Hill Restaurant Group Gives Up Leases on Two Barracks Row Venues

Finn McCool’s at 713 8th Street, SE

The space formerly housing Orchid at 520 8th Street, SE

Hill Restaurant Group Gives Up Leases on Two Barracks Row Venues

August 7, 2020

By Larry Janezich

Tom Johnson, managing partner of The Hill Restaurant Group, told Capitol Hill Corner that he is giving up the leases on two of Group’s seven restaurants – Finn McCool’s and the space formerly occupied by Orchid.  Both buildings are owned by the Quillian family, and Johnson has been unable to negotiate a way forward for use of the spaces in the current economic climate.   A clause in the lease allowed him to make an exit, and he will turn over the keys this weekend.

He says he hopes someone else will come along and fix the two spaces up – especially, Finn McCool’s. Johnson said he hated to let Orchid go, “but the risk is too high”.  He had planned to turn the former LBGT bar – which closed in August of 2019 – into a high end steakhouse named 8th Street Butcher.

The Group’s remaining restaurants on or near Capitol Hill include Hawk ‘n’ Dove, Lola’s, Tortuga, Willie’s and Ophelia’s Fish House.

Johnson cited some changes coming to some of the remaining restaurants.  Willie’s near Nats Stadium will be transformed into  the Stadium Sports Bar and Smoke House – an upscale casual dining sports bar.  Willie’s will continue operating as a BBQ catering company from the same location.  He also plans on putting a kitchen in Lola’s – which previously shared a kitchen with Finn McCool’s.

Johnson says he anticipates a lot of spaces becoming available in the next few months and expects to pick up a couple more and expand.


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4 responses to “Hill Restaurant Group Gives Up Leases on Two Barracks Row Venues

  1. Andy

    Finn’s was MUCH better when it was an Irish bar rather than a cheap copy of the Ugly Mug

  2. Jim Simpson

    Mediocre service and decor. Less than mediocre food.

  3. Mary Quillian Helms

    As the landlord, I would not say they have a clause in their lease that is letting them go, nor did they really try to negotiate terms for operating in the COVID era. We are trying to come to an acceptable separation agreement, but if we can’t, the courts will ultimately determine if the clause they think let’s them out of their leases in fact does.

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