There was quite a bit of hubbub when restaurateur Marty Grims of Moshulu, Du Jour and the upcoming accessible Asian spot Chew Man Chu, took over ownership of the White Dog Cafe in University City in January 2009. Would the old Dog stay the same or would it change? Would it stick with its commitment to fresh and local produce or would it turn into just another cog in a corporate machine? Seven months later, Grims tells us that he’s been quietly making big changes at the White Dog, starting with bringing on a new managing partner with an impressive pedigree and, in October, the addition of a new chef.
Grims says he’s been keeping things low-key at the White Dog for the past seven months since he’s been addressing “obvious changes” that needed to be made at the restaurant. He cites a three-pronged approach to revamping the Dog’s reputation: updating the outdated physical plant, increasing the hospitality factor and, of course, focusing on the food.
As for the first issue, the kitchen was updated with new equipment and the interior has been refreshed. To address the service component, Grims is bringing in Andrew Welch, the longtime general manager of Virginia’s acclaimed Inn at Little Washington as managing partner in September to run the front of the house.
As for the food, Grims has hired a new chef with an expected start date of October 1, who will also be a partner. Grims wouldn’t reveal the name of the chef and trust us, if we had any feminine wiles at our disposal at all, we would have attempted to use them to get it out of him. All he would tell us is that the chef is from out of state, he’s worked in Chicago, New York and Las Vegas and he’s “the right person to lead the brand.”