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Maybe this is a sign that, as that damn Peter Angelos said, DC isn’t a baseball town: We’ve never been big on baseball bars and restaurants around here.
Mickey Grasso, a mostly backup catcher with the original Washington Senators from 1951 to 1953, had an Italian restaurant at 732 14th Street NW before Grosso was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 1954. (Baseball omniscient Phil Wood has a menu from Grasso’s with the motto: “Meeting Place of the World.”)
And Joe Judge, a Senator first baseman from 1915-1932 and one of the team’s all-time greats, had a couple restaurants. His grandson, the writer and former City Paper contributor Mark Gavreau Judge, says the first one was opened in Southwest DC in 1932 but “a fire wrecked the place.”
Joe Judge then rebuilt his establishment in 1934 at 5335 Georgia Ave NW in Petworth.
Mark Judge, who has written extensively on Joe Judge’s days as a Senator, says Grandpa had daughters Dorothy, Catherine and Anita waitressing.
(If memory serves, “Baseball Bill” Holdforth, a Senators super-fan most famous for harassing reviled Nats’ owner Bob Short with an effigy of himself in a nationally circulated photo, had a bar off K Street NW in the 1970s or 1980s. But I can’t find any record of that. Little help?)
But now there are none. Mark Judge isn’t convinced the days of the DC baseball bar are done. The wasteland now surrounding Nationals Stadium could one day be teeming with Zimmy’s and Manny’s Mambo Room and the like.
“It all boils down to….putting a winner on the field,” Judge says.