José Andrés Is Bringing A New Restaurant To DC After Controversy

Chef José Andrés is finally bringing a new restaurant to the Old Post Office Building in Washington, D.C. after canceling his initial plans in 2015, per The Washington Post. Andres was working with the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. which then operated in the Old Post Office Building, but pulled out of the deal after Trump made disparaging remarks about Hispanic immigrants during his presidential campaign. The Trump Organization then sued Andrés' restaurant group Think Food Group for breach of contract, according to NPR. The suit was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount in 2017.

Andres was originally excited to open the restaurant, calling the plans a 30-year dream in the making in a recent tweet. Andrés, who is a Spanish immigrant, felt compelled to delay that dream after Trump referred to immigrants from Latin America as criminals and rapists (via The Washington Post). In Think Food Group's countersuit against the Trump organization, they argued these comments were damaging to their proposed Spanish restaurant (via NPR). They argued Trump's remarks would make it difficult to attract the much-needed Hispanic staff and patrons to the restaurant.

Now, seven years later Andrés is finally opening a new restaurant in the Old Post Office Building after the Trump International Hotel's lease on the property was purchased by investment management firm CGI Merchant Group (via The Washington Post).

Bazaar to open in Old Post Office Building

Now that the Trump International Hotel is no more, and Trump is a former President, Andrés has reached an agreement to open Bazaar in the Old Post Office Building, which will be turned into a Waldorf-Astoria hotel later this year, according to The Washington Post. Andrés told the outlet, "To me, it's very symbolic, to open this restaurant in the heart of the city, to bring Bazaar to the city that gave me so much of who I am."

Bazaar's website describes the concept as an exploration of Andrés' Spanish roots through traditional, and avant-garde culinary lenses. The new restaurant will be replacing the former tenant BLT Prime (via The Washington Post). The restaurant was operated by New York chef David Burke, who agreed to terms with the Trump Organization shortly after Andrés' departure. BLT Prime became known as one of the only D.C. restaurants patronized by members of the Trump administration.

Andrés has earned notoriety for his work serving Americans over 20 million free meals throughout the pandemic (via Forbes) and more recently for his humanitarian work helping Ukrainian refugees. His charity World Central Kitchen has worked to provide food to Ukrainians that have stayed behind during Russia's invasion of the country. One of his locations was even allegedly shelled by Russian artillery and has been the recipient of fundraising efforts by other celebrity chefs