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Not too long ago, things were looking pretty bleak for popular Cleveland Park eatery Dino. “As of this past summer, it didn’t look like it made a lot of sense for me to continue here,” says proprietor Dean Gold, citing sluggish business, mounting debt and a lease that’s set to expire this coming October. Y&H has heard multiple rumors about the possible closure of the cozy Italian-themed enoteca. But fans of Gold’s “wine madness” specials and 10-course duck dinners should take heart. “Since then, business has picked up,” he reports. “We’ve figured out how to make more money.” Recent changes to the restaurant’s menu and prices have contributed to the economic upswing, he says. Dino’s chef-owner is now hoping to negotiate a new lease extension with his landlord. He points to some favorable lease terms at new neighbor St. Arnold’s, as well as McFadden’s recent struggles with the neighborhood over its liquor license application, as signs that an existing restaurateur with a valid alcohol permit has a pretty good shot at striking a new deal in that part of town. “The trend [in rents] is not up,” he says. “We’ll see what happens. But, is it possible that Dino moves? Absolutely. Is it possible that we close at the end of our lease? Absolutely. It’s not something that I have complete control over. But I think we’ve got a lot going for us on our side.”
Photo by Darrow Montgomery