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Beware of the scuttlebutt. PoPville floated a rumor yesterday that the owners of Sardi’s Chicken would be taking over the former Pulpo space in Cleveland Park that’s currently playing host to a Hula Girl pop-up to open a second Picca Pollo A La Brasa.  Not true, says Dave Hansen, the director of operations for Tapper Restaurant Group, which owns Pulpo, Floriana, and Fed Restaurant.

Hansen says the restaurant has received more than a dozen offers for the space, including one from Sardi’s. However, Tapper Restaurant Group has instead inked a partnership deal with another local restaurant owner—which he’s holding off from naming for now—to open an international barbecue place. The Hula Girl pop-up will wrap up on March 16, and the new space will likely open several weeks after that. Hansen says the name has not yet been finalized.

“As attached as we are to the gorgeous architecture of 3407 Connecticut [Ave.] NW and to the dynamic restaurant community of Cleveland Park, occasionally an offer is made that’s just too good to turn down,” Hansen says.

Meanwhile, Hansen says he’s looking for other locations for the other restaurant concepts he previously said he had planned for the Pulpo location. He envisions an avant-garde tasting menu-only place called Ando as well as a more casual “dressed up street food” spot with “uber gourmet” hot dogs and burgers called at the bar. (Think hot dogs with bone marrow.)

In the interim, Hansen says  he’s focused on the recent revamp of Floriana, which recently introduced a new chef, Daniel Hlusak. In April, Floriana will open for lunch for the first time ever, and Hansen says he’s looking to book chef’s tables and corporate functions in the upstairs banquet space.

Photo by Stephanie Haven