José Andrés to open a new restaurant in the Waldorf Astoria, formerly Trump Hotel It looks like the second time is the charm for the celebrity chef, who pulled out of a deal to open a restaurant in the building when it was a Trump International Hotel.
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José Andrés to open a new restaurant in the Waldorf Astoria, formerly Trump Hotel

The celebrity chef and humanitarian will open a location of his small-plates restaurant Bazaar in the building. Josh Telles/ThinkFoodGroup hide caption

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Josh Telles/ThinkFoodGroup

D.C.- based restaurateur and humanitarian José Andrés is bringing an outpost of his Bazaar restaurant chain to the Old Post Office.

Andrés announced the news in a video posted to Twitter, which shows him standing in front of the Old Post Office building, listening to the bells from the clock tower chime.

"These bells are announcing that I will be coming back to the Old Post Office," Andrés said. "I'm opening a restaurant, and I will tell you more in the future."

Andrés said in his tweet that he'd open a Bazaar restaurant at the location. The restaurant, which already has outposts in Miami, Chicago, and Las Vegas, offers high-end shared small-plates that are a "wild sensory adventure born of Jose's Spanish roots," with unique twists to each specific location, according to its website. Additional locations are expected to open in New York and Los Angeles sometime this year. The first Bazaar opened in Beverly Hills more than a decade ago.

"I first dreamed of opening a restaurant at the Old Post Office back in 1993 when I first came to D.C.," said Andrés, in a statement. "Nearly three decades later, I am building that dream into a reality, and couldn't be more excited to bring my beloved Bazaar restaurant right here to DC in this beautiful historic location. We cannot wait to welcome people from all over DC – and the world – to this amazing space."

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Most Bazaar restaurants are located in hotels, and several are steakhouses called Bazaar Meat. The new location in D.C. will replace the upscale steakhouse BLT Prime that was previously located off the lobby of the Trump hotel.

Andrés' arrival at the Old Post Office is years in the making. The celebrity chef was originally slated to open a Spanish restaurant in the Trump International Hotel, which opened in the building in 2016. However, Andrés pulled back from the deal because of offensive comments Donald Trump (who was then running for president) made about immigrants.

"More than half of my team is Hispanic, as are many of our guests," Andrés said at the time. "As a proud Spanish immigrant and recently naturalized American citizen myself, I believe that every human being deserves respect, regardless of immigration status."

Andrés' decision to withdraw sparked a $10 million lawsuit from the Trump Organization, which eventually settled out of court in 2017.

The Old Post Office building just reopened as a luxury Waldorf Astoria hotel property, after investment firm CGI Merchant Group took over the lease from the Trump International Hotel to the tune of $375 million — and certain gilt signage was removed from the facade. Andres is an investor in one of the group's funds, according to the press statement.

Members of the public can take an elevator to the top of the 9-story historic building, the third tallest structure in D.C. The structure opened in 1899 and was D.C.'s General Post Office until 1914.

Andrés made no reference to his public spat with Trump in his announcement — which could be due to to the undisclosed terms of the lawsuit settlement — but he did give a shout-out to former Sen. Patrick Moynihan, a friend who suggested that Andrés could someday open a restaurant in the Old Post Office space, according to The Washington Post.

He also took the opportunity to allude to the spirit of inclusivity and welcome that has become his trademark, including on his many humanitarian missions abroad and at home in the D.C. region.

"God Bless America," he said. "Longer tables."

"I started talking about longer tables when others wanted to build higher walls," he wrote in an edition of his newsletter. "We need to talk to each other, to enjoy our differences, to celebrate our diversity. Not push people away because they look or sound different."

This story is from DCist.com, the local news site of WAMU.

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