11.26.2010

Spies, Madame's, and Speakeasy's

Last week Olaf had a conference in Washington DC. I took advantage of the opportunity to stay in DC for free! I followed a day later and had some fun. My Aunt and Uncle live in the area and we met them one night for dinner. They met us in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. It is an absolutely charming area. It's full of stores and restaurants and quaint old buildings. We decided to eat at this restaurant in this beautiful old building.

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While we were looking over the menu, Olaf read the history of the building. It is quite colorful! Check it out for yourself. There's spies, madame's, and speakeasy's!

The original owner of the building which is now IL PORTO RISTORANTE was a retired Sea Captain. He constructed the building like his ship - sturdy and sound in wall and beam.   He stocked it with silk from the Far East, silver from Spain, jewel from England and France and - to his misfortune - a valued family heirloom of one of his customers. The unhappy customer had the Captain arrested and tried in the town square.   As a result of the Captain's quick demise, the building had a new owner, Madame LeCleaque who turned it into a House - not a home!   Business was brisk until a pesky customer shot the Madame and her girls fled into the night.   The building remained empty for years!

After the Civil War, two southern ladies open a shop to sell family treasures. When they retired, a wine press and distillery were found in the basement. Perhaps the family recipe sold better than the family antiques!

The building then became a butcher shop with graded meat selling for 5¢ a pound. A German artist used the building during World War I as a studio, specializing in painting of the Torpedo Factory.

The Roaring Twenties saw a speakeasy located here, and then during the 40's a Nazi family moved in and set up a radio network disguised as a fix-it shop. Now, restored to it natural charm, the old building is the home of fine Northern Italian food.

1 comment:

Urban Parks said...

That sounded like a fun evening. Glad you got to spend time with our family.