When the owners of Rialto put the old wooden sign for The Guards, which previously occupied their Georgetown space, up for auction with a starting bid of $10,000, things did not look promising.
After no initial takers, the owners lowered the price to $5,000. (Co-owner Ben Kirane claimed to Y&H that $10,000 was actually an error and they meant to list the memorabilia for $5,000 all along.) And now, there’s a buyer: outgoing Politico CEO Fred Ryan. A rep for the restaurant would not immediately disclose the exact price of the sale. UPDATE: Ryan bought the sign for $5,000.
According to a press release, Ryan and his wife Genny went on their first date at The Guards after meeting as summer interns on Hill. Later, when working for the White House during the Ronald Reagan years, Ryan moved into an apartment above the restaurant and often dined there.
“The sign represents so much of my life upon arriving in Washington, I can’t think of a more poignant way to remember it,” Ryan said in a statement from the restaurant. “We are just lucky enough to be able to own a piece of Georgetown history that will always remind Genny and me of our own history.”
A portion of the sale will go to DC Central Kitchen, but the owners did not immediately disclose how much.
“The fact that our donation will support the good work of the DC Central Kitchen, made this an absolutely ‘must have’ acquisition,” Ryan added.