As Dino prepares to close its Cleveland Park location next month, owner Dean Gold reveals a few new deals about his next restaurant, Dino’s Grotto.
In his email newsletter, Gold says he’s still negotiating a lease on a primary location in Shaw and has also looked at several other spots. Dino will serve its regular menu for the last time on Jan. 11, with a closing party tentatively set for Jan. 12 “where you can eat us out of all the food in our walk-in.” UPDATE 1/10/13: Dino has extended its lease until Feb. 23.
The new restaurant will start out as what Gold calls a “pop-up in our own restaurant,” where the team can test out different ideas and see what appeals to the neighborhood. “I have no way of knowing what our new community will want, so we will experiment as we go until we figure out our true new direction,” Gold writes.
Some things won’t change, though. Gold promises to continue his commitment to local and artisan producers as well as simple Italian cooking with a “homey feel.” Dino favorites like lasagnette, burrata, the burger, meatballs, insalata forte, boar pasta, risotto, and Bolognese pasta will remain on the menu.
Also, don’t expect Gold to start using foams or sous vide: “No culinary trickery designed to distract you from the fact that you’re getting out of season items in tiny portions for top dollar,” he says.
Read more from the email below:
Last Call at Dino!
January 11 is our last day of regular menu at Dino. This gives you a grand total of 26 dining days at Dino. We will have a closing party, tentatively scheduled for January 12 where you can eat us out of all the food in our Walk-in. This might occur on the 13th, depending on how things go. But if you want the current Dino experience, do come in by the 12th.
At this point, we simply do not know what is going to happen in the future. We are negotiating on a primary location is Shaw and looking at several other ones as well. We hope to nail down a space ASAP. But even if we do, the new “Dino” will not be the same as the current Dino. We will be opening up as a “pop-up in our own restaurant!” Simply put, we do not know what people want in the new locations we are considering. Furthermore, we will have to adapt to a new cook line in the kitchen. Any time you change things around drastically, what you can turn out changes too!. So we will open with a much reduced menu with a greater emphasis on things like the burgers, panini, antipasti, house made charcuterie and salads. We will still have pasta, a few entrees and really concentrate on the all time Dino favorites. So don’t worry, the Lasagnette, Burrata, Burger, Meatballs, Insalata Forte, Boar Pasta, Risotto & Bolognese Pasta will all be there.
As we open and get to know what our customers want, we will experiment with a lot of different ideas. We expect to fill out the menu with specials, but if they are more snacky stuff or more entrees remains to be seen. I have no way of knowing what our new community will want, so we will experiment as we go until we figure out our true new direction.
In order to emphasize this, we will open with the name “Dino’s Grotto” so folk don’t come in expecting the same experience. What will remain the same is our commitment to local and artisan producers. Seasonality. Simple Italian cooking. The homey feel we have always tried to maintain at Dino. A lack of pretentiousness. NO FOAMS! No SOUS VIDE! No culinary trickery designed to distract you from the fact that you’re getting out of season items in tiny portions for top dollar. But Dino’s Grotto will be different, so get in now to enjoy your old favorites! When we figure out our true direction and we finish revamping our location, we will have a grand opening where we will revive the Dino name in its new format.
Thanks for 8 and a half years of fun! We hope to see you soon in Cleveland Park; and then when we announce the new location, there too!
Dean & Kay
Photo by Darrow Montgomery