business. We were the first saloon restaurant in DC to hire female employees." 

Secrets to Success: Innovation was always big at Clyde's. "We were the first to bring squid to DC, and now calamari is on every menu. We used to bring in halibut back when it had a one-week season in Alaska. We were the first to serve Copper River salmon, and now it's all the rage in gourmet stores. And we've been working with local farmers for over 20 years to grow our summer vegetables. Now local sourcing is a big deal to everyone, even the Giant. But we've been doing it for decades."

What's Next?: John tells us they're still winding down from opening the 37K SF Hamilton two years ago, so they're going to take it easy for a little while. But they're always on the lookout for their next location. "We'll do another restaurant again, but not for another year or two."