1220 19th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036 | (202) 835-0459

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Restaurant Week August 12-17, 2019

It was the Fall of 2001, when I received a call from Alan Stillman, owner at the time of the newly opened Smith & Wollensky’s here on 19th St. It was a national catastrophe. What happened on September 11th had shaken us all to the core. No one felt safe enough to leave their home. There were public appeals (even from the White House) for people to go back out, travel, and conduct their lives as before. DC restaurants were suffering a 60% or more decline in sales. Alan said they had been organizing Restaurant Weeks in NY for years and offered to send his marketing team to help us do the same here in Washington. I reached out to a group of fellow restaurateurs and together we organized the first DC Restaurant Week in January 2002. Soon after, our local Restaurant Association took it over and has continued what we started, now twice a year, in August and January, when restaurants are in need of additional POSITIVE exposure.

I tell this story to first and foremost explain how much we (ownership AND staff) look forward to and are grateful for Restaurant Week especially now during the summer when Congress is not in session and business slows considerably. But, most importantly, to explain how we look forward to this week as a golden opportunity to open our doors to those who (for whatever reason) have not tried our restaurant. As most everyone will agree, there are a great number of restaurants and customers have countless options, including to stay home and “order in”.

i Ricchi is a small independent restaurant serving the community for over thirty years. In our American culture of always wanting to experience “the best new thing” a restaurant like ours is at a disadvantage. I speak to many young people who say they don’t dine with us because they think it is too expensive. In addition to all our special offers; Groupon, 50% Women’s Club Tuesdays, etc., we look forward to Restaurant Week to welcome everyone and view this as targeted marketing to those who are interested in what we do.

Restaurant Week offers are a great deal. The promotional prices of $22 lunches and $35 dinners have remained the same for many years notwithstanding increases in the cost of doing business in DC. For those of us who must stay in the city for work during the summer, Restaurant Week offers a great opportunity for a fantastic staycation.

To make things even more fun, this year we are offering an added perk for all those who order our special Restaurant Week menu. We are pleased to start serving Illy’s cold brew nitro infused coffee. Believe me, you have never tasted coffee like this. It is a richer tasting and effervescent experience. When coffee gets hot, it tends to get bitter. By steeping the coffee in COLD water for an extended time (+/- 12 hrs) you create a “sweeter”, smoother product. With the totally fun addition of natural nitrogen, it changes the mouth feel or texture, highlighting flavors and creating a thick, cold “crema”

PALIO DI SIENA – Annual Community Dinner Party

Siena, Italy is the scene of one of the most anticipated horse races of the year! The “Palio di Siena” is the world’s most exciting horse race, celebrated twice a year in the Piazza del Campo (Siena’s historic square), on July 2nd and August 16th, in honor of the Virgin Mary, Patron Protector of the City. It has been held almost uninterruptedly since the days of the medieval Republic of Siena. It is the centuries old horse race between the various districts (contrade) of the city of Siena in which ten horses, each representing a particular district, are ridden bareback by a jockey who races at breakneck speeds around the city’s sand covered main square, surrounded by ancient buildings and cheered on by a passionate crowd of thousands of locals and tourists. The horses are selected and allocated by lot just three days before the race. The responsibility for choosing and paying the jockey lies within each Contrada.

The Palio is more than a simple horse race. It is the culmination of ongoing rivalry and competition between the districts (contrade), whereas, the race itself only lasts for a little more than a minute. The ceremony surrounding the event includes such elements as the blessing of the horses, with each horse being led into a church to be blessed by a priest on the afternoon of the race. Young drummers prepare and practice their rhythms and flag bearers rehearse all around the city. Additionally, each district gathers its citizens for a feast on the night before the event, stoking the excitement of the residents and promoting community spirit. The entire year evolves around these races.

For the past four years, we have paid tribute to this colorful tradition by recreating a festive communal dinner on our Piazza outside. After the unbearable high temperatures of the last few weeks, we have decided to move our party inside this year where it certainly promises to be more comfortable!

Please join us for a festive evening of camaraderie, merriment and fine Tuscan specialties unique to the Palio di Siena – Friday, August 16th @ 6:30 PM – cocktails & 4 course dinner, $79 (+ tax & tip).

MENU Summer Spritz cocktails and Tuscan crostini Homemade pasta with wild boar sauce Grilled skewers of pork loin, chicken, sausage & bay leaf croutons, fried summer garden vegetables with chicory, arugula and fresh mint Homemade peach & almond tart

For tickets call: 202 835 0459 or http://www.palio2019.eventbrite.com


One of the best things about owning a restaurant in Washington DC is certainly the people you meet. You establish relationships, even friendships solely based on the interactions around their dining table. For years Sherri and Jim Giordano were loyal and frequent customers. We’d share stories about Italy and its food and he’d talk about his stints in Germany. (I later learned he was an esteemed Fulbright Professor of Neurosciences and Neuroethics in Munich and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Brain Science, Health Promotions and Ethics in Coburg, Germany!)

It wasn’t until fairly recently, probably while sharing some limoncello at the bar, that I learned the scope of this work both at Georgetown University Medical Center and abroad. This humble man was one of the world’s leading experts in the fields of brain science and neuroethics! Next thing you know, I was asking him to speak at one of our Need To Know Dinners and we were talking about brain healthy foods we should include on the menu.

Please join renowned neuroscientist, Professor James Giordano for an intimate exchange over dinner to learn how emerging developments in brain research are seemingly at the border of science fact and science fiction. Dr. Giordano will engage his dynamic style of “edutainment” to explain how researchers are looking to brain science and its tools to both treat neurological and psychiatric diseases and augment our thought, feelings and behaviors.

To compliment this compelling presentation, I have put together a menu featuring healthy “brain foods” that, as Dr. Giordano will explain, can directly affect brain function.

NEED TO KNOW DINNER – WEDNESDAY, JULY 17, 2019 – 7:00 PM – $79 Tickets: Call 202 835 0459 or https://feed-your-brain.eventbrite.com

4 COURSE MENU – Welcome Aperitivo Rose / Asparagus, grilled melon, tomato, pumpkin seeds, extra virgin olive oil / Beet gnocchi, green pea puree, sage butter / Pan seared fillet of hake, broccoli, potatoes & cipollini / Chocolate, coconut, walnut cake

  • In today’s fast paced world, there are things happening around us that we should know about – new technologies, political forecasts, cultural phenoms, scientific advances, the latest in art, finance, literature. Join us for dinner and engage with people who will keep you abreast of what’s happening and tell you what you NEED TO KNOW.

Celebrate Summer at our Annual Cena Bianca (White Dinner)

For weeks now, people have been asking if we will be hosting our Cena Bianca on the Piazza again this year. Certamente! This festive communal dinner has become our annual Rite of the Summer Solstice.

Cena Bianca, i Ricchi, Washington, DC

For thirty years, organizers around the world have been planning huge events that bring people from diverse backgrounds together in public spaces to interact, converse and, of course, eat. It has become an international phenomena in more than 70 cities in 35 countries. That was my inspiration, four years ago, when I organized our first outdoor party to celebrate the longest day of the year and the official beginning of Summer.

The original “Diner en Blanc de Paris” began in 1988 when a Parisian man invited his friends to a picnic dinner in the park with the directive to dress in white to be more recognizable. It has since grown to attract thousands and thousands of white clad party goers invited only hours before the secret dining location is revealed. Once invited (it is a complicated process), participants bring everything they will need for an outdoor dinner down to the white table and chairs, linens, decorations, china, crystal and everyone is dressed in white with the greatest decorum and elegance. Before midnight, the dinner ends and every item is removed from the site. That’s quite a lot of work for a dinner party, if you ask me!

We love the concept of bringing people together on our Piazza, so we have decided to do the work for you! All you have to do is purchase a ticket, put on your best whites and show up for a great Summer dinner! Cena Bianca, Friday, June 21 at 6:30 PM. $79 (without tax & tips). For tickets call 202 835 0459 or http://cenabianca-2019.eventbrite.com.

White Spritz Cocktails /Anise cure salmon crostini / White lemon pizza /
Florentine Coccoli / Zucchini pasta carbonara / Rosticciana – pork ribs /
Tuscan fried chicken / Smoky barbequed shrimp / Riso Salad / Portobello corn salad / Panna cotta & blackberries

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